Max Has a Mind Like a Grease Trap: Filthy.

I’m gettin off just on dah uddah side of the river. Gotta spend the weekend wit da family. Max shudders.

“And you don’t think they’ll be glad to see you?”

Dat’s da problem! He snorts, You ever tried comin home to two sistahs, yer mom, an yer aunt, all bigger dan you, all lookin preeetty much oidentical by now, all jes SO excited ta see you, and all shriekin at you at once? Dat sound like a relaxin weekend?

“You’re unusually verbose today.”

Whateveh dat means.

Everyone's taking the train because that bus driver does not look qualified to operate a motor vehicle.

Oh dear help.

It never fails. I can’t even go down to the corner store without bumping into a mystery, so I suppose I should have expected this sort of thing at a train station. There’s no kind of place more noir than a train station.

“Well, what’s the crisis?” I was hoping for a runaway bride or an embezzling. Something interesting.

Oh dear I dropped my contact lens.

Of course.

“And you want someone to help you look?”

No no, there’s no point. Oh dear. But if you can find my wife she’ll have an extra pair for me! I always make sure to carry a spare pair.

“So wear those?”

I was oh dear, those are the ones that fell out, which has never happened before! Oh dear.

“But she has ANOTHER spare pair?”

Of course you have to be prepared. Oh dear, I hope you can find my wife. Please go find the right beaver, sir.

From this point on, everything I say or do is against the backdrop of Max’s howling, raucous laughter.

“Ok fine,” I say, a bit louder than normal, “what does she look like?”

Oh dear, well, she’s got a face and arms? Two legs. Fur. Flat, spatula-like tail. Buck teeth! Oh dear, find her immediately! Oh dear.

“Might I point out that as descriptions go that’s about as useful as Max is being right now.” I have to shout to make myself heard.

She’s a beaver!

Max dissolves into fresh peals of laughter.

Ok, so, I’ve got nothing to go on. All I know is that I’m looking for this guy’s wife, and she’s a beaver. Surprise surprise, he’s a conservative sort. After a quick glance over the platform I can see at least four of em, so how to know which one is the right one? Well, I suppose I could just go ask, but if he wanted someone to just go ask, he shouldn’t have come to me for help. Of course, he can’t see, and didn’t realize he was coming to me, but them’s the breaks. Still, what do I know?

I know she’s married to this guy.

I tap the beaver and say “Ma’am?” Over the dull roar of the crowd I can still hear Max guffawing. She turns and there are tears smudging her mascera. And I know I was right.

Don’t make me go back, please, she whispers. Has the kind of voice that sounds like it’s forgot how to do anything but whisper. You don’t know what it was like.

“Think I can guess. Always being prepared. Fire drills. Stockpile of supplies and batteries. Keeping all the old prescriptions in a file cabinet organized by date. Guessing it’s not what you bargained for when you signed up.”

How did you find me, officer? She’s getting cold. Gonna be angry if I say the wrong thing. I know he barely even knows what I look like, he couldn’t have described me.

“You were the only one who liked like you’d been married to him.”

That shook her. She’s out of cold, and skipped angry, all the way through to honest. It isn’t even that… it’s. I wanted children. He always said we weren’t ready, that we weren’t-


She nods. Last week I went to the doctor and he said… he told me… it was too late.

Well, that’s more the sort of thing I’d expect to run into in a train station. “Ma’am, I’m just here to get this guy’s contact lenses. If you’ve got them-?” She shakes her head, “Didn’t think so. Why would you carry his supplies around if you’re leaving him? Especially if that’s why.”

She’s still got the smudged makeup, but when she looks up at me she doesn’t look like crying. Maybe confused would be the word. Are you letting me go?

“Don’t see any laws broken, do you?” I tip my hat. “Have a nice trip.”

Max is wiping tears away when I get back. I shoot him a look. The… victim? initial client? is on his feet, blinking. “You find the lens?”

Oh dear, no, not at all… I had to use my emergency reserve pair! The spare pair, the spare pair my wife carries, all failed. Oh dear. This is the worst thing that’s ever happened to me!

It’s on the tip of my tongue to tell him, but it occurs to me that he won’t understand. His wife leaving him? Nothing. The contingency plans he made to deal with minor everyday inconveniences failing? That’s a downright trauma.

I suppose you didn’t have any luck finding my wife?

I shake my head.

I didn’t suppose you would. He sighs. That woman never appreciates the importance of being prepared. Excuse me, this is my train.

Oh dear.

So… didja… find the right…. beaver… mph…?

“Shut up Max.”


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