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An entry in Fortnightly Topic Challenge #35: Restricted Title 1.


Bob was mowing is lawn when he saw a white van driving around his neighborhood. Driving the van was a wiry old man. He made stops in front of people houses and took a good look at them. Then he drove out of the neighborhood. Bob was a little nervous but continued to mow his lawn. The next morning Bob had a ring at his door and by the time he got to it, all he saw was the white van driving away. He was even more unsettled at this, but tried to calm down. A few days later, Bob came to his tipping point when he saw the van driving slowly around the neighborhood again. Bob got up and called the local sheriff.

Why didn't the sheriff do anything?

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closed as off-topic by Rand al'Thor, Sid, dcfyj, Apep, Rubio Jun 5 '18 at 18:03

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The sheriff didn't do anything, because the man in the white van is

A postal worker

Bob is nervous, because he is avoiding

The IRS, because he doesn't pay his taxes. And the IRS are trying to audit him.

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  • $\begingroup$ This is correct. $\endgroup$ – QuantumTwinkie Jun 5 '18 at 14:26
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    $\begingroup$ I was beaten to it on this one - but was going to add that the driver may be checking for house numbers when stopping outside houses and looking at them. $\endgroup$ – UselessInfoMine Jun 5 '18 at 14:28
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    $\begingroup$ This answer seems very specific. Could he not have also been areibhf gung fbzrbar jnf gelvat gb freir n fhocbran? $\endgroup$ – Ian MacDonald Jun 5 '18 at 16:07
  • $\begingroup$ @IanMacDonald - Agreed, Gur VEF nhqvg natyr qbrfa'g ernyyl jbex, VZB. Gur cbfgzna jbhyqa'g or gur bar gb nhqvg uvz - vs nalguvat, whfg qryvirevat n yrggre abgvslvat uvz bs gur nhqvg. ...gur VEF jbhyqa'g abg nhqvg fbzrbar whfg orpnhfr gurl nibvqrq gur znvyzna. $\endgroup$ – BruceWayne Jun 5 '18 at 17:11
  • $\begingroup$ @BruceWayne, V guvax vs V jrera'g cnlvat gnkrf, V'q nibvq nyy srqreny tbireazrag rzcyblrrf naljnl $\endgroup$ – Joe-You-Know Jun 5 '18 at 17:14
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The van is

a service van, like this one

which makes Bob worried thinking

his services might not be working

The next day, the doorbell rings and by the time Bob gets to it the door, the van is leaving

And this is on the handle, saying they missed him.

This would be more upsetting because

It confirms that something is wrong with his service

The police obviously don't do anything since

This matter is between Bob and the service provider

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  • $\begingroup$ This was actually my original thought, that it was a Pbzpnfg van. But I had problems trying to figure why Bob would call the Sheriff if that was the case. $\endgroup$ – Joe-You-Know Jun 5 '18 at 16:03
  • $\begingroup$ @Joe-You-Know Given that this is a thing that happened, it doesn't seem too far-fetched. $\endgroup$ – David Starkey Jun 5 '18 at 16:07
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Not so lateral but

The wiry old man is the milkman
He took good looks at home to see empty bottles and rang at his door because he put milk.

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  • $\begingroup$ Great alterative, but Joe-You-Know has the correct answer. $\endgroup$ – QuantumTwinkie Jun 5 '18 at 14:26
  • $\begingroup$ Saw that, no problem :) @QuantumTwinkie $\endgroup$ – Saeïdryl Jun 5 '18 at 14:27
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    $\begingroup$ Excellent puzzle. I enjoyed it. $\endgroup$ – Joe-You-Know Jun 5 '18 at 14:27

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