The initials LTJ kept her from sleep and her intuition warned her Maurice’s life was in danger and under no circumstances should this L.T.J. character (whoever that was) ever meet him.
Polly called Maurice and got his voicemail. A metallic voice said, “The number you have just dialed is out of satellite range. Please try again at another time. Good-bye.”
The very thought of Maurice falling into the wrong hands made her blood run chill. He hadn’t mentioned taking a spontaneous trip, so she figured he must be in some vast underground vault or tunnel...or possibly hiking in the vast deserted scarred lands between Goshen, Canaan, and that hideously ugly pyramid thing. She whistled. She decided as soon as it was daylight to talk with Jakob Walder.
The very next morning at the crack of dawn, or shortly after the crack of dawn, or rather what Polly thought should be the crack of dawn, and was closer to 8:30 A.M., Malachi roared to life and sped down the road carrying a pensive Miss Polly B. Frottin. The destination was the Dew Drop Inn. The purpose was to seek advice from Mr. Jakob Warder. The secondary purpose was to order the special of the day, ‘Lean Eggs and Spam.’ The spam, she decided, was not going to be eaten, but fed to Scrap Iron. The lean eggs, well, that would need tested and written about for the Sunday article.
Polly and Malachi ground to a halt at 9:00 A.M. sharp in the parking lot of the inn. Unfortunately, a culinary drone from Z-tech also happened to grind to a float over the treetops at the same time. Nobody really ever understood the purpose of the culinary drones. Most assumed their purpose was to spy on unsuspecting picnickers to gather data for the types of food being eaten. Some blamed it on a vast conspiracy, so said a major conspiracy-theory group based in the newest Canadian province of Connecticut that, among other things, believed Martha Stewart was still living albeit under the assumed name of Marsha Stuart. In fact, bumper stickers proclaiming ‘Martha Lives!’ were popular among some of the more devout members.
The culinary drones often zapped small furry animals for no apparent reason, and as the opposite of luck would have it, Scrap Iron got struck with a bolt of high energy photons at the same instant Polly stepped from her car. It has been said cats have nine lives, and maybe they do. Dogs do not. And so, Scrap Iron…guardian of the front porch at the Dew Drop Inn…affectionate companion of Russell and Buck…watcher of the eternal chess game…and sleeper on the dirty rug by the old wood stove, let out a last, long, doggy groan that sounded very much like the Icelandic word for rust.
It was a time of sadness, as Polly patted Scrap Iron’s head one final time. Russell, Buck, and Ell, (Jakob was mysteriously late), buried him in the backyard of the Inn. Between the two odd fellow’s Rhino and an ancient, boxy, atm-like object inscribed with the words Ms Pac-Man. The sides were painted with an obese anthropomorphic bacterium and she wore a yellow ribbon. The burial was short. The final eulogy consisted of a few sighs, some coughs, and half a dropper of tears.
Jakob arrived fifteen minutes later.