Welcome to The Book of Bones, a weekly adventure story. If you’re just joining the story, click here for Chapter 1.
Bones sat on a picnic table overlooking the Rio Grande as it wended its way through the parched landscape of northern New Mexico. The Sangre de Cristo Mountains formed a spectacular backdrop, but he was in no mood to admire the scenery. Jessie and Amanda stood nearby, watching over him like a pair of guards. His stomach doing flip-flops, he took out his phone and made the call. He was pleasantly surprised when Avery Halsey answered on the first ring.
“If you’re calling for bail money, try my brother.” Aside from being one of Bones’ exes, Avery was also the sister of his friend and business partner, Dane Maddock.
“And a good afternoon to you too. What makes you think I’m in jail?”
“Just messing with you. But seriously, I can’t imagine anything good coming from you, Willis, and Matt together in Vegas.”
“Well, I haven’t actually gotten there yet. Engine trouble.”
“Sorry, but I can’t help you with that. I don’t even know how to change oil.”
“Actually, I need a different favor.” The line went silent and Bones thought he’d dropped the call. “Are you there?”
“Yes,” she replied in monotone. “Here I thought we might be getting to the point where I might friendly check-in call from you, but as usual, you want something from me.”
Bones heard a giggle and turned to see Jessie covering her mouth.
Stop eavesdropping, he mouthed.
“It’s not like that. You know I wouldn’t call unless it was serious business.”
“You’re off on another one of your adventures, aren’t you? You can’t even drive to Vegas without running afoul of someone along the way.”
“I swear I don’t do it on purpose.”
“Sure.” Sarcasm dripped from the single word. “Is there a girl involved?”
“Two, actually.” Bones could have kicked himself. Why had he blurted that out.
Avery, for her part, actually found the admission amusing. “Unsurprising, but refreshingly honest. Now, what is it you need? It better not be something that will get me in trouble with the boss.” Avery was now part of the Myrmidon Squad, a CIA unit led by old friend Tam Broderick.
“I need to talk with Kirk Krueger. I know the Myrmidons helped him hide after…” He glanced at Amanda and Jessie, who both looked on with interest. “…after, you know.” Krueger was a pseudo scientist who specialized in alien contact with the Egyptians, but his base of esoteric knowledge was broad. Not too long ago he had aided Bones and Maddock in a search for the lost city of Atlantis, and the repercussions had forced him to go into hiding.
“I can’t tell you where he is,” Avery said.
“Can you just put me in touch with him. That’s all I need.”
A deep sigh on the other end of the line. “All right I’ll reach out to him and see if he’s willing to talk with you.”
“That would be great. You sure it won’t get you in trouble with Tam?”
“We helped Krueger hide, but he’s still his own person. It’s up to him to decide.” She paused. “Just to be safe, let’s not tell anybody about this… aside from your new girlfriends, of course.”
“They’re not my girlfriends,” Bones said quickly, eliciting tiny laughs from Jessie, Amanda, and Avery.
“Mark my words. One of them will be by the end of this. And a couple months from now, she’ll be your ex.”
They exchanged perfunctory goodbyes and hung up. Now the waiting began.
“So Avery’s another ex-girlfriend?” Jessie asked.
“How’d you meet this one?” Amanda asked. “Were you out looking for the Loch Ness Monster or something?”
“Looking for treasure on Oak Island,” he muttered.
Amanda barked a laugh. “You are truly a one-trick pony.”
Jessie gaped at him. “So, all this treasure hunting and stuff is for real? You weren’t just trying to impress me?”
“I’ll tell you later,” Bones said.
“I couldn’t help but hear some of her end of the conversation,” Amanda said.
“Because you were trying to hear,” Bones retorted.
“Naturally. I am a reporter after all. Anyway, who is this brother she’s talking about?”
Bones rolled his eyes. “She’s Maddock’s sister.”
Now it was Amanda’s turn to gape. “Maddock has a sister? And you thought it would be a good idea to date her?”
“Well, Maddock’s engaged to my sister.”
Just then his phone vibrated, bringing the conversation to an end, though probably a temporary one. It was text message from Krueger. He read it, a grin spreading across his face.
“What is it?” Amanda asked.
“Road trip.” He stood and headed for the car.
“You’re awfully happy,” Jessie said, falling into step with him. “Where are we going?”
“Somewhere I’ve always wanted to visit.”