It all started with an ad that should’ve been outdated.
I mean, it was well over a year old, but I was all “nothing ventured
nothing gained“ about it.
Ran only once in Starlog magazine. I called to see if anyone was still taking on any work for the offer.
“Oh, this is so boss! I’d despaired of finding anyone! Spend-dee-doh!”
Never actually met the person behind the voice. I told them I’d check
the microfilm, find the place. There had to be something to it.
Got the item I was promised. It was the minutes from the insurance
company, after Carl Denham’s inauspicious night in New York. You know
the one I mean. The premiere.
I’ve become a kind of event producer – gallery openings, music festivals, the like.
I’m also an inspector-for-hire.
My current gig is about finding Óðr the Shishämœ.
That more or less means “one who is treacherous and leaves no trail.”
He’s a guy who wiped out a Viking village and blamed it on Grendel.
Now, understand, some things get embellished over time, but.
Client is a surviving member of the Notebook of the Tempest.
They were a Swedish heavy metal group. Yes, all female.
You might say they invented progressive rock, but that’s
another debate for another time. They were mostly choral.
This elusive fugitive was their tour manager.
Just before this shipwreck, my client cast a spell.
Trouble was, Kára didn’t foresee how old Norse would have
different indicative tenses from English. Plus affixes and suffixes and that
pesky verb rule about habitual aspects.
So, he’s still around. I have to find out where.
I’m in the diner. Not gonna say where exactly. Don’t bother trying to track metadata
on the story either.
Meeting my informant. She had something to do with that escapade in Des Moines.
It’s on this old film noir flick. You won’t find it.
Hey, I have to stay two steps ahead. Protect my network. So don’t be wasting
any time in the Reddit threads.
She’s one of the survivors of the survey team from ‘38 and the
Skirmish. Orson Welles said it was in Grovers Mill, NJ but he was off by –
well, more than a few counties. If you want to know more about that,
you’ll have to fork over a brownstone in Alexandria. That’s where
Poe – still curious? Sorry to hear it. I’m on a deadline here.
I ask her my question in Ríírti. She knows just enough to follow the lingo.
“Yeah, I’ve got some intel.”
“Reliably speaking, it’s better than 50/50. ”
Kpepœ, I think, with an impassive look that cloaks impatience and a shard
Sounds dubious, I say. Follow up on it.
The exchange is cut short. My pal Edward Hopper comes in.
He looks at my snitch, then back at me.
I join him at the booth.
“How’s the painting? Got over your blank spell?”
Maybe. He looks back at the counter.
He sketches something. Impressionistic.
I decide to wait for another time, to talk about the lighthouse.
I excuse myself.
One cool thing about all this. Everything has this
retro look. The architecture, fashion.
I pass the McCleare building. There’s a phone bank going on inside. Betty
Cooper’s student council campaign.
One of the volunteers might be of help.
He’s charismatic but slippery.
I ask him if he’s had any luck with getting his claim settled.
Him and that damn pocket-watch from Egypt.
I come close to telling him I’m got a Jones for antiques too but I don’t.