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The Rugbottom Memorial Home for the Recently Deceased

“Walden,” said Emerson casually as the unusually large cigar he held clenched in his teeth filled the foyer of the The Rugbottom Memorial Home for the Recently Deceased with clouds of purple smoke. He was standing by idly watching the awkward teen struggle to unwrap old Mrs. Vorpal and lay her on a gurney. “Could you get me some of those black sheets?”

“Of course, Mr. Mornington,” the Rugbottom bellhop said as he finally managed to pull the sheet free of the donair lady’s body. “Would you like this one?”

“Ah, no.” Emerson replied wrinkling his nose. “I had in mind something a little fresher – but they have to be black.”

“Yessir, Mr. Mornington sir,” replied Walden, his voice cracking. “How many would you like?”

“Are they standard king-sized?” Emerson asked, eyeballing the sheet Walden clutched in his hand.

“I don’t know.” Walden replied, tucking a corner of the sheet up under his chin and letting the rest drape over his body and fall to the floor so he could assess the size. “Looks more to be a small queen or a large double to me.”

“Dammit, I need Malus to do the math.” Emerson thought for minute, his lips moving as he counted silently. “I don’t know, get me three dozen.”

Walden whistled. “I ain’t sure we got that many.” he replied apologetically. “But I’ll scrounge up all I can”

“One moment Walden,” said Junie holding up her hand before Walden had a chance to run off. She glanced over at Father Vorpal who was seated in a plush red velvet chair still studying the letter given to him by Walden at the Snicker Snack Shack. “Father, is there anything I can get you?” 

“A bottle of scotch should suffice,” replied Father Vorpal folding the letter and securing it inside his robes. “It has been my experience that Chivas does wonders to ease one’s bereavement.”

“Of course,” replied Junie. “Walden, do you mind finding a bottle of Chivas, and charging it to Mr. Mornington.”

“Right away, Miss Honey.” the boy replied.

“So, the letter is from Father Moonwall?” Emerson asked once Walden had left the room.

“It is.” replied Father Vorpal. “He is requesting I stop one Joseph Foehammer and an abomination by the name of Nefertiti Faulkner from entering the Falunian mines at all costs.”

“Joseph Foehammer!” exclaimed Junie. “And Nefertiti Faulkner! Emerson, I mean Victor, what could this mean? It couldn’t be the same Dr. Joe from beneath Clockhaven could it?”

“I believe they are one and the same,” said Father Vorpal. “The former chief of staff of the Dunsany Institute is quite an embarrassment and a particularly irritating thorn in the side of the church since that rather unfortunate incident almost a half century past.”

“What did he do?” asked Emerson.

“That information is held in the strictest confidence by only the most senior church fathers.”

“But you have only been a church father for a few years.” Emerson pointed out.

“Yes, well,” Father Vorpal had an almost gloating tone. “Information is my specialty.”

“Father, will you be alright to go underground tomorrow?” Junie cast an uncomfortable glance at the cleric’s mother lying lifeless on a gurney across the room.

Father Vorpal rose from his chair with a sigh and crossed the room to look at his mother. He placed his hand upon her head and remained there in silence, each tick of the grandfather clock in the corner sounding louder than the last. Finally he turned and approached Junie and Emerson. He reached over and plucked the cigar from between Emerson’s teeth and took several healthy puffs before handing the cigar to Junie.

“Miss Ginsburg, a trip to the underground may be just the distraction I need.”

“That is Miss Manuka Honey you are addressing.” said Emerson cautiously.

“Of course she is, Mr. Lighthouse,” smiled Vernal Vorpal, purple smoke streaming from his nose. “Did you forget, information is my specialty. So, why don’t you share your plan with me for how we are going to rob Pipco of its gold.”

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One Comment

  1. Junie Ginsburg Junie Ginsburg May 22, 2013

    Why is Martin always going off and getting lost?

    We need to put a bell on that boy.

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