“Just when I thought it would be something grand. I don’t do family drama. “ 

Lea pleaded, “ I can do anything, Signor. Do you need another housekeeper? Or a messenger? I can do what you ask. Just please.”

 Sal turned her head to the ground at the sight. Hearing the exchange made her squirm, even moreso coming from a woman who’d confidently lord over her and drag her everywhere she likes. She’d tried to tune out the woman’s pleas. 

Then, a pair of feet were in front of Sal. She averted her eyes, but soon found herself staring at the face of Sgr. Comaco regarding Lea and the constable in an expression she cannot place. His eyes were blank, his lips, remaining a thin line across his face as he swirled the reddish liquid in his glass. Is this how the Mercantile looked like during those conversations in the Casa? 

The man flashed a stare at Sal, as if arresting, caging Sal in them. It burned like a cat staring at her prey, ready to attack. 

Sal turned away.

 The man placed his other foot on the desk. “So, this Dario. The same chap who died in the Cuorre case is it? And you’re looking for the heirloom. Well, the only plausible thing is if the Signor Cuorre could arrange for his murder then it is no leap he could steal that thing you’re looking for too.” He leveled another glance at Sal. “Right, child?”

 Sal stayed quiet on her seat, eyes on the ground, as if the moment she does, he could see right through her. His words raisied so much unease.

“ This thing you ask of me is quite exciting. Even common people know of his case. I’ll be a celebrity if I dip my arse into their affairs.”

 Lea raised her voice, her feet rising from the ground. “That is simply nonsense! I mean, impossible. We only need a name.” 

“My only contact with this unfortunate chap would be through business. He wrote company letters and he consulted me once or maybe a few more times, but I know no one else he is affiliated with outside the Cuorre himself. Their office? Have you looked into that?” 

“ I have not.” 

“Oh! How unmindful of me. Either it was searched over already or guards will be over the place, but hey you could ask your constable buddy here to help you jump over.” He pointed again at the constable with a wide grin on his face. Only silence responded. “That aside, I should not like be the uncultured peasants who throw unbridled hatred on this man. After all, the case is still under trial, nothing has been proven yet despite what talks circulate. Should we give him the benefit of the doubt?” 

Sal kept her eyes on the ground ignoring the footsteps echoing across the room. They came louder and louder until a pair of feet in bright checkered trousers were in front of her, the Signor Comaco. 

“ What do you say about that?” 

Sal twiddled her fingers. It was the same sensation as being quizzed on a mistake you did while the other waiting for you to trip on your words until you admit your foolishness and misdeed. It was the knowledge that no matter how you try to lie, the truth will be dug out from you. 

Sal fumbled for an answer. “I do not know.” 

“Hmm. That is?” He was not satisfied. 

“People are saying he was a bad man.” 

“Kid, I’m not asking you to parrot the rumors. I’ve got enough of those. I’m asking if you think he was innocent.” 

The man plopped on the sofa beside Sal. “ Last night, I was reading this rather strange children’s tale about this rat and the dead lion. A rat snuck onto a lion’s den for its treasures. Not a peculiar thing, if you must. But don’t you think it must be odd for the rat to know every nook and cranny of the lion’s den? Was it even a rat?” The man turned to Sal. “ Perhaps you know the answer?”

 Sal shook her head. “I don’ know the Signor.” She gulped, spatting out the words as quick as she can. 


The man returned to the desk and at the shortest seconds he was not looking, Sal pulled at Lea’s skirt trail. She stared at her, looking into the same green eyes as hers, albeit stronger, bolder. But she was not. 

Lea responded by muttering that her head hurt and collapsed, plopping herself on the floor. 

The constable held him in his lap as he tried to rouse the woman in panic. He carried the woman on his arms, as he apologized for the intrusion and declined the Signor’s offers of a doctor. 

As Sal trailed by the door behind the two, she stopped. Will she ever get the chance to drop by this place again? She has already started her end o of the deal. Will it be naught to leave it hanging like that? A sense of disappointment for time lost and a yearning to follow what was started.

 Sal turned back to give the Signor a proper bow and goodbye. She stuttered, but she managed to eke out the words. “Perhaps there was another animal inside the lion’s den. Who else would know the rat was inside?”

 The man grinned. 

Sal felt his grin too dog-like, but she pressed on, the grin rousing as much both disgust and also a certain fascination. “You ask and yet you already know the answers.”

 Sal tried to look at the man, but despite him not towering so much over her and his clothing inviting so much attention, she failed. For as long as she knows, the Mercantile outside their Casa, in their furnished voices and polished, shiny conversations, their faces remain to her a blank shadow. She doesn’t truly know them. Neither has she seen his face either.

 “I do not know the Signor. “ Her chest beating at the sheer foolishness and honesty of it all. She never does truly know the Signor. 

The man leaned over the desk. “A second character inside the den huh? An interesting theory. “ He stepped off the desk,straightened his gait and set aside the wine. He straightened the name plate he toppled earlier. 

“ I would’ve given you some slack you foolish chaps, but you wound my pride. As you see-” He brought the name plate closer, then threw it across the floor, nearer where the three can see. “I’m not a Mercantile. I’m a man of the law.” The man continued, “ My superiors would kill me if I tampered with possible evidence.”The man flashed a wide smile. “Now, get out!” 

Lea and the constable were loud in voicing their disappointment, or at least Lea was. She kicked and yelled for awhile even as the constable hoisted her on his back. The constable’s bows and apologies were almost drowned out by Lea. The two kept on bickering outside. 

Sal stayed in, feeling it rude to disrupt the two but moreso resting on the feeling of being sorely mistaken. Also, how could such a shabby, indecent person be a man of the law? 

The man caught her stare. “Kid, if you’d stopped staring on the floor, you would have recognized me. You’re smart. Shame you’re also stupid.” The man leaned in closer. “Aren’t you going with them? I guess not. They holding you on a leash?” 

Sal twiddled her fingers as the man towered still over her. She struck a deal with Lea and the constable was loud. Only loud. 

“I trust you won’t stir trouble unlike the other two. After all you’re a sheep.” The man gave Sal’s head a good long pat before leaving the room. 

Sal took long look at the Signor Comaco’s messy office. She did not immediately follow the other two outside. She’s not a bold child, is she? Is she really?

SamCarreon Creator

Sgr. Comaco confronts Sal with a weighted question.