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Friday, January 27, 2023

F³ Get Stuffed

            Mr. Marrick, he wouldn’t give me his first name, was quite adamant about giving me any feathers. He wouldn’t. Despite loose feathers drifting through his small shop, he simply kept his arms folded over his blacksmith-sized chest and frowned at me through his moustache.

            “I don’t need many of them, just a handful of each variety,” I pled my case.

            “I need all the feathers. The king expects a delegation, and has chosen to gift them with pillows bearing the crests of their kingdom.”

            Ouch. Yeah, when the royalty gets involved, not even my sway as shamus will move things along.

            I pulled out my purse and plunked down a couple of silver coins.

            He shook his head at me.

            I reached for a couple of more.

            “You could place gold on top and it would not make a difference. The king’s coin has paid for all and is sufficient. I need hands. I have employed everyone I could from town, to no avail. In this shop I have two men and three boys stuffing cushions.”

            “What about hiring some women?”

            “Ha!” he barked. “I need their every hand for embroidering the cushions. I’ve twenty mothers and maidens working on them. I daresay their stitching will outpace our stuffing.”

            Which is how I found myself ramming a fistful of feathers into a pillow, trying not to inhale the floating feathers into my lungs.

Friday, January 20, 2023

F³ Scavenger Hunt

            It turned out that feathers were not easy to come by. The birds, especially their meat in a variety of dishes or raw, were plentiful, but not the feathers. It turned out that everyone who sold fowl had an arrangement to sell feathers to the mattress and pillow maker. Most of the townsfolk would never be able to afford a full mattress—those were reserved for the castle—but many people had pillows.

            I had enough coin I could probably afford one of those mattresses, but I had attempted to sleep on one of those mattresses in the castle, and they sagged horribly. It was like a giant, lumpy futon, certainly not like the gel memory foam I had in Brooklyn.

            Hell, I’d love me some innersprings, at this point.

            I shook thoughts of truly comfortable mattresses off as I tracked down the pillow maker’s shop. By the time this was all over, I’d have completed a giant scavenger hunt through almost all of the town’s shops. Hopefully, I wouldn’t have to do any swapping with this shop owner to get what I needed.

Friday, January 13, 2023

F³ The Answer

            I ran back to Evelyn’s, ignored Ranger’s attempt to bite me, and burst into the shop. Evelyn jumped, scattering a handful of bristles to the floor, then putting a hand to her chest.

“Don’t you have manners, Shamus? Near enough scared the spirit out of me.”

            “Sorry, Evelyn. I got excited. Feathers.”


            “Feathers!” I held out one of the errant feathers.

            I went over to the jars of fingerprint powders and lightly dipped the feather in, then proceeded to shake it over the table. It was hard to see from just the one feather, so I had to repeat it a few times.

            It works. Better than fox and badger. This is it!

            I smiled and put the feather down on the table authoritatively. “Feathers,” I declared.

            “What kind? Hen, duck, goose, or swan, or maybe something more exotic.”

            I opened my mouth, then closed it.

            Shit. Gotta do more testing.

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