Conundrum (A Quest For King Arthur § Book One)

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Historical Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 7 (v.1) - Chapter 7

Submitted: July 11, 2019

Reads: 15

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Submitted: July 11, 2019

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Burrington Combe, Somerset § July 1968

 

There was a loud bang as the rear door of the Biggs’ farmhouse swung open and slammed violently against a dresser. Then another bang as Bill, Maisie’s husband, forced the door closed again once he was inside the mudroom. He entered the farmhouse parlor after taking off his outdoor gear, drying his hair with a towel.

“Tea?” asked his wife. “I can make a fresh pot.”

“The poor boy would be better served with a nip of whiskey,” announced Bill’s father-in-law.

“Tea and whiskey; sounds about right,” replied Bill. Poor boy is a sure improvement over some of the choice words the old bugger used yesterday evening, he thought to himself. Aloud he said, “You were right about the weather Pops. Tom… Didn’t see you there. How are you?” The two men shook hands. “What’s our local celebrity up to these days?”

“Oh, just dropped by to have a chat with Jack.”

“Here’s your tea, dear.” As Maisie handed her husband his cup she silently mouthed, Change the subject.

Ignoring the advice, Bill continued, “How was your trip to Buckingham Palace?”

‘Nice lavatories,” Tom replied. “Monogrammed toilet paper.”

“Really!”

“No; not really,” said Tom, with a grin.

Bill was about to ask another question when the Ranger’s two-way radio squawked.

Ranger One. Ranger One. This is Foxtrot Papa One Zero Niner. Come in. Over.

Tom retrieved the handset, which was tucked into a pocket of his cagoule.

Tom recognized the two letters of the call sign; Frome Police. Pressing the PTT button he spoke into the mouthpiece, “Foxtrot Papa One Zero Niner. This is Ranger One. Go Ahead. Over.”

“Tom, this is PC Brewer Are you mobile? Over.”

Tom walked over to the window and checked on the storm. “Tom to Brian. In this storm; you must be joking. Raining cats and dogs here. Over.”

“Brian to Tom. Where precisely are you? Over.”

The Ranger resisted saying, Are you my mother; why do you want to know? Instead, he answered the question. “Tom to Brian. I’m at Jack Biggs farm; top of Burrington Combe. Over.”

“Brian to Tom. Can you get yourself to the Castle of Comfort Inn? We have reports of a pony loose somewhere along the B3135, between the Old Bristol Road and Torhole Bottom. Could do with your assistance. Over.”

“Tom to Brian. Wilco. I guess you boys are too busy sitting around at the station drinking cups of tea? Over.”

“Brian to Tom. I wish. I am standing in this rain at the bottom of Bristol Hill on the A39. A six legger has skidded and jack-knifed, blocking half the road. I’m stuck here directing traffic until more help arrives. Over. Damn, this weather.” PC Brewster has not realized he was slow to release the PTT button.

Tom understood a six legger to be a standard six-axle articulated truck with twenty tires; equivalent to an American big rig. He realized Brian would not have asked for assistance unless he was short-handed. “Tom to Brian. Anyone hurt. Over.”

“Brian to Tom. Only their pride. I’ll check back with you as soon as I am relieved. Good hunting Lone Ranger. Over and Out.”

Tom’s gaze returned to the window. With no sign of the rain letting up, he resigned himself to getting wet. “Guess I’ve got my orders. I’d better be going. Nice talking to you Jack. Bill.” The men shook hands.

“I’ll show you out,’ volunteered Maisie, and the two of them left the parlor heading for the front door. Maisie paused. “Wait here a minute, Tom. There are a couple of things I need to give you.” Before Tom could ask what, she had returned via the parlor to the kitchen.

As promised she came back. In one hand was a carton containing a dozen free-range eggs; in the other, something wrapped in newspaper “For you and the pony. You can figure out who gets which.” Maisie made a half laugh at her own joke. Tom gave a polite smile and thanked her. “And don’t worry about the old goat. By this time tomorrow, he’ll have come ’round to your way of thinking. May even pretend the idea was his own.”

Tom smiled again. After putting on the cagoule, he picked up the gifts and committed himself to the short wet walk to his vehicle.


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Conundrum (A Quest For King Arthur § Book One)

A University Professor discovers hidden text in an ancient map in the British Museum. With the help of his students, he sets about solving the nine clues. Conundrum is the First Book in the series, moving nearer to A Quest for King Arthur.

© Copyright 2019 James G Riley. All rights reserved.

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