Marlowe Spade: Consulting The Master (draft)
This is a continuation of this story here.
I decided to seek help. I wasn’t thinking straight and with the deadline and threat that the chief was imposing on me I had no time to lose. I needed another pair of eyes and ears and the only ones I could trust were those of a master – my master – the man who taught me almost everything I know about food and diagnosing conditions. That was twenty years ago and he was 70 then. He is almost 90 now and it’s two years since I last saw him. I used to visit him every year to pay my respects but I got busy with my police work and didn’t have time.
He lived in a modest home in a remote area, next to a nature preserve, where he often went for walks. He knew how to take care of himself and he was as strong as ever. He always looked 20 years younger than he really was. When he was 70 he looked like he was 50 and when I last saw him he looked like 70. I called ahead and left a message. He replied by texting me. He always seemed to be ahead of everything; knowing beforehand what was to come. He encouraged me to study the darker aspects of the power of food because he knew, without saying so, what would come about.
When I arrived he was out in his garden. I called to him and he looked up and gave his great smile from underneath his sun hat. He motioned me to enter the house. I did and without hesitation went into the living room and sat on the floor at the low table as I had done countless of times before. He shuffled in behind me carrying what looked like some greens that he had just picked. He sighed and without looking at me and moved toward the kitchen and said, “Aah Marlowe! I’ve been expecting you!”
“You have?” I replied.
“Yes, yes…I will get us some tea. Relax!”
He disappeared into the kitchen and came out almost immediately with a tray carrying a teapot and two cups. Apparently he had been waiting for me. “Yes, Marlowe,” he continued, “I have been following your progress. You are famous now – a ‘Food Detective’” and with that he gave out one of his hearty laughs. He always laughed liked that whenever one of his predictions came true.
“Yes, you were right! I do remember you saying that murder by food would happen. You said that 20 years ago!” I said, understanding his amusement.
“Yes, Marlowe but now you are – challenged – because you have encountered forces trying to stop you, no?” he asked.
“Yes, I have! But they don’t really concern me for the moment. It’s this case I’m working that bothers me.” I replied.
He poured the tea and handed me a cup. It was kukicha, as usual. “Yes, Marlowe, okay. Tell me about it.” He took his cup and sat back and closed his eyes. He was now in “listening mode.” He liked to listen with his eyes closed because he said that his eyes can deceive and interfere with hearing the truth. I recounted the full details of the case including my meeting with the chief and his concerns and threat, to which he nodded and smiled as if he had known about it.
After a few moments of silence he opened his eyes and asked, “Who is his Macrobiotic Counselor?”
“It’s John.” I replied and continued, “We did talk to him, naturally, and he was sad that it happened and offered whatever help he could. He knew about the victim’s heart condition but hadn’t been in touch with him in awhile. He wanted to contact him but was just too busy with other clients.”
He closed his eyes again. “Hmmmm,” he breathed out with a sigh. “Things are never always what they appear to be.”
“What are you saying?” I was surprised. “Are you implying that John had something to do with this? That is something that I would never consider in a million years. He has helped me before on a previous case and, besides, he is your own student!”
He opened his eyes again and looked straight at me. He was serious. “Being my student, does not mean anything. No offense intended. As much as I hope that my students strive to better the world, and as much as I encourage them, there is never any guarantee they actually will. That is why I stopped teaching and closed my center.”
“Oh? But I thought you wanted to retire.” I was puzzled.
“Yes, Marlowe,” he replied as he poured me another cup of tea. “That is what I let everyone think. I do not need retirement or rest. If my teaching was a guarantee to make this world a better place then I would still be doing it. But, even in my old age, I am still learning. I have come to learn and accept, as my own teachers had warned me, that all that one tries to do in this world is in vain. Life is vanity.”
“How can you say that? You’ve helped so many and they, in turn, have helped so many others. In fact, the reason why we have such great food laws today is due to your efforts and the efforts of your students, including John, by the way!” I retorted. ” And speaking of John, he is the most peaceful and positive-minded person I know. In fact, he is a highly respected Board member of the Temple of Positive Thought and often leads the Prayer For World Peace at their headquarters on Sundays.” As I was speaking I looked over at him and he was grinning. The more I spoke the bigger his grin became.
“Things are not always what they appear to be.” He said quietly and smiled again. “Have you heard of ‘thought assassins?’ You may want to research that, Marlowe. That is all for today. It is good to see you.” That was my cue to get up and thank him. I bowed and shook his hand. While still in his chair, he smiled and then closed his eyes and I quietly left, eager to research the clues he offered.
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