“I wish I were able to stop her,” Harbrace muttered. “If I had been there, I would have done something.”
“Well, I wish I were a well-lubed stripper pole, but wishes don’t count for anything,” Garner snapped.
“If I were to leave now, I might be able to save her.” Harbrace’s insistence that the woman who had conned him out of his pride, money and more importantly, the case containing The Irrealis Form of the Copula, should be saved infuriated Garner.
“What, are you stupid? You won’t be able to ‘save’ her,” he made quotes in the air with his fingers, “You won’t even catch her. You’ll never find her just blindly hopping around on trains. Forget about saving her, Harbrace,” Garner shouted.
“Don’t look at me as if I were a fool, Garner. She…”
Garner cut him off by holding up his palm, “You are a fool! Just stop. I suggest that we sit down and discuss this.” Harbrace sat. Garner went to the wet bar and poured himself a drink. He did not offer one to Harbrace.
“Look, Harbrace. I recommend that you remember your responsibility in all of this. She’s gone and she’s got the damn case because of you. If we are to find the case, we need to formulate a plan grounded in reality, not just rush blindly around the countryside in an impossible game of duck duck goose…”
“I think you mean hide and seek…”
“Whatever. I insist that you tell me everything. Did she mention anything to you at all about what she was planning? Even if you think it’s unimportant, did you see or hear anything that might be a clue as to where she was headed?”
Harbrace sobered at Garner’s sudden earnestness and he did concentrate for a moment. “I wish there were something I could think of that would help.” He was like a five year old who lost his teddy bear. Garner was losing patience. He subtly rolled his eyes and added, “Look, you think about it, alright? We’ll put the word out. Someone is bound to have seen or heard something. She can’t very well sell a case that valuable without someone knowing. We will find that case, and if we find the woman, I will make her wish she were never born.”
Harbrace’s pride was hurt. “You wouldn’t care even if we were to find her in a thousand little pieces. You just want the case back.”
“Damn right, I do! Did I not make that clear? Do you have any idea what would happen if The Irrealis Form of the Copula were to fall into the wrong hands? Suffice it to say, it is imperative that we find that case now. You better hope we find it since you lost it.”
“Alright, Garner. Whatever the reasons, we have the same goal. I think it is important that we work together on this to find the case and maybe the woman.”
“Would you forget about the blasted woman? The woman be damned!” hissed Garner. “But, come what may, we need to get that case back. Truth be told, I could use your help. My concern is to ensure you don’t do anything stupid… again. You better smarten up in a hurry.”
“So be it,” Harbrace sighed, eager to move from the accusation to the action phase, “but where do we start?”
Garner wouldn’t allow a change of subject just yet, “I want you to know, if need be, I will hang that woman with my own damn rope.”
Harbrace couldn’t resist saying, “Far be it from me to get involved in your personal life.”
Garner scowled, not expecting a joke and not knowing what to do with one once he got it. “Whatever. One piece of advice, it is seriously in your best interest to never be in my way again.”
“Fine. It’s my fault and the woman can hang. Be that as it may, where do we start?” Harbrace repeated, quite obviously trying to change the subject. “I am rather anxious that we begin. Every second we wait here, the trail goes colder,” He would not even allow himself to flirt with the thought that part of his anticipation involved seeing the woman again.
Garner was in the middle of strenuously reconsidering his plan to work with Harbrace and wishing he were someplace else, possibly somewhere with stripper poles, but he said, “If I were you, I would be anxious, too. If we should fail, you know what will happen. I propose that we follow the case, not the girl. If we find it, we maybe find your girl and give her a kiss on the cheek and well-deserved prison cell. If I were her, I’d want to get as far away from here as possible as fast as possible, so let’s go ask around. It’s time we went to work. Let’s go.”
Harbrace knew that Garner would probably soften up a bit if they really were to find the girl, provided that she also had the case in her possession. If she sold or otherwise rid herself of it, heaven help her for having to endure Garner’s wrath. She would most likely be killed. Harbrace sent a useless, silent warning to her in his mind as they headed out the door.