“I do hope you noticed this daringly careful man is wearing his white shirt open at the collar,” said Bartholomew Blunt.
“Indeed, I do,” said Samuel Sharpe. “As I am sure you immediately perceived that this fearfully brave man, dressed in all black, is at your disposal.”
Blunt grinned as they both opened their lounge chairs. He asked Samuel if he was prepared to prance forth this fine day, as was their habit, for yet another trek into dreamland.
“Without dreams we are nothing,” said Sharpe.
“In our dreams we will always be everything we want and can be,” said Blunt.
“I brought along some gifts,” said Sharpe. “A couple of corn-cob pipes as befits our statures. With Mapleton tobacco no less,” he added. “Our hillbilly looks will belie our worldliness. It never pays to show who you really are.”
“My favorite terbaccy,” said Blunt who had never smoked a pipe in his life.
“As it is mine,” said Sharpe, who was wondering just exactly how did one actually hold a corn-cob pipe.
“Would you like to solve a crime today?” said Blunt, who had always aspired to be a detective.
“You know I would,” said Sharpe, who liked to pander to the same dreams as Blunt.
And as they both leaned back in their chaises and closed their lids in order to shield their eyes from the sun, Samuel Sharpe asked Bartholomew Blunt if they should put the operation into gear immediately, and if they did, what kind of crime did Blunt think they should delve into this fine day?
“Diamonds,” said Blunt without a second’s hesitation.
“Why diamonds?” said Sharpe.
“Why not diamonds?” said Blunt.
Captain Elias Young glowered at them under impatiently lowered lids while chomping and puffing on his La Gloria Cubana Coleccion Reserva cigar, which, at seven bucks a pop, was not exactly a cheap habit to newly acquire. He asked them what the devil took them so long to get there.
“We did not know you were waiting for us,” said Sharpe.
“We were dozing,” said Blunt.
“To what do you owe the honor of our summoned presence?” they said in unison.
They were looking at the captain as if with newly opened eyes. There was an air of self-assurance as well as a hint of anger in his eyes. There was a tone in his voice. He had affected a slight English accent. Was he adopting an air of sophistication? And if so … to what purpose?
“Do you remember Louise Gallante?” he said.
“We do,” said Blunt. “She was the one accused of slicing her husband’s throat.”
“One might say she got away with murder,” said Sharpe.
“Turns out she was guilty as sin,” said Elias Young. “But I couldn’t prove it, though I knew you both knew. Or perhaps I didn’t want to prove it. My men found her old computer in the garbage. Hard-drive missing. Probably swimming somewhere in the ocean. Checked phone records and school records, but without her computer, we had nothing.”
“And why did you not want to prove it?” said Blunt.
“Yes. Please do apprise us,” said Sharpe.
Elias Young sighed the sigh of one burdened with more baggage than one should have to endure. “She is my cousin once removed on my father’s side,” he said. “My uncle’s first wife died and he remarried and had Louise with his second wife. Even though I knew you were protecting her, I told my people to lay off.”
“You were close?” said Sharpe.
“We had a little thing together when we were young,” said Young. “But nobody ever knew. It was our dark secret.”
“Interesting,” said Bartholomew Blunt.
“And you called us why?” said Samuel Sharpe.
“Got a problem,” said the captain. “Can’t solve it. Calling in the two of you because I know you can. No pretty girls in this one. No relatives to stand in the way. So, I don’t have to worry about your heads ruling your hearts and your actions ruling my mind. It has to do with missing diamonds. Interested?”
Blunt and Sharpe sat bolt upright. Interested? Is that what they meant when they would say that something was a masterpiece of English understatement?
“Do tell us more,” said Bartholomew Blunt.
“Yes. By all means elucidate,” said Samuel Sharpe.