It had been the closest call yet.
He coolly eased his top hat onto his head, striving to seem unruffled by the narrow escape, should there chance to be anyone gazing idly out of the neighboring mansion’s lamp lit windows. The man up on the balcony closed the double doors, muffling the sounds of poor Barbara’s tearful exchange with her father. Brazenly determined to appear innocent, or barring that, to avoid looking utterly guilty, Scott Lancer further distanced himself from the sounds of his lady friend’s distress with a tuneless whistle.
A figure stepped out of the shadows.
"You’re Scott Lancer?"
Startled and immediately concerned at being addressed by name while still standing practically beneath Barbara’s bedroom window, Scott defensively pointed the tip of his walking stick towards the interrogator. At least the stranger didn’t look sinister, despite being dressed in a suit and hat, regular daytime business attire, in decided contrast to the stylish evening clothes that Scott himself wore.
"And if I am?"
"The son of Murdoch Lancer?"
Scott hesitated for only a brief moment.
"So I'm told. Never met the gentleman myself."
"Lawby’s the name, Pinkerton office. We find people."
Agent Lawby extended his card. Despite his well-practiced disinterest in anything related to his long absent father, Scott reflexively accepted the small rectangle.
"Well, I haven't lost any,” he informed the agent dismissively. “So . . . much as I've enjoyed our little conversation ..."
He started to walk away, then paused without turning when Lawby spoke again.
“Your father wants to see you---- and he's willing to pay for it. All expenses to California and a thousand dollars for one hour of your time."
Still not sparing the agent a backward glance, Scott Lancer very deliberately shrugged his shoulders and then moved quickly along the paved walk.
“If you have any questions, I’ll be in the office to-mor- . . .”
The man’s words faded away, muffled by the sound of Scott’s own footsteps and by the pulse thumping in his ears.
His steps were determined, but his destination now uncertain. Home was quite some distance away, the red brick Federalist-style mansion he shared with his maternal grandfather and a very attentive staff of longtime employees. The evening air was damp and the flimsy affectation of his cape did little to ward off the chill, but Scott decided that the walk would do him good. The hasty descent from Barbara’s balcony, the unsettling encounter with the agent—he filled his lungs with the refreshing night air, hoping to clear his head.
It wasn’t the champagne causing his discomposure; Scott hadn’t had that much of it. The bubbly liquid was far from his libation of choice, although Barbara had certainly seemed to enjoy it. It had been a foolhardy risk, going to the girl’s own bedroom, but he’d succumbed to the pleas from her provocatively shaped lips, lured by the promise of the enticingly form fitting gown. The blonde debutante had been trying so very hard to be seductive, with, Scott had to admit, considerable success. He’d been enjoying her attentions, reclining most comfortably, with his head resting against the back of the cushioned chaise, until they’d been interrupted. He’d barely tasted the champagne, let alone the delectable Barbara.
Well, scotch was what he needed now. It was easier to lose oneself in bourbon or gin, but scotch whiskey was soothing, scotch would give him time to think. And Scott knew that he would not be able to avoid thinking about the messenger . . . or his message.
How long had he been followed, he wondered. How long had the Pinkerton man been waiting there in the street, peering up at the Otises’ windows? <<Lawby>>, the name came immediately to mind, there was no need to check the small card that he still held in his left hand, a razor’s edge against his palm.
“We find people,” the agent had said.
<<And I haven’t lost anyone,>> Scott reminded himself, as his long strides carried him further and further away from the utterly unexpected confrontation. He was barely aware of the rough, uneven edges of the paving stones that could be felt through the thin soles of his evening shoes. The footgear was intended for riding in carriages, for dining at table, for dancing, not for escape.
Despite the brisk pace, despite the dark and the cool air, the words were still with him; he hadn’t succeeded in leaving them behind. The message seemed to cut into his thoughts in the same way that the agent’s card was slicing into his hand.
Despite his desire to remain unaffected, the words had their impact.
<<“Your father wants to see you.”>>
For months at a time, Scott could simply forget that he even had a father. Then someone would mention “California”, and he would remember. It was like recalling an irrelevant, useless fact one had learned long ago in school: that Berlin was the capital of Prussia, that Emperor Charlemagne was crowned on Christmas Day, that a man named Murdoch Lancer owned a ranch somewhere out West.
