It was predictable that amateur detectives Harlan and Gloria Stone would engage in a parlour game about murder, especially with the close group of friends who were involved in their last major case. The game – where would you dump a body? They each placed a clear plastic box, each in a chosen spot. In the box, a note with an 800 number. A year later, when someone does find a box, they also find a body in the same location, inside a cloverleaf, Harlan's choice in the game. Explorations of other cloverleafs begin to turn up bodies, clearly the work of a serial killer. Harlan and Gloria find themselves in a race to stop the cloverleaf killer, someone who apparently agreed with Harlan that a cloverleaf is a good place to dump a body.
“We still haven’t heard from Harlan,” Shelby pointed out.
“Okay, I’m ready,” Harlan said. “First, though, a new thought. We have all of these really good ideas. Who says there has to be only one box. Maybe each of us picks a location and plants a box. Turn it into a contest.”
Everyone started talking at the same time, and continued to do so. Jockeying and negotiating for favourite spots started. It was a general hubbub for at least two minutes. Harlan reached for the plastic jug, then offered it to Shelby, then sat back and watched.
“Hey, everybody, hold on,” Craig said, waving his arms. “I want to hear dad’s idea.”
Everyone quieted down and turned toward Harlan. Gloria reached for the jug, then passed it to Bobbie who sipped and passed it to Fritz. All eyes were on Harlan.
“I think of it as the new American wilderness. In all the driving we do in the RV and on the motorcycles, I have been watching and wondering about the land that is cut off and encircled by the cloverleaf intersections. A lot of them are massive. Some of them seem to have impenetrable forests growing in them.”
“Whenever I thought about stopping and exploring one, I was hit with the questions and the uncertainties. Where would I park? How would I get there? Is it against the law? I’m thinking anyone who thinks about it runs up against the same questions. So let me ask, has anyone here ever gone into the dense growth area inside even one cloverleaf?”
Silence. Everyone shaking heads, side to side.
“Jack,” Harlan continued, “in your official capacity, have you ever gone into one?”
“Nope,” Jack said. “Simple reason is there would be no call to because there’s nothing in there.” Jack smiled as he said, slowly, “And that’s because nobody goes there.”
Fritz caught movement out of the corner of his eye and saw that Bobbie had pulled a notebook out of her bag and was taking notes, always the reporter.
“So, anyway, that’s my idea,” Harlan said.
“And that’s where you want to put the box,” Gloria said.
“That’s where I want to put my box,” he answered.