ANNOUNCER: From Westminster, it’s time for—
SOUND: Skype rings once. Telephone receiver picked up.
JOHNNY: Johnny Atsign.
LITTLE BIRD: (Telephone Filter) Hey, Johnny, it’s Little Bird. Have you seen The Grouch’s Twitter feed this morning
JOHNNY: No. I’m supposed to have other things on my plate today. And I still haven’t finished my first cup of coffee.
LITTLE BIRD: (Telephone Filter) Well, when you wake up, you may want to check his timeline.
LITTLE BIRD: (Telephone Filter) Yeah. Then you may want to look at the email I just sent you.
MUSIC: Theme up and under.
ANNOUNCER: The Lickspittle Broadcasting System presents W. J. J. Hoge in the transcribed adventures of the man with the action-packed Twitter account, America’s fabulous free-lance Internet investigator …
JOHNNY: Yours Truly, Johnny Atsign!
MUSIC: Theme up to music out.
JOHNNY: The following is partial extract of the tweets sent and received during the Say Cheese Again Matter.
JOHNNY TWEETS: (SYNTH VOICE) @LittleBird What intriguing images!
JOHNNY: I finished my coffee, opened up my laptop, and took a look at Twitter. The Grouch seemed to have completely lost it. He was filing a contempt motion against someone who was suing him because of the acts of third parties not connected to the suit.
I found his contempt motion online. As I looked through the exhibits, I found pictures of tires that The Grouch claimed had been slashed. He claimed that the “vandalism” occurred only to his car when it was parked a dozen or so others on the street. He said that “proved” that he was the target of vandalism, and he blamed it on someone from another state.
It didn’t seem likely that The Grouch’s suspect would have bothered to make a 5 or 6 hour trip just to slash some tires, so I looked for another possible explanation. Looking at the pictures of the damaged tires The Grouch had included as a exhibit, it was obvious that they were well worn. The tires also seemed to show sidewall damage. I decided to get some expert advice.
That advice was fairly easy to find. One of the major tire manufacturers has a retread and recapping plant in Westminster. I showed the pictures of the damaged tires to a quality assurance engineer at the plant without telling him how they supposedly had failed.
EXPERT: Wow! Those tires were in pretty bad shape, clearly very old, and the rubber was shot.
JOHNNY: What else can you tell me?
EXPERT: The sidewalls are damaged. Look at the scuff marks on the white product label and company logo in the top picure. That’s a sign that the tire was run against a curb for a fair distance.
JOHNNY: Uh, huh.
EXPERT: Also, look at the two cracks highlighted in that circle. See how they’re ragged. The sidewall cracked after abuse. The crack on the other tire is similar. These look like they were taken from the passenger’s side.
JOHNNY: They were.
EXPERT: Then the most likely explanation is someone drove the car against the curb, and the rubbing caused the sidewalls to fail.
JOHNNY: Could they have been cut is some way?
EXPERT: I don’t think so. Cutting generally leaves straight marks on a tire. These cracks are ragged, like a blowout or a tear. No. I’d bet these were scraped against a curb, and that caused the sidewalls to fail.
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JOHNNY: With that advice from my tire expert in hand, I took a look at other evidence.
SOUND: Phone ringing, caller’s POV
LITTLE BIRD: (Telephone Filter) Hello?
JOHNNY: Hi. It’s Johnny Atsign. Got a couple of minutes?
LITTLE BIRD: (Telephone Filter) Sure. What’s up?
JOHNNY: When did you take that last set of pictures you sent me?
LITTLE BIRD: (Telephone Filter) I wondered when you’d call about them. Let’ see. I would have been almost two weeks ago. I was on a business trip driving across I-80, and I decided to take a detour on to US 30 for a few miles. Does that blue SUV look familiar?
JOHNNY: Uh, huh, but it doesn’t seem to have Wisconsin tags.
LITTLE BIRD: (Telephone Filter) No, it doesn’t. But if you look closely, you’ll see that it has some dents that weren’t in the first pictures I sent you. I looks like someone has been a bit careless with his driving.
JOHNNY: I noticed the new dents. That made me wonder if it was the same car, but the rear bumper is rusted in the same pattern.
LITTLE BIRD: (Telephone Filter) Yep.
JOHNNY: I also noticed that it’s parked very tightly against the curb.
LITTLE BIRD: (Telephone Filter) Is that important?
JOHNNY: It just might be.
JOHNNY TWEETS: (SYNTH VOICE) @TheGrouch Did you pass the parallel parking part of your driving test?
ANNOUNCER: Now, here’s our star to tell you about next week’s intriguing episode of our story.
JOHNNY: Next time? … another recap. Join us, won’t you?
Yours Truly, Johnny Atsign!
MUSIC: Swell theme and under
ANNOUNCER: Yours Truly, Johnny Atsign, starring W. J. J. Hoge, is transcribed in Westminster. Be sure to join us next Monday, same time and URL, for the next exciting episode of Yours Truly, Johnny Atsign.
MUSIC: Theme up to music out.
ANNOUNCER: Johnny Atsign is a work of fiction. If anyone thinks it’s about him, he should read Proverbs 28:1.
Be sure to tune in every Friday at 6 pm Eastern Time for an episode of Blognet or Blogsmoke on alternating weeks. This is LBS, the Lickspittle Broadcasting System.