The one thing which tied in all of the clues was Ed Blubber. Of that he was sure. The local paper was open on the patio table. The mayor, Preacher Grin Short, was off on his travels to far flung hamlets of the local parish. ‘Why Kerosene Teeth?’ by A Jenny was number one on the New York best seller list. There was a new section entitled ‘Rating Rat Wind’ which contained local news relating to art and writing. He had always wondered whether he could write, but had never put pen to paper. Plenty of time for that he chuckled despite the fact he was the wrong side of one hundred and ten. There were no thefts reported, and Sergeant Clappers had been nominated for a ‘Safety in the Community” prize. Life could be good sometimes.
He decided to take it easy, and spent the better half of the afternoon in the library. Despite being connected to a virtual library bigger than any man living in Alexandria could have foreseen he still loved the smell and feel of a real book. He settled in his favoured chair and Celli Mint the librarian was very kind. He’d been visiting on and off for over a century and Celli felt she knew him well. Drinking alcohol of any kind in the library was forbidden, but who knew if it was mixed with coffee?
‘Thanks Celli’ Rani said as he took the hot drink.
‘My pleasure. I see you have a new hat. Suits you!’
‘Thanks’ he smiled. He did like his woollen hats.
‘So, tell me, what do you fancy today then?’ she replied.
‘Nothing too serious. Maybe a short crime story? My brain is befuddled with too much thinking.’
She rolled her eyes at him. ‘Now why would that be?’
And Rani told his tale, leaving nothing out. A full thirty minutes later and Celli realised she’d been sat on the end of her chair and needed to get back to the front desk.
‘Well that really is some escapade, how do you do it? You really should be taking it easy!’ she scolded him.
‘I know, I know’ he replied, ‘but what use is life if we can’t have a little fun every now and then?’
She laughed with him and handed him a book. ‘This is new in. It’s a crime story about a mother, her family and rabbits. Let me know what you think.’
It took him forty minutes to walk home, and he could not work out whether it was the mother or Mr Taylor. That was the last thing he needed he told himself. Another puzzle. Next time he would ask Celli for a biography. He took it easy for the rest of the evening and was tucked in bed at nine with a list of anagrams.
The following morning he felt fully refreshed, and had a good feeling in his aged bones. Although he knew he could use his somewhat faded OAP card for free public transport, his Harley was still his favoured mode of transport. Yes it was too big for him, he knew that, but it gave him a smile the size of a dinner plate. He set off mid morning and made his way to Mama-Whets Town.
As he stepped through the infinitesimally small door and went inside he stopped aghast at the wonder. Each time he visited the quantity of works took his breath away. And not just the quantity, but the quality too. The wall he was looking at contained baby birds who survived against the odds. The most surprising sunrise. A burning spear. For a full fifteen minutes he stood entranced as a child might at seeing a clown for the first time. He wiped a tear from his cheek and made his way to see Ed.
The sign over the desk read Beer O’clock and Rani couldn’t agree more. This was thirsty work. Imagine Bruno’s Office – except laden with images and writing and t-shirts and more. Ed, a congenial fellow, offered an ice cold beer and Rani supped it gratefully. The office became a place of quiet serenity. It was so easy to lose yourself in this place. On the other side of the room there was a real radiance – a piece of writing called Run Like The Clappers took centre stage. There was no doubt about it, Ed was lucky to work in a place like this.
Rani spent sometime reviewing his clues and Ed was quick with his answers. And before he knew it, it all fell into place. He kicked himself when he realised who had sent the letter, and it was better than the best medicine. What was very clear however was that he would need a present.
Chapter 6: Rani kicks himself when he finds out who sent him the letter to his real name. But is that the end?
The final chapter is “here”: http://www.redbubble.com/people/markbateman/wri...
If you missed it here is Chapter 1: Rani Ricked