the Goliard
To No Avail Slaps the Tale - A Jordan Dane Mystery
* Chapter One
* Interlude One
* Chapter Two
* Chapter Three
* Chapter Four
* Chapter Five
* Chapter Six
* Chapter Seven
* Chapter Eight
* Chapter Nine
* Chapter Ten
* Chapter Eleven
* Chapter Twelve
* Chapter Thirteen


To No Avail
      Slaps the Tail - Chapter Six

Jordan determined quickly that the wounds in R.P.'s neck were mostly superficial due to the protective scruff and found most of them scabbed over sufficiently so as not to be too worrisome. Assorted deeper gashes on the puppy's back and forepaws were still oozing and pussing however and Jordan cut away fur to let in some air and swabbed at them with hydrogen peroxide and iodine. A more serious consideration was that roughly half of the puppy's left ear had been torn away and the remaining flap had swollen up to give him a lopsided dog-earred look that, Jordan knew would later reverse itself to the other side when the severed vessel returned to scale. While she clipped, cleaned, anesthetized, and salved, Debra Finkelstein held R.P. steady and chattered to shame the jays.

"I guess we haven't been getting along all that well lately but Ira's never just jetted like this for the whole night. I totally can't, I mean I can NOT fathom what he might have been thinking. I mean shitdamnit it's not like we're back in New York, you know in the city. I mean back in the City, in the Village I mean, he'd be with his boys and have a place to crash but he hardly knows anybody here to hang with 'cept for me. He just hasn't gelled with the local people; you know, gotten down with the folks here like I have. With me, it was like from the first time I flew in here, it was just like, I belonged, you know? But when I showed up with Ira he just couldn't seem to fit in like you and I do."

Jordan accepted this without comment.

"With me, it was like from the minute I got off the plane people were nodding and saying hey hey like they'd known me my whole life but it didn't happen that way with Ira. People around here are in tune you know and can sense that he has some sort of big assed chip on his shoulder, that's what I think it is. Just the way he walks is so, I don't know, forced or burly or something that makes people look at him funny and his hair isn't doing anything at all and he just... he's just not, I don't know, down or something, like I am. You know, its just like I'm coming into my own I guess you'd say. Maybe Ira just loves New York too much you know and I guess I do too, I mean I do love that city but I guess I love it here more right now. I mean I need to be here at this time in my life, like I just need a break from the east coast bullshit for awhile. Can you understand? To mellow out a bit and let life just happen to me for awhile....."

Deb was showing no signs of coming up for air and as Jordan snipped away at R.P.'s clotted scruff searching to expose more hidden abrasions she suddenly was reminded of a bumper sticker she'd seen the weekend before during a drive up to Boulder.

She'd headed North hoping to surprise her boyfriend Seth and catch a show featuring the latest rendition of his band. The gig at the Flat Iron Club was supposed to be his last show for awhile and Jordan had assumed (hoped) he'd want to come down to the mesa for some R and R and spend some quality time with her for a change. She'd noticed the sticker, which adorned the bumper of a ratty-topped jeep as she was waiting at a stop light in Golden near the Coors Brewery. It said "If you love New York, Take I-70 East." And, it occurred to Jordan suddenly, that Seth had ended up doing exactly that, although not because of any love that she knew of for the Big Apple.

He'd told her after the show that the band had landed gigs in Manhattan (Kansas not New York) as well as Columbia and Lawrence. So, instead of returning to Telluride with Jordan as she had planned, Seth was getting back in his bus and heading down the freeway in the opposite direction. And Jordan, instead of accepting invitations to stay with friends, had followed the bus along Baseline Road to the edge of town before turning up Boulder Canyon and making the winding six-hour trek back to Telluride alone.
Jordan wondered now, as Deb continued her diatribe, if Seth, like Ira, felt for some reason that he didn't fit in to the Telluride scene or if he was deciding it was Jordan that he didn't fit with. Suddenly she looked down and noticed that she had been snipping away far too much fur and R.P. was beginning to resemble a little black lion king.

"Hold his head still," she snapped unreasonably at Deb who stopped talking just long enough to whisper soothingly to R.P. and itch his groggy snout before resuming a monologue regarding how awesome she found the local Reggae music scene to be and how she really felt natural and comfortable hanging out with the dread crowd that lived in the busses parked above town.

Apparently Deb, who was too young in Jordan's estimation to have her musical prognostications taken all that seriously, was sure that Reggae represented the next wave and was convinced that some of the crowd who hung out up in the busses would be caught up right in the middle of the movement. Even though the bus dwellers were too cool to care about such things. Or maybe couldn't care for religious reasons, Deb didn't really understand all of that part of it yet but she was going to get to the bottom of it soon. Deb didn't explain why she was so confident about all this but said she definitely had a hunch about it. They just looked the part for what would be the next "in" thing.

Jordan, who'd been listening to many of them play in various combinations for years, couldn't really say she disagreed.

