Messenger 11: Therapy
When the cab finally arrived at the address Caper had given, I was surprised to see that it was a familiar location. “I thought we were going to see the therapist,” I said.
“But this is The Chaser.”
“Yeah. You met Rachael the other night, didn’t you? She’s who we’re coming to see.”
“The bartender? She has professional training as a therapist?”
“Nope,” he said cheerfully. “But she’s good at listening.”
When we stepped inside I noticed that the place seemed conspicuously empty. Only Rachael was there, already behind the bar and pulling out glasses for us. “Is it usually this dead here?” I asked.
“Only when it needs to be,” said Rachael. “Caper let me know you guys were coming. I cleared out the place out early.” She poured me a drink and set it in front of me. “Now here, Messenger. Drink up. Let it out.”
I glanced at Caper. “Don’t worry, she knows,” he said, clapping me on the shoulder. “I’m gonna step out for a smoke. You lovebirds have fun while I’m gone.”
I looked at Rachael as Caper left. “So…you’re aware?” I asked. “About, you know…”
“About pretty much all of it,” she said. “I’ve known Caper for a while. Even longer than Poe has, actually.”
“Oh?” I took a drink and Rachael failed to hide her smile at the face I made at the taste. “So you’d know how he got involved with the, uh…the Electi Filii?”
“Oh, Messi, no one knows Caper that well. Maybe not even Caper himself. Come on, now. This is your time to vent, not to ask questions. Oh, and sip, don’t gulp.”
I stared at the drink, took a small sip, and set it off to the side. “So this is ‘therapy,’ huh?” Rachael nodded. “And it’s all completely confidential?” Another nod. I took another small sip, sighed, and then took a deep breath.
I let everything just spill out. My frustrations with the job. Hyde’s death. About my brother and how I got wrapped up in this in the first place. Rachael didn’t make any comments. She just nodded, urged me to go on, and listened. That’s all I needed. Half an hour later, I was wiping away tears. Caper entered, saw my face, and pulled me to my feet.
“Come on, man,” he said, pulling me into a hug. “It’s all right. It’ll get better. You just have to stick with it. It’ll get easier soon.”
I nodded. The words sounded right. I only realized afterward that they were the exact opposite of what I wanted to hear.
Turtle is now a little rebel who visits bars even though he is only twenty years old. One specific bar, that is. After far too few leads, I’ve hit gold by discovering that Ms. Rachael still works at The Chaser.
I swung by on a Friday night. On reflection, a less busy time might have been smarter. I can’t exactly order anything and the bartenders don’t really like when you’re taking up space at the bar and aren’t planning on ordering. I finally got the chance to talk to Rachael, though.
“What can I get you?” she asked.
“Information on The Messenger.”
She didn’t react. “We don’t have a drink with that name.”
“Please. I know you know who I’m talking about. He’s part of the Electi Filii.”
She looked at me for a few seconds, sizing me up before smiling. “And who’s asking?”
“I’m…Turtle. I’m asking for Mr. Justice. Kind of. He wants me to assemble his journal. He doesn’t know I’m here.”
“Is Justice really doing that? Interesting. Unfortunately, I can’t help you, Turtle.”
“I can’t help you, but I can direct you to people who can. Ask Maurice.”
She gave me an amused smile. “Wrong answer. Keep reading. You’ll find out.”
She left to attend to other customers then. I went back. Checked the documents again. Control-F. No Maurice. Either Rachael is giving me a bad tip, or Maurice is still stuck on The Messenger’s hard drive. I’m going to bet on the latter, meaning it’s even more important that I get in now.
 This is the first time Mr. Messenger has made any comment about how he ended up in the Filii. So naturally, it’s frustratingly vague and unhelpful. ~T