Serial Saturday: The Figurine, Part 16

“What have you been telling people about me?” Temperance asked as the entered Jefferson’s room. “That boy behind the desk nearly had to pick his eyes up off the floor when we walked by.”

“Aw, don’t tell me you ain’t used to that,” Jefferson replied, tossing his hat onto the bed. He followed it with his jacket. “I just told him a gorgeous woman might come calling, and I reckon he didn’t believe me. Give me a sec to wash up here.” His holster rig felt strange and out of balance without the Colt on the left side, and he grimaced as he stripped it off and hung it on the bathroom’s doorknob.

When he emerged a few minutes later, toweling off his face, Temperance was lying on the bed, propped up on the headboard and flipping through a paperback.

“Really interesting books you read, Jefferson,” she said. “Keep you warm on those long cold nights, does it?”

For a moment, Jefferson didn’t know what she was talking about. “Oh,” he said at last as he took a shirt from the closet, “that’s Reeves’. Took it out of his kitchen.”

“Is it?” Temperance asked with a smile.

“Sure,” Jefferson replied, buttoning the shirt. “Never even got a chance to look inside. Go ahead and quiz me on it–I won’t know a thing about the plot.”

“Oh, I’ll be sure to ask you about what-” she looked down at the book. “-Lucille got up to, but perhaps after we get things sorted out a bit.” She shut the book. “Well,” she said after a moment, “if it does belong to Reeves, this could be helpful.”

Jefferson reached back into the bathroom for his tie and stepped closer. Temperance was looking at the words scribbled on the cover. Jefferson leaned over to look at the writing.

Ashuncet Acushnet Acunshet

“How does that help us? Looks like a Goddamn spell, but that ain’t Old Tongue.”

“Well, it seems like Mr. Reeves was interested in Acushnet.”

Jefferson squinted at the book. “Had some trouble spelling, then, but who could blame him? What the hell is Acushnet, anyway?”

“Little town near Buzzards Bay. Also a swamp.”

“Well, that could mean something, right enough,” Jefferson said after a moment.

“I’d better ask Chipper about this,” Temperance said. She scooted over on the bed and reached for the phone.

“Good luck with that,” Jefferson muttered, buttoning his shirt. He tied his tie and swung on his holster rig while Temperance talked to the operator before waiting for a time and hanging up. “I’ve been trying to get her on and off for a few days now,” he said.

Temperance frowned. “That’s not good. How long?”

“I don’t know, two-three days. Hell, I ain’t gonna nursemaid the woman. She’s mean enough to hunt bear with a switch.”

Temperance glowered at him for a moment. “That would be just fine, if all we had to worry about were bears.”

“Well, hell, Temperance, I ain’t gonna get all touchy and tell you to go off and keep an eye on her if you’re so damned worried. That’d be kinda rich, seein’ you just saved my skin half an hour back. But if you’ve got to, you’ve got to. I’ll even tag along, if you want.”

Temperance glared at him for a moment, narrow-eyed, then sighed. “No, Chipper said this is important. We’ve got to keep after Reeves.” She stood. “But I’m going to keep calling her.”

“Long as I don’t have to talk to her, we can stop every time we run across a phone, far as I’m concerned.” He shrugged on his jacket. “Now, let’s head over to the diner and spin a tale. Then we can hit the road.”

There was a knock just before he reached the door, and he paused. “Who is it?”

“Marcus Clyburne.”


Copyright © 2012 SM Williams


~ by smwilliams on July 21, 2012.