Thursday, February 02, 2006

III

You know, I’m open to critiques. If you don’t want to post it in the comments, just email me. Just click on my profile for my email. This is really a work in progress. I’m not slaving over the drafts for hours at time. You are getting as close to stream of consciousness as it gets with me. Phill gave me some great ideas for the first part. And, if you are afraid of stopping the flow, just save up the critiques until later. You aren’t going to stop the flow. It now has to happen. This thing has to come out.


As Kathryn walked into her flat above the bookshop her mobile phone rang. She reached into her pocket to turn off the ringer. “Sorry whoever you are. I am tired. I am hungry. I want a bath. You can wait.”

She was hungry, but instead of heading to the kitchen she plopped into a chair. She slouched into the cushions laying her head back to let the hectic day at the bookshop leave her mind. Moira had forgotten to tell her that a book club was meeting there for a lunchtime chat to discuss which book would be next. So, instead of having a quiet afternoon, Kathryn had to climb the ladder to retrieve ten copies of some mystery, a very long-winded one based on the weight of the book.

She really needed that quiet afternoon, too. The first Thursday of every month was “Morning with Mum”, a rather chaotic story time for toddlers and their mothers. Kathryn could tell it was a great idea of Moira’s to have all those kids and moms in the shop. She sold lots of children’s books and a few adult books as well. Even though she was tired by the end of the children’s hour, she had enjoyed listening to Moira read to the toddlers and getting them to participate. She groaned remembering the wrap-up. “Good Lord, what a racket! I don’t know who made more noise, the kids or the book club? Definitely a bath first. Food can wait.”

When she got up out of the chair her phone rang again. She answered it this time. “Hello.”

“Hey, it’s Ian. I’ve got some good news. My friend at the historical society can help you.”

“Uh, that didn’t take long.”

“No, it didn’t. You aren’t going to believe your luck.”

Kathryn’s heart fluttered a bit. “Well, what did you find out?”

“You have to see it all. Do you have time to meet?”

At that question Kathryn slumped back into the chair. Crap, he can’t just tell me. He better not try to turn this into a date. “Dammit.”

“Pardon?”

“Oh, crap, I wasn’t supposed to say that out loud.” She tried to cover it up. “I’m just tired and hungry. I just got in from work. Can you just tell me?”

“I can give you the number of a contact, but I printed out some emails she sent me about a collection. I wanted you to read them to see if this is the same family. I don’t know any of the names and I don’t want to send you on a wild goose chase.”

“Oh, okay. Someplace with food? Or have you eaten already?”

“No. Why don’t we just meet at the pub? Angus’ wife makes a great pasty on Thursdays.”

“Alright. It’ll take me fifteen minutes or so to walk there.”

“Great. See you soon.”

When Kathryn walked in she saw Ian sitting at the bar talking to another man, one that resembled him quite a bit. Both of them were tall with sandy brown hair and the same bright brown eyes. Ian’s brother, Kathryn assumed, had a straight nose. Ian’s was crooked. She chuckled to herself; this is probably the brother who made it crooked.

Angus’ “Hello, luv!” attracted the attention of everyone in the pub. Is he going to do that every time I walk in here? Can’t I just sneak in once? Kathryn smiled, “Hello, Angus.” She walked to the bar so she didn’t shout the rest of the conversation. “Ian tells me that Mrs. Angus . . .”

“Sarah.”

“That Sarah makes a great pasty on Thursday. I’ll have one of those as long as you don’t slip in any sheep guts.”

His laugh filled the small pub. “I’ll get you one. And you’re drinking?”

“Half pint of St. Andrews, please. Thank you.” She walked over to Ian. “You beat me here.”

“I was already here.” He winked at her. “Kathryn, please meet my oldest brother, Rob.”

“Nice to meet you, Rob. Did you give Ian that crooked nose?”

Kathryn liked the way Rob’s eyes crinkled when he smiled, “No. Blame that on the twins. They’re bigger than us other three.”

“How many brothers do you have?”

Ian answered, “There are five of us. Rob is the first, then me, the twins, and the baby. You can meet the baby; that’s Malcom. He’s getting married soon and is a rector at the church back home. He’s safe for you.”

“And the twins aren’t safe? But Rob is?” She turned to Rob. “Are you safe, Rob?”

“Yes, I am safe if I take your meaning to be that I won’t flirt with you and lure you to a pub for dinner. And with that said to poison the air, I’m leaving. Hope to see you again, Kathryn. Ian.”

