The Card

Yesterday was May 1st, also known as May Day, and we celebrated by going to an obscure little Bulgarian restaurant with the Man in the Porsche.

Allow me to explain.

Last week Laura and I were sitting a local coffee shop that is also a cyber cafe, still frantically trying to contact Father Tom or Tim Markle, poring over possible clues from Iza’s notebook and trying to hack into Iza’s laptop. All of these endeavors have been unsuccessful so far. Meanwhile, we’d become very worried about a Porsche that seemed to be following us, although we allowed that we were possibly being paranoid as it could have been the car of a UT student, and some of them visit the same few haunts every day, as do Laura and I. We have occasional delusions that we are in an action movie and possibly in real danger, and then we have a good laugh about it. We try not to think of the duffel bag full of cash.

I was reading a Wikipedia article about Adam Smith when a man walked up wearing expensive jeans and jacket and a cashmere scarf. He put a business card in front of me that said only “Martin” in stylized letters with a phone number below. “I can’t talk,” he said, putting the card on my keyboard, “Please call this number and set up an appointment.”

“Excuse me?” I asked, but he had left as quickly as he arrived.

After conferring with Laura we called the number, which turned out, quite oddly, to be this Bulgarian restaurant. We made reservations and showed up at 7:00 P.M. for supper, and sure enough, Martin was already seated at a table in the back corner.

“I’m here,” he said, “Because you’ve been trying to contact Father Tom. He has most certainly disappeared.”

“We emailed him,” Laura said, “but his email said he was in Paris.”

“He was in Paris, but he was supposed to update his email this week and it never happened.”

“What make you so sure something happened to him?”

“He hasn’t been returning even my most urgent messages.”

“Who are you?” I asked.

“Let’s just say that I’m an advisor of sorts. He is very important to me,” Martin said.

“Does this have anything to do with my sister Iza?”

Martin looked at me for a long minute and said, “You are Iza’s sister?”

“Yes! Do you know where she is?” I asked excitedly.

The waiter brought menus and Martin looked at his for a minute. Finally, he took a sip of water and said, “She is on an important mission. It’s quite secret. Tell me, have you ever heard of the Card Keepers?”

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