“The Collection of M. Amber Tillmann: Last of the Tillmann Collectors,” Jeff read. “Very nice.”

“It’s already on the auction house schedule, but we need to get everything catalogued, photographed, assessed, appraised, and moved out of here before then,” Essie said. “That’s why we hired you and your crew.”

“Uh-huh,” Jeff said. “And we’ll get it done. But I like having all the information before I start a job. Why’d your usual crew quit?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Essie said, indignant.

“Okay, pack it up,” Jeff said. “We’re leaving.”

“Okay, okay, okay,” Essie cried stepping in front of the exit. “Look, we usually have Forrestal’s boys handle this, all right? But they all quit on us day before yesterday and we’re desperate.”


“I don’t know! This place is old and full of weird old stuff,” Essie said. She flipped up one corner of a sheet covering one of Ms. Tillmann’s artifacts and read the brass plate beneath it. “Maybe reading the names scared them off. But really, what does ‘Electro-Mechanical Messiah’ even mean?”

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