Jordan certainly didn't picture Seth's band representing the next wave of anything despite his confidence that he was destined for fame and success. Especially since, if the most recent show was any indication, they seemed to be performing nothing but 70's covers. Jordan, too young during most of the seventies to do anything but listen to the radio and absorb the canned musical tastes of others before graduating to her first Go Gos album in junior high and eventually following the Grateful Dead into the nineties, couldn't fathom the phenomena. Apparently, the 70's sound was seeing resurgence with the college crowd. Seth had explained this to her backstage while she was helping tote and load the band's gear.

"Gotta make the rounds in the college towns," he had said. "Gotta be seen. It's where the minds are fresh and the future is now. And it's where Seth Death and his Jet Set simply must lay it down."

Jordan fought the suspicion that fresh minds wasn't all Seth liked about college towns which wasn't easy as she recalled the hoards of coeds in ridiculous shoes crowding the Flat Iron stage and then, later, lurking around the tour bus. She grimaced as she suddenly heard Deb saying "Of course he can just pull that stupid bus over and sleep anywhere he wants to."

Startled, Jordan thought Deb had infiltrated her musings and spoke of the refurbished diaper delivery van that served as the Jet Set tour vehicle. But of course Deb had resumed talking about Ira.

"Maybe he drove into town, drank too much, and just passed out on a side street either inside of his bus or outside of it in a ditch or something. That would be a best case. I need him to come home. For one thing I don't have any goddamned transportation. What the Hell am I supposed to do out here in the boonies without any wheels, that's what I'm wanting to know. I suppose I might end up having to cruise into town and beg Rasta Jones to let me move into one of those busses. In fact, come to think of it, maybe you could give R.P. and me a ride up there later on if Ira doesn't show his guilty ass soon. I'm not going to sit here and wait for him all day that's for damn sure."

"Do you guys have a phone." Jordan asked absently. She knew that telephone cables had only recently been run out to the mesa and many homes hadn't gotten the chance to get hooked up. Others didn't want to.

"Sure, we both have cellulars but I guess they don't always work. They're always trying to roam around the stupid mountains or something."

"And you said he never came back from the walk?"

"No I said he did come back. He must have because the bus is gone. After I ran down the hill I waited for him but he never came and I was afraid to go back up because of those goddamned wolves. Only thing I can think is that Ira went around the other way and just got in the bus and left before I got there. At first I was glad because I'm getting worried about his temper. I mean it's not like back in the city. Back in the City, everyone is so uptight that someone is always shouting shit in your face for no reason and you know, Ira just sort of blended in, but you can see that it's so peaceful here and the only person I've heard shout anything lately has been Ira. Anyway, when I finally got down to the house nobody was there. He didn't take anything with him as far as I could tell and I thought he might have just gone to Shorty's on a beer run or something. He's been drinking an awful lot lately also and sometimes I wish he would just..."

"Wait a minute," Jordan cut in, "He didn't take extra clothes with him or anything? How about money or his wallet?"

Deb's answer was surrounded and drowned by Jordan's ringing phone. Answering it, she raised an eyebrow at Deb. It was Sherman Proud on the other end asking if Jordan could come over and look at one of his dogs. It seemed that one of them had been badly mauled in some kind of fight and wouldn't stop bleeding.

"I'd like to see the animal that pulled this off," Sherman was blurting into the phone. "It must be a deep wound because the blood won't stop dripping out of his neck. That damn cougar of yours wasn't off her leash again last night was she?"

Assuming Sherman had talked to his wife about the encounter with R.P. Jordan inquired what had come over his dogs that they were out attacking everything in sight, not to mention being off their leashes. She reminded him that if he wasn't even going to bother following his own ridiculous laws than nobody else was very likely to start. When Sherman admitted in a reluctant, abashed voice that he hadn't seen his wife since the night before and his dogs must have gotten out somehow, Jordan was all attention. He'd assumed the whole time that they were with Rosemary somewhere until one of them suddenly showed up whimpering and bleeding. He didn't say if he'd seen the other one or speculate where he thought his wife might be.

So both Ira Gold and Rosemary Rosewater had gone missing? Jordan briefly considered the possibility that they may have run off somewhere together but if the tale Deb Finkelstein had spun were true that didn't make a whole lot of sense. Then again pairings in Telluride rarely did. Something strange was going on, of that Jordan was now sure. That Ira and Rosemary had run off together and R.P., while trying to keep his ears on his head, had ripped into a major artery in the neck of one of Sherman's wolves, made up the least surprising set of explanations that Jordan could think of and both were scenarios that seemed highly unlikely. Not that, in Jordan's opinion, both Sherman and Deb weren't worth fleeing into the night to get away from. Looking at R.P., however, as he lay on her kitchen table licking himself and one of Jordan's homemade doggie treats alternately, he certainly didn't look capable of doing much harm.

She assured Sherman she'd be over as soon as she could, right after she ran Deb and R.P. down to their cabin and then clicked off the connection before sliding the phone in the pocket of her hiking shorts. She had the feeling she wasn't done using it that day.

Chapter Seven

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