Saturday, December 6, 2008
... Well." The Inspector stopped, looked down at the table. Her gaze flicked once to Violet, briefly, and then back to Joe. She cleared her throat.
"I regret to inform you, Joe, that your presence here must soon draw to a close."
Joe couldn't decide which more disoriented him -- the bizarre statement, or the gruff official tone in which she'd delivered it. Old Swotsy? This was what she'd become, this parody of a broomstick-spined bureaucratic DI? He looked out the corner of his eyes at Violet but she was sitting, apparently mesmerised by Smith-Jones's sudden transformation.
"I don't understand," he said, pausing as the new round was delivered. He grabbed one of the shots at once and downed it. Let the two women fight it out between themselves who got stuck with the kir. "This town is my town too. I keep trying to tell everyone that---"
Smith-Jones interrupted, rebuking him with her upraised palm. "Stop. It's not the town I'm speaking of. It's McGilligan's. The injunction which Jack swore out against you takes effect in just thirty minutes. He doesn't want you anywhere near his daughter. And if I were you, I'd stay a good 100 yards from young Master James as well."
Why did these people all seem to hate him so? Joe wondered, his mind reeling.
And as that question came to his head, the first glimmer of an answer glimmered at the horizon. The mist in his head started to clear, and he suddenly began to recall the circumstances under which he'd left the last time. What an idiot he'd been not to remember sooner. That utterly ghastly day when