Tuesday morning, Jacob closes his shop on the spur of the moment, which is hardly a rare occurrence for him, and then goes to the offices of the Winter administration. Walking a few blocks to the Hillsboro courthouse, he ducks in a little-used entrance that completely bypasses security and goes upstairs to the top floor of the building. Jammed in among the storage rooms and dust-choked spaces at the top of the building, there’s an office with a locked door. Jacob knocks persistently and, after a moment, is buzzed into the room.

Inside there are a few Winter changelings filing paperwork and going about the relatively boring business of running the court. Directly before Jacob is a buxom fairest seated at a desk. She’s dressed like a secretary from the 40s, including a red jacket and skirt and hair done up in an elaborate hairstyle, and she drums her fingers on the desk and chews gum as Jacob tiptoes into the room.

“Uh… hmmm. Hello. I’m here.”

“Uh huh.”

“Yes. I’m looking for someone who can help me with a Hedge problem.”

“Is this court business?”

“What’s that?”

“Court business. Are you on official court business or is this a personal inquiry?”

“Official business. I’m the—“

“That’s great, honey.” She pops her gum loudly. “If you need help with something related to the Hedge, you need to speak with Quick Slim.” She rattles off a string of contact information too quickly for Jacob to follow, then affects a bored expression as she repeats it while he copies it down on a pad of paper.

Before he goes, Jacob notices that the name plate on her desk says ‘MissInformation.’ He asks, “So do you just know everything about everyone?”

“Sheesh, sweety. I’m not omniscient. I only know everything I’ve read in the records here in the office. It’s a gift from my Keeper. And shouldn’t you be back running your shop?”

Jacob hustles out of the office and back to his shop. There, he picks one of the many phones plugged in on a desk and calls the man called Quick Slim. A nasal voice greets him and tells him that if he wants to talk, they should meet at the Best Buy in Tanasbourne at 5:30. Jacob calls Shika and she passes the message to Waconda. Dim calls Waconda from a pay phone later that afternoon and they all prepare to meet the Hedge guide at Best Buy.


Petals of the Rose Malkom Malkom