Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Danger is Not My Middle Name #14

If you are one of the three or four people following my Photostream, you know about this story.

My initial idea was to do a detective serial, where the detecive would be in the same trip Sheree and I just got back from. The concept was that I would write the story day by day. As we went to a port or spent the day on the ship, so would he.

We got too busy and I ran out of steam. (You can go ALL the way back to #1 here if you want to start from the beginning.) But Mr. Diamond has been bugging me, reminding me I stranded him in Scotland.

This Red Hand isn't in Trinity Chapel. It's actually part of a statue in a fountain out front of the spa on the Grand Princess cruiseliner.

So I'm going to work on the story a little more. Here's number 14:

“So have you been a dick long?” asked McGee.

I didn’t like the way he said “dick.” I’d taken to this guy like a mongoose takes to a snake. Something about him was like biting on tin foil.

“Long enough,” I growled, thinking of Bogart in To Have and to Have Not.

“My orders are to take you to Glasgow University Chapel. I am to wait for you for a full two hours and then return you to your ship…and to take a package, which you will give me, to the courier.”

I nodded as though I had some idea what he was talking about.

“You have no idea what I am talking about, do you?” he said, working snide into the comment like Julia Child works warble into her voice.

“Of course I do,” I said.

“You know what package my…employer…expects?”

“Uh huh,” I said, pretending to be fascinated with something going on outside.

“I don’t believe you, Mr. Diamond,” he said finally. “I have no idea why she chose you.”

He made the word “you” sound like the word you’d use for something stuck to the bottom of your shoe after you’ve been tap dancing in a cow pasture.

I shrugged with carefully cultivated indifference.

The rest of the ride was silent and I watched the old streets of Glasgow slide by. Strange city, I thought. So much old and so much new, existing right alongside each other as through they belonged there.

Gradually “old” seemed to be replacing new. Business people rushing purposefully down the street gave way to young people toting books and book bags and, using my keen sense of detection, I realized we were nearing the University…and the chapel.

McGee pulled over and kept his eyes fixed ahead, like looking at me might just make him sick.

“Are we there?” I asked.

“You’re the detective,” he said dryly.

I got out of the car and from somewhere off to my left I heard the sound of classical piano music playing something that sounded old and vaguely hymn-like.

I decided to follow the sound. As I closed the door, McGee put his hand resolutely out to prevent me.

“That package, Mr. Diamond. You will not forget the package.” He paused and looked at me evenly. His eyes glittered. I’m not making that up. His eyes positively glittered. “It would be very, very bad if I see you again and you don’t have a package for me.”

Then he smiled with his lips, but his eyes made me think of a shark or a vulture. They didn’t smile.

I gave him my best “I’m a detective and you’re not” two fingered salute and walked away. I had no idea what I was supposed to be doing, what I was supposed to get…or how exactly I was going to get it.

The Glasgow University Chapel loomed ahead.

I walked in – and that’s when I saw the creepy red hand reaching for me out of the wall.

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