Stories, Uncategorized

I have a dilemma…and it’s a big one

Happy Birhtday

Happy birthday

Below is my take on the idea offered up by Twisted Roads Of Madness and Postcard from a Pigeon. The idea of finding a collage in a second hand book.

Note: That this is entirely fictitious, there is absolutely no facts here and I’m not solving a murder no one else has been able to I am just an author using a massive amount of poetic license 🙂

I have a dilemma…and it’s a big one

Happy Birhtday

Happy birthday

Honeymoon’s are something most people never forget, but for my wife and I our honeymoon to the Brazilian municipality of Campinas is one we will never forget for reasons totally unrelated to being newly married. Let me tell you what happened

One of things that my wife and I have in common is a love of books and a love of looking through bookshops, especially those quaint little second hand bookshops where they sell books to support local charities. It was in one of those types of bookshops during our Brazilian honeymoon that we got more than we could ever have expected.

Amongst our purchases from the bookshop was a book titled ‘Where the Sidewalk Ends’ by Shel Silverstein a book we’d both read many years before and decided we needed to add to our collection. As I sat in our hotel room leafing through our new books I happened to notice what appeared to be an odd looking birthday collage inside the cover of Where the sidewalk ends, how we didn’t notice it in the store is anyone’s guess.

“Hey Rosie,” I called out to my wife who was in the bedroom. “Come and have a look at this.”

We both looked at the collage, it appeared to be a birthday message to a person name Scott. But who writes a birthday message in letters cut out of magazines and newspapers? Who sticks an adhesive bandage to a birthday message? And who uses seemingly unrelated pictures, probably cut out of the same magazines as the text, to offer birthday wishes? It didn’t make sense. That was until we saw the letters AdCS(PT) written in faded grey lead pencil in the first page, just underneath the credit list.

I still don’t know why those letters tweaked my interest so much, perhaps it was the collage, perhaps it was just sheer luck, but for some reason I immediately figured those letters and the collage were related. They meant nothing to me or Rosie so I pulled out my iPad and hit up Google for some answers. Low and behold the first thing that came up was the Antônio da Costa Santos a Brazilian politician affiliated with the Workers Party who was assassinated on September 10 2001.

Coming from a family line of private inspectors (four generations, can you believe that?) my interest suddenly grew as I looked from my iPad screen to the collage, from the collage to my iPad screen. Convinced my mind was seeing something my eyes weren’t I started looking at the collage as a secret message. Here is what I found.

The September 25 date didn’t gel with anything Google was telling me until I recognised the underlined ‘ma’ in the word Karma. It was a fairly old and widely unknown secret message trick which I had never seen used but my grandfather used to talk about being used in the 30’s. It referred to ‘multiply appointment’ by itself it meant nothing, but when written vertical on a page below a shortened date it required the decipherer to multiply the two numbers shown together. Sept 25 suddenly became Sept 10, the date Antônio da Costa Santos was killed. That couldn’t be a co-incidence, neither could the year 2001 which was listed near the end of the word birthday, the year he was killed.

The next thing I noticed was the word Imagine, not so much the word itself because that was so prominent it was hard not to notice the second the collage was opened. No I noticed the way it was presented. Yellow writing on a purple background, John Lennon’s favourite colours. I’d seen that trick used once before when a rouge secret service officer threatened to assassinate the Vice President, a plot we foiled before it got media attention.

Lennon assassinated, threat to assassinate the Vice President and Antônio da Costa Santos assassinated. Two for two.

The hand written text threw me for a bit longer but after using a few deciphering programs I was able to work out that it was indeed coded. Coded in such a way that more than half the words become redundant. Rather than drag you through the whole drawn out process of deciphering that message, because that was the part that took me the longest to work out, I’ll simply tell you what I found out. The whole comment is in reference to playing Cowboys and Indians as a child and the shooter is required to shoot and run. The hand written nature and the wording also indicate that the killer and the person organising the hit are known to each other but I can’t give you the reasoning for that without revealing trade secrets which one day might help track down a killer.

Three for three, even if you remain unconvinced.

Next thing I noticed was the scantly dressed woman with her left shoulder partially obscured. The gender and attire of the picture means nothing, however to a seasoned PI like myself the obscured shoulder means that is the target point, the kill shot if you will. Antônio da Costa Santos was shot in the left shoulder, a planned kill shot even if not planned for immediate execution.

Four for four and I can see I’m slowly beginning to sway your thinking.

The ‘No Rulez’ comment was so obvious it wouldn’t have fooled a second year PI with a learning disability. ‘No Rulez’ referred to the investigations Antônio da Costa Santos initiated on some of the cleaning companies who many thought were disobeying the laws.

The eight feet is an age old technique used to hide the payment involved. In this case it was eight feet, eight million. I presumed given the note was entirely in English the payment was in US dollars but that neither mattered or could be proven with the information at hand.

Are you still following? Ok I’ll keep going.

The travel related words all running vertical to the US flag means that the shooter will find safe haven when they travel to the US. While the palm tree indicates the shooter should make their way to Florida. The brown heart indicates a dead heart, a heart that no longer beats, or…it’s a shoot to kill attack.

Even the title of the book was a hint, ‘Where the sidewalk ends,’ refers to the location where the assassination took place, at the end of the road where there was no street lights and not cameras.

How many more things need to add up before you are convinced?

Ok well I save the best for last. Did I tell you it wasn’t a birthday message? Well it’s not and that was proven in a matter of seconds when I put the letters H A P P Y B I R T H D A Y S C O T T into an anagram solver on my iPad. The result? Tidy Brat Pyscopath.

Now I know that because you are not experienced in Private Investigations like I am you probably don’t recognise that name, but I do. He’s well known by that name and none other, that’s right not even the authorities know his real name, but I do and believe it or not the answer was in my hot little hand.

It took me a long time to work it out, even Google and my wealth of family experience didn’t make the task simple but it was in front of me the whole time. Have another look at the image and tell me if you can see it?


I’m not surprised, let me tell you. It’s in the adhesive bandage. Look closely.

The bandage itself indicates that something is hidden or obscured. Now look above the bandage there is a code. Written in blue pen with left to right line of the of the ‘X’ curved is a trick used by 1970’s gangsters to indicate the the first character is a Roman numeral and the second is a digit. Putting both pieces of code together we not only work out that the killers name is hidden on page 100 but we also realise that this note is not just a note to the killer, but a note that revealed the killer.

So the question I ask now is…..Do I turn to page 100?


  1. Wow, this is one left field and out of the park spin on the story. well done. As you point out, everything is open to interpretation, even the plaster which, in reality, was near to hand when I was taking the photo and wanted to cover the name of the original author of the note (you can’t be too careful). Thanks for having a go at it.

  2. lostpropertyrepository

    So you know the name of the killer too 🙂

    Thanks for reading it

  3. OMG, this was such a fun read! I love mysteries and this was so creative to the picture. It reminded me of one of my favorite children’s books, called The Eleventh Hour. The clues are hidden all through the pages!
    Yes, yes, turn to page 100…. Hurry, before they realize what you’ve discovered! : )

  4. lostpropertyrepository

    Thanks I haven’t read the Eleventh hour (deprived childhood 🙂 ) but I have seen similar things before and I thought it was worth a shot. I’m not 100% convinced I got the execution quite right but I’m glad you liked it.

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