Truth. Justice. Minesweeper.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Last week I was reading some James Property paperwork. I don't actually do anything for the company, but I get some of the mail anyway. Such as a map of this building. I like maps. This secret basement wasn't on it, of course, but I could see the place where it was. Strange thing, though; we've got a lot of space down here and from what I could tell we were right up against the edge of the property.

I put the map down and looked around the office. I had never been in Greyghost's office (no point; he doesn't have any lights in there) so I didn't know how big it was, but if it's bigger than your average kitchen it's overlapping under someone else's land.

This was about when I became Sherlock Holmes. I was all, "Attend to me, Watson; Greyghost and Cruickshank are not men to neglect details of this sort. If Greyghost's office abuts one of our neighbors, there must be a reason for it."

So I checked the city directory to find out who owns the house on that side of us, one of the big Victorians on Watersound. Turns out to be a company called 42132 Holdings. Rrriiight. Across the room is a big pile of up-to-date reference books and CD/ROMs in which you can look up exactly this kind of thing, so I did. All I got out of it was the name, 'Tamar Mejia', but now I was on a roll.

Of the two computers on my desk, one has some pretty serious databases of Greyghost's design (clunky and a pain to keep up to date, but he seems to find the results useful) and some other related applications, and the second one has an internet connection and not much else. The two are not, not connected. I did a web search on Tamar Mejia and got a couple of hits.

One was a this-and-that column from some online art magazine, which mentioned partway down the page that she was negotiating to sell some rich guy a painting by one Victor Scigrave, whom she was representing.

Now that name rang a bell.

Victor Scigrave, Victor Scigrave . . . I had seen it somewhere before, and recently. Where?

There, dumbass--bookmarked right here on this very computer. But that's weird. Why would Carl bookmark a website about some painter? Click.


The page that came up had a brief bio on Scigrave (rich as hell, by the way) and images of about a dozen of his paintings. I had never seen a Scigrave painting before. The one that struck me most showed a family eating dinner in their kitchen. Two parents, three kids, passing dishes around, spilling juice, stuff like that. A TV was on in the corner, the dog was begging under the table, and a cat was asleep in the next room. It looked pretty homey and warm, but after you'd looked at it for a while you realized that the cat and the dog were exchanging some kind of significant glance. Then once you had looked a little longer it became obvious that they had just noticed the shadow moving outside the kitchen window and were preparing to deal with whatever it was.

All the paintings were like that - the art was so perfect it could almost be a photograph, with nothing abstract or blurry, and there was always some stark confrontation hidden in the image.

I'm not the brightest guy in the world, but I could connect these dots with no problem. All hindsight, of course, but I can't see how anyone could look at a Victor Scigrave painting and not know that the artist was Greyghost.

I checked Scigrave out some more online. There weren't too many pictures available, but enough to give me the idea. Tall, strong-looking, pale, dark hair, long mustache and beard. In the only interview with him I could find, one of his quotes was, "The purpose of art