(click individual photos above for captions)
“It’s just…I thought you’d choose a name with more gravitas,” the detective sniffled in a hushed tone, her vision flickering as it bounced around the hotel lobby. She was aware, of course, that Holloway owned the property, along with every third building in Los Altos; if the alleged immortal wished to remain undisturbed, then no one would dare approach them. “Something with titles, honorifics. ‘Theodore Holloway’ sounds perfectly ordinary.”
“Absolutely”, the slender, dapper gentleman opposite her replied, a dessert wine glass cradled expertly in his hand. “That name could be a brand of paint! But I’ve discovered over the centuries, Detective Morse, that I rather enjoy the anonymity. I didn’t exactly emerge from the caves as Theodore, you know.” His grin and its sister, the charming wink, were subtle enough that Morse nearly failed to realize she was in danger of becoming ensorcelled. Nearly. “My mother selected ‘Gruugnikk’ when I first walked the Earth. When Rome fell, I was registered under the name ‘Appuis Tiburtius.’ And the 60s—well, I’m a tad embarrassed by my decisions back then. People knew me as ‘Lyric Miracle,’ if you can believe that.”
“I’m fairly certain, Mr. Holloway, that I don’t believe that—or much of anything else,” Morse said. The words leapt out with more force than she’d intended, but not unkindly. “The 1960s?”
“Oh, goodness, no. The 1660s! What a hoot. The English monarchy returned to fashion, Louis built Versailles, Isaac discovered gravity…”
“You knew Isaac Newton.”
“Well, naturally! Who do you suppose funded his research? Commissioned a fireproof lab table after his dog accidentally burned all those field notes? Lovely man. A decent tipper, rather pleasant singing voice.”
The detective sensed her will and her posture weakening; she slumped into her chair. “I’m sorry, Mr. Holloway. I’m trying to accept what you’re claiming at face value. I truly am. But you have to understand that it sounds a bit—”
“Detective Morse, I would doubt your merits if you didn’t hold a fair degree of skepticism,” Holloway said, dabbing his napkin at his mouth daintily. “But I assure you that my net worth was maintained through entirely legal means. I predate banks, you see, so my interest is…sizable.” He glanced at his phone, then began to rise. “I’m pleased to assist the Los Altos Police Department with wrapping up this misunderstanding, but I’m afraid I’m running late for two essential appointments this evening. Shall we meet for lunch tomorrow afternoon?” He reached underneath the table. Morse expected a fine Italian leather briefcase to emerge, but confusion swept her face when the immortal produced a small maple case with a brass latch instead, as well as a copy of Tyra Banks’s ModelLand.
“But…where are you headed?”
“Why, to my piccolo lesson, of course!” And with an excited hop, Theodore Holloway rushed to his 2013 Toyota Corolla, leaving Morse to trace her thoughts as they echoed through the empty lobby.
“The Chief is going to adore this,” she mumbled. She already knew her lunch order for the following day.
Done as a request from @monicajbradbury and inspired by this @scalzi tweet:
Want to see everything I’ve created in the same place? Because you can do that!