<<“Your father wants to see you.”>>
As a child, Scott had longed for precisely such a message, dreamed of it even. With the approach of each birthday or holiday or significant event in his young life, he would convince himself that this time, this time, his father would actually appear, or, at the very least, would send a card, a letter, a present.
He finally had a card, he realized grimly —but no letter, no personal communication at all. Just the stark announcement, delivered by a stranger and accompanied by an offer of money. Payment for an hour of his time? That was . . . insulting. At least the amount offered was not.
<<“Your father wants to see you.”>>
<<He’s never “wanted to” before. >>
The bitter thoughts fueled his forward momentum and sooner than he might have expected, Scott had somehow navigated the maze of shadowy streets lined with imposing dwellings. From a distance, he glimpsed his grandfather’s house. A welcoming light shone in the entry, but the main floor was otherwise dark, indicating that the servants had retired to their quarters for the night. Apparently Harlan Garrett had not yet returned from his dinner engagement. Scott had long since ceased to carry a timepiece in the evenings, but since this night had not exactly progressed as planned, he guessed that it might still be quite early yet.
He’d barely reached the leading edge of the wrought iron fence enclosing the Garrett estate when he heard a familiar voice impatiently calling his name.
As he turned, Scott sensed that perhaps his angry thoughts had drowned out a few other bids for his attention. Searching back through the shadows, he found an easily recognized silhouette descending the steps in front of the stately home located catercorner to his grandfather’s property. Scott tucked the Pinkerton man’s card inside his jacket and, casting one last glance towards his own darkened home, he crossed the street, moving diagonally towards the light flowing from the Hayfords’ residence.
“Good evening, Will,” he called out.
“Good evening, yourself. And, strangely enough, it is still evening, not morning yet . . . You’re home early, Scott. Are you feeling unwell?”
Scott smiled at the too solicitous words of his childhood friend. “Well enough . . . though your concern is touching.”
“I couldn’t believe it when I saw you coming down the street---on foot—and in quite a hurry. Do you by chance have time to stop in?”
Instead of answering the sardonic question, Scott simply opened the heavy gate and stepped through it, closing it firmly before proceeding up the brick walkway.
Will Hayford remained on the top step but one, the massive door of the front entrance standing ajar behind him. Although the other man stood in the shadows, Scott could see that Will was also attired in evening clothes, albeit minus a cravat and with the top buttons of his shirt unfastened. Will’s left arm stretched across his chest, his hand tucked beneath what remained of his right arm. The lower sleeve of the dress jacket was empty, the fabric pinned up to the shoulder.
“I take it things didn’t go well with your current ‘Lady of the Evening’?”
Scott removed his top hat and mounted the stairs. “Now Will,” he admonished his friend. “That is no way to refer to a young woman from a socially prominent family like ---”
Scott halted on one of the lower steps. “Have you been following me too?”
“Hardly,” was Will’s dry response. “I saw you and Barbara leave together.” He moved to go back inside, but turned to toss one more comment over his shoulder. “I also noticed Mr. Otis departing shortly thereafter . . . Did you have a nice visit?”
“I just barely managed to avoid him.”
Will laughed and led the way inside. Scott deposited his hat and walking stick on the seat of the elaborately carved mahogany hall tree and then proceeded to unfasten his cape. His friend disappeared briefly into the adjoining front room. By the time Scott had carefully hung his cape on the hook, Will had returned, carrying a cup and saucer in his hand. Eschewing the front parlor, the two young men proceeded along the hallway to the equally well-appointed, but more comfortable, Hayford sitting room.
“Coffee—or something stronger?”
In reply, Scott moved directly to the liquor table. Meanwhile, Will settled himself on one of the two sofas which faced each other, perpendicular to the fireplace.
There was one large lamp shining at the other end of the room, but the sofas were bathed only in the light from the logs burning on the hearth. The glow of the firelight illuminated Will Hayford’s scarred face and the black patch that covered his damaged right eye.
As an infantry captain during the War, Will had lost most of one arm and half of his vision on the blood-soaked battlefield at Gettysburg. He had also lost his brother, John. Captain John Hayford had been two years older than Will, who was two years older than Scott. Although George, the eldest Hayford, had distanced himself from them, the three younger boys had been constant childhood companions. Despite the straight blond hair that distinguished him from the brothers, each of whom sported brown curls, little “Scotty Lancer” had virtually become the “youngest Hayford”.
