The Mysterious Masonic Ring: Chapter 6 Part 3

 

In the last installment Dickerson browsed the latest comics at a local bookstore while  mulling a clue contained in a cryptic letter:  “A _______ saved is a ______ earned. I could have been talking about daylight but I wasn’t, though I see plenty of it as I see the people walk by. Present yourself to me when the tower above chimes its hours glory, and you are sure to be rewarded on the morrow. Count the streets but avoid the unlucky number.”  Even as he worked to decode the riddle Dickerson wondered if Kittie might be keeping a secret from him regarding the mysterious British man.

 

As Kittie waited as patiently as the cat she’s named after for her hot chocolate, I pondered the riddle Bowler Hat left me. The “saved/ earned” reference could only point to one person: Benjamin Franklin. Writing as Poor Richard, “a penny saved is a penny earned” was one of  his most famous proverbs. The reference to daylight originated from the fact that Dr. Franklin was the man who came up with the idea of daylight savings time, and to this day farmers have never forgiven him. As for the tower chiming its bells glory, I had to think about that for a minute, but I realized it had to be a reference to our old “ home,” the old Post Office Pavilion. The Pavilion’s best known feature is its clock tower, and at 8 o’clock every night, its glorious bells chime for about half an hour. There’s a statue of Dr. Franklin standing right outside, on the corner of 12th and Pennsylvania Ave. N.W. The “count the streets“ must refer to 12th St , as it would avoid 13, the “ unlucky number”.

So, Bowler Hat wanted to meet me at 8 o’clock tomorrow  night in front of the Pavilion by the Ben Franklin statue.

Kittie walked back to the table, sipping her cocoa, almost purring with contentment. She plopped down across from me, and surveyed my pile of comic books with a playful smirk on her face.

“How can you read this fluff when we’re on a real adventure of our own?”

“My dear, man cannot live by coffee alone,” I responded, “but by every bash of the ThunderGod’s hammer.”

With that I  picked up the new issue of Thor, and flipped through it, acting as it I was snobbishly ignoring her.

“Speaking of gods and goddesses, “ she added ,do you have the Wonder Woman over there?”  Kittie did not share my obsession with comics, but she couldn’t resist a story featuring  Diana of the Amazons.

 

BREAK HERE

In the last installment Dickerson pondered the riddle Bowler gave him. He soon realized that the “saved/earned” clue was in reference to Benjamin Franklin when he used to write as Poor Richard. On a roll, Dickerson also realized that the “tower chiming its bells glory” must be referring to his old “home” or the Post Office Pavilion. Putting all the pieces together, Dickerson knew that Bowler must want him to meet at 8:00 the next night by the Franklin statue in front of the Pavilion. After briefly talking to Kittie, part 2 of Chapter 6 ends with Dickerson pleased having solved the hidden message.

 

 

A couple hours later, after much caffeine and a cliffhanger ending for the Avengers, we caught a cab and headed back to the hotel. When we had gotten comfortable, I pulled out the envelope the Mason at the Washington Monument bookstore had given to me that morning. The neatly folded sheet of paper read,  “the Worshipful Master of Brotherly Love looks out over his encompassed square from on high. Not a G in sight, but perhaps a now homeless thug. The fortress of the shrine to his right , the president’s mansion in the distance it’s great weather to fly a kite.”

“Another reference to a worshipful Master, “ Kittie commented, “I’m  assuming they’re not talking Washington this time.”

“I don’t think so,” I  responded , “the  Brotherly Love reference sounds like they are talking about Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love. Do you know who the most famous mason to come out of Philadelphia was? “

“Well, I know he was born in Boston, “ Kittie answered, “but wasn’t Ben Franklin the Worshipful  Master of one of the Philadelphia lodges at one point?”

“That’s exactly who I had in mind,” I responded, “but an encompassed square…that doesn’t sound very Masonic.”

“Bill, think about it, “ she said.“ Where did we use to eat on the weekends before this adventure began?”

“Franklin Park,” I responded. “No wait. We homeless call it Franklin Park, but its proper name is Franklin Square!” The revelation of that hit me like a ton of bricks.

“Exactly,”  she exclaimed, “and there’s not a compass anywhere in sight.”

“And as for looking down on the square from on high,” I continued, my mind racing racing,  “there’s a bust of Franklin at the top of the old shelter they closed down last year.”

“ I have to admit, these Mason guys keep up with the times,” Kittie went on. “That reference to homeless “G” in the park was a nice twist. But what about this ‘fortress of the Shrine?’”

“Shrine…Shrine…Shriners!” I mused, exclaiming as the truth dawned on me. “OK. In Dan Brown’s “The Lost Symbol”  it mentions a building of unusual architecture owned by the Shriners at Eight Franklin Square.”

“You mean those guys with the fezzes and the funny go-carts we see at all the parades?” Kittie asked.

“The Shriners are an offshoot of the Masons,” I explained. “All of those ‘funny guys with the fezzes’ had to become 33rd degree Masons before they could even think about getting into one of those go-karts. I  guess when you’ve made it that far, you deserve to have a little fun now and then.”

“ Good point, and a Masonic reference I completely didn’t catch, “ she conceded. “I assume that the President’s Mansion is the White House.”

“Yep,” I answered. “From the height that Franklin’s bust is at, he just might be able to see the White House in the distance.”

“So I guess that “kite flying” reference is to Dr. Franklin’s experiment with a kite, and a thunderstorm? “

“That would be my assumption,”  I said. “A rather electrifying experiment it was as I remember.”

“Sounds like,” Kittie responded, reaching for a carryout menu.“So tomorrow we go to Franklin Park and see what’s up?”

“ Yep.” I responded. “ Now what was it you wanted to talk about.”

“ Let’s wait till dinner gets here,” she answered, reaching for our room phone.” Sweet and Sour Chicken for you I’m assuming.“

“You know me too well”.

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