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The Waiting Room

~ Chapter Eighty-One

Sorry, Mr. Barrie

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The day was drawing to a close. Soon they all knew that the darkness would be on them and tomorrow they would all be back, doing what they always did, the same routines, the same problems, looking at the same faces.

So it came as a surprise when there was a knock on the door.

Many of them glanced at their watches and saw that there would only be a few moments left before oblivion drifted over them.

The only one who had not noticed the time or the knock was James Barrie. He was busy with Porthos, talking quietly and listening to the growls and grunts of the creature.

As usual, Wood called out for the visitor to enter.

Another shocked surprise filled each of them as Noodlemantra entered. But this time he did not push along the cart as he had done so many times in the past. This time he carried a small, brown package, wrapped in string. When Noodlemantra stepped into the Room Wood broke out into song:

“Brown paper packages tied up with strings,
these are a few of my favorite things!”

The director recited the lines from “Sound of Music.” The Room booed him.

“Ah, thanks for the constructive criticism. Next time, a little ditty from “Cabaret”!” Wood threatened.

ON rolled his eyes. The Room never ceased to amaze him. He never knew what he was walking into. With his delivery beneath his arm, he crossed the room and plopped the package down next to Dean’s other books.

“Another one so soon?” Dean questioned as he dragged the wrapped package to him. “Doesn’t he ever sleep?” He regretted the question. Of course he slept. That was when they slept…that was when they fell into 'the darkness', as some of them called it.

“This is not a regular book delivery. You’re going to be surprised at what he’s reading now.” ON quipped.

Dean fussed with the knots, trying first to untie them, then tried to break the string with his bare hands.

Seeing his dilemma, Edward cautiously went to Dean’s table and stood quietly, waiting to be acknowledged. He had felt a bit better approaching the men after his talk with ON, when he had given his package to be delivered to Switzerland, Florida. But he had yet to gain the courage to ask if Dean needed his help.

Edward’s eyes remained downcast as he waited patiently.

Dean glanced up when ON cleared his throat and saw the man rolling his eyes to his left, indicating he should look. Dean followed with his own gaze and saw Scissorhands standing, not saying a word. He looked back to ON who gave him a look as if to say, “Ask for his help”.

The book collector nodded his understanding and pushed the tied package towards Edward.

“Could you help me out here, Edward? Seems they used industrial strength to tie this damn thing up.”

Edward waved his scissorhands in excitement as he positioned himself and slid the string between the opened blades. With a quick motion and snip, the string fell away.

“Thanks, buddy,” Dean said. “Want to stick around and see what came?”

Uncertain, Edward looked to ON who nodded, assuring the outcast that it was okay to stay and watch.

“Thank you.” Edward said quietly.

The book collector pulled away the clipped string then unfolded the brown wrapping away from the package. “What the f--?” Dean stopped mid sentence as he became conscious of the innocence of Edward and not accustomed to such language.

Dean looked up at ON.

“This is a joke, right?” He asked, looking down at the delivered items, then back up to ON. “He’s messing with us now, right? He’s out there laughing his ass off, isn’t he? Oh, sorry Edward, didn’t mean to cuss…but this? This is ludicrous.”

Dean reached down and pulled up what appeared to be a thin magazine to eyes that were watching. A very thin magazine.

“You trying to tell me he’s reading comic books now?” Dean flapped the comic in the air to make a point.

“No, not just any magazines. These,” ON nodded towards the comic in his hand. “Madman series. Guy who's brought back from the dead, scarred body, iffy memory, fights crime, falls in love, etc. etc. Seems an old friend is interested in making a movie out of them and has offered the part to Mr. Depp.”

Dean threw the comic back into the pile disgusted. “At this rate I will never figure out what it takes to get us out of this room for good. I don’t think I even know what I’m looking for. I feel like I’ve walked through the ninth gate of hell.”

ON left Dean with his thoughts. He began to make his way to Barrie but was sidetracked by the constable, Ichabod Crane.

“Could you be so kind, Mr. Noodlemantra, as to see to it that Constable Hozro gets this evidence package. Very important. I feel she has the means to help me solve a small puzzle that has been nagging me for several days. Driving me mad. If I didn’t know better, I was losing sleep over it.”

“Of course,” ON replied. “I most certainly will see to it that it is delivered.” As he said the last he double checked the address to make sure it was clearly written, otherwise it could easily get lost in the hustle and bustle of the postal delivery service.

Now came the hard part of his job. He bid Crane a good night and turned back to Barrie. The author was softly talking to the bear, scratching its' head. It was obvious they were both enjoying each other’s company.

ON let go a breath then went to the author.

Barrie looked up to see him standing there, a forlorn look upon his face.

“What is it, Mr. Noodlemantra? Do ye have a delivery for me? I wasn’t expecting any packages, but I surely will accept any if ye got ‘em.” Barrie stood waiting to see what need ON had of him.

“Sorry, Mr. Barrie. I don’t have a delivery for you. I have to do a pickup.”

A confused look crossed the Scotsman’s face.

“Pick-up? Nay, Mr. Noodlemantra. Ye must have crossed yer information somehow. I got no pick-up for ye, as ye can see.” Barrie spread his hands out to show they were empty. “I’ve got nothin’ to send out of here.”

“Sorry, Mr. Barrie, but you do.” Noodlemantra took another deep breath.

“I’m here for the bear. I have to take Porthos with me.”


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