How About a Free Chapter? – Pt. 10

By reading this post (and all the previous chapters that I’ve posted), you’ll have essentially read a third of MKPI Odd Case Files: The Cow & The Coven for free.  Why haven’t you bought it or borrowed it yet?  You should really take some time to think about this and how you may be behaving–as well as consider your life choices.  Just saying.

Anyhoozles…let’s read a chapter!

 

Chapter Ten

“The Temple of the Blue Moon”

 

The Temple of The Blue Moon was not quite what one would picture when thinking of a Pagan Temple.  For starters, it was decorated more like The Vatican than a Pagan meeting place.  It was also much larger than one would think a Pagan organization could afford.  Standing in the marble-floored, dark wood laden lobby, I imagined that beneath my feet was a secret library containing ancient books and tomes that only the most elite of humans would ever get to lay eyes upon.  Books on religion, science, philosophy, and sadomasochism.  Ya’ know.  Like the Vatican.

Mrs. Cavanaugh had given me very precise instructions to wait in the lobby for her while she rounded up an employee for me to interview.  Suffice it to say, I was tempted to wander off, searching for the door that led to said secret library.  However, I was here for a job—for which she was paying handsomely—and decided to mind my P’s and Q’s.  Needless to say, once this job was resolved, I was coming back with ninja gear and a microfilm camera.  Maybe such a camera could be found at the Apple Store.  They make everything that’s used in espionage from what I hear.

I sunk into a nearby chair—obviously in place for visitors such as myself—and aimlessly drummed my fingers on the wooden arm of the chair.  Methodically, I ran my fingers over the well-oiled wood, and then inspected my fingertips.  Not a single speck of dust.  The members of the Temple of The Blue Moon definitely kept a tight ship.  Which was something that could rarely be said about any church.  Churches are generally lived in places—people omnipresent due to the nature of the establishment.

I sighed and folded my hands in my lap.  My eyes danced over the ornate lobby, wondering what message they were attempting to convey with the decor.  Not that I was a complete expert, but most Pagan organizations felt more welcoming and less like the Biltmore Estate.  Pagans, usually being pretty earthy, liked the feeling of life in their surroundings.  This place, while being decorated in warm colors, felt cold and impersonal.  Definitely not what I would have expected in such a place.  But who was I to judge?  I’d belonged to a Pagan circle once.  ONCE.  That didn’t make me the authority on how to decorate ones’ headquarters.

“Mr. Klynick?”  I glanced up to see Mrs. Cavanaugh gliding across the lobby towards me, another woman shuffling behind her.

“Yes?”  I asked sleepily as I rose from the chair.

“This is Rose Marie.”  She stated evenly as the woman behind her shuffled to catch up.  “She is in our pool of office workers and is somewhat of an assistant to my husband and myself when the need arises.  I suppose you may start your interviews with her.”

“Hello, Rosemary.”  I stuck out my hand.

“Rose Marie.”  The slight woman corrected me timidly and took my hand.  “Merry Meet.”

“Merry Meet.”  I wanted to roll my eyes.  “And pardon me, Rose Marie.”

She gave me a timid smile, indicating all was forgiven.  Mrs. Cavanaugh just stood watching us, obviously wondering where things went from here.

“Is there a place where we can speak privately?”  I asked Mrs. Cavanaugh.  “An empty office, maybe?”

Mrs. Cavanaugh nodded curtly and indicated for us to follow her.  Off a hallway to the right of the lobby, Mrs. Cavanaugh practically stuffed the two of us through a door that led to what looked like a small office.  The space was cheaply furnished—nothing like the ornate lobby—but it had a table and four chairs.  It would work just fine.

“Do you require anything else?”  Mrs. Cavanaugh asked, not entirely pleasantly from the doorway as I helped myself to a chair.

Rose Marie followed my lead, looking timider than she had in the lobby.

“If you had some water?”  I smiled, suddenly very annoyed with Mrs. Cavanaugh, but not wanting to piss off a client.

“Of course.”  She nodded again and shut the door.

Rose Marie sat in her chair, her hands in her lap and her eyes on the table between us.  Obviously, she was not the office clown and had no intentions of speaking unless spoken to first.  I could respect that.  You get into less trouble if you keep your mouth shut.

“I’m really sorry to pull you away from your work.”  I smiled as I slipped my jacket off, letting it drape onto the back of the chair.

She smiled.

“This is an interesting room.”  I tried casual conversation first.

“The Tarot reader usually uses this room.”  Rose Marie spoke just loud enough that I could hear her, but did not look up at me.

