After a night out last night, I felt like staying home tonight. Hell, I feel like staying home every night, nowadays.
I sat on my porch tonight and sipped a glass of whiskey. I am not sure what the current trend is with honey infused liquors, but I have found myself enjoying it. Smooth and calm, the night and the whiskey fit each other.
Until headlights stabbed across my yard, splashing the porch and driveway with an intrusive light. The growl of the SUVs engine silenced the crickets and scattered the cat. I took another sip of the whiskey and closed my book, The Count of Monte Cristo, and sat it beside me.
The barrel of a man had to turn to drop out of the large vehicle, his gut announcing him before his voice did. No small feet.
“Hello,” Brother Peter Clupper said, waving one hand while he closed the door with another.
As he walked toward me, the SUV beeped and flashed its lights.
I did not stand, but sat forward, “Hey, Brother Pete. Hate it if they didn’t tell you, but the parents are out of town for a bit.”
“What,” he said, looking around, spying Xena and the brood of kittens watching from the sidelines, “No, no, came to see you. How are they?”
“Doing well,” I said.
“Excellent,” he said, reaching me and grabbing my hand with two of his. I continued to stay seated and gestured toward the other rocking chair.
He shook a hand at me, “Sorry to say, I’ve come seeing if I could do some business with you.”
That had me interested, “Business with me? Sorry to say there’s not much to be done, library’s closed. A librarian without resources is just another man, I’m afraid.”
“Now, I doubt that very much. And that’s what I want to talk to you about. The library.”
“What about it, sir?”
“Well, you may have heard we are looking to open up a little church, start a new congregation. The old library has just the perfect space.”
I had heard that from Ocean when I was helping her earlier this week, “You splitting off, Brother Pete?”
The man nodded, his gut jiggling a second behind his head, “Oh, yes, yes there are some of us, well, sometimes you have to make a change. When things come to light. As the moon, wax and wane. The way of life, you know. Why I came to you tonight.”
He paused and looked up, to the sky above, “Yes, see. Full as can be. A Hunter’s moon it was called once.”
I looked and saw the moon on the horizon, rising. It was indeed full.
“I see. Still not sure how the hell I can help you, sir.”
“Talk to them, the town council. They have space and need money, we have money and need space. Easy as that. The library would be so perfect. It has been said.”
“It has been said?” I repeated.
Brother Pete nodded again, his eyes on the moon now.
“I don’t know, sir. The library’s much too fresh a wound for me-”
He reached out again with both his hands, as if reaching for a hand hold, “Artists, that’s a good day for you. Today was Saint Luke’s day, he looks after you, artist. Not a librarian, why should you care?”
I looked at him and saw the sweat start to pour off him. The man was not well.
“Brother Pete, why don’t you sit down? I’ll call you a cab or maybe Mrs. Clupper? Is she at home? Can she give you a ride?”
I rose and he jerked away from me, “Heathen. If you will not help, then be there no help for you.”
The SUV chirped again and the lights flashed. Pete Clupper backed away from me. He climbed into his car and left, tires spinning a bit as he left.
“Now what the hell was that,” I started to ask no one in particular when the dog answered me. Xena walked from behind me, hackles raised. She watched the SUV leave and looked at me, calming down. I had never seen her get agitated more than a bark.
What the hell was that about?