A Strange Day

A strange day; another in a line of strange days. I have a
photograph in front of me of a guy that I've never met, and am now
never likely to meet: an antiques dealer by the name of Jeremiah
Webber. I think I'd heard his name mentioned once, a long time ago.

He was that odd but familiar type, the smart guy who isn't quite as
smart as he thinks he is. I'd been told that, if he ever crossed my
path, I should steer well clear of him. He was, as I believe the
phrase is, 'ethically unsound'. In other words, you'd be a fool to
trust him, but the kind of people he worked with weren't too
scrupulous about matters of honesty, and so they shouldn't have been
surprised when they were double-crossed. Guys like that make me
smile: they're as crooked as a six-dollar bill, but they're always
shocked when they encounter someone who is even more crooked than
they are.

Anyway, in this picture Webber is missing a piece of his head,
although it's not hard to see where it ended up, given the amount of
blood splatter. It might even be a suicide, assuming a man was so
committed to killing himself that he managed to get off two shots,
even if the first one had left him a vegetable. Someone like that
has to be very tired of life. Folks I know - folks who would know,
if you get my drift - seem to think that Webber was helped on his way
into the next world by someone representing the Gutelieb Foundation,
and the Gutelieb Foundation is so insubstantial that it shouldn't
exist. My guess? It's a mailbox, and someone in India who answers
phones in a sweaty office above a clothing wholesaler, sitting at a
scratched desk alongside hundreds of other people just like him, or
her, all of them answering phones for people that exist only as
pennies on a paycheck.

The folks I know, the folks WHO know, they like odd things: statues
of demons, old books, skulls with interesting holes bored in them.
They say that someone named Herod is the physical manifestation of
Gutelieb, but he keeps himself to himself, or he has until recently.
Lately, though, Herod has come out of the shadows, and that's not a
positive development, because Herod belongs in the shadows. He's not
a pretty sight, and he knows it, so he tends to keep away from prying
eyes. The rumor is that Webber crossed the Gutelieb Foundation, and
Herod made him pay, but Webber is just a sideshow, a little
housekeeping to let interested parties know that Herod isn't to be
taken lightly. Herod has bigger fish to fry. He's looking for
something, something important and valuable enough to make him risk
sizzling his skin in sunlight.

And why should all of this concern me? Because Herod's gaze has
turned to the north, and I don't like that. I'm a businessman, and
I want a quiet life. I had enough on my mind trying to figure out
Joel Tobias's angle, and now some freak whose momma named him by
sticking a pin in the Bible is about to bring his stink of decay to
my city.

You want the last little nugget of information that I've gleaned
about Herod? He has an Iraq fetish, and Joel Tobias still has sand
in his boots from dropping bad guys in Baghdad. Should I be
concerned? I'd be a fool if I wasn't, and I'm no fool...


Earle said...

Way to put two and two together, boss...

Jacks said...

Can't say much here, as it's a public place, but Webb sold something, and yes, I know what the item was (in general) that Gutelieb apparently wanted, to someone other than Gutelieb. In choosing between his life or his daughter's, he opted to take his own.

Just a tidbit, Gutelieb uses a secretarial service out of Massachusetts...

Jon said...

You're not the only one that's curious about this Joel kid but who's really behind it (whatever "it" is)? Word is that this Herod guy has enemies in France and as the saying goes, the enemy of my enemy...

Any way for your "friends" to look into it, maybe starting with Jacks suggestion?

Jacks said...

And Herod is definitely after something. Not sure what exactly it is, as he is less than forthcoming right now.

After reading the Maine Chronicle about Damien Padgett, Herod might have a very high interest in connecting with your buddy Joel. If that happens, we could all be in a world of trouble.

Not sure what to make of all of this right now, but it is starting to get a tiny bit clearer.

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