BELIEVE IT OR NOT
Believe it or not, that's just how it happened.
A few years ago, I was driving along West 35th Street in New York, and just out of nostalgia, I pulled up and got out and climbed the steps to the old brownstone house. I didn't have any real reason for doing it, just a kind of curiosity.
I rang the doorbell and waited.
The door opened, and the woman who was standing there could be described in one word. Gorgeous!
"Can I help you?" she asked with a smile.
There were an awful lot of things I could have wanted at that moment, but I came to my senses, and replied:
"The name's Attis."
I began my speech with a rather formal introduction, but I didn't finish the sentence. It was so many years ago! What would a name mean to anyone?
"My Grandfather once worked here. I'm sorry, I was just curious to know whether this is the base of some kind of institution, or just a private residence."
"My name's Cybelle."
She opened the door wide and stepped to the side to let me in.
You don't refuse an invitation like that! Without a moment's hesitation, I stepped inside. I felt a little bashful, of course, as I was the one who was intruding on the calm of this old house, but my curiosity was simply enticing me to go in and feel the atmosphere of that unique place.
"You see, at one time, mysteries were solved in this house, and I've heard a lot about it."
"Many things have changed," she said in explanation. "But once again this is a place where mysteries are solved."
"Really?" This time I was completely surprised. "How do you mean?"
She must have detected a slight tremor of excitement in my question. Without further delay, she took a large business card from the round mahogany table to her right and gave it to me. It read: ??? 5+10+15 To Unravel The Mystery.
"Perhaps you haven't come across us before, haven't read about our cases, or even heard of us. In which case, you have no way of knowing what our title means."
??? 5+10+15 To Unravel The Mystery. I really didn't have the faintest idea. She noticed my discomfort.
Without hesitation, she led me through the hall and opened the door to the study.
"You will understand everything when you get to know us better. And now, come and solve mysteries with us!"
My eyes wandered around the room. A Sphinx, a Medusa's head, two bizarre columns, the stone heads of two huge lions. All of which raised my curiosity even further.
"You are, no doubt, talking about solving real mysteries?" I asked.
She followed my gaze. She was obviously a very good observer, because her next question hit me head-on:
"You're not afraid, are you?"
Motionless and without a word, I looked at her. Maybe a little longer than I normally would. There's not much that would unsettle me:
"Afraid? Not really. Just a thought."
"Try to put it into words," she encouraged me gently.
"If I acquire some secret information, won't it change my own life?"
"That depends entirely on you, what you decide to do with it."
She was right. I smiled, and so did she: "Let's say that, for a couple of hours, you're going to be a real mystery hunter, but without the risk of anyone trying to take your life."
I was absolutely enchanted. That was the moment when my mind was firmly made up, that I just couldn't miss such an extraordinary experience.