Max and the Lost Shakespeare Thank-You Note, Part 3: A Spot of Tea (And That Stands For Trouble)
Bonkers was so excited he just kept galloping up and down the length of the passenger area, his ears flopping wildly. “Private plane, private plane, private plane! Private plane, private plane, private plane! Oh man, this is awesome!” He stopped to catch his breath and peed on one of the seats.
“Guess that’s your seat now.”
“Damn right it is.” He started running again. “Private plane, private plane, private plane! Private plane, private plane, private plane!”
Max moved to the next cabinet. “Here we go.”
Reginald, floating behind her, asked, “Information on our employers?”
“Ah. Tell me, in what manner shall we proceed once we’ve crossed the pond to my homeland?”
“Champagne. Foie gras. Hey, gummy bears! Sweeeet.” She looked up. “What now? Oh, when we get there. Well I thought we’d start…” she pulled a folder from behind the bar. “With this. What have we here?” She flipped through what turned out to be a dossier. “David Adams.”
“Who’s that?” Bonkers asked, pausing from his sprints.
“No idea. He owns an antique/vintage clothing shop. Background is pretty mysterious. Hm. Has an alias. Adams is a stage name. His real name is Berkowitz.”
“David Berkowitz? I’d go with an alias, too.”
“They have him marked as ‘critical’ to the operation, but don’t say why. I guess, mister Adams, you just became the first stop in our British tour.”
“Ah, it shall be good to see the old country,” Reginald said, looking in to the middle distance. “Though I suppose little will remain of the country I remember…”
“They even have decent dentistry now. But there’s still plenty of tea, chronically repressed emotions, and oxford commas. I think you’ll recognize the spirit of the place.”
“Any idea who the muscle-bound grotesque was back at the Grizzly Bar?”
“Not really. He looked strangely familiar, though.”
Bonkers stopped running, and said through his panting, “Smelled familiar, too. Smelled like… officiousness.”
When they landed, they were delayed at the airport for nearly two hours. Any time Max tried to find out what the problem was, the pilot – a gruff looking man with a lute tattooed on his neck – said something in such a thick Scottish accent that she just nodded, said “Ah” and left.
“So why are we stuck here?” Bonkers asked.
Max shrugged. “Best I can tell, there’s a ‘baggarae foockarn’ in, or possibly with, the ‘onstoo donaiwall.’”
Eventually they were let off the plane, still with no intelligible explanation. They made their way in to the city via incredibly expensive taxi. Pausing only briefly to have a Newcastle Brown Ale (on Bonkers’ reasoning that “It isn’t the same outside England, and if we get killed we’ll have missed the opportunity”), they went to Adams Antiques and Clothery.
“Ah,” Mister Adams smiled as they entered. “Welcome.” He was a middle-aged man of slender build. He was the sort of man who would look strange if he wasn’t wearing a sweater. “How may I help you?” His tone was welcoming, and yet simultaneously totally and completely insincere.
His shop was a sort of organized chaos of objects, clothing and art. Max couldn’t help but survey the place as she talked. “Good afternoon, Mister Adams. I’m searching for something very rare.”
“Well, that’s our specialty.”
Bonkers trotted past and began sniffing everything.
“I’m looking for a stuffed snake. I have reason to believe you can help me.”
Adams put a finger to his chin, as if thinking this over. “Hmmmm… a stuffed snake… I can’t say I have one of those. Not my particular… legerdemain.”
“No, I didn’t think you would. But I thought perhaps you could—“
“Found it!” Bonkers yelled. He was sniffing the leg of a mannequin dressed in a 70’s disco dress and rainbow toe socks.
“Found it?” Max said. “Found what?”
“I’m afraid dogs are not allowed inside, miss. If you could please curb your—“
Max looked at Adams. “Mind if I try on those socks?”
Adams face never changed. “It’s time for my break. I’m afraid the shop is closed. You’ll need to exit.” Max walked toward the mannequin, and Adams pulled a very old pistol from a desk. “I’d ask you to stop, please.”
“What? Come on. Thos old-timey guns are unbelievably inaccurate. Besides, I’d think you’d be more concerned about the ghost in that skull.”
Reginald took that moment to manifest by a shelf, his head superimposed amidst a varnished skull. “Beware!” he moaned. “Beware!”
Adams’ jaw dropped and he forgot completely about the gun for just long enough for Max to lunge over and grab it from him. “Ba-zam!” she yelled. “Have a seat, Adams!”
“But there’s a ghost!” he cried. “I maintained my cool with the talking dog, but…”
“Yeah, he’s friend. I guess it’s still pretty freaky…” She went over to the rainbow toe sock and took out the snake that had been put where the lower leg of the mannequin should be. The snake was smiling and winking.
“Wow. That was easy,” said Bonkers.
“Yeah,” Max said suspiciously. “Yeah. Something’s not right.” Putting on latex gloves, she opened the flap in the snake’s back and took out a roll of yellowed paper. She carefully unrolled it and read it. Reginald hovered over and Bonkers ran up to read it. They stared in shock for a moment.
Max muttered to herself, “Of course. It makes sense now.”
“What… is that what I think it is?” Bonkers sputtered.
“What does this mean?” Reginald asked.
“I’m pretty sure it means someone’s going to try to kill us.”
And it was that moment that the gigantic, muscular man walked out from the back of the shop, holding a revolver. “You were always very sharp, Miss Cho. And I think you’ll find this gun to be far more accurate.”
She shook her head. “Oh my God. You?”
Tune in Monday for the conclusion of Max and the lost Shakespeare Thank-You Note!