Fun With Despair
Glass of whiskey in my hand, cigar in my mouth, I was sitting there, watching the time crawl by. Tonight was as quiet as a funeral home, and here I was, practically waitin' for the dead to rise.

3 AM, the clock's hands ticked slowly on. I was about to turn in for the night, when she showed up. Tall, gorgeous, and definitely not a fictional excuse for me to go to a playground as a grown adult. But that didn't matter. What did matter, was that she had a case for me, and also that I was entirely running out of creative review themes.

Anyway, the dame laid out the situation: missing kid, always a tragedy. Said he was last seen around a certain park. She didn't specify if it was her kid or not, but a paycheck's a paycheck, and in this part of town, I need every dime I can get.

So she gave me some directions, and I set off.

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When I first showed up, I was struck like the town drunk in a bar fight. Thought I'd been roped into a flimflam. She called this a playground? Lady was as blind as a bat without its glasses. There was one slide, and a set of swings. I've seen better excuses for a playground, not gonna lie, but I figured it was worth looking into anyway. If the situation was as rough as she let on, surely this place had a few secrets up its sleeves.

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So... This is the slide, huh? At first, I had to get a close look at the stairs. Word on the street is that there's some gang ruffling feathers around here, they call themselves "Blue Imp", and I had to make sure this place wasn't wrapped up in whatever those goons were up to. Thankfully for me, everything looked clear as crystal, not a single one of their logos in sight, as much of a dive as this place was.

That thought settled my nerves, but I was still jumpy. Something was wrong with this slide, and I was about to get to the bottom of it. Well, that was the plan anyway, but a wrench was thrown into the works: I got stuck halfway down. As it turns out, the thing's about as slippery as sandpaper. Go figure.

I climbed off, about as disappointed as a man can get, and noticed something...

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...Looks like I sniffed out my first lead underneath the slide. "Dead", huh? Could have been written in blood, maybe a sign, or a warning, but I couldn't tell, because everything looks the same in black and white.

Anyway, I didn't see anything else, but this message left me wondering. Did the kid get bumped off already? Was this whole search a waste of my time? I chucked that thought outta my mind, and went to go stare down the swings instead.

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Try as I might, the swings wouldn't talk. Quiet as a mouse with laryngitis, they were. I guess it's what they call an asset in the swinging business. You could sit right down and swing for hours, and they wouldn't make a single peep. I'd rather have a quiet one than someone flappin' their gab talking nonsense though, so I left them to their business after my shakedown produced a whole lotta jack shit.

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The whole time, I had this guy's ugly mug staring me down. Usually these types come in pairs, in case multiple families decide to take a trip down here at the same time, but if I had to lay down my money on it, I'd wager the guy who built this place didn't take that into account. Guess you'll be sittin' with strangers if you ever decide to show up at this rat-house. Not that there's a reason to, because it's dead as a doornail so far.

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Now maybe I'm about as sharp as a bowling ball, but I can't make heads or tails of this. What's it for, anyway? Shuffleboard? Hopscotch? Some kind of bowling spinoff? Maybe the whole point's just to throw me off the trail, but I'm not buying it.

Dazed and confused, I kept moving on. The rain was picking up, and my umbrella was about as nonexistent as my sex life. Lady luck was smiling upon me though, because I happened onto some shelter, a roof over my head til it died down.

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I hunkered down in this gazebo, and noticed something that caught my eye like vinegar catches a fly. In the middle of all the tables around here, each of them had a chessboard, just sittin' there.

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Fancy that, huh?

Can't say I often head down to the park to play chess, but I guess if you're the kind of kid who likes getting a smack to the noggin, this might be just the hangout you're looking for.

Anyway, this place was a cracker-jack dump, so I got outta there, cigar smoke trailing behind me in the wind. I headed back to the office, poured myself some hooch, and that brings us to right now. What did I think of this place? Well...

THE VERDICT: a total swindle/10

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I ain't about to sit here and fib to your face, the place has as much value as a dime-store sandwich after five days in the sun. The swings are fine, and it's a nice locale, but it ain't much of a playground as much as it is a one-way ticket to the loonybin. I even busted my balls to branch out from the actual playground, but I didn't find anything worth my while.

Spooky message on the bottom of the slide aside, I've got a feeling that the only way someone can lose their kid here is if the kid was blind, deaf, and stupid. I told the broad who hired me just as much, and she walked out of my office faster than a cop chasin' the local thugs.

So that's that then. Another case closed, or as close to closed as I can get. I'm not even a detective I just review playgrounds, I don't even know why she came to me in the first place, really.
Yeah that's a shuffleboard triangle.

Interesting that they'd have chess boards out there by default. I guess you're expected to bring your own pieces? How weird.

What a sparse-ass playground. Hell I don't know if I would CALL this a playground.
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who builds chess and shuffleboard into a playground?
this is why kids stay inside playing fortcraft all day

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