INTERESTING TIMES (PART 2)
Hans shaking, Margot had spent the last 10 minutes trying to unlock the door to her apartment, Nerves on edge, she desperately wanted to get inside to the bottle of wine that she decanted this morning. She tried to concentrate on the disgusting things that people did to red wine in order to drink it. Beverly, Margot’s sister, couldn’t drink the stuff without ice and ginger ale. Beverly was a singer in Atlantic City and Margot hated her.
Right now,Beverly was keeping Marot’s mind off of the dead guy in the plaza, the interrogation by the cops, the awful station house coffee, and the fact that she was followed home.
She pushed the door open and collapsed into the world’s most comfortable couch. it was also the world’s ugliest couch. Orange, brown, and beige, it stood as a testament to bad taste. Until her lunch hour earlier that afternoon, the couch was the most exciting thing in her life.
Margot wanted to smoke. Beverly would be smoking now, not that emulating her was ever any use. She spent most of High School wanting to be Beverly and it only ever ended in detention or grounding. Her heart was pounding. This particular distraction was not working. The dead eyes of Gerald Munk kept haunting her.
The phone rang and rang and rang. Margot caught her breath and answered it. “Hello,” she said sheepishly.
“Oh My God!!!” said the high pitched voice on the other end. “I saw the whole thing on the news. Are you okay? Did you get any blood on you? I would totally freak out if I got BLOOD on me. Oh My God.”
It was Beverly and Margot was not surprised. It was the worst possible time for her to call. She was the opposite of a calming influence, Margot ‘uh-huh’ed” her way through the conversation when she heard a rapping at the door.
Beverly started babbling about how much her ankles hurt in the new heels she bought. She had done her sisterly duty. She called and made sure that Margot was okay. That was really the only thing that mattered to Beverly.
The rapping continued. Three taps and pause, four taps and pause again. it was all very consistent and methodical. Margot liked the ritual knocking, it appealed to her organized brain. It helped to shut everything out.
She placed the phone down on the counter with Beverly still blabbing. Margot walked to the door and peered through the little hole. She saw nothing. Margot thought maybe her mind was slipping. she baga n to walk away from the door.
The knocking continued and Margot turned to face the heavy wooden door with its multiple locks and chains. She carefully turned the knob and opened the door just enough to see outside. Standing there was a very short man in a red suit. Margot checked the peep hole and saw nothing, she looked through the crack and the man was still there.
“Margot Bensen?” the man said in a surprisingly deep voice. I have a package for you,”
Margot opened the door and signed the little man’s clipoard and carefully accepted the package. She closed the door, picked up the phone, “Uh-huhed” a few more times for Beverly, who was still talking about her ankles.
Margot hung up the phone without thinking and placed the brown paper wrapped package on the small dining table. She was puzzled. Margot did not order things via mail, she disliked the internet, she had irrational fears regarding identity theft. This is probably the result of Beverly stealing her first credit card.
All Margot knew was that the package that she did not order was sitting on the table. The return address label simply read “The Mystic Trading Emporium”. Margot had never heard of that company before this afternoon. She carefully unwrapped the package. Underneath the brown paper was an old whiskey box. Inside the whiskey box were those damn packing peanuts that get all over everything.
Margot sifted through the styrofoam bits until she found a smaller box. She removed the cellophane tape that kept the lid from slipping and examined the contents. Her eyes immediately fell on the shiny silver .38 caliber gun and the box of bullets. She refused to panic and moved on.
The rest of the contents were less shocking and more curious. There was a pair of burgundy leather driving gloves, a wood carved statue of an orangutan, A silver card case filled with high quality business cards and an envelope.
The envelope contained more than paper. It was lumpy and heavy. Margot set it aside and opened the silver card case. She ran her fingers over the raised letters. “Margot Bensen, Mystic Trading Emporium” . she jumped a little and set the case down.
She hesitated to open the letter. There was a deep breath as she opened ithe envelope with a nail file. The lumpy, heavy, bulgy thing was a small figurine of a British Soldier. The feel and heft made Margot think that it was made of lead. The figure was painted expertly. It was an officer, not an infantryman. She placed it carefully atop the card case and then removed the letter from the envelope.
Greetings Margot Bensen,
We hereby welcome you into the employ of the Mystic Trading Emporium . The statue of the Orangutan must always face in an easterly direction and sit in a place of prominence in you place of residence. Please remember to travel with the item if you plan on residing in another domicile for any period longer than 24 hours.
Margot placed the wooden statue on the mantle of her, mostly, decorative fireplace and continued reading the letter.
Please remain armed more often than not. Always introduce yourself to clients via the provided calling cards and always wear your gloves while on duty.
The enclosed figurine of a British Lieutenant must be delivered to the address below within the next 48 hours. Your payment will be received on delivery.
She scanned the address and stored it in her mind. She slid her hands into the Burgundy gloves. Margot had no idea why she was doing any of things the letter instructed. Curiosity...Maybe. She looked further down the page to the very bottom. She stared at the signature.
May you live in interesting times
The Mystic Trading Emporium