(Turns out Yarn is the closest to rope we had in our apartment…)
Wood: “You going to give me a hint about what’s happening here?”
Me (plastering on a serene smile): “Nope.”
Wood (walking into the Office while giving me the stink eye): “You know the drill.”
Thank the gods above and below for Beatrice’s contribution to today’s soiree was airpots of strong black coffee and jam-filled pastries from The Alter. I’m going to need every iota of sugar and caffeine present in my bloodstream to fast-talk Wood into staying put.
Especially since I knew that he knew, we’d actively conspired against him (in the nicest possible way).
Wood immediately started the familiar routine of unpacking his instruments on the side table, loudly not asking any more questions about why the apartment not only smelled of chicken but of bacon, barbecue and brisket as well. He also visibly restrained himself from questioning our decision to relocate our kitchen table to the living room and dress it in its Sunday best. Even the ringing doorbell and the words ’special delivery’ which carried clearly through the Office door a minute later (heralding the arrival of the twelve tubs of mac’n’cheese from the Rare Records Room) failed to elicit any comment.
While we followed the familiar checkup routine I wracked my brain for a bright idea on how to stall Wood for forty-five minutes: he already knew how to solve the Chinese finger trap in the pen/pencil mug; locking him in the office set a poor precedent (plus he could always just climb out the window); slipping him a mickey won’t work because neither Beatrice nor I own a bottle of knock drops, and bonking him on the head is just plain rude.
After entertaining and rejecting each ludicrous notion in turn, positive if Wood placed the cool disc of his stethoscope against my temple, all he’d hear was static, my conscience finally proffered the perfect solution.
Wood (patting me on the shoulder): “I pronounce you fit for FLYT.”
Hopping off the desk, I pulled my blouse on over my tank, closed my eye, took a deep breath…and fell on my sword.
Me (blurting to his back): “I broke our agreement. I left the house, drove to Nevermore, and ran around before you okayed it.”
The night I showed up bruised and battered on Uncle and Aunt Pearl’s doorstep, I scared the ever-loving crap out of them, and they (unsurprisingly) required an explanation for said injuries. Whilst the incomplete (but truthful) account I gave Wood, was enough for him, we both knew it wouldn’t cut the mustard with either Uncle or Aunt Pearl.
Which meant I needed to secure the silver-tongued services of Wood…and they didn’t come cheap.
In exchange for persuading Uncle & Aunt Pearl not to call Earl (family friend and Rye police detective), I promised to follow every order, suggestion, and hint made by him until he pronounced me sound in wind and limb. Well acquainted with my inability to layabout idly (even when sick as a dog), he requested I put up my signed copy of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets as collateral (the second book in my complete run of signed first British prints).
And here we are.
Wood (turning towards me, a sly smile lighting his face): “Man, you really don’t want me going out there yet, do you.”