FUNNY WOMEN #101: Threat Assessment and Risk Analysis for N. Drew



The client, C. Drew, an attorney, requested an investigation into the extraordinarily high number of violent incidents involving his teenage daughter, N. A preliminary draft of the resulting report is below. Please see the follow-up note appended.

N. is a normal, active girl, recently graduated from high school, who engages in routine activities such as shopping, attending charity events, and pursuing a hobby she calls “sleuthing,” which involves helping her many feeble-minded friends and acquaintances find lost objects of moderate sentimental value. Her innocuous lifestyle notwithstanding, N. has over the past few years been the victim of multiple kidnappings, bludgeonings, menacing telegrams and phone calls, incidents of automotive sabotage, and mail theft. N. is also regularly chloroformed, tailed, and impersonated, and has been left bound and gagged in confined spaces no fewer than sixteen times.

I. Local Threat Environment
N. and her father live in an upper-middle-class neighborhood that appears to be little troubled by crime, apart from an inexplicable vortex of burglary and rock-throwing centered upon the Drew home.

The Drew’s community of River Heights is in many ways a typical Midwestern town, yet it presents serious challenges to risk mitigation due to the unprecedented number of carnivals, cults, traveling circuses, organized crime syndicates, and counterfeiting rings in its vicinity. River Heights is a busy shipping port, and thus well-situated for quick access by transient criminals via railroad, airport, highway, or boat.

The natural environment surrounding River Heights also abounds in risk. It features unreliable country roads winding through sparsely-populated farmland, treacherous lakes, the Muskoka River (notorious for its unpredictable currents), and vast stretches of desolate forest. Some freak of topography renders the entire region prone to sudden outbursts of severe weather.

Dotted across this perilous landscape are myriad secluded inns, tea rooms, mansions, and castles which contain hidden staircases, secret passages, haunted spirits, buried treasure, and/or smuggled goods. These structures figure prominently in N.’s daily movement. They also explode and burn down with alarming frequency. (Note: Infrastructure analysis suggests that the gas pipelines in River Heights predate World War One, which could explain the region’s unusual flammability.)

II. Surrounding Population
Although most inhabitants of River Heights are white and well-off, the town also harbors a great many distressed farmers, political refugees, and incognito royalty. According to interviews with inhabitants (transcripts on file), there appears to have been a rash of children separated from their parents some ten or twenty years ago, though public records contain no mention of any natural disaster that would explain this phenomenon.

The criminal element in River Heights is substantial. However, said criminals are, almost without exception, conspicuous, inept, and mentally deficient to the point of cretinism. The possibility of frequent gas leaks in River Heights, mentioned above, may partially explain this phenomenon. It should also be noted that the town has a very high concentration of lead in its drinking water. And, given the number of lost relatives constantly re-discovering one another in the area (see lost children, above), there is also the distinct possibility that residents of River Heights have unwittingly been inbreeding for generations. Whatever the cause, these characteristics tend to mitigate the threat presented by criminals in the area.

III. Family Associations and Professional Connections
C. is known to have acquired numerous enemies in the course of his career as an attorney, and his professional connections were considered a promising area for investigation. However, preliminary research in this area was halted at the request of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. See below.


The following CONFIDENTIAL communication was provided by the FBI:

Be advised there is an ACTIVE, ONGOING federal investigation into the activities surrounding C. and N. Drew of River Heights. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should private security personnel interfere with this investigation, which has uncovered what appears to be a sophisticated “honeypot” operation directed at local, state, and federal law enforcement.

Through extensive undercover work, agents have determined that N. Drew was, at some point after high school, compromised and brainwashed by operatives associated with one Stefano “Stumpy” Dowd. Dowd, a former investment banker currently serving time for securities fraud in a federal penitentiary, was convicted in large part upon testimony supplied by C. Drew. In a “Manchurian Candidate” scenario, N. is being used by Dowd and his associates both to punish her father, and to create frequent emergencies that divert law enforcement resources from larger crimes in the region.

Dowd masterminds this ingenious scheme, operating by proxy from his prison cell, assisted by Nelson “Ned” Nickerson. Nickerson, the prime suspect in the initial brainwashing of N., now provides her with coded instructions via party invitations, calling cards, and thank-you notes, which arrive at the Drew home by mail or messenger.

Dowd, Nickerson, and their associates take advantage of N.’s wealth and social connections to move her around River Heights freely, from one hazardous location to the next, under the pretext of “solving mysteries,” and use accomplices to fabricate elaborate crimes involving N. When law enforcement comes to N.’s assistance, Dowd’s gang strikes in another area. For example, while police were engaged in rescuing N. from a cistern where an “evil doctor” had trapped her (at an estate on Larkspur Lane where rich elderly people were allegedly imprisoned), Dowd’s accomplices transported sixteen thousand kilos of cocaine across the state border ninety miles away.

Dowd’s gang is also involved in international crime, and has used N. to distract law enforcement in locations around the world (including Scotland, Hawaii, New Orleans, Pennsylvania, Arizona, New York, Florida, Boston, Canada, the Netherlands, Africa, Turkey, South America, and someplace described in C.’s tax returns as “Treasure Island”).

All personnel are ordered to immediately WITHDRAW from the Drew investigation until the FBI has secured sufficient evidence to arrest Nickerson. It is also critical that special agent Fayne’s cover NOT BE COMPROMISED before we are able to deprogram N. under controlled conditions. Anyone who knowingly or unknowingly divulges Fayne’s true identity and gender will be guilty of endangering a federal officer, and prosecuted accordingly.

Thank you for your cooperation.


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Susan Schorn is a martial artist and self-defense instructor who writes the column "Bitchslap" for McSweeney's Internet Tendency. Her first book, Smile at Strangers, and Other Lessons in the Art of Living Fearlessly, will be available May 28th from Houghton Mifflin. She can quote verbatim dialogue from most of the 52 original "yellow-spine" Nancy Drew mysteries, and would be interested in learning about any groundbreaking medications that might relieve her of this ability. She lives in Austin, Texas, which helps. She's on Twitter: @SusanSchorn. More from this author →