The top beaver took off the hat that had been somehow obscuring his whiskered face, then said, “I know you’re not here to catch up, Imelda. So, what drove you to visit the Bruxtan brothers?”
“Certainly not the weather down here, ” the woman said, fixing her hair with the aid of a half mirror hanging beside the door. “I swear, I can feel my hair curling in this wretched humidity.”
The bottom beaver tapped his finger on an imaginary watch. “You had better not be here just to waste our time. We have a client who needs us to be out in the main lobby, monitoring a guest.”
Putting a last stray strand of hair back into place, Imelda turned back to the beaver. “There’s a job.”
“There’s always a job,” the top beaver snorted. “A guy just has to know where to look.”
“This one is special.”
The brothers would have laughed if someone had told them that under normal circumstances; laughed and walked away. But this was Imelda talking, and she’d been in the business for what – 25, 30 years? She was as much of a professional as one could get, her reputation spotless in all the right places.
“Special?” The middle brother repeated.
The woman brushed a bit of lint off one of her tidy gloves as if she were talking to them over tea. “Hapsfeld sent me.”
There was a sudden moment of absolute silence in the room – music could be heard from the lobby, slight strains slipping beneath the door.
Finally, the top brother managed to say, “No, Hapsfeld’s dead. He died five years ago.”
Imelda shrugged. “I believed the same. But he isn’t. He didn’t.” She bent over and slipped off her shoe, pulled the folded up piece of paper from its place at the bottom. The woman handed the paper to the top beaver and crossed her arms. “And there’s your proof.”
The beaver looked down at the paper with suspicion written all over his face. His eyes grew wide as he unfolded it and stared at its contents; then he passed it down to his brothers, who gaped at it in awe. The bottom brother folded the paper back up again before handing it back to the woman and asking, “So he’s back in the business?”
“Oh yes,” Imelda replied, slipping the paper back under her foot. “And he’s ready to challenge the chain of command.”
That put an eager gleam in the eyes of the brothers. The middle one asked, “He wants us for this job, then?”
“Your names were among the first on the list. But I don’t have the authority to give you any more information than that.”
After a moment of deliberation, the top brother announced, “We’ll take the offer. Our current job isn’t worth half as much as Hapsfeld’s is gonna be. We want in.”
Imelda gave a thin-lipped smile. “Good. I didn’t think you three would take much convincing. You’re all intelligent beings. Now, if you’re ready . . . let’s go retrieve the others.”