Will sipped his coffee as he contemplated his oldest friend, now pouring himself a generous glass of well-aged scotch from the bottle he’d selected. The black formal attire served to emphasize how thin Scott still was, five full years after returning from the War. No longer emaciated, but still, working with his grandfather all day and then staying out late so many nights . . .
“Your mother’s retired for the evening?” Scott inquired politely as he sipped at his drink.
“Yes, as soon as we got in. I had tomorrow free, so she has a full schedule planned.”
Scott nodded, then turned away to refill his glass, relieving Will of the need to mask his concerned scrutiny. There had been a time, not so long ago when they had each relied—too heavily—on alcohol to keep the demons at bay.
“You need it that badly?” Will asked softly.
Scott looked up then, with a faintly guilty expression. He raised his glass towards Will with a mildly defiant air. “My first of the evening. I never get drunk on champagne.”
“Well, don’t stay sober on my account.”
“You could join me.”
There was a hint of a challenge in Scott’s tone. Will wondered at that for a moment.
“This coffee’s strong enough,” he said finally.
They had shared a few drinks after dinner with Mr. Garrett, two evenings before. For some reason, Will had felt he’d had something to prove, and, in a studiedly casual tone, had requested brandy. He’d finished the first glass too quickly, and so had forced himself to savor the second. The sensations had been stronger even than he’d remembered. He would have accepted a third portion, but neither Scott nor his grandfather had offered one.
The next morning, he’d been glad of that. Having recently secured a position with a very prestigious law firm, Will had no desire to risk everything now by falling back into a bottle.
So he’d done his socializing this evening wholly unfortified—a challenge, but he’d survived. No need now to cloud his thinking, if Scott needed someone to talk to tonight.
Scott knew better than anyone exactly how far Will had fallen, the depths of his despair and self-pity. And anger. Will’s anger had been directed at the Army, at the War, at his dead brother John who had abandoned him on the battlefield at Gettysburg. The hard lump of anger inside of him had been like a well-packed powder keg, just sitting there, useless, yet always ready to explode, if someone were to unwittingly strike a match. There had been more than enough loose powder to provide a dusting of resentment for anyone who had returned from the War unscathed. Initially, his chief target had been his brother George, who had taken over their late father’s law office.
By the time that the War had ended, it had appeared that Will’s anger had been all used up, that there wasn’t anything left for Scott. But eventually Will had come to resent him as well, hate him even, for returning alive and whole, when he and John had not.
Other friends and acquaintances had already turned their backs on Will, weary of the maudlin, crippled, drunk he had become. When Scott had finally returned, Will had surprised himself by actually making an effort to resume the role of older and wiser brother. Of course it hadn’t been long before that hastily donned mask had fallen away. But Scott, thankfully, had been too stubborn to leave him alone, bearing Will’s anger in stoic fashion. In fact, for a time, Scott had almost seemed to welcome the invective he’d received in lieu of thanks for his efforts to “help.” What had finally made the difference was when Will had come to the realization that Scott also needed some assistance, that the younger man had his own scars, carefully hidden ones.
Tonight it was all too easy to see that there was something more bothering his friend than a lingering disappointment over the delightful Miss Otis. Will balanced the saucer on his knee, held the almost empty coffee cup in place, and waited.
Instead of throwing himself negligently against the back of the sofa, Scott sat forward, perched on the barest edge of the cushion, his elbows on his thighs as he contemplated the tumbler in his hands. Will kept his one eye fastened on the blond head.
Scott sipped at his drink, looked up and then quickly looked away. “So . . . tell me about . . . California.”
<<Finally,>> Will thought. It had taken long enough.
“Come with me . . . see it for yourself. You know I’m leaving in about six weeks.”
For the past several months, Will had been out West, traveling and interviewing with attorneys in San Francisco and Sacramento. He’d been asked to join the office of Wetherby and Franklin in the California capital, a firm with a reputation for rarely losing a case. He had returned to Boston for an extended visit with his family and friends, and to finalize things with his remaining clients, before returning to Sacramento for a fresh start.
Scott sat upright, loosening his cravat-- and then in one swift motion, drained his glass. Will sighed and looked away.
When Will glanced back, Scott had set his empty glass on the carpet at his feet and was holding something in one hand, a small card that he flipped across the space so that it landed on the cushion of the sofa opposite. Will had to reach back and deposit his cup and saucer on the console table behind him before he could pick up the card and examine it.
