Brother Spade: The Mysterious Package
The rain poured down outside, fast and dirty, like Sister Hugo's
mascaraed tears in testimony meeting. Not a pretty sight.
Me, I was hitting the Dr. Pepper pretty hard. Had been for days. Ever
since my partner disappeared I'd been on edge. It's not easy being the
ward clerk. But someone's gotta do it. And it's a heck of a lot easier
when your old buddy the financial clerk is on hand to take care of the
I take care of the dolls.
And speaking of dolls, a dainty rap sounded on my heavy oak door. I
pulled my feet off the desk and stashed the Doctor. Straightened my
"Come in, " I said, trying to disguise the effects of the caffeine.=20
A clap of thunder announced the arrival of a mysterious woman. I took
a little updown at her. See what sort of creature was darkening my
door. What doe had wandered into the thickets? What angel had run out
of luck enough to come here, of all places.
A bolt of lightening outside the window revealed her as she came
through the door. A dark-eyed bombshell and a half, packed beguilingly
into a calico dress. Kmart maybe, or the Fred Meyer clearance rack. I
sat up a little straighter, glad that I had worn my best Mr. Mac tie
She stepped in. I could tell by the look in her pale eyes that she was
"Brother Spade," she breathed. "I'm in trouble."
"You came to the right place, sister," I replied. Glad for the first
time that my pard wasn't around. I could handle this one myself.
She cast a cautious look at the door.=20
"Not to worry, " I said, "it's practically soundproof." I nodded at
the chair. She sat. I offered her a swig of the good doctor, but she
refused. Probably already tight on the stuff anyway,
"I don't have much time," she said, her foot tapping the floor like
Morse code. "They're following me."
"Lay it on me, sister," I was more than willing to oblige. I had
caught a glimpse of an ankle and was feeling helpful.
She rooted through her purse and finally brought out a small package,
wrapped in tissue paper. She held it as if it were the most precious
thing in the world.
"Take this, don't let them get it. It would be the end if they did."
I took the package. Not sure what to think. Here comes this wild-eyed
dame into my office, being chased. By whom, I didn't know. Were they
dangerous? How far would they go to get this little package? And once
in their hands what evil would they commit?
A commotion down the hall made her jump to her feet. She yanked the
door open and cast a final, imploring look in my direction.
"Please. Brother Spade. I'm counting on you."
And she was gone. Like a dream in the night; or the last drops of the Doc.
I worked fast, concealing the package behind the old tithing slips in
the top cupboard. I hoped it wasn't too obvious. The door suddenly
burst open. I whirled around to face my visitors. Friends, foes?
Three roughnecks. About as smart as youth speakers, but determined.
Very, very determined.
The biggest one spoke up.=20
"You seen my mom?" he said, a CTR A accent roughening the edges of his word=
I kept my cool, said I hadn't. They eyed me for an uncomfortable
moment, seeing if I was honest John.
"Fetch," said the leader. And they left.=20
I felt sweat trickle down my forehead and chuckled as I wiped it off.
That had been a close one. I peered into the package, dying to know
what that mysterious woman had been trying so desperately to conceal
from those thugs.
Just as I thought. Hershey's. And right before fast and testimony meeting t=