Sunday, September 20, 2009

Chapter 22 -- The Actual Conversation

"Victor!!", erupted the Inspector.

"How did you recognize me so quickly ?", said the bandaged man.

"The way you shifted your butter knife at the table. That, and the fact you're the only
individual on the whole island in dire enough condition to be wrapped in bandages from
crown to fingertips."

"Hnh. Ohh. Don't make me laugh."

Winsteeple had seated himself at Victor Plesch's restaurant table. "Sorry. How are you
feeling? Are you off the liquid diet?"

"Mmn. I think so. I won't know until they serve my order."

"We visited you a few times--whenever i could get away. But, you were always asleep."

"The only time I can sleep now is in the daytime. From being exhausted into insomnia by
the pain at night. But, thank you both for all the flowers."

"At least you're reading again I see", as he reached over to tap the spraddled paperback
to Victor's left. "One of yours?"

"One of Ima Audun's. I was supposed to review it for the local paper. Before 'The Accident'."

"You know, she was declared officially missing a couple of weeks ago, while you were still
in the hospital."

"No." They were both peripherally aware of Officer Glidden watching them from behind the
dusty plastic fronds. (Like some demigod of his friend's fiction, Winsteeple also had acute

"What actually happened to you that night?" asked Winny, carefully.

"Showing the chef how to prepare lamb leg a la paw paw." Plesch quipped through the
muffle of his head wrappings.

"Giving unsolicited advice in the kitchen again?"

"Two words...flambe'. I've since decided epicureanism is for the Great Unsinged. I ordered
the club sandwich."

"Well, I hope you can manage solid food soon. My wife wants you to come have dinner with
us, whenever you're willing and able."

"A liquid die-et is not con-du-cive to socializing." His friend gulped this almost sheepishly,
and the two were almost moved too close to real tears.

After a few beats, Winny absently touched one of the table's settings. "Syrup dishes...", he
whispered. "My wife bought some like that." Then, rousing, he added more wholeheartedly,
"In fact, she's picking me up out front here any minute!"

Before the bandaged man could answer, Officer Glidden came dutifully around the plants
and announced, "Cloxon's man is upstairs now, sir. Two men are helping him move all the

"Not those two that moved the body??"

"No, sir." He smiled.

"VERY good. You can go ahead and leave by the door here, then. It will save you a lot of steps."

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