Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Continuing with A65

I had a wild idea of something to add to the story at a later point, so got lost doing that, today. However, this part is close enough, for now. It continues from the earlier posted bits:

Adam exited the lift into The Dungeon and provided Henry with his ritual scratch and stroke -- something he was sure the cat saw as a toll for entry into his domain -- then turned on his phone's light and hunted down an Oxford Auction bibliography from a packed shelf of pre-1960 information. Naturally, it was not where it should have been, and since Jeremy was supposed to re-shelve items he was digitizing, it was not unexpected. Gossip between Elizabeth and Bill, an older archivist, was ... the lad had attended a special school in Tumbridge Wells. Not that Adam listened in, but it is difficult not to hear when the voices are coming in normal tones from a cubicle next to yours. And Adam had to admit, the lad was certainly not the brightest when it came to mundane tasks ... such as re-shelving.

After much searching, Adam found the book he wanted two units down from where it should be. By happenstance, he had seen a reference to an auction when gathering provenance during their discussion of the Shedel. He was certain the year nineteen fifty-eight was significant ... and there it was. Auction in Rome. Cavalieri House. Aisle sixteen for their catalogues.

Of course, the one he needed was on the very top shelf, necessitating the location of a ladder and the use of some keen eyesight, even on his part. He wound up using his mobile phone's light to sort through catalogs as if he were digging for gold.

He vaguely heard the drifting sound of his name, right about then, but he was too lost in the search to pay attention. And too upset at how poorly the catalogues had been handled. Shoved into their magazine holders upside down and backwards and sideways ... and just how difficult was it to count? Sixty-two did not come before sixty-one but was after, while sixty came after fifty-nine, which came after fifty-seven, which came after ... and he stopped. There was no fifty-eight. The very catalogue he needed. Where was fifty-eight?

He shone his phone behind the upright boxes holding the catalogues and could just make out that a catalog was jammed behind the rest. He shifted the boxes to free it, careful and easy. It was badly bent. He did what he could to twist it back closer to its proper shape before he looked inside.

This time he heard someone calling, soft and unsure, "Adam? Adam?"

He paid little attention, because now he had his proof. Not only would he save the university a great deal of money for a fraudulent item, he would save Elizabeth a great deal of time. So he jumped down from the ladder and --

Vincent appeared before him, snapping in his veddy British tone, "There."

Adam yelped and nearly jumped back up on the ladder, but caught his breath, instead, and said, "Oh -- Vincent, we should revisit that Shedel and find out what the seller's trying to -- "

The man cut Adam off with, "Hakim told me everything about that. Have you been down here all this time?"

"Just -- just a bit," Adam said. "Our meeting's not till half-three."

Vincent's expression grew exasperated. "It's now four."

"Don't be absurd. I set my phone's alarm to remind me." Then Adam looked at it ... and it was flashing -- YOU'RE LATE. He had inadvertently flicked it to mute when he turned on its light. "Oh, sorry, sir. I was just locating information on that Romanian Liber Chronicarum and -- "

Vincent shot him a perfect expression of pure irritation. "Elizabeth's doing provenance on that. What about the Orlando?"

"It's all set, and I've done the Erasmus, as well. Jeremy's about to photograph them and -- "

"Then you're free."

Adam frowned. "Free? Sir, we've dozens more -- "

Vincent raised his hand, for silence. "Come on upstairs," he said, his voice as tight as a violin string. "And please leave the catalogue, there's a good lad. Elizabeth can do her own provenance."

Adam hesitated ... but Vincent was ramrod straight, again, so better to climb up and set the catalogue into its correct box. He still couldn't help but put more in order, they were in such disarray.

"Vincent, if Jeremy is going to do re-shelve his items, he should learn the alphabet and numeric sequence."

"Adam! Come!" His tone was more than Oxfordian, now; it was ready to unleash a slew of carefully refined words meant to slice one down to one's knees with gentle contempt, so Adam quickly switched two more catalogs around then jumped down and let Vincent lead him back to the lift, like a well-trained dog.

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