Scott nodded. “Yes. He was following me.”
“No. My father.”
Will was stunned, and made no effort to hide it.
“Shall I get you a refill?” he asked lightly, after a considerable pause, and then made as if to push himself up from his seat.
With an impatient gesture, Scott waved him off, then finally leaned back against the cushions, his head resting on the back of the sofa, his face angled up to the ceiling.
“So. . . what did he say?”
“He said . . . ‘Your father wants to see you’.”
The fire on the hearth popped and crackled. The light and shadows moved in rhythm with the flames. Scott gazed at the ceiling, waiting.
Scott lifted his head up a bit to answer, very deliberately, in the driest of tones. “The agent didn’t say.”
“Well, but surely he gave you a letter-- or a note--- from your father?”
Scott pointed a finger at Will. “He gave me--- that card.”
Will leaned forward and flipped it back across the space, hitting Scott in the chest. The small grey rectangle lay partially buried in the white ruffles of his dress shirt.
“There must have been some message.”
Scott looked down at the card, picked it up and studied it. Then he turned it over and stared at the back, which Will knew was blank. Certain that there was something more, Will waited for Scott to look up and say it.
“Just that he’s willing to pay me.”
“For travel expenses to California, and . . . ,” Scott sighed as he rubbed his thumb along the edge of the card.
“He’ll pay travel expenses--- and my father will also pay me . . . one thousand dollars for one hour of my time.”
“Damn,” was all Will could think of to say. He said it sympathetically.
Scott sat up and then turned to stare at the hearth. Will wouldn’t have been the least bit surprised if Scott had tossed the agent’s card into the flames--he’d surely memorized it by now, anyway—but Scott held on to it.
“And what else did the agent say?”
Scott pushed his bottom lip up, shrugged his shoulders. “Nothing.”
“You mean that you didn’t ask him anything.”
“No . . . I didn’t.”
The card followed Scott’s tie, disappearing into the pocket of his trousers.
Will reached his hand across his face and rubbed absently at the lower edge of his eye patch.
“Well, I asked a few questions, while I was in Sacramento,” he announced to Scott’s profile. A slight lift of the one visible eyebrow was the only response.
“The Lancer name is known. Apparently his ranch is quite sizeable.”
Scott nodded grimly. “Well, a thousand dollars is a lot of money.” He cocked a glance at Will. “Did anyone wonder why you were asking?”
Will smiled wryly. “I said that I had a friend who was a . . . distant relative.”
It was Scott’s own phrase, something he’d said once or twice in conversation when asked if he knew anyone living out West. If Scott recognized the echo now, he didn’t let on.
“Perhaps, once you’re settled, you might pay him a call,” Scott said as he stood up. His expression was unreadable, even to Will’s practiced eye.
“So you aren’t thinking of going?”
The answer came too quickly, Will realized, as he followed his friend to the foyer. He knew exactly how much Scott had once longed to hear from his father. And because he’d been there, purchasing his share of the rounds, Will could easily recall the precise evening when Scott had decided that he no longer cared.
“Well, Scott, if you change your mind, feel free to tell people you’re visiting me. There’s no need for everyone to know your personal business.”
Scott stopped at the hall tree to collect his belongings. “That won’t work with my grandfather,” he said, looking over his shoulder.
“I suppose not.” Will wondered whether or not Scott would tell Mr. Garrett about the evening’s encounter, but before he could address that topic, Scott settled his cape about his shoulders, then looked up as he fastened the ties.
“The man’s given me no cause to travel so far.”
Will nodded. If anything, Scott would view the offer of a one thousand dollar payment as some sort of a bribe ---and a reason not to go.
“Well . . . at least he sent the agent to find you.”
Scott gathered up his gloves and walking stick, then carefully settled his top hat on his head.
“Find me? Will-- I haven’t been lost.”
Will Hayford could have argued the point, but he didn’t. It was most unlikely that Scott’s father knew about any of that. As Will watched Scott descend the front steps, he considered that Murdoch Lancer couldn’t really know anything about his son at all-- for if he had, the man certainly would have sent a different sort of message entirely.
