Unlike most families we know, we sometimes lose stuff. It happens often enough that even when they were small, Lauren and Zack recognized a business opportunity when they saw one. Instead of sharing the frustration of their parents when things were “lost,” they decided to offer solutions and make a little money in the process. They formed the Wild Child Mystery Detective Agency.
Lauren and Zack got business cards and set up files. I installed carpet, lights, and an electrical outlet in their office (the storage space under the stairs) so they had a suitable work environment. They brought in office equipment including walkie-talkies, several old cell phones, an electric typewriter, flashlights, and some Fisher Price audio devices.
The office also had an Internet appliance called “Audrey” which could access the Web, send and receive e-mail, play audio and video files, and synchronize with two Palm OS-based devices. I think Lauren and Zack most appreciated the little giggle Audrey played while booting up.
NOTE: “Audrey” was ahead of her time when she appeared in October 2000. Our home network was behind the times at the time, and we could only utilize a couple of the appliance’s functions. Audrey was discontinued on June 1, 2001, a casualty of the dot com bust, and 3Com’s remaining hardware was liquidated and embraced by the hardware hacker community.
Here are notes from a couple of cases in the detective agency’s files:
“As we were settling into a hotel in LA, we missed a container of important medications. I was ready to hit the road back to our previous night’s lodgings when the Wild Child Agency contacted us and offered their detective services. Unlikely they’ll find anything for which Susan and I have repeatedly scoured our bags and the room… What? You just found the missing meds? I don’t have to drive all the way across LA after all?? That was one of the best $5 I ever spent.”
“I had looked high and low for my wallet. The thing was huge – more like a small purse – and should have been easy to find. It had my whole life in it: credit cards, checkbook, drivers license, receipts, insurance info, even one of my favorite pens. Nowhere to be found. Before canceling the credit cards, I decided to give Wild Child a call. In less than ten minutes they came up with the missing wallet. Do I love these guys? You bet I do!”