Start the story from the beginning Chapter One: Rita Lauren)
Chapter Four: Lander May
It has been two days since our case had been “stolen” from us, in the words of my partner. I had been around long enough to realize that there was some political game being played. What that game was and how we would fit into the greater puzzle still eluded me. For now that didn’t concern me.
After Lauren told me about the Shaw’s suspicious meeting, I decided to check it out for myself. I spent all of the day hanging out in and outside the store. If Shaw’s exchange brought suspicion from my partner, I would have easily gotten arrested.
For most part the day was a was wash. I was soaking wet from all the rain in the beginning of the day and reeked of prunes, not a pleasant combination. Niether Shaw nor Morg had shown up all day and it was clear that they were not going to return today. After such a long day I was craving a nice whiskey, thankfully I had left Jeff at home.
I ventured a couple of blocks and made my way into an ally, far enough from the office that I wouldn’t be recognized. The sweet smell of alcohol overpowered my wet prune self. I pulled up to the bar and threw enough money on the table for a full glass of whiskey. The bartender grunted and handed me the glass.
The bar was quite and from what I could tell empty. There were only 2 other patrons at the bar, sitting directly to my left with about 2 stools separating us. They were talking at a normal level, not trying to conceal their conversation. The closest one did most of the talking, while his companion mostly grunted.
I had entered the bar midway through their conversation and couldn’t figure out the context. I decided to not to strain my brain and continue drinking my whiskey in peace.
I had just ordered my second glass when the talkative one stated the following praise while raising his glass, “What cannot be erased shall not be forgotten.
“We need more muscle,” grunted the other man.
“Yes, yes that is known, but that is not our job. We are here to recruit more money.”
“Okay,” grunting slowly and taking a huge gulp of his drink.
“That’s the reason for this event tomorrow night. Hey, Tommy any deep pockets come in recently?”, trying to whisper the question to the bartender.
“Naw, but you might try this fella over here,” replied the bartender in heavy South Lake accent.
“Sir, may I introduce you in a proposition?” questioned the man, as he move closer to me.
I turned to face where him, as not to give away that I was blind. “Sure I got some time.”
“My partner and I represent interest in a new political party ‘The Heritage Party’. You must of heard about us recently in the news?”
“I have read a few articles, but haven’t a clue of what you want to do,” I was lying through my teeth. I had no clue of this new party nor have I even seen those words used any paper that I frequent.
“That is our dilemma. We find that we are gathering interest but the substance seems to be lost,” changing his voice to one more suitable for preaching.
“I find it customary to know who I am being preached by before inquiring further,” I stated with a slight smirk on my face.
“Sorry Sir. You may call me Marvin and you may call my associate Gorg.”
Those names gave no clues other than Gorg was most likely an Orc, as they are not very creative when it come to names. From the clues that I gathered I would recon that Marvin was an ordinary human.
“Pleased to meet your acquaintances. Now that we have some familiarity please do tell me more,” I quickly deferred any questions he may have about my own name back to his main objective.
“This new political party aims to bring back the values that we have lost. We are trying to retain our customs so that as we adapt to newer technologies we don’t loose those societal morals we have held for so long.”
I just nodded as he kept selling me on this new party and I ordered 2 more glasses. He seemed unaware of my responses and
“So are you convinced to donate to the cause?”
“I have agreed with all that you have said. Who should I make the note out to?” as I pulled out a large square 8 inch book from my inside coat pocket.
“Sir, there is no need to write a check now, based on my crass speech. Why don’t you come to the gala tomorrow night? There you can hear the leaders of our party give a more polished proposal” he stated as though he knew he had me.
“That sounds very reasonable. Can I bring a guest?” I questioned as I put away the book.
“Off course Sir, please bring your significant other. Like I said before, family is very important to us. Hear you will need this invitation to get passed our guards. Don’t want uninvited guests crashing our event,” he carefully placed a small envelope in my right hand before I could grab my drink.
“I will be there, you can count on it,” I said as I put away the invitation into my coat pocket.
“Tommy add the drinks to our tab. We have run.” The bartender grunted and the men were on their way.
A couple more glasses and I was on my way.
Jeff and I got to the office early the next morning. I added a nice bow-tie around Jeff just to see if Lauren would noticed. Then I positioned myself in my seat facing the door. In my hands I held the small invitation at two corners diagonal from each other, and began to spin the invitation.
Just like clock-work Lauren entered the office. I could hear water dripping from her rain coat, obviously still not checking the forecast to bring an umbrella. Clearly she was still occupied with the case.
“Morning May and Jeff,” greeting us in a monotone voice.
“Morning Lauren. I think I have something that will cheer you up,” I said with a big smile crossing my face.
“What is it now May? Are you going to make me play one of your games?” she said as she hung her coat and stormed off to her desk.
“No, no games today. But I do have one question for you. Are you ready to go to a party?,” tossing the invitation onto the her desk.
