“We weren’t supposed to be important.” Brendan muttered under his breath as he looked at the body. Montague hadn’t expected his accountant, and one of his mystery relatives, to stop by with a dead man on the floor.
I showed up a few minutes later, while Brendan was examining the body. I didn’t bother to ask why he was here, he wouldn’t have said anyway. What he did say was this. “Look Montague, Charlotte, you’ve dealt with a lot, but I’ve had more experience dealing with dead bodies. Take a walk, I’ll deal with this.”
Montague refused, but Brendan persisted. “Look Monty, I know we’ve had differences, but I need you to trust me. So does Mom and Sven. I can’t explain, but you’ve got to get out of here. Take this and go.”
We were stunned, and we did exactly what he had said. I got over this in about twenty minutes, Montague was still looking strange an hour later. He hadn’t spoken since, and his first words were a question. “What’s in the envelope?”
I hadn’t thought to open it until he asked. “Two tickets to San Francisco, and ten thousand dollars. Monty, what’s going on? Why did we listen to him?”
“Because other than you, only one person ever called me Monty, and he hasn’t for fifteen years, until today. We were close growing up, but when he turned seventeen, things began to change. I never really knew why. Today he looked at me like he did when we were kids.”
Montague is a romantic realist, but not a strict sentimentalist. There was more to his statement than memories. “What are you thinking Monty?”
“I’m trying to decide which was the act, today, or the last fifteen years? Also, why was the dead body so important? Finally, how did Brendan get there so fast?”
“Well excuse me for asking, but what about the dead guy? Have any questions about him? The answer to that question could matter.” I get sarcastic when I’m confused.
Montague shook his head. “I knew the answer to those questions before you and Brendan each showed up. He was killed for a Stamp. It was poison, administered through the skin.”
“Most likely, the agent was the sponge he used to wet the Stamp with. I even know who the murderer was. There’s only two questions about him I don’t yet know yet Lotty. Why this Stamp, and why did Kurt send him to me if he wanted him dead?”
“So where are we going? An who’s Kurt? How does he fit in with Brendan?”
“He’s a billionaire, which makes me wonder why he killed a millionaire? We are going to the airport, but not to get on a plane. As for Brendan, I’ve got a theory, but we may have to wait on that. More pressing right now is how we find two strangers to go to California.”