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57

Fleeced

At New Scotland Yard, Jack was unsuccessful in finding anything that meant anything in the pile of papers, pictures, and maps found in the suspects apartment.

His friend Ian finally suggested, Why dont we wrap up here and go across to Finnegans Wake for some lunch?

Jack looked at his watch. It was already after two. There was a 6:00 P.M. flight he could catch home. Sounds good, he said. Ill call Regan on my way to the airport, he thought.

At a corner table in the pub, they ordered pints of beer and shepherds pie.

So you dont want to stay and make a night of it here, Jack? Ian asked him. We could go out and have some fun.

Jack shook his head and smiled. Thanks, Ian, but Ive got to get back.

Something tells me its not for business, Ian said with a glint in his eye.

Jack took a sip of his beer. Not really business, no. He told Ian about his relationship with Regan and what she was doing that weekend at the Settlers Club. Its funny, theres somebody running a butler school out of an apartment there. I mentioned it to the maid in my hotel here, and she said theres a lot of competition among the butler schools here.

Ian rolled his eyes. Its more than friendly competition. We have one guy were keeping an eye on. Thorn Darlington. He runs the biggest butler school, and hes trouble.

Why?

He thinks hes the only one in this country, or the world for that matter, who should teach butlers how to serve tea. Most other schools that have opened over here have shut down. Usually under suspicious circumstances. The owner of one died in a late-night car crash. Another school burned down when a grease fire started in the kitchen. Yet another schools students all came down with food poisoning. A few of them nearly died. Needless to say, it was impossible for the school to find anyone new who would enroll there. But Darlingtons school always remains untouched.

You think he was involved in the incidents?

Lets just say his name is written all over them, but we cant prove anything. Weve heard he wants to open a butler school in New York now.

Jack frowned. The butler school at the club is across the hall from the apartment where Regan is staying.

Id be interested to hear about it, Ian said. Who knows whether this Thorn Darlington has gotten wind of it?

Jack suddenly felt uncomfortable. Im glad Im getting back today.

If my girl were in a situation like that, Id certainly want to get back there.

Its not that she cant take care of herself Jack began.

Ian held up his hand. I understand-when you love somebody

Love somebody? I didnt say

You didnt have to. Now Ill get the bill and go back to the office and run a check on Thorn Darlingtons recent activities. You go get your things from the hotel, and Ill have a car pick you up in a half-hour to take you to the airport. Ill give the driver any information I have on Darlington.

Thanks, Ian.

Not at all. Next time you come over, bring this Regan Reilly. Id like to meet her.

I will, Jack said. More than ever, he felt restless, eager to get back home.


| Fleeced | c