Ha. Haha! HAhhaHAHA! IT’S DONE! Oh, it’s not a real book yet. It’s got twenty thousand words’ worth of connective tissue to establish and more characterization to develop and there’s a plot hole or three to fix and at least one scene to write, but: 60000 words! I made it! With a day to spare!
Nobody wanted to talk to me about the venerable Jermaine Afanador Rollins. Not his secretary, not his proteges, not ATSE artisans, not his wife, not his family, nobody, nothing. My Syndicate contacts didn’t want to dish, either. I was annoying about it to the point where I was actually thrown out of a couple of offices, which happens less often than Shamuses like to pretend. It’s not like the old days, when we were tolerated as necessary nuisances. Lately, too many people in positions of power have decided that we’re useful. Which meant that I’d have to start ferreting out more of the kingdom’s dirty laundry. Try to bring some balance to the Force, as the virtuous pagans used to say.
After the third out-on-my-ear, I decided that was enough work for one morning. So I picked up Graciella and sent her off to canvass the warehouse district to look for Brigham. It was make-work, but real work; you literally never know when the boring stuff gets you a clue or two. Also: it let me go off and have a certain talk.
“Shamus,” Dory said as I swept my way into her office. “What a completely expected surprise.”
“Your Excellency,” I said as I took a seat uninvited. I looked at the flunky that had come in behind me, fussing over how I didn’t have an appointment. “Whatever sandwich you can make within five minutes, my good man,” I said. “Nothing to drink, and I’ll be having it to go. Go on now: the clock’s ticking.”
“You’re taking an official Five Minutes?” Dory said, referring to a Shamus’s official privilege of being allowed to stay anywhere for five minutes before he (or she) could be thrown out. “Guess it’s serious, then.”
“Pretty much,” I said, “and you can probably guess why.”
“The Afanador incident,” she said.