I waited hoping that by not interrupting she’d speak more.  My practice as an investigator served no purpose as it became apparent that Rose Marie was not going to spill her life story for no good reason.  Immediately, I pegged Rose Marie as either terminally shy or self-conscious—or possibly knew better than to say more than necessary.  I was hoping it wasn’t the latter.

“How often is the Tarot reader here?”  I asked casually.

“She comes in three days a week.”  She replied.  “Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.”

“Has she ever read your Tarot?”

Rose Marie shook her head so tightly I almost missed it as her response.

“Do you ever use the services of the independent workers here?”  I crossed my legs and sat back.

I hadn’t gotten my pen and pad out yet—I wanted Rose Marie to feel that we were just having a casual conversation—at least until she said something useful.

“No.”

If she was any more succinct, our conversation would have to be telepathic.

“Do you read your own Tarot?”

“No.”

This first interview was going to be a fun one.  I’m an investigator.  I know these things.

“How often…”

My next question was interrupted by Mrs. Cavanaugh entering the room, a bottle of water in hand.  She hadn’t automatically brought one for Rose Marie.  I found that interesting.  Rose Marie looked back down at her lap as I accepted the bottle of water from Mrs. Cavanaugh with a smile.  My smile—not Mrs. Cavanaugh’s.  She didn’t smile much.

“Anything else I can do for you?”  She asked in a way that suggested she cared, but her face said otherwise.

“No, thank you.”  I replied.  “Rose Marie and I will just get started here.

She nodded curtly and left the room, closing the door tightly behind herself.

“She’s nice.”  I stated evenly as I unscrewed the top of the water bottle.

Rose Marie glanced up for a moment, gave a tight smile and then folded her hands on the tabletop.  I bet she was a hoot at a New Year’s Eve party.  A new approach was needed.  Maybe asking questions about work was not the best way to crack this nut.  Metaphorically speaking, of course.

“I like your ring.”  I stated as I pointed at the silver ring with a Labradorite cabochon she wore on the ring finger of her right hand.  “Labradorite is my favorite stone.”

Rose Marie’s eyes flickered as she looked down at her ring self-consciously.

“I used to wear a piece of Labradorite on a chain.”  I continued.  “About as big as a quarter, thick as my thumb.”

“That’s a large size.”  She finally said something that wasn’t obligatory.

“Tell me about it.”  I chuckled, took a sip of water and then continued.  “I could never forget I had it on, I’ll tell you that.  By the end of the day it was hard to hold my head up.”

She grinned.

“I stopped wearing it though.”  I shrugged.  “But since I love Labradorite so much I bought a six-inch sphere of it and have it in my office.”

Her eyes lit up.

“Lots of blue and gold flashing.  Very nice.”

“I’m sure you paid a lot for a piece of Labradorite that large…”  It was more of a question than a statement.

“I got it for fifty dollars, believe it or not.”  I replied.

“Really?”  Her eyes were large.

“Never underestimate the powers of eBay.”  I chuckled.

Rose Marie actually chuckled with me, her eyes finally alight and on mine.

“How long have you had that ring?”  I asked, sipping my water again.

She chewed on her bottom lip.

“Maybe twenty years now?”  She looked contemplative.

“So…you got it when you were five?”

She beamed.  Now, I knew that Rose Marie had to be pushing forty-five if not fifty.  But complimenting a woman on her youthful looks never got someone slapped, I say.

“I must have been about thirty.”  She shrugged, looking proud of the compliment.

“Really?”  I faked shock.  “I thought you might be pushing thirty at best.”

“No, no.”  She giggled.  “I’ll turn fifty next month.”

“Well, happy early birthday, then.”  I smiled.

“Thank you.”  She beamed.

I took another sip of my water, letting Rose Marie bask in the compliments.  This interview could last hours or minutes.  It all depended on how I played my cards at this moment.  Every private investigator worth their salt knows that people will give you details that they wouldn’t share with their closest friend.  If you just know how to get them.

“I bet the office birthday parties around here are real nice.”  I nodded, as though I just knew everyone here was the nicest so-and-so.

She shrugged.  “I don’t think we’ll have one.”

“Why not?”  I pretended to be amazed that such wonderful people wouldn’t throw dear Rose Marie a party.

She shrugged again.  “Mr. Cavanaugh is gone to Mexico on one of his trips again.  We usually don’t do many exciting things around here when he’s gone.”

The hell you say’, I thought to myself.  Rose Marie was under the assumption that Mr. Cavanaugh was in Mexico “on one of his trips.”  What that meant, I wasn’t sure.  However, I was dying to know why she thought he was in Mexico while Mrs. Cavanaugh thought he was missing.

