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I'm often and easily distracted, partly because I drift off contemplatively, or the environment is a thing of beauty in some aspect or other and it's fun to be alive. For whatever reason, like dressing with eagerness in the morning or perhaps leaving my writing office in a hurry, things often get misplaced. I have to be methodical about checking my pockets for keys, because it's a chore having to break in with a hammer and putty knife. But other things go missing, especially disposable cigarette lighters, which is intensely annoying. I had the damn thing a few minutes ago. It's impossible that it vanished. Which brings me to the business of investigation. I do a lot of it, and often have, reconstructing what happened and why. The inexplicable is merely a mystery that commends focused attention, like finding a fish in the milk. There has to be a chain of events, however bizarre or deliberate, that produced a very odd result. If it involves the death of a business partner by drowning as he casually strolled along the beach in fair weather, a certain degree of skepticism is appropriate and questions need to be asked. And if the other partner, very much alive, reports a burglary the same night in which corporation books were stolen, that is a remarkable coincidence. Being the only investigator on the beach, I went to visit the burglary victims, a husband and wife, lovely people. They claimed that they must have been gassed, because they heard nothing and awoke groggy in the morning. They showed me a torn window screen where the culprit who stole their corporation books must have entered. He didn't take any money but ate food and drank a bottle of beer. There were no footprints in the flower bed under the window because they had replaced the flowers he trampled. Alibis are always bizarre. The dead partner? -- a drunkard, an irresponsible wastrel, they confided. The question of what to do with a guilty party is a separate question. I let them skate because they had a 10-year-old child, not the best reason to excuse conspiracy and perhaps a hand in something worse, but a reason to drop the investigation. I wasn't a cop or a prosecutor. We lived in a place in which personal safety was never guaranteed and theft was common. But the mysterious is never acceptable, and when I had sufficient evidence that witnesses were lying and had a reason to lie, as much of the mystery as I cared to unravel was solved. The wider implication is a way of life, a commitment to investigate matters that stand out in high relief, whether it's a missing cigarette lighter or the chain of events that destroyed Ayn Rand's reputation in the 21st century by cinematic assassination. Objectivism has always aided me in unwinding something odd. A thing is itself. Preposterous alibis by interested parties are unacceptable fairy tales -- like knockout gas injected through a window screen by a barefoot Tico who took no money, drank a beer, and decided that intellectual property was amusing swag, just for the fun of it, to brag to his buddies: "Look what I did!"