Andrea, Attorney at Law
The Mad Dwarf: Part 6
Bright and early the next morning I stood waiting in front of Tome Bellsprit’s desk. Being way too afraid of oversleeping, or becoming stuck in traffic confined by some crazed Buggie's carriage, I slept the entire night in my office. To say I was tense, as usual, would be a bit of an understatement.
My desk and chair made for a poor sleeping situation. Combining my uncomfortable position with the worry of meeting with Tome, I had strange, slow-moving dreams of waking up only to find that the Pale Man replaced Tome. His words dripped like sludge from his mouth, as he tried to explain to me that Orenda was letting me go. She felt the Pale Man would be a better fit for the company.
I awoke to a few papers stuck to the side of my face, dried drool crinkling the edges and smearing the ink all over my chin. I washed the best I could in the company water fountain right before the first employees began to stream in. You would think that after dealing with Del Blackstone and still coming out with a head un-bashed I would be a bit more courageous in my dealings with a single law clerk. That wasn’t the case at all. If anything I was even more nervous; my hands soaked with sweat, mouth dry, I could barely breathe. My thoughts ricocheted around my head like I had been drinking all night long. This did occur to me, perhaps to calm my nerves, but realizing how muddy everything was, even with no alcohol, made me a bit glad I didn’t.
Tome was a lanky thing, with long spidery fingers and a silver polished, swooping hairdo that gave him the appearance of constantly leaning to one side.
He looked up at me approaching his desk, clutching my briefcase in each hand and shaking madly, and sighed. He pulled down thin, round black-rimmed glasses to the tip of his pointed nose and raised an eyebrow. “Travis,” he said flatly. “What do I have the pleasure of helping you with this morning?”
The fact that he made it plainly clear helping me would not be a pleasure irked me a bit, but I let it go. Or, rather, I was too scared not to let it go.
“Um,” I stuttered.
Tome took off his glasses completely, then pressed his fingers together. “This should be lovely,” he said.
Tome was not one to understate anything; obvious to a fault.
“It’s this Blackstone case Andrea are working on. We’re a bit stuck with some parts of it, and I was wondering if-” I stopped as Tome raised his hand in the air.
“No. I will not go into detail with you about Miss O.’s private information on the subject. Andrea is a lawyer, and you inhabit a similar existence within this company, if not as pronounced as hers. Therefore, do some sleuthing and come to me with a report, and only a report, to give the head of this company. I will not bother her. Understood?”
I nodded and went to turn away. Luckily, Tome had thrown me so off balance that the thoughts ricocheted back to the part of the brain that fed my mouth words and I was able to spit out exactly what Andrea and I had rehearsed before she left the night before.
“Just one thing, Tome,” I said over my shoulder.
“What is it, Travis?” His glasses were already back on, and he was busy flipping through some pages in a folder on his desk.
“Were you good friends with Drake Relam while he still worked here?”
Tome put down the folder and looked at me with an intense glare. “No,” he said pointedly.
“Was that because you’re one of Miss Orenda’s aids and he was Frey’s?”
Tome looked at me quietly. “What are you suggesting?”
I shrugged. I was hoping it came off nonchalant, but in doing so, I dropped my briefcase and had to grapple with it to stay in my wet palms before continuing. “Oh, no reason. It’s just that your name and his keep getting mentioned in some of the earlier papers we are finding on Blackstone. Just wondered if the two of you may have worked on a case of his back in the day.”
Tome eyed me curiously. “Blackstone is a new case, of course, we couldn’t have.”
“Hmmm, strange.” I turned my back again and went to step away when Tome spoke up abruptly.
“And what’s so strange about that, Travis?” He sounded eager.
Over my shoulder, keeping my eyes in front of me, I said “Well, it’s this Delatrosh Mining Inc. we keep finding. We assumed Del was, or is, associated with it. You know, Del... Delatrosh. Mines. Dwarves.”
Tome let out a “pfft.” I continued, noting he was not as confident as he was a few moments ago.
“Plus, you being the signatory and power of attorney for the Blackstone payments, and all those payments coming from Delatrosh. And since Drake was the same, only for the Delatrosh account I just figured they had some history together.” I took a dramatic pause, then turned around and looked through my eyebrows at Tome. I gave him a real doozy of a stare. “Or maybe we are just pulling at threads that don’t exist.”
He looked panicked; even more pale than usual. “I think- I think that you are, Travis.” Tome cleared his throat and gained some composure back. “Remember, you’re an attorney, not some pulp detective.”
“You’re right, Tome. I’m not. But, Andrea seems to fancy that it’s a part of her job.”
I turned and this time kept walking until I was out of the building. I rounded the corner to meet up with Andrea when I realized that Andrea might not have been too pleased with the fact I equated her to a pulp detective.
Andrea waited for me at the Felninburgh City Park, a few blocks away from our firm. She sat with her legs crossed, a sandwich in one hand and a docket of papers in the other.
I walked up, sat down and took in the light breeze that blew across the grass.
She didn’t look up but continued to read and eat.
“So,” I said and just let the word hang between us.
“So,” she said at last.
Andrea put the docket down, and slowly wrapped up her sandwich. She looked at me sideways, blinked once, then slowly opened her eyes. “I assume you planted the seed.”
“Oh,” I said throwing my hands behind my head. “I did something like that. Only, I’d say I planted an entire field.”
Now I really had her attention.
“Oh, did you?” She asked coyly.
“Yes. Yes, I did.” I smirked, unable to contain my enthusiasm.
“How did he react?”
“Nervous. The Tome we know so well disappeared, and a frightened little elf stepped up in his place. I got him on the connection between Del and Delatrosh. I got him on the accounts, and I even made him sweat on the fact that we knew one paid for the other.”
Andrea nodded, smiling. “Good, good.”
“What’s next? You find out something new this morning?”
Andrea picked back up her sandwich and started eating. “Not much,” she said between chewing. “I just got a list of all the arresting officers for Blackstone.”
Feeling much the winner in the accomplished morning's category, I patted her shoulder. “That’s very good, though. Now we can get the real story. See if anyone saw the Pale Man, why they pulled him over and all that.”
“Oh, yes, yes,” Andrea said still not paying me much attention. “Of course, we can’t talk to any of them but one.”
“What?” I said, eyeing her.
“Yeah. Turns out there were five officers on the scene. One had a mental breakdown a few weeks ago, two transferred to other departments in other cities and one had a massive heart attack the day after the arrest.”
“And the one who is left?”
Andrea stopped and turned to me. “He quit, but I spent most of the morning tracking down where he is working now.”
I was on the edge of my seat. “Where?!”
“Newly appointed Assistant Manager of Sales at Delatrosh Logging Inc.”
“Logging?” I asked, even more, confused now.
“Yup. It turns out Delatrosh Mines and Delatrosh Logging are just one of many companies that get raw materials for a parent company.”
“And what is that?”
“Delatrosh Wand and Staff.”
She took a dramatic bite of her sandwich.