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    Wednesday, April 30, 2008

    Wizard Part IX



    Part IX

    Since I hadn't been here in so long it was hard to tell if anything had been taken beyond her eye. At first glance the room looked undisturbed. But as I started getting closer to things I realized there would be a quick way to tell if anything had.

    Dust is a wonderful thing, especially if it occurs in a place where no one feels the need to remove it on a regular basis. Pirate Jane obviously had no compulsion to do so. If I had a keener eye I could have read the levels of dust like rings in a tree, but right now all I needed to look for was anywhere the dust was not, or at least where a surface had only been exposed to a few days accumulation.

    Admittedly Mr. Toots and I were stumped after about half an hour gazing around with the shadow inducing bare bulbs over head. Mr. Toots gave up before me and lay on Pirate Jane's chest purring longingly. He didn't hiss when I picked him. I think he knew it was over. As I held him in my arms I knew I couldn't leave him here.

    Back upstairs I put him on his mat and told him to watch the door. He hissed and I smiled. We were going to get along fine. Back downstairs I loaded up on a few things I thought I might need, as well as an old gallon milk jug with something I couldn't make out inside. Written on the outside in marker was "1/4 tsp. for Mr. Toots with food." Jane wasn't going to mind at this point. I still hadn't found what I was looking for when I pulled the Van around to the alley behind the store.

    After I had loaded everything into the van I returned for the last time. I left Jane where she lay, but closed her lids over where her eyes used to be. It was only right. As I shut the door to the cellar, I locked it with the same bit of encryption that was on the storage space, then hit the door with a bit of concealment. By the time someone got around to renting the space, Jane would be gone back into the earth and no one would disturb her.

    I left Mr. Toots for last and he instantly gave into me. With him in one arm, his claws extended just enough to pierce my shirt and remind me he was there, I grabbed his bed thinking it would help in the transition. As I pulled it off the counter, it dragged something underneath, which fell to the floor. It was a book. It was a journal. I moved the cat bed into the hand holding Mr. Toots and bent down to pick it up. I put it on the counter and opened it mid way. My Uncle's writing filled the pages. I was an idiot. It was the least obvious place to hide something. I should have looked here first.

    I didn't have time to hang around and read it so I picked it up and carried it with me. I put Mr. Toots bed on the front passenger seat of the van and then put Mr. Toots on top of the bed. He walked around twice kneading the top with his front paws. He finally lay down facing the driver's seat.

    I got in and stuck the key in the ignition. I reached past him and put the journal in the glove compartment. I looked at Mr. Toots.

    You ready to go old man?

    Mr. Toots hissed and laid his head down, closing his eyes. By the time I reached the city limits of New Orleans Mr. Toots was purring in time to the engine. I headed back toward Panama City, from there I was going home. Back to Tennessee. Back to Knoxville. I had a few things I needed to take care of before I finished my Uncle's business.

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