In The Name of Lynch

-Chapter 09: A Helpful Walk-

As Jack Murray poured coffee for himself and his wife, he hummed the jingle for the Zlin Coffee Pot .

"We know anything about your brother other than the fact that his adoptive father is named Caleb?" he asked as he added sugar to his own cup.

Ai took her cup and added a drop of flavored creamer. "Not really. You know, that guy at the diner was called Caleb. Think it might be him?"

"Doubt it," Jack decided. "Too coincidental."

He seemed thoughful as he sipped his coffee. "On the other hand, its not impossible. And it wouldn't hurt to ask. But what would we say? It's be a bit tacky to just blurt it out, don't you think?"

"Normally I'd say yes. But it feels like we've got to get this family reunion set up as quickly as possible. There's no time for pussyfooting."

"Well, why don't we go to the diner for lunch, then," Jack suggested. "We can ask about it then."

Ai smiled. "In the meantime, we can look about town and see about getting a few souvenirs. I need a new charm for my keychain."

"Your dad, Ped Xing I mean, won't be too pleased when he sees it. Most of the stuff around here is made by Zlin."

"I know, Ai smiled. "But that can't be helped. This place is Zlin territory."

After they'd washed their coffee cups and put them in the strainer to dry, Ai and Jack Murray locked up their vacation cabin and headed into town.

A few of the shops weren't open yet, so they walked further on until they reached the area where most of the houses were located.

After being in business with Zik Zak for years, Ai was not afraid to approach people to find out what she wanted. Asking the tough questions was what got you results when you worked for the world's largest megacorporation. When she saw a young woman in her mid thirties delivering milk to one of the houses, she decided to find out what she knew. Delivery people, after all, at least knew the names and addresses of the people on their route. It would be a good place to start.

"Good morning," she called out with a friendly wave.

The deliverywoman stood up from her drop-off and smiled. "Morning! New in town?"

"Just visiting," Ai told her "Honeymoon. We came into town too early for anything to open, so we decided to walk around the neighborhood and see the place."

"You ought to put down roots here. It's a nice little town. I moved here five years ago. My name's Jayne. Jayne Matthews."

"You know a lot of people here?"

"A few," Jayne smiled. "Mostly the folks on my route. But I've made friends with a couple of people from the next county who work in town."

"Know anyone named Caleb?"

Jayne thought about it for a moment, then smiled as she caught on. "Looking for your brother, are you?"

"How...?" Jack began.

Jayne's smile widened. "It comes with this job. When a young man or woman approaches somebody who most likely knows the names and addresses of just about everyone in town and asks if they know somebody, they're either looking for an old classmate from school or a long-lost relative. I'm guessing that you want the latter."

"Yes," Ai admitted. "Caleb is his adoptive father."

"That would be the Burgesses," Jayne told her. "Decent family. But Caleb won't be at their house today. This is Sunday and he spends his weekends working at his aunt's dairy."

"Not the dairy you work for is it?" Jack inquired.

"No," Jayne admitted. "I work for Potts' Farm, which delivers to this end of town. Old Sadie Eccleston runs the one you're looking for. Which place are you staying at?"

Ai told her.

"Well, you're not too far from there, then," Jayne told them. "If you travel three miles west of your cabin, you'll see a little brook with a covered bridge. Sadie's farm is just over that bridge and a quarter mile down the old dirt road."

"Thank you," Ai smiled. "Is there anything I should know about my brother before I introduce myself? Anything that might upset or annoy him?"

"Nah," Jayne smiled. "Olly's a pretty relaxed young man. Hardworking and sort of serious. But not above a good joke and friendly chit-chat. I think you'll find him very easy to get along with."

"Thanks," Ai told her. "If we do decide to move here I'll look you up for deliveries."

Jayne took out a small card. "Here. It's old-fashioned I know, but..."

"If it ain't broke..." Ai went on...

"Don't fix it," all three of them laughed.

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