Rain falls from the sky, the sun rises in the east and clients ask me to find diamonds. These are three of the physical laws that govern the world. When one of them is broken, I have to question the others.
The diamond was as badly-scratched as an old record, it’s green sparkle barely visible under the amber glow of my desk lamp. It had come in the morning mail, the return address reduced to nothing more than a chromatography experiment by the leaky roof of my mailbox. The only other thing that came with it was a tiny note with the words “one moment” scrawled on it.
If I was in Chicago or New York, I wouldn’t have been surprised. A good private eye can make as much as a bootlegger there, even if the life expectancy of the former is shorter than that of the latter. The only diamonds here are stolen, inherited or both. Either way, it didn’t explain what it was doing in my mailbox.
Sure, I could have pocketed it or pawned it off for a few dollars. Most would. If I didn’t get another client this week, I’d have to think about it. But, for now, I just wanted to know who sent it. Of course, it could have just got lost in the mail. But, although the return address was dead as a doornail, my address had survived the worst that the grey skies of Minnesota could throw at it.
Graphology was never my strong point, but it was the only lead. So, I went through all of my letters and held them next to the note. The writing didn’t match any of them. It wasn’t from my great aunt Florentine, it wasn’t from Mr. Henderson, it certainly wasn’t from Big John Grummlich and it wasn’t even from the mayor.
In fact, the only thing I could deduce was that the pen was older than the paper. Even the cheapest nib of the cheapest pen doesn’t have a noticeable gap between it’s spines when writing. Yet, every stroke of the pen had a thin grey line in the middle. I’d have to take it to Miss Grenndottor at the museum tomorrow. It had to be written with a quill of some kind, and a badly-made one at that.
Outside, the rain showed no sign of letting up and the air was filled with noise. Either a storm was brewing or Mr. Sigurson had come into town on that old banger of his. I walked over to the window to get a better look. There was another noise. The glass cracked. My throat hurt like I’d ridden into a tree branch. The rain looked beautiful. I felt very tired.
The diamond was as badly-scratched as an old pocketwatch, it’s green beauty barely illuminated by my desk lamp. It had come in the morning mail, the return address reduced to nothing more than abstract art by the leaky roof of my mailbox. The only other thing that came with it was a little note with the words “one moment” scrawled on it.
It was the last thing I needed on a morning like this. It must have been the weather, but I had a devil of a cough. Still, clients are clients and diamonds are diamonds. The trouble was, I usually had to find the former for the latter, not vice versa.
The best place to start was the note. I didn’t recognise the handwriting, even when I checked it against every letter I could lay my hands on. In fact, the only thing I could tell about it was that it had been written by a really crummy pen. Either that, or people were still cutting quills these days. Whoever wrote it didn’t seem rich or smart enough to own a diamond.
It was a tough one and the banging noises outside weren’t helping. Either that brat from over the road was throwing stones at my house again or Mr. Sigurson had decided to take another trip into town on that old jalopy of his. Either way, drowning it out with the wireless seemed like a good idea.
As I walked over to the radio, the noises got louder. I saw something shiny on the window. It was cracked. That little hooligan was going to get it this time! I coughed. There was blood on my fingers. Great, just great! I’d have to go to Doc Wilson again tomorrow. But, more than anything, I just needed a nap more than anything in the world. The floor seemed as good a place as any. I closed my eyes.
The diamond was as scratched as an old keyhole, it’s former splendour hardly illuminated by my desk lamp. It had come in the morning mail, the return address reduced to nothing more than blotter paper by the leaky roof of my mailbox. The only other thing that came with it was a little note with the words “one moment” scrawled on it…..