Friday morning Aesop Mosley walked into Richard’s coffee shop/bookstore across the street from the courthouse. Aesop worked the weekend shift, and his week began as everyone else’s ended. The Friday overlap with the workweek crew left him subject to info-dumps and competing narratives as his co-workers attempted to compress everything that had happened since Monday into single storylines that would, with any luck, wrap themselves up neatly by five o’clock. What was left, what Aesop dealt with on the Saturday/Sunday skeleton crew, was interstitial. His workweek began as denouement and ended as prologue. He was okay with this.
There were three people at the counter, which was busy for Richard’s tiny coffee shop/bookstore at the wrong end of Main Street. Aesop thought about stepping out, coming back later. But he saw Kim in the corner, feet up on the riser at the storefront window that sometimes held bands, sometimes held art, sometimes held shrines to Richard’s beloved Canucks. At the moment, though, the risers were between exhibits. All they held were Kim’s hightops, as fine a work of installation art as had ever appeared in a Downtown Eastside coffee shop.
Kim looked up from a brightly covered trade paperback and met Aesop’s eye. Kim nodded his head and Aesop sat down on the riser. “Are reading anything good lately, or are you still stuck on your Mexican?” Kim asked.
“Yeah, no…I don’t know,” Aesop said. “I just finished the last of his detective series, at least the last of them that have been translated to English. So I’m kind of, ah, between books right now. I mean, I’m reading a Fletch book, it’s pretty good, but it’s not, like, a calling.”
“Have you read any Ross MacDonald? He’s much more, I guess, psychological than your average whodunnit. He really gets into what’s going on underneath everything else.”
“Funny you should bring him up,” Aesop said. “I just picked up, last week, right here, which one was it…?”
Kim twisted his torso without moving his feet and glanced at the dead centre of the wall. “It must have been The Chill,” he said. “Sleeping Beauty‘s still on the shelf. What did you think of it?”
“I actually, ah, haven’t read it yet. But I wanted it to get it because the Mexican bring him up all the time. His detective–”
“The one with one leg?”
“No, he just has a limp. A slight limp. Wait, yeah, he loses an eye, though, yeah. Anyway, the detective, Belascoarán, as he follows his cases, he always thinks of how Lew Archer would do it better. So I thought, I might as well…”
But there was another reason Aesop Mosley had picked up the Ross MacDonald novel, a reason he wasn’t ready to share with Kim or with Richard. But when he did, they would never look at him the same again.
Sweet Release by WUGAZI
Emmet Matheson named his blog, A Bulldozer With a Wrecking Ball Attached, after a line in a Ghostface Killah track. You can e-mail him at: bulldozerDOTwreckingballATgmailDOTcom