An eventful day today, both enlightening and frustrating. First thing, I got a call from John Cheveyo. They had apprehended the Sad Man, he told me, and invited me to the interrogation. I set out before Tom and Gladys even had breakfast going, so I ran by the Stop n Go on the way, to get that cheese biscuit I’d promised Oscar Melmoth I was going to have. Edna had heard of my hospital stay, and quizzed me quite thoroughly about my cardiac health before selling it to me.
Another recipient of her heart-wise caution this morning was Cecil Murden, the one-eyed, one-footed chainsaw sculptor I’ve heard so much about recently. Quite the character. I think Edna may be sweet on him. She made a great show of checking the Biscuit List (her hand-written weekly tally of how many biscuits her regular customers have consumed in a given week), and made sure that Cecil hadn’t hit his personal limit of two. Cecil had a heart attack a few years ago, it seems, so Edna put him on limited rations.
Cecil took her attention with a sort of mock annoyance. But that’s how he reacts to everything, apparently: mock annoyance, mock interest, mock humor… It’s like he’s having a very personal joke on the world, all the time, no matter the subject. In a less charismatic man, it would be off-putting. But there’s always a twinkle in his eye, and a certain gruff charm to the performance, so you walk away feeling like he’s let you in on the joke. Even though he’s done no such thing.
I’ve met men with that sort of demeanor before. Some carry it better than others, but usually they’ve seen horrible things. If that’s the case with Cecil, he didn’t let on. But considering that he once traveled with Oscar Melmoth, I can only assume the worst.
He confirmed that service, by the way. He was proud of it, in point of fact. Said it was the only honest work he did the whole time he was a Merchant Marine. I told him I’d like to know more, and we made plans to meet for dinner. After that assault on my mind last night, I want to find out everything I can about Oscar Melmoth.
At any rate. Cheveyo met me at the door of Ranger HQ. He didn’t look good. Dark circles under the eyes, a cut up at his hairline, a hard set to his jaw… The Sad Man had obviously put up a fight. I shook his hand and moved to go in, but he shook his head.
“We’ve got him at Wakiza’s.”
“What the hell is Wakiza’s?”
He shook his head again and motioned to his truck. “Let’s go.”
Once we were moving, he opened up a little more. “Sorry for the silent treatment, Clint. We’re dealing with some sensitive stuff here. This guy, your Sad Man… He’s kind of important here on the Mountain.”