“So… you up for climbing down that pit in the basement and getting my cavorite back for me?” Emerson asked, as he entered The Gangplank and and found Malus, elbows on the bar, reading a paper and drinking coffee.
“Not really.” Malus replied taking a sip from his coffee, not bothering to look up from his paper.
“Listen, I’ve been dropping bricks down that hole for two weeks now and haven’t heard that howl since the first day. Whatever was down there is likely gone. You would probably be pretty safe.”
“That may be, but I have no interest in cavorite.” said Malus, turning the page of the paper.
“Do you have an interest in a night off this weekend?” Emerson offered casually.
“I might.” Malus looked up. “Throw in the keys to your new steam carriage and I’ll consider it.”
“You have got to be kidding.” Emerson looked around as if seeking a witness to this absurd request. “You want to borrow my new carriage?”
“That’s the idea.” said Malus matter-of-factly.
“For what?” Emerson shook his head.
Malus just shrugged, “For whatever.”
“Listen, last time you drove my carriage you crashed it into a bear trap… or have you forgotten.”
“I’m not likely to crash into any bear traps around here.”
“There’s a new tram line now.” Emerson pointed in the general direction of outside. “Isn’t that how teen-agers are supposed to travel? What do you need my carriage for?”
Malus just shrugged his shoulders and went back to his paper and coffee.
“Dammit.” Emerson reached into his pocket and tossed the keys across the bar. “I want to see it parked out back first thing in the morning… and the boiler better be full and the coal oven cleaned, got it?”
“Got it boss.” Malus grinned as he vaulted over the bar and made his way for the door.
“Hey!” Emerson called. “Hold on a moment.
“What?” Malus rolled his eyes, his hand resting on the doorknob.
“Since you’re borrowing my carriage, I want you to deliver something for me. In the little cottage behind the bar you’ll find six wrapped paintings. The wrapping on all of them looks identical. Each one has a name on it. I want you to deliver them for me These people have agreed to store the painting for me. And Malus, let each person think they are getting the only one. Can you do that?” said Emerson.
Malus rolled his eyes again. “Yeah, I guess.” and out he went, forgetting to close the door behind him.