Kathryn had her hand on her hip, “Did you lure me? Could you have told me over the phone?”

“No. Here, let’s go sit at a table so you can see why I couldn’t just tell you. Rob was just being an ass. Brothers are good at that.”

“I wouldn’t know. I’m an only child.”

“Ah, but I bet you had peace and quiet and no one to break your nose.”

“True. So, let’s get down to business. What do you have to show me?”

“When I asked my friend where you should start looking, she asked for your relative’s name. That got her excited. See, look at this.” Ian handed her a print out of a newspaper article, Family Treasures Given to Historical Society Ahead of Civil Case.

As Kathryn read the article, her eyes grew wider. She looked up at Ian. “This is amazing. This just happened a two months ago.”

“Yeah, and the civil case is yet to see the court. Those family treasures were letters, deeds, tons of family records according to my friend, Beatrix. I read about the upcoming legal battle between the family members, but the name didn’t stick in my head. But, I wanted you to read the names of the people whose things were given to the society. You didn’t tell me the names of Abigail’s children, so I didn’t know if these could be the same Halseys. It is a common enough name here.”

“Yeah, okay.” She shook her head. “There’re just so many names here. Let me think. My dad told me the names once. I know he did. Humph!” Kathryn picked up her ale. She quizzed Ian, “When did this get here?”

“While you were reading the article. Angus said the pasties will be out shortly.” Ian smiled, “Now do you think I lured you? You didn’t even notice a beer being set down in front of you!”

“This was worth having to look at you.”

“Is this something to start off your search, luv?” Angus sat down in the chair as he put the pasties down.

“I think so.”
“Good. Eat, then talk. Sarah doesn’t like her food to be eaten cold.” He patted her shoulder as he left.

The two sat there eating, not talking for a few minutes. “Why aren’t the twins safe?”

“What?”

“The twins, your brothers. You said they weren’t safe. Why?”

“Oh, those two are like rutting bulls around women. I can only think of one other man who’s worse.”

“Does he live here? Because if he does I want to know so I can stay well clear of him.”

“Yeah, this is his local.” Ian inclined his head towards Angus at the bar. “I’d say you chose the wrong place to frequent to not want to attract the attention of a man, but the beer and food are good.”

“So, what’s the guy’s name. The one who is worse than the rutting twins?”

“Olaf. He’s there with those blokes in the corner.”

“Too late. I’ve already experienced Olaf.” Kathryn shook her head at the memory. “He’s not the brightest bulb is he?”

“No, but he fancies himself as quite the ladies’ man.”

“He’s definitely got that Viking look about him.”

“I take it that you don’t go for the big, blonde, and brawny type.”

“Oh, sure, but he’s got to have a brain as well. That man over there does not have a brain.”

“Do you like the pasty?”

“William.”

“That’s a funny answer to my question.”

“No, William. That was the son’s name. William Robert Halsey. The daughter was Mary, Mary Elizabeth Halsey.” Kathryn picked up the article to scan the list of names at the bottom. “It’s here. At least the son’s name is here. This is it. Wow, this is so it.”

“Fantastic. Here’s Trixie’s number and email.”

“Ian, thank you.”

“You’re welcome. So, do you like the pasty?”

“Yes. The food, the information, the friend. All worth the walk to get here.”

“So, can I have another story?”

“No, let me see what this leads to, and then maybe I can finish the part I did tell you. Let’s talk about something else. Like maybe other men I should avoid.”

“Nah, I don’t know any others you have to avoid. Did you make your deadline?”

“I did. Better yet, my editor didn’t want too many changes.”

“So, what are you writing? What was this one about”

“About the pub. The people in the pub. Angus.”

“Can I read it?”

“I think it will be online. If you give me your email address I can send you the link.”

“Great. Am I in it?”

“No. I don’t write that quickly.”

“What will you write about next?”

“I hope I’ll write about the research. Then I can capture the genealogists as well as the travel buffs with the column. The wider the audience, the better the exposure. That’s how you get syndicated.”

When the meal was finished Angus came over, “Did you like it? Sarah wants to know?”

“It was great. Give her my compliments.”

“Want anything else?”

“No, I’ve got to get home.”

Ian stood up with her. “Want some company?”

“That’s not necessary. I’ll be fine. Thanks so much for this, Ian.”

“Will you tell me if you find something? Keep me up to date?”

She smiled at his expectant puppy look. “You deserve that much.”

1 comment:

Liz Self said...

I like the pace you've got going. We're definitely moving forward with the various plotlines, but not too much at once. It's a nice, steady read.