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.