Keeping House

The old man had his feet up on the desk and his head buried in a fashion magazine when I came in so I didn’t even try to make conversation—he wouldn’t have heard me, anyway. Instead I busied myself with the mail, which was mostly bills, though we did get a very nice thank you note from one of our more recent sociopaths. I was sharpening the knives when he snapped the rag closed and lowered his feet to the floor with a thump.

“Fashion week in New York,” he observed wistfully, eyes still full of stars.

“Why don’t you go some time? Wouldn’t kill you to take a vacation once in a while. Nothing here I couldn’t handle for a week or two.”

He waved it away, the damned homebody. I doubt he’d been further east than Danville any time the last fifteen years, and only then under duress, not that there wasn’t an inch of the seven counties he didn’t know intimately. Naturally I had to suffer through him expounding on what was coming out this year; all greek to me, who couldn’t tell a placket from a peplum, but then listening to him natter was one of the things he paid me for.

I was wrist deep in one of the big rifles when the dead drop pinged. He was leaning over me to check it before I could even wipe my hands off; say what you will, the old man moves fast when he wants to.


He growled a laugh, all business now. “Blood tonight, Ms. Preminger.” Which suited me down to the ground.