Scott moved restlessly about the darkened lower floor of the house. It was still too early to retire, and he would doubtless have more than the usual difficulty falling asleep this night. He’d wandered through the spacious dining room and on into the shadowy and silent kitchen before deciding that he wasn’t hungry, and didn’t need anything to eat.
Will’s observation about ‘needing’ a drink had rankled a bit, so Scott was determined to avoid the sitting room where his grandfather’s expensively stocked liquor cabinet was located. He tapped the fingers of one hand along the length of the smooth surface of the sideboard as he passed idly through the dining room once more.
<<“Your father wants to see you.”>>
Why the hell wasn’t he able to simply dismiss those words from his thoughts as easily as he’d dismissed that Pinkerton man?
With a small sigh, Scott started back down the corridor towards the front door. Upon entering, he’d deposited his hat, gloves, and walking stick on the table in the entryway, and then swiftly inspected the accumulation of calling cards. Seeing none with the distinctive Pinkerton logo, the eye embellished with the words “We Never Sleep,” he’d pulled the now crumpled grey card from his pocket, drawing with it an equally crumpled white cravat, and added both to the collection of items littering the tabletop. Having no intention of leaving his belongings strewn about, he now moved to retrieve them, but as he pocketed the card, the moonlight streaming through the windows of the front parlor caught his eye.
Stepping through the doorway, he saw the soft light of the rising new moon spilling through the tall windows, sending cool beams across the imported Indian carpet. The jewel–like hues that glowed so brightly in the daylight were now chilled to shades of ebony and ice, ivory and ash. Finally divesting himself of his cape, Scott slowly entered the room, carelessly tossing the frivolous garment over the back of a large wing chair standing just inside. Needing to hear the wooden sound of his own footsteps, he avoided the soft carpet and trod the roundabout pathway of polished planks, until he reached the closest window.
The street was deserted, at least the portion visible through the panes of glass and the bars of the wrought iron fence. Not that he really expected to spy a lone figure standing in the shadows. His message delivered, Agent Lawby had likely returned home; his assignment completed, the fortunate man was perhaps even now deep in an untroubled asleep.
When Scott turned to check the time displayed on the golden face of the ornate mantel clock, his eyes were almost instantly drawn to the large painting hanging above the fireplace, dominating the formal sitting room. As with the richly toned pattern of the carpet, the night and the moonlight had drained the colors from the portrait, transforming the pastels to shades of white and grey.
Her hair was silvered; the bouquet of pink roses in her lap dove-colored, the grass beneath her feet ashen, even the lace dress she wore was ghostly pale rather than a bright white. Despite these alterations, Catherine remained unconcerned, smiling serenely at a distant corner of the room. As always.
Scott pensively studied the picture, even though he had long ago committed to memory each and every detail. Of the three paintings of Catherine that graced the walls of this house, this one had always been his favorite. It was both the largest and the last for which she had sat, having been painted shortly before her marriage. It was the one in which she seemed the most happy.
There were two other images, daguerreotypes, one in his grandfather’s bedroom, the second on display in the elderly man’s study. Devoid as they were of color even in full daylight, they were less comfortably viewed visages, with those grey eyes--- lifelike yet not-- gazing calmly back at him. He didn’t know her; Catherine was a stranger. But a portion of his discomfort was no doubt a remnant of a little boy’s guilt over tiptoeing into those forbidden spaces in order to steal a look at her.
One of the daguerreotypes and the other two paintings depicted Catherine as a little girl, one who once could have been a favorite playmate, and now would be a child whose head he might pat, whose hand he would be careful to take hold of when crossing a busy street.
Frozen as she was in time, Scott was older now than Catherine had ever been.
His grandfather’s claim had easily been the stronger one, and when the elderly man spoke of her at all it was with great feeling. She was always “my daughter,” or “dear precious Catherine,” and much less often identified as “your mother.” She didn’t look like anyone’s mother, at least not in any of the pictures Scott had seen.
She’d always been “Catherine” to him.
Sitting down on the small sofa in front of the hearth, Scott briefly considered touching a match to the logs arranged on the andirons. Too much effort, he decided, as he wearily removed his shoes and swung his legs up onto the cushions. The carved wooden armrest beneath his head was uncomfortable, so he tugged at one of the decorative pillows wedged between his hip and the back of the settee, and applied it to the problem. Stretching out to his full length, he rested his stockinged feet upon the farther end of the sofa. With his arms folded across his chest, Scott contemplated the young woman’s three-quarter profile.
