Hilter’s walk back to the second house he bought on Fricker Drive is pleasant and uneventful. When he first moved out here his walks were accompanied by a lovely soundtrack of lawn mowers, weed whackers, an occasional buzzing chainsaw – the classic sounds of yardwork in a backwoods rural village. Today, all he hears is the sound of chirping birds and blowing wind, and he’s grateful for that. Treeburg is a beautiful, woodsy town; if Hilter wanted to hear the humosphere at work, he would have stayed in the suburbs.
The first thing Hilter does after sitting at his work desk is call up another patient of his, Cyrus Morgan. Cyrus is the proprietor of The Keeper’s Finds, the secondhand shop in the Monksville Plaza Scotty allegedly robbed; if Hilter can verify at least that part of the story, it would give his case report all the more legitimacy.
The phone rings three times before Cyrus picks up. “Hello?”
“Hello, Cyrus? It’s Hilter Odolf Williamson. How are you?”
“Hey there Doc’, I’m doin’ well. I didn’t miss an appointment today, did I?”
Hilter chuckles. “No no no, nothing like that. I was actually calling about your shop – this may sound incredulous coming out of nowhere, but were you robbed a few days ago?”
“Well that’s not incredulous at all Doc’, in fact I was. Some real sickly kid with half the hair missin’ from his head came in as I was closing up. He was toting incense boards and ran out with a pristine jadeite smoking pipe. Left me with a broken computer and a few shattered windows too, but…” Cyrus trails off. Then, “Well, the damage was mostly my fault anyway, and the pipe wasn’t too too pricey. I didn’t even think it was worth phoning the cops. Why do you ask?”
“Well Cyrus, I believe I may have found your robber. A young man by the name of Scot–”
“Scotty Mells, yeah! That’s him all right, that little son of a bitch! How’d you find him?”
“It’s a very long story that I’m legally obligated not to share, I’m afraid, but I will say that he’s in my care now. Without getting into it, I believe he had something of a psychotic break which may have contributed to the robbery, and I wanted to see if his story checked out. It seems that it has.”
“Oh, it certainly checks out. Scotty was here, all right. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that boy, never seen a kid who looked more like a mangy coyote. Sheesh. Anywho, is there anything else I can help you with, Doctor? I was just about to head out for some lunch when the phone rang.”
“Ah, I see, my humblest apologies. No, that’s… actually, one thing. You said he left with a smoking pipe?”
“Hell yeah he did, the thing was beautiful. Made of jadeite, or some kind of green stone. Never been used to smoke; hell, I don’t think it was ever touched. Thing was in perfect condition.”
“Do you say so?” Hilter asks, reaching for his notepad. “Hold on a moment, if you would, let me… here it is. I wrote in my notes that he said the pipe’s bowl was full of scratches.”
“Scratches?” Cyrus spits, as if he’d been insulted. “Hell no, it was in perfect condition. Immaculate, even. Your boy’s lyin’ to ya. Know what? I actually have a picture of it, I’ll email it to you real quick before I go up to Montane. You can see for yourself.”
“Really? Well that’s very convenient. Thank you, Cyrus.”
“Absolutely, Doc’! Way I figure it, you’ve helped me through plenty of shit – it’d only be right if I could help you in return. It’s not a work of art or anything, just a quick pic’ for my inventory files, but it should do the job.”
“Indeed it should. Thank you again, Cyrus. I appreciate you. Have a good lunch, and tell the Montanes I say hello.”
“Absolutely. You take care, Mister Williamson.”
They hang up their phones simultaneously. Hilter pulls up a Word document and begins to transcribe his notes about Scotty’s story. After three sentences, a notification pops up alerting Hilter that he’s received an email. It’s from Cyrus, and it contains the picture of the pipe. When the image loads and Hilter gets a good look at the pipe’s bowl, his heart skips a couple beats – it’s full of white scratches, as if someone took a sewing needle and scraped the living shit out of the thing in an attempt to clean it.
“But that’s… Cyrus said it was clean… hmm. Maybe there’s more to Mister Mells than meets the eye.”
Hilter saves the image in the same folder he saved the image of the empty beach camp left behind by the vanished Flannigan family, the previous owners of the house Hilter keeps his office in, the house in which he’s currently working. He closes Outlook and goes back into Word. Before he resumes typing though, he makes one addition to the bottom of his written notes, one that will not be included in the typed report. It reads:
Pipe Scotty stole had scratches in bowl – Cyrus could not see scratches, but Scotty could. As could I, in a picture of the pipe (actual pipe was broken). Very interesting. Gently explore during next session.
Hello Commons, this has been the last subchapter of the eleventh story from Convenient Incidents, an anthology of fifteen interconnected short stories which revolve around a man by the name of Hilter Odolf Williamson.
Convenient Incidents is part of the Third Spiral, an anthology of sorts called The Here and Now which is comprised of stories told from the various planes of Existence.
Convenient Incidents is available to read for free in its entirety on my website. Click here to check it out.
I’ve written a few other books, too. Click here to see the list.
If you like Convenient Incidents and would like to help support my work, click here and buy an autographed copy of the book (or anything else!) from my store. Alternatively, you can snag a cheaper (and unsigned) copy from Amazon by clicking here OR you can buy the ebook for even cheaper here.
If you’re there, hypothetical reader, thank you for being there. Be well Commons~