The Hardy Boys and the Mystery of the Migrating Chairs

Jeffrey Cohen
4 min readOct 22, 2020
Illustration by Desmond BTM Devlin

The Hardy Boys were happy to be in college at all. Their disastrous uncovering of Mayor Bailey’s white slavery ring had led to their forced departure from the small New England town of Bayport. Shortly thereafter, their retired police detective father, Felton Hardy, died of a massive stroke while in bed with a local prostitute. Things did not look good for the boys, until they were taken in by Morton Dumpster, their late mother’s brother. Only now, living in the dangerous city of Great Neck, could they dare to hope about getting admitted to college.

Unfortunately, all their troubles had taken a great toll on their grades. To add insult to injury, most of the Ivy League schools had ties to Mayor Bailey and his family, so they had to settle for a city college located in Flushing, Queens.

Letdown but still game, they enrolled at Queens College. After being admitted for the Spring 1983 semester, they quickly registered for the freshman classes. Frank, having earned several credits while working on The Case of the Stolen Lunch, found that he had Upper Freshman standing, and managed to get into better classes than his blonde-haired, seventeen-year-old sibling.

Finally ready, the Hardy Boys bought their books and attended their first week of classes at Queens. Afterwards, they met for lunch at the Caf.

“How are your morning classes, Frank?” asked Joe eagerly.

His brother shrugged. “Nothing too difficult. But the students sure are different. At Bayport High, nobody ever dressed like some of the kids here!”

Joe laughed and nodded in agreement. “But there is something strange that I’ve noticed.” He leaned forward. “I have this class in Powdermaker Hall, and every morning the desks are at the window side of the room. They’re all bunched up. So we straighten them into rows, and the next morning, they’re all back at the side! This has gone on all week.”

The change in Frank’s expression was obvious. Brown-haired and still with freckles at the age of 19, he had a look of surprise on his face. “Gosh! I thought only I had noticed something like that! In King Hall, I have this morning class, and every time I walk into the room, the desks are in a circle! It seems to be some sort of migratory…



Jeffrey Cohen

Longtime writer and crank. Articles come from more than 30 years in journalism and corporate communications. Follow my podcast at