Saturday, October 17, 2015

Next evening the doorbell rings just as I'm getting out of the shower. What the hell, I think, we don't have visitors and it's too late in the day for Jehovah's Witnesses. Whatever... Eira will make short work of whoever it is.

As it happens, I'm wrong about that....

I'm pulling a t-shirt over my head when Eira flounces into the bathroom, looking flustered. "Jack - it's Mortuis!"

"What does he want?"

"I don't know - I mean, he says he wants to talk to you." She looks at me pleadingly. "What do I do?"

I shrug. "Tell him I'll be out in a minute. Offer him a beer." I start combing the tangles out of my hair. "Relax - he probably just wants to borrow a cup of hemlock or something. He won't bite you." I hope. I give her a gentle slap on the ass. "Go!"

She goes, and I set about making myself minimally presentable.

When I come out into the living room, Mortuis is sitting in an easy chair. No beer, not that I'd expected him to accept one. His eyes give nothing away and it wouldn't be fair to expect me to read his expression. So I take the only tack left to me.

"What's up, Doc?"

Those cold gray eyes come to rest on me. "I would ask your assistance, Master Stone, on a project of particular importance."

He talks and I listen and the plan unspools before me - including my own humble but vital part in it. He talks for maybe half an hour and I ask questions as we go and by the time we're done I know I have to do this thing.

"I need hardly add, Master Stone, that you will be well compensated for your time and effort."

"I'll take my expenses, no more." I gnaw at my lip, thinking. "How soon do you need this stuff?"

"As soon as practical. We can protect the children indefinitely, I think, but there are many who want an end to this."

"I hear that... okay, I'll need some supplies, I can have them Fedexed, say a day or two... then the actual work... let's be conservative and say I can have it all ready within ten days - I'll make it quicker if I can. Will that work for you?"

"Eminently satisfactory." He leaves a card on the side table. "Call this number when your work is complete; leave a message at the tone and I will make arrangements to accept delivery." He stands, offers a black-gloved hand and we shake on it. "My thanks, Master Stone. I hope to hear from you soon."

He lets himself out and I sit down before the computer. I have some orders to place....

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