Commotion ensued around town; and drifted it’s fair head up to the Mayor’s mansion. Dr. Lucien was in the middle of Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony when the news reached him:
“Your nephew was found dead last night,” a face told him. Dr. Lucien didn’t bother learning all of their names.
“Rigo? How?” Dr. Lucien feigned interest. His nephew was of little consequence to him; in fact, he quite annoyed him. And he brandished his good name around town for favor and free drinks. He was taking pills and was a stupid young man. Dr. Lucien was not surprised. But, he could not allow this injustice to smear any of his value.
“Someone said he was fighting with a couple guys at Johnny’s, but didn’t take it too far. He left and pissed and took dumps on the hoods of their cars. Then he was seen going down to the edge of town around 4. That’s it.”
“Get me the police report immediately. Carson, I’m going into town. Get the car ready.”
The ride to town was of mixed emotions for Dr. Lucien; it meant he was going into the depths of Nevada, which he hated to do. But, the tree line and rock outcroppings down the long hill reminded him of his youth; when his father was conducting business, he didn’t like to be bothered. So, a young Shelly Lucien explored these hills and ranges at length; he had secret places where he would hide things, things no one else would need to know about and he grew to love having these places.
Rigo’s body looked bloated; his hair was leaking gel, his teeth browned and he had a wad of cash sticking out of his back pocket.
“What is that substance by his head and on his jacket?” Dr. Lucien asked the coroner, who was making spaces around Rigo and making notes.
“Mayonnaise. I think a neighbor above us threw one down to the dumpster and missed and it hit Rigo’s body.”
“What disrespect,” he added. Rigo’s death was inconsequential; he proved less troublesome to Dr. Lucien dead than alive. But it granted him an opportunity he had hoped to come to fruition before long. He passed a note to his driver and waited in the backseat.
Dr. Lucien must have dozed off because it was past noon when Carson woke him.
“Your note was met with acceptance. Everything is ready at your whim,” he spoke, in a deep nasal tone. Dr. Lucien waved him off and he felt the car moving.
John was waiting at an abandoned fountain with just brown muck in it near his hotel room. The mysterious note he’d received from Dr. Lucien, who’s apparently the mayor of this town. He saw the long stretch car pull up and out stepped the elusive Doctor he’d heard so much about. He was wearing dark circular eye glasses with black lenses, a dark burnished suede jacket and carrying a cane. The wind seemed to curve around him as he moved and leaves didn’t blow into his path, even though they were scattered all over the ground and even under his feet. John stood up and held out his hand; he saw Lucien extend his hand but pull it back.
“Sorry, it’s allergy season and I don’t want to catch anything,” he replied. He opened the corner of his mouth ever so slightly and it seemed he was smiling sarcastically.
“Well, what do I owe the pleasure Dr. Lucien?” John asked, hesitantly.
“I’m not sure if you’re aware or not but a young man was murdered last night by a group of neanderthalic brutes. I’d like you to find them and bring them in,” he said , very matter-of-factly as if the deal had already been arranged.
“Well, it’s been brought to my attention now, more than once, that you are a man who can get something done when he puts his mind to it. This is a family matter; something I want to handle myself.”
“Well, I don’t think hiring me counts as handling it yourself,” John added.
“Tsk tsk, no need for sass, young man. Yes, I could pour resources into this, spend the taxpayers money, hold a trial, convict these poor brutes and clog the legal system of this toilet scum. Or I could hire you for a ….nominal sum, and be rid of them for good.”
“And what exactly do you expect me to do when I find them?”
“Just call this cellular phone. The number’s been pre-programmed in. I’ll handle the rest.”
“I’ll have to think about it,” John said and knew instantly this was not one of the options on the table. Lucien grimaced and flared his nostrils.
“I don’t pay others to think; you either accept and continue your existence in this town or pass on the offer and move on in the world.”
John was not ready to leave. and he needed in that mansion.
“I will help you out, but I need a favor in return: I need to look at the records of this town and I’ve been told you have an abundance in your mansion.”
Dr. Lucien, unknown to John, heard a voice in his ear.
“His pulse is rising. Take 2 steps back.” Dr. Lucien did as he was told.
John eagerly awaited an answer. The Mayor seemed to be leaving. John took several steps forward as he moved towards his car. John felt a tight grip on his wrist and saw a man with slicked back hair and a leather jacket holding onto him.
“A deal is struck, Mr. Crawford. You have 48 hours,” Dr. Lucien said as his car door shut abruptly. John pulled at his own wrist but the man was gone, running through the underbrush towards the west entrance to the fountain.