Casus Belli

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Jake And The Black Man

Jimmy then pulls out a picture that Sam drew. It's a textbook crayon image of a disturbed or abused child. Two people are lying on the ground with blood pouring out of them, even their heads, and big monsters with bloody mouths are surrounding the house. At least I think they're monsters -- one looks like a blue Snoopy and the other looks like SpongeBob SquarePants with horns. There's a kid in the window of the house screaming, "Help me!" Jimmy states the obvious: "I'm not a psychiatrist, but that really looks like a kid dealing with some kind of trauma." Trauma, like a nuclear disaster trauma? Darcy echoes my thoughts as she points out, "Thirty million people died a few months ago -- I'll bet there's kids all over the country still trying to process that." Jimmy agrees that could be the case, but he thinks the picture is so specific -- "Bodies, a house." Darcy quickly says that she'll talk to Sam when he comes by after school. So Emily couldn't get the school thing to take, but other teachers could? Not surprising.

Somewhere in the bowels of Mary's bar, Mayor Dad pours sand out of copper tubing and explains, "Sand keeps the copper from buckling." Mary asks, as Dad sucks on the tubing, "Where did you learn this?" Same place he learned about salt. "Well, like most things that are fun and illegal, from my dad," Mayor Dad explains. I think my dad is falling down on the job. Mary and Dad joke that the stories Eric has told her about him are true. "You remember that book, something about women are from Venus and men are wrong?" Mayor Dad asks, beginning a weird train of thought. He swears he didn't read the book, but he flipped through Mom's copy of it. Mom is SO the woman who would own, quote from, and commit to memory Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. Anyway, Dad's point is that sometimes men need to go and hole up in a cave somewhere, and if they can't find a cave, they'll make one. I guess his point is that Eric went and made a cave? Mary shrugs and says lightly that she's sure that's all it is. Mayor Dad continues to fiddle with the copper tubing and tells her that Eric's absence and idiocy isn't her fault. It wasn't anybody's fault, and he thinks Eric is figuring that out. This whole thing about men needing caves to squat in would make Eric seem really deep if it didn't come out that actually Eric's not in a cave, he's in a cell, and it's not necessarily of his own making.

Back in New Bern, Jake and Hawkins are led through The Factory. Constantino explains, "This place is the only reason why New Bern made it through the Depression -- this factory whistles like a heartbeat to this town." Not to get all Kenchy, but if your heart is whistling, it's not a healthy sign. Zing-zinging heartstrings, good. Whistles, not so much. Constantino points the way to where the turbines were made, and Voucher steps out from behind some boxes to meet them. Ted is right on his heels. Jake calls out to him and explains to Hawkins that they met him at Black Jack. He's good people. "Good news," Voucher says. "This man knows where your brother is." How convenient. "Really? Where?" Jake says, totally feigning happy surprise. "Um, Eric went home," Ted says calmly. "He and Heather, both -- they left this morning." Hawkins nods and smiles at Ted. He's so not buying it; his look is vintage "oh, reeeeeally?" "Home? To Jericho?" Jake asks. Hawkins asks, "Why would they do that?" It's amazing how Hawkins can ask the simplest, most obvious, most non-intrusive questions, but his voice takes on this "don't EVEN think of yanking me" tone. I'll bet he learned that in the CIA. Constantino stares Hawkins down, as Hawkins wonders why Eric and Heather didn't leave with the convoy. Ted shrugs that Heather had to talk Eric into leaving, and by then, the convoy was gone, so he loaned them his car and rifle. "They're probably back in Jericho by now," Ted says blandly. "Hm," Jake says, seeming to accept this news. Hawkins also nods pleasantly. "Right," Voucher says, figuring they've got these Jerichoians hoodwinked. Ted reaches for Jake's hand, shakes it, and then grips his forearm with his other hand, "Hope they're okay." Ted TOTALLY slipped Jake something there -- he had to! There's no way Jake's buying this, and there's no way Ted thinks Jake's buying this. In fact, his very blandness is a sure sign that he's not telling the truth. Get me -- I'm suddenly CIA! A few guys in yellow slickers with reflective strips come up and say that they have to clear the building. Hawkins asks what's up, and Constantino says that one of their machines overheated and caught part of the building on fire. Hawkins nods. He's not buying anything coming out of Constantino's mouth. Constantino says that Deputy Perkins will escort them out of town. Ah, that's Voucher's real name, and thus we can solve more of the mysterious map and determine that, for now, Russell is still good! "Aw, no, we don't need to be escorted," Hawkins says, almost jocularly. "It's policy," Constantino says, also smiling. "You're big on policy," Hawkins says instantly. Constantino's smile dies, and his sunken lips thin under his beard. "We almost lost everything when Ravenwood came through here," he says. "I'm big on anything that keeps us alive." Constantino stalks off. Deputy Perkins beckons Hawkins and Jake to follow him. Jake thanks Ted and follows.

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