“What is this?”
“Just read it, I think you will like it.”
“Okay, okay hold your horses.” I could tell she was still situating herself in her seat, from all the wet heavy clothes moving around. “Let’s see what you have brought me today May.”
She read in a loud skeptical voice, “You are cordially invited to the South Lake Natural History Museum at 8:00 pm the 20th of November. What cannot be erased shall not be forgotten.”
Lauren was quite for the first time since I had been partnered with her. So I decided to break the silence with a jovial comment. “So you ready to party tonight?”
I could tell the gears were turning as she made this statement. “They culprits are throwing party!”
“It appears that a new political party, The Heritage Party, is using that phrase as their recruiting tool. So what do you say, up for a little undercover work?”
I could tell that Lauren’s straight and narrow self was pondering how to approach the fact that we were off the case. I waited patiently to see what the reaction would be.
“It’s only a party, we might as well check it out,” she said with some excitement, the first I had heard in a few days.
“Well you better get a nice dress together, and I will pick you up at 7.”
“You just worry about your outfit and our transportation. So what is our cover going to be?”
“I have been thinking about that since last night. I figure we will go as a couple. I will leave Jeff at home, that way we don’t stand out. But hadn’t found any good names. What are you thoughts?” As I said this I could tell that Jeff was not happy. This would be the second day that I had left him at home.
“Mmmhh, well I will let you know when you pick me up this evening. Better get home to get ready. Do you need my address?” she said as she gathered up her wet coat.
“No I think I remember it. See you tonight.” The door slammed shut just as I said the last sentence.
I pulled up to Lauren’s flat in my rented carriage. I was told the carriage was all black with it’s two doors painted maroon. I added a bottle of whiskey, otherwise it didn’t seem complete. Rather than get out and call down to my partner I waited, as I knew she would be right on time.
After pouring myself a nice glass, the carriage door opened. “You did well May, but you seem to have forgotten a tie.”
“Well I didn’t know what you were wearing, so I didn’t know what color to use. So now that you are here, can you pick out one that matches your dress,” I pull out an assortment of bow-ties from a box to my left.
“I am wearing a soft blue, so this one will do,” handing me one of them.
I put down my glass and quickly tied the accessory around my neck. “How does that look?”
“Perfect. I think we will blend in nicely. Just got to keep you close so that there is no suspicion that you are blind.”
“I told you before I can take care of myself. On to the more important matters, what shall we be called.” I knew she was right, we should stay close to each other so that we don’t blow our cover.
“I have thought long and hard and have come up with the names. You will be called Winston Valkyrie and I will be called Charlotte. We have no children and own a couple of businesses. Just try to keep it as vague as possible, got it May.”
“Sure thing Lau-, I mean Charlotte. Off we go.” At that command the carriage proceed from North Lake to the other side of town.
The ride was quite. Neither one of us talked in preparation for the party that we had to attend.
We pulled up to the museum shortly, and I was surprised not to hear anything. I was expecting to hear some some music and a big spectacle as it was customary for political events. Rather, the venue sounded just like a normal night, just closed for a private event.
After exiting the carriage, Lauren and I walked up the 15 stairs to the entrance of the museum. An odd choice for a venue, as the South Lake Museum is the newest one built.
Entering the party proved easier than I had anticipated. I flashed our invitation in front of the guard and continued passed the wooden doors. Then the party atmosphere hit me, but before we could proceed we needed to sign the guest list. The sound of the horn section from the band was blaring. This was not your typical political rally.
A hostess greeted us and offered us two drinks. Lauren led us to a small cocktail table on the left positioned between the bar and the makeshift dance floor. Lauren informed me that pieces were all pushed to the outskirts so as not to get damaged.
Shortly after we arrived at the table another couple joined us. Situation like this, I let Lauren do all the talking this allows me take in their reactions.
“Good evening. I am Charlotte and this is my husband Winston,” she said in a very affluent voice.
“Nice to meet you both. I am Dr. Harper and this is my wife Victoria.” Clearly both were human, based on their names and manner of speech.
Before our conversation could begin, the main event started. The museum got very quite and blasting around the museum was a strong voice welcoming us to the event. I turned to Lauren and she couldn’t see a single person on stage other than the band.
“What cannot be erased shall not be forgotten. We appreciate you all coming out this evening to support the cause. I am not hear to give you the speech to sell you on our cause. You have all turned out for a reason. Tonight is for you to meet like minded people and brainstorm how we can spread our word. Don’t forget about the silent auction happening. Have a good evening.”
As quickly as the party died down it came back to life. I took this opportunity to have Lauren escort me to the bathroom.
As I splashed water on my face, I wondered was this party worth even coming to. I pulled out my flask and took a nice big sip. Then exited the door to greet Lauren.
“Time to go mingle,” said as with not hint of a smile on my face.