Thursday, March 3, 2011
They wrap up the discussion with Leah’s assertion that she’ll contact Clark. Jones is concerned that this is all part of some ploy by Clark to enact a trope — something to make Jones go all Taken on Rebecca or some such. To make it less obvious, she’ll call several people on her list with last-minute inquiries about their items, just so this appears to be a routine matter. After she leaves, Kevin awkwardly hangs around to make certain Jones is okay until he is finally certain Jones wants to be alone.
Kevin receives a phone call from Jimmy lessthanthree Brenda, indicating that he only just received his scrying back on Leah, but she’s clearly already returned. He also indicates that he found a hacker, a fellow in London called Webcrawler, and tells Kevin that he’s Webcrawler54 on Skype. He’s supposed to keep somewhat odd hours, though, so the eight-hour time difference probably won’t be a big deal.
As Leah prepares to call people on her auction list, Jimmy lessthanthree Brenda calls her, as well, letting her know that Kevin asked him to scry on her, and he just received the results. He saw her in New York City, and L.A., but that’s largely it.
Leah then begins calling people to ask for last-minute details regarding their auction items. Eventually, she arrives at Clark. She calls on the pretense of trying to get more information about the jewelry boxes, and he indicates there’s not much more than he’s already said — according to the estate agent from whom he bought them, they belonged to Jayne Mansfield, although he’s never authenticated or opened them. He indicates he heard about Leah’s misadventures in New York, and she indicates that something strange happened. He asks if they should meet to discuss things in person, and she agrees. They agree to meet at a coffee shop within the hour.
Before leaving, Leah calls Kevin to let him know where she’s headed, in case something bad happens. He expresses doubts about Rebecca’s motives, particularly since they know little about her other than her claim to be part of the Sleepers, and he wonders if she’s part of the Sect of the Naked Goddess having captured Jane for some nefarious purpose. As such, he warns Leah, “It might not even be Clark, it might be her cult of sexiness.” To which she replies, “Okay, if Clark grows tits, I’ll run.”
Leah meets Clark at a café, and she discusses how she met a homeless man in New York City and ended up following him to wherever her father was hiding, and how Jones helped them return. She inquires further about the boxes, and so Clark makes a confession: they’re not Jayne Mansfield’s jewelry boxes. Two are mundane boxes, but one contains all knowledge in the universe; a good way to go mad, but potentially useful to the right person. There are three of them as a shell game, a bit of misdirection to make them harder to track. He’s just trying to offload them through a secure channel so that they are away from him. After some conversation, she excuses herself to the restroom, calls Jones, and asks him again about how she ought to proceed, as she doesn’t think Clark is directly involved. Jones doesn’t trust him, but leaves it to Leah’s judgment about how much information to give Clark. She thinks a while on it, and then returns.
When she returns, she indicates that they have a problem. Jane’s been kidnapped. Clark recommends they find a more secure place to discuss this, and Leah asks if Clark’s home is free. He says it is, although he’s not sure if it’s secure. He recommends taking a walk outside, an old Mafia trick to avoid electronic surveillance, and Leah agrees.
Once outside, Leah explains that Jane was taken by someone named Rebecca Payne, about whom they know little other than she’s very scary. (Although Clark notes he’s hardly trifling, either.) As ransom, Rebecca has asked Jones to retrieve the boxes. Since this is his fault, Clark says he can fix it; he can use the summoning spell he previously mentioned to Leah. Jones shouldn’t have to do anything, other than meet him backstage at the auction. However, he doesn’t know how perturbed this Rebecca woman will be, and recommends Jones and Jane get out of town for a few days; Jones should be ready to leave immediately after he exits the auction house. Pay in cash, if possible. Clark will worry about Rebecca while he’s gone. He asks if Jones is being watched, and Leah says she doesn’t know. He quickly writes his instructions in a note and tells Leah to deliver it to Jones and destroy it afterwards.
Leah leaves Clark’s place to go see Jones. When she arrives, he’s been busy searching through the house in case it’s bugged, although he hasn’t found anything out of the ordinary. They communicate without speaking, by passing Clark’s note back and forth and writing messages on it; Jones is willing to abide by Clark’s instructions, but he recommends everybody skips town in the aftermath of the auction. Jones then burns the paper over his stove.
When Leah leaves, she contacts Clark to let him know everything is in place, and then returns to work on auction stuff. She also investigates if Lorenzo is heading anywhere in the next few weeks, and learns he has a photoshoot in the Czech Republic in roughly a week. She inquires if they might go a week early, and Lorenzo is on board.
Jones calls Kevin to let him know he ought to leave in the aftermath of this thing, whatever it is, and he asks where Jones is headed. Jones replies he’s headed east. After the conversation is complete, Kevin thinks on it and texts Jones on Willett’s burner phone to let Jones know he’ll be headed north.
Jones, annoyed that Kevin didn’t specify the secured line the first time, quietly revises his itinerary.
The next few days are busy, but subdued. Jones is sure to suggest at work that he might be gone for a few days early next week. He also packs clothes for him and Jane, also including cold weather stuff. Kevin suggests to Felicia and Otis that they get away to San Francisco for a couple of days, and they readily agree.
On Sunday, March 6, everyone is getting ready for the auction. Leah is at Bonhams in the morning, but everyone else begins appearing in the afternoon. Jasper, Pam, Mel, Mel’s wife and son, BJ, Bex, and Lorenzo are all in attendance, as are Jones and Kevin. Of note, Brigid, Clark, and a rather put-upon Edna are all in attendance. Later in the cocktail hour before the auction, Leah catches sight of Rebecca, apparently having come in the company of Robert Evans. She makes certain to greet Leah, and Leah makes certain to point her out to Clark.
When the auction begins, Clark meets with Jones and asks him if he wants to go backstage. They meet by a side exit facing an alley, and Clark props open the door so he can smoke. He proceeds to say that Jane probably isn’t worth all this trouble, and that she’s definitely been stepping out on Jones with half the L.A. occult underground. He says a few more nasty things about her before pausing and sighing, possibly at the sound of footsteps echoing in the alley. He then says, “She’s right behind me, isn’t she?” as she runs into view.
She grabs Clark and begins to explain that she’s escaped and needs help until she realizes that she recognizes him. He merely nods with a simple, “Jane. Jones and I were just talking about you.” Bewildered, she looks to Jones, and runs into the room to embrace him. Clark admonishes them to be careful, and Clark and Jones exchange nods.
Jones leads a somewhat confused Jane to his car parked out back, and they begin driving heading along Sunset Blvd. Jones explains what happened, and Jane indicates she was able to cause some tension between her guards to make good her escape. She says she’s fine, just angry; she wants to go back and punch Rebecca in the face, but she knows that won’t actually help anything. She’ll just try to rest for now.
Meanwhile, the auction proceeds in earnest. Being lesser items with a low starting bid, the lot with the jewelry boxes occurs early in the program. Kevin moves to the back of the room and invokes a spell to cause the gazes of those within the room to flow around him. When the bidding starts, a few people in the room pick at them, but the bidding largely comes down between Robert Evans, bidding for Rebecca, and an unknown Hispanic man — perhaps of Cuban ancestry? — whom neither Kevin nor Leah recognize. Every time Evans makes a bid, the unknown man exceeds it without flinching. Leah notes that Rebecca quietly seems increasingly perturbed, and that she also appears to be quietly scanning the room, probably for Jones.
Finally, the bidding stops, as Evans refuses to spend too much on these jewelry boxes. As the auctioneer is about to announce that they will go to the Cuban man, the proceedings are interrupted when three armed gunmen rush into the room.