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Queen of Swords; a novel

Chapter XXII – The King of Cups

Mr. Babbish answers his own phone. Clearly, Mr. Babbish drinks too much. He threw me off because he didn’t say “BloodProof”, which are the words printed on the card I was holding right in front of my face, but some other name. Some name with “windows” in the title.

“Babbish? Is this Arnold Babbish?”

“That’s right.”

“Hello, my name is Whitney Quantreau and I’m calling you because I understand you wanted to spray for blood in Charmian Carr’s old residence?”

“Well, that was then,” he said shortly. “I lost my client.” Then, apparently realizing that he was not making the best of his opportunities, he said hopelessly, “I could text you a price list.”

I zeroed in on the client he had lost. “What happened to your client?”

“Well, seven years passed,” he said. “The family had their missing person declared dead. I guess they wanted her benefits or some such thing.”

The family wanted her benefits. The county wanted her house. And Pearleen wanted her dead. Looks like Charmian Carr was out of luck in every way that counted.

“You want I should text you that price list?” Mr. Babbish asked me perkily. I could hear him pouring Dutch courage in the background. “What did you say your name was?”

“Mrs. Quantreau.” I gave him my stepmother’s phone number.

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