“Does he go to Mexico often?”

“At least five times a year.”  She replied, unconsciously playing with the ring.  “He’s been doing that for the last ten years.”

“Wow.”  I replied.  “You’ve been here awhile.”

“It will be twelve years soon.”

“No wonder the Cavanaughs trust you to help them so much.”  I nodded earnestly.  “You must know every inch of the Temple and how to run it.”

She beamed again.

“Do you usually book his flights?”  I asked casually, sipping water.

“Oh, no.”  She shook her head, suddenly animated now that I knew how important she was.  “He and his brother—the other Mr. Cavanaugh—they drive down together.”

“That must be a nice road trip.”

“They always come back with the neatest things for the shop.”  Rose Marie’s eyes sparkled.

“I can imagine.”  I agreed with a smile.  “I bet trips like that take forever to plan, what with all the things they must haul back.”

Rose Marie nodded again.

“I was so surprised when they both just up and left for Mexico the other day.”  She looked concerned and then shrugged.  “But, then again, they both tend to do what needs to be done when it needs to be done.”

“The way any good business owner would.”  I agreed.

“Sometimes they are able to get some interesting pieces from Shepard’s Knob.”  She continued. “They go there several times a month.  When they just up and left the other day, I figured it was one of their trips into Shepard’s Knob to do some bartering.”

“Oh.”  I frowned, concerned.  “Are you not sure they’re in Mexico?”

She looked contemplative and then a dark cloud of emotion crossed her face.  Suddenly, her hands were back in her lap and she was staring down at them again.

“I…just assumed.”  She stated.

Something about this statement rang false with me.  Immediately, I believed someone had told Rose Marie that this was where the two male Cavanaughs were.  However, Rose Marie suddenly realized she had said too much.  Now she was shutting back down.  I had screwed the pooch—as we say in the illustrious world of private investigators.

“Oh, ok.  That’s reasonable.”  I shrugged, not letting on that I was aware she was hiding something.

She nodded sharply.

“Well, thank you so much for talking with me, Rose Marie.”  I smiled as nicely as I could manage.  “I better start talking to everyone else before I wear out my welcome.”

I chuckled.  She didn’t.

“Thank you, though, Rose Marie.”  I stood, leading the way for her to leave.

Rose Marie rose from her seat, pushed the seat back into the table and headed to the door.  She opened the door and then turned, looking hesitant.

“Yes?”  I asked nicely.

She stood there a moment.  “Good luck.”

“Thank you, Rose Marie.”  I smiled but felt uneasy.

She nodded and was gone.  As soon as I was sure the door was closed, I pulled out my cell phone to call Dayl. I had no idea how her day was going, but I figured it couldn’t possibly be any crazier than mine.

I stood from my seat, taking a sip of my water as I put the phone to my ear and waited.  Normally, Dayl answered her phone within the first few rings if she saw my name come up on her caller ID.  This time, however, I had to wait until the call was about to go to voicemail before I heard her voice come on the other end.

We’ve got a problem, Houston.”  Dayl was slightly out of breath as she spoke.

“No kidding.”  I snorted.  “Something funny is going on at the Temple of The Blue Moon.  And I’m not talking romantic-comedy hijinks.  Something weird is going on.”

“Why are you at The Temple of The Blue Moon???” Dayl asked quickly.

“Guess who the High Priestess of the Temple is?”  I sighed.

“Oh, great.”  Dayl sighed, too.

“Yeah.”  I replied.  “It’s that type of day.”

There was a slight pause.

I bet I have you beaten.”  Her voice was tinny through the phone.

“I don’t know.”  I chuckled.  “These folks are weird with a capital ‘what the fuck’.”

There was a pause.

“Dayl?”

Did you find a dead body?”

 

 

And did you know that the sequel, MKPI Odd Case Files: The Corpse & The Crossroads comes out July 10th, 2018? You can preorder an ebook here.  Also, don’t forget to sign up to be an Advanced Reader on the main page of The Midnight Goose!  Just look for the sidebar survey on the right (if using a desktop/laptop) or near the bottom of the main page (if using a smartphone/tablet).

Have you entered to win a stack of books in The Great Book Giveaway 2018? We’re on week 3–and there are soooo many good books you’ll receive if you win the stack! Books like The Bell Jar, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, Brave New World, and A Monster Calls are all included!

And in the words of Supertramp, give a little bit.  Help out the K9 PRIDE Fund if you can!

Until next time…

 

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