Sunday, August 20, 2006

Chapter 7 - Flames and Names

I awoke with a start, still sitting in my car. The Hot-n-Taughts had gone, and daylight was about to as well. All that was in front of the Kirche place was the biggest clunker I’d ever seen, belching smoke and backfiring every twenty seconds or so. The driver shut off the engine and started toward me. It was none other than the freight master! He told me he’d been coming to find me. He’d spotted me snoozing in my car, and pulled in. I asked him if his car always did that.

“No! That thing isn’t mine. I wouldn’t give two cents for one of these CW Blenders! Look at it! Probably built from one of those do-it-yourself kits.” He said he drove a Walther, and that this bucket of bolts was his new “company car” given to him only an hour earlier. Just then the engine of the Blender burst into flames. I grabbed the fire extinguisher from among my brother’s purchases, and took care of it. I stood there looking at the extinguisher in my hand, thinking about that dream I’d had. The last thing I really remembered was something about Deacon O’Leary and a cow kicking over a lantern. The freight master cut the cord on my navel gazing.

“Thanks,” he said. “I was coming to ask if you’d like to have a partner.” A partner? It had never occurred to me. “You see, the Pinafore Captain had a little talk with the CEO after he got back from the Hot-n-Taught concert. They told me it was against company policy to criticize the changes they were making, and that they had a new job for me. I’m supposed to be keeping my eye on you a few days, and report back. The only reporting they’ll get out of me is where they can pick up their car.” I thought of my dream again. The hotter things got, the more back-up I’d need. “You’re in,” I said. “As you know, these are dangerous times, but you meet some good, solid guys now and then,” and we shook hands.

He helped me put the boxes on the front step, but I put the alb in the trunk. I couldn’t help looking. Nope. Concordia Publishing House. Polyester. As we got into the Augsburg, I started thinking about the partnership. (I’d been doing a lot of that lately.) Pastor and…..? I didn’t even know his name. So I asked him.

“Pastor,” he replied. “Juan Toby Pastor.” Now it was my eyebrows’ turn for a joyride. He laughed. I told Juan he’d need a good deal of training, but lots of guys like him start later in life. I pointed the Augsburg down the path toward Lern & Digest’s.

“And you?” he queried. “I know your last name is Pastor, but if we’re going to be working together after all…”

“I’m Luther N. Pastor, Private Eye”

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