“You’ve got to learn not to talk to clients that way,” scolded Scott as he slipped into the passenger seat of the 2003 Range Rover. The car—which Scott had affectionately taken to calling Clarence—was a British right-hand drive model. He’d bought the vehicle on a whim, and decided to take it for a spin. Across Europe.
Preston pushed through the fog on the windscreen, the sponge squeaking as it drew a path across the glass. “I told you they’d say it was witches.” The rain pelted the opposite side of the window, a constantly changing motif of streams and splashes. The relentless patter echoed through the car.
“He didn’t say it was witches,” corrected Scott, as he strapped the umbrella closed and dumped it behind his seat; droplets of rain flicked across the cream leather seats. “Not specifically, anyway."
“Either way, he’s a fool.” Preston inspected his glasses, wiping them dry with a handkerchief. “Why can these people not just listen to us from the beginning? It would save us a lot of time.”
“It’s not our place to tell them otherwise. We do our jobs …” Scott lifted his eyebrows at Preston.
“And show them otherwise. Yes, I know.” Preston adjusted the rearview mirror, observing the dark street over the trailer tent. “It doesn’t make him any less of a fool, though.” He switched on the wipers. They swung back and forth across the windscreen, disrupting the swirling pattern as he jammed the Range Rover into gear. It had been a year now and despite doing most of the driving duties, shifting gear left-handed just wasn’t sinking in. Signalling to the empty street well in advance, he pulled Clarence away from the kerb. “It irritates me how naive people can be.”
“Well leave them to their naivety until we have the evidence to prove them wrong,” said Scott, watching the houses as they passed by. The block was built predominantly of large, white colonials; rows upon rows of shuttered windows peering back at him. The Sandford’s Gothic Revival home stuck out like a sore thumb. Perhaps a poorly disguised wolf amongst the sheep …
“Where are we going?” asked Preston, “There was a motel not far from—”
“Do you think we’re towing a trailer tent for the ‘street cred’?” said Scott, pulling himself away from the passenger-side window.
“Well it’s raining, I thought you might prefer to—”
Scott pointed through the windscreen: “There should be a clearing not too much further up here.”
Preston cautiously peeled his eyes from the road, deeming a quizzical glance at Scott worth the risk. “Seriously? In this weather?”
“I’m afraid so.”
Preston gripped the wheel tightly, the cream-leather-wrapped plastic creaking as his hands twisted. “When I agreed to come on the road with you, living in a tent wasn’t part of the arrangement.”
Scott folded his arms. He relaxed into the headrest, closing his eyes. “Well, you’re welcome to go back to Indiana and your crummy little desk job.”