In this particular portrait, the oft remarked upon resemblance between mother and son was clearly visible. On canvas, Catherine’s face was petite and soft and feminine, while Scott’s own features were strong and sharp and masculine. But the likeness was there, nonetheless.
They’d never talked much about her. Questions about Catherine made Grandfather unhappy, and therefore it had seemed best to avoid them. So Scott had studied the images. He knew Catherine’s face so well, that were she to step down from the painting and make her way about the city, he fancied he might recognize her, even from a distance, on a busy street, or amongst a crowd of people, at the theater or the symphony.
Murdoch Lancer, on the other hand, well, not only had Scott never seen a picture of his father, he’d never even heard a physical description of the man, at least none that he remembered. For all he knew, Agent Lawby himself could have been his father.
As a boy, Scott had taken to studying his own image in the mirror, not out of vanity--- that would come later, in adolescence--- but in an effort to see something in his features that was not “Catherine,” that was not “Garrett,” but “Lancer.”
Although he hadn’t found any clues in his face, he had found two, in his hands. Scott’s eyes now fell upon his most likely legacy from Murdoch Lancer. Large, strong hands, with long fingers and oval nails. “Laborer’s hands,” his grandfather had termed them once, disparagingly, but their size had nonetheless condemned Scott to endless hours of piano lessons.
“You can always tell a gentleman by his hands, Scotty,” Grandfather was fond of saying, admonishing him to be attentive to his manicure. As was often the case, Scott had his own reasons for following the older man’s good advice.
He rubbed at his face with both hands now.
<<”Your father wants to see you.”>>
<<Well, I’m here, right where he left me.>>
It was not unheard of for a man to lose a wife to childbirth and subsequently reject the child; Murdoch Lancer would not be the first to have done so. Upon learning that he had been raised by his maternal grandfather, most people simply assumed that Scott was an orphan. Rarely was it necessary to disabuse them of that belief. But those who were apprised of his true situation had sometimes shared stories of “black sheep” uncles or other rogue relatives— comfortably distant ones—who had wantonly forsaken their families.
In Scott’s case, he was well aware that the life to which he had been “abandoned,” in the care of his attentive and wealthy grandfather, was one that many people would envy. He was certainly convinced that growing up in Boston was far preferable to the life he would have led on some dusty little ranch in far off California. But still he’d felt abandoned.
And angry. He’d hated Murdoch Lancer, at least as much as you could hate someone who was nothing more than a name. He’d proclaimed his hatred to Will and John, each time that a birthday came and went with no word from his father. He’d coldly announced it to Julie, in response to his fiancée’s curious questions.
<<Former fiancée>>, he reminded himself, with a pang of regret.
Julie had insisted that she intended to send a wedding announcement to his father, “to let him know what he was missing.” Despite a firm resolution to no longer care about such things, Scott had still tried to dissuade her. Of course he’d wondered if the notice might finally have elicited some communication from the man whose very existence had always been in question—until now.
<<“Your father wants to see you.”>>
Murdoch Lancer had finally deigned to acknowledge Scott, but with a coldly impersonal summons, clearly unconnected to any significant events in his son’s life. Did the man honestly expect a reply? Could he possibly think that Scott would just drop everything and hurry off to California?
There was really no reason to consider it. Even speaking to the agent would be more attention than Murdoch Lancer deserved, although Lawby at least had offered an invitation. Scott lifted himself up off of the sofa just enough to slip the card out of his pocket once more. Already it was worn, the edges dulled.
Absently fingering the small rectangle, Scott glanced up at the portrait.
Catherine continued to smile serenely as she gazed off into the distance.
<<My father . . . wants to see me.>>
He examined the card again.
There was a crease running through the center of the Pinkerton eye.
<<Do I want to see him?>>
As Scott closed his eyes and allowed his head to sink back against the pillow, the answer remained a cold and angry “No.”
When he woke up, sometime after midnight, he was still holding the damn card in his hand.
Author’s note: Will Hayford is an original character created for “Betrayal” a Lancer mystery story written by the “ScottLand Queens,” Sammi and Sharon. “Betrayal” can be found at Sharon’s Lancer website, http://www.geocities.com/scott_land_queen/fanfic.html .
You’ll also find photos for this story there, including a fictional version of the Pinkerton card.
Thanks for reading.