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A Sausage McMuffin with Egg, and a Gun at Percy’s Side

That day was icily cold and was wind-blasted off the sea. 


Percy and Abornazine descended from Percy’s F-150 into the only slightly plowed parking area of the Machias, Maine, McDonalds, slogged through the ankle-high drifts and into the familiar atmosphere of warm fast-food, happy chatter, bustling teenagers, a few quiet old couples in booths, and the ready exchange of cash and cards. 


Percy ignored the new automatic ordering stations – he preferred humans – and bellied up to the counter.  He held up two fingers. 


         “Two Sausage McMuffin with Egg meals, 2 black coffees, for here.”


         Percy shifted his hip so that his holstered Colt 1911 was plainly visible both to the clerk and to the surrounding crowd.  The chatter fell slightly away.  College-age teens don’t really like being nearby to guns. 


 

Percy pointed to an open booth near the outer door and muttered to the clerk, “We’ll be over there.”


         “Yeah.”


         “Bring it over, could you?”


         “Yeah.”


         “We’ll be waiting.”


         “Yeah.”


         Percy opened his wallet again. “Extra five.”


         It appeared that the clerk didn’t quite know what to do.  Percy said, “You keep it.  It’s a tip.”


         A little brightening of the clerk’s face.  “Mine?”


         “What I just said.”


         “Why?”


         “I want to.”


         The clerk hesitated, then said, “Thank you.”


         “Bring extra hash browns when you come.”


         “A-yuh.”

        


Percy and Abornazine settled at the booth.  The Passamaquoddy pulled out some napkins from a dispenser and wiped the surface down.  The two men were trying to find a girl, whom Abornazine had seen on the street two days before.  Round, red hair, Native complexion, back eyes, carrying an empty clam basket, wearing army boots untied – good boobs. 


“Think we’ll find her?” Percy asked.


Abornazine shrugged.  “Maybe need to follow her up onto the mountain, cocoa mountain.”


         “Where she lives?”


         Abornazine shrugged again.  “Used to be a lot of camps up there, hunting cabins.”


         The clerk came by with a plastic tray and their breakfasts.  “Thank you, men,” he said shyly. 


         Abornazine asked him, “We’re looking for a girl.  Maybe you’ve seen her.  She’s be a woman to you, late twenties.  Native, red hair, with an empty clam basket and army books unlaced.  Nice round figure.  You seen anyone like that?”


         The clerk thought a minute and shook his head.  “I just came on a half hour ago. No. I don’t think so.”


         “Going to save her, if we can find her.”


         “Save her?  You cops?”


         “Nah.  But she’s in trouble.  She’s hanging with a guy might kill her.  We believe he did kill another girl.”


         “Around here?”


         Percy shook his head.  “Near Augusta.”


         The clerk looked up and away as though just having encountered a different world from his accustomed McDonald’s fast-food world.  “Hard to believe this stuff,” is what he muttered looking down again at the men who had tipped him. 


         “Anything I can do to help?”


         Abornazine reached behind his shoulder and pulled his long, straight, black hair forward and loosely curled it down the front of his chest, said, “Keep your eyes open for her – just as I described her.  Don’t do anything.  And if she’s with a big guy – bigger than me – absolutely don’t do anything.  But if you see them drive away – you know cars?”


         The clerk nodded.


         “Kinda note the make, model, year, and color.  We’ll be back in the afternoon.  When you off?”


         “Three.”


         Abornazine said to Percy, “Give him a paper.  My name on it.” Percy did.  “Leave me a note if you see her and him – describe the car.  It’d be helpful to us as a start.”


         “Okay.  Cliff comes on after me.  Shorter than me, blond hair.  If I have something for you on the note, I’ll give it to him, for you, and tell him you’ll ask after him.”


         “It’s a plan.”


         The clerk hesitated then asked, “More coffee?”


         Each man said, “Yes.”


         When the coffee came back, they shook hands.


         Percy said, “Thank you for your help.  And look – this is important – remember.  Don’t do anything.  Just make notes and write them down afterwards.  Do not interfere.”


         Abornazine put in, “Maine plates?  New Hampshire?  Mass?  Hell, who knows?  Connecticut?  Damned New York?”


         “Yeah, I get it.”


         Percy said, “And put your name and phone number on the note.”


         The man smiled.  “Like TV.”


         Percy shook his head.  “Life is not like TV.”


         “Oh! Right.”


 

        

         When they were back in Percy’s F-150, Percy asked Abornazine, “What you think?  Think we’ll find her?”


         “Need to.”


         “Glad Starr’s not here this trip.”


         “Why?”


         “Don’t want Starr in the middle of this, if there’s a fight.”


         Abornazine was quiet for a bit, looking out the window.  “That man’s dangerous.  Could kill that woman.  Would probably like to.”


         Percy nodded.  “Gotta stop him.”


         Abornazine sighed.  “That’s how we save her.”



 

EGG ISLAND: Death is Your Choice is available now at Amazon.com!

DOWNEAST: This Blessed Assurance, the second in the Percy Black series, will be released mid-January 2024.

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