—4—Strings and Hidden Messages

Frank shook off Officer Notation and left through the back gate of the farm, where a large sign faced the road. For years the Crannocks had used this sign to broadcast coded messages about various illegal activities. These days it was something of a tourist attraction for visiting criminals—a place thugs took their younger protégés and gathered to reminisce about stories that invariably began “Back in my day . . .”

The sign itself was an AnyText model. It held 3 arrays of letters, each array with 12 slots. Each letter, space, or punctuation mark took up a single slot in an array, meaning the board could hold a total of 36 individual characters—enough to advertise a whole range of illegal activities. Every Monday ...

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