Raven’s Run 138

He was tall and rawboned, with a bushy blond beard, long hair, dressed in jeans and a U-2 tee shirt, with a relaxed and bemused expression that said “American.” He should have been fit and strong; you could tell by his bone structure that he had the genes for it. But he hadn’t done the work, so everything looked soft and toneless.

I walked up to him and said, “I’m Ian Gunn.”

He stuck out his hand and said he was Ron Anders. Of Norwegian ancestry, even though his folks lived in Kentucky now. He had come for the summer, and had taken up with a girl from his home state that played Appalachian dulcimer. That was why he was wandering around with musicians. He couldn’t play a note or carry a tune himself. That was how he had come across the flyer with Raven’s picture on it and why he had been keeping an eye out for her ever since. 

I listened with what patience I could muster. I was afraid that if I stopped his rambling, I might not get him talking again. I needn’t have worried about that.

He had gotten the flyer in Copenhagen, and that was three weeks ago, and he had not seen hide nor hair of Raven from that day until just two days ago when he had seen her here.

“Where? Where exactly did you see her?”

He would show me. But first, he wanted to be sure that he would get the reward. It was important to him. He tried to tell me why, but I couldn’t listen any longer. I gave him my card. I gave him Senator Cabral’s card. I wrote him an IOU that said if he showed me Raven, I would personally see to it that he got his money. He nodded over the paper, then had me sign it, even though it was in my handwriting. Then he folded it carefully and put it into his wallet and said, “Come along this way.”

He led me up Karl Johans Gate north from the train station through a fashionable pedestrians-only walkway. Within half a mile we came to a small park with a large triple fountain beneath columns of young, well kept trees. The grassy strip was a hundred feet wide and a block long, dotted with benches of concrete and steel.

Ron Anders gestured and said, “This is where I saw her. Two nights ago. She was with a guy who played violin.”

“A blonde guy? Well built? Good looking? Hardanger fiddle?”

“Yeah, that sounds like him,” Anders said, “but what kind of fiddle are you talking about?”

I shook my head. “And you call yourself a Norwegian. Was his violin decorated with ink drawings and did it have eight tuning pegs.”

“Man, I don’t know. Who notices things like that?”

Not Ron, certainly. 

It was only eight in the morning. There would not be many street musicians until later in the day, and the best of them might not come out until afternoon. I asked Ron where they were staying.

“I don’t know. I didn’t talk to them.”

No need to ask why. He hadn’t wanted Raven to call Marseilles herself and screw up his chance at the reward money. more tomorrow


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