Farley and i should be at cabin 4 by now. I live in cabin 12, and 4 is only a half mile away around a corner. There are sixteen cabins that go with this motel, one of which is where the owners, Mark and Julia Johnson, live. The others, besides mine, are rented to guests from June 1st to August 30th, and from December 30th to March 28th. The buildings are spread far and wide, not built right in a row like you’d think. Cabin 2 is closer to my place than 4. I’ve worked here for a few years, but i don’t know who designed and built this place. I’ve never thought to ask, but now i’m curious.
Farley, where on earth are we? We passed Mark and Julia’s awhile ago. Cabin 4 isn’t where it should be.
I stop dead and grab Farley’s arm. He looks at me and says, how could we have got lost, Tarling? I feel as though the cabins have up and moved on their own. Traded places. Number 4 should be just past that big white pine, but it’s not.
I’m wearing warm clothes, but i shiver.
Do you think Julia saw you? If she did, she wouldn’t recognize you, would she? You did arrive to pick me up a different way than usual. How did you get here anyway? Why didn’t you use the linen closet entrance? I keep it empty for that reason.
No, Julia didn’t see me. I know for sure. Guess i just wanted to knock on your door for once. Be out in the open. I wanted to accomplish something tonight instead of always watching and waiting. It’s become ludicrous.
Farley, it’s been ludicrous for a long, long time! I wonder if Julia will ever give herself away or make a mistake.
It starts to rain, and Farley says, you know, i don’t want us to walk around in circles all night trying to find 4. It’ll be a wild goose chase. I suspect Julia is playing a game, and she’s moved the cabins around, perhaps even made a few disappear for awhile. Could anyone have told her about you and why you’re really here, Tarling?
I cringe at the thought.
No, Farley. I don’t think so.
Then it occurs to me that i should tell him about Daire’s visit. I know that he went to see Julia before he came to see me. As far as i know, Daire is on The Agency’s side, but i’m also well aware that he and Julia were once lovers. He has a weakness for her and her.. talents. But i decide against telling Farley. I need to think about what to do for myself. This whole mission is unorganized, and therefore frightening.
I say, Farley, why don’t we walk back to my cabin and we can cook together. We always enjoy that. I have the ingredients for your favorite beef stroganoff and a bottle of a good pinot noir.
We turn around and walk toward cabin 12. Farley opens his umbrella and we share. It’s pouring buckets. I see cabin 4, but i look away and say nothing. I’m not in the mood anymore. I want to cook a meal and serve Mr. Farley Friday a lot of wine. I want to get him to talk. He’s not telling me everything, and that won’t do. He’s right though. Someone.. maybe Julia, or someone else, moved the cabins around for who knows what purpose. Cabin 4 is now where cabin 7 was.
We get to my place, and i unlock the door. I start. Farley says, did you leave a radio on, Tarling?
I realize there’s music coming from my bedroom. It’s Prokofiev. Seems i have another visitor.
I may have left the TV on. Have a seat, Farley, and i’ll check.
I hang our coats, Farley sits in the winged armchair, and i go to my room to check. The music stops, but i turn on the TV to sirius classical music for Farley’s benefit.
Yes, i left the TV on. I forgot. Just let me change, then i’ll pour us some wine.
I go to my closet to retieve something dry and comfy, and i wonder who was here. I turn to my dresser to brush my hair, and i see it. A note on folded lavender stationery. I open it, and it reads.. Lovely Tarling, how i’ve missed you. When you’re done cavorting with Farley Friday, i’ll be waiting. Try not to take too long. Just signal me with five taps on your linen closet door. We have a lot to discuss and plans to make. No need to worry about Daire. He’ll be a cat for awhile longer. Yours soon, Duncan de Seckcee.
Oh my! My desire to ply Farley with wine has flown out the window! Sexy Duncan. Now, how to get Mr. Friday to go. He obviously can’t exit through the closet. He might run into Duncan on his way out!