Are You Jealous (part three)
Reiff gave him a hard look. “The clock is broken. So long as this clock has been known, no one has found the part to fix it. But a part is nothing.”
“Ah. Is a part nothing?”
“I, through great luck, have come to own the clock. For my life, I have worked to solve it.”
Gabriel forced an effort. He had no idea what sort of exercise this was.
“For such an old clock, I would think, you’d have to make a part…fabricate one…you wouldn’t find anything.”
“You can of course make the part. If you know where the part must go. If you know what function the part must have. Now see.” Reiff pulled a remote control device from his pocket; he aimed at the blind on the shop window. Soundlessly, slats shifted, sunlight weakly filtered in. The street was empty. The clouds sagged, seeming nearly to touch the russet hills, seen beyond the plodding shabbiness of the neighborhood, with its brick buildings weeping mortar from their upper stories, flickering neon below. Yet Gabriel saw a small opening of blue sky, a blaze of setting sun, too painful to more than glance at.
Reiff said again, exactly as before, “You can of course make the part. If you know where the part must go. If you know what function the part must have.”
Another name cropped up. Saturday, Gabriel, at his end of the sofa, had been reading an article; while Eva, at hers, leafed through catalogs. She stood, gathered her recycling, went to the garage. Gabriel, submerged with the methane bubble which threatened to burst from thawing permafrost, blinked when Eva placed a note-card on the screen of his tablet. She’d reached around from behind…he hadn’t seen her come back in.
From the desk of Kuaia Bodmin-Hodges, it read.
Calligraphic script bumped over what looked like seed hulls and insect wings entombed in hand-pressed paper. The paper had been cut to the size of a large biscuit; it was held to another of its kind with a strip of raw linen. Ms. Bodmin-Hodges was a senior partner of Henderson Young’s antiques concern. On Presby’s behalf (though she called him McFadden, as though they were all become chummy), she wished to extend a personal warm invitation to Gabriel. He had no idea, now, who was hosting the event.
“I have to go early.”
Eva, wearing black, many layers, but all black, rooted in her bag. She pulled out her turquoise beads. She said, “Gabriel, do the clasp.” She had all her hair out for this day; normally she kept it bound in a scarf. He tried to not annoy her by tangling the metal fastenings. But, “Oh! Gabriel!” She repeated, “I have to go early. Henderson has a clock. I’m working with McFadden, anyway.”
Are You Jealous
(2014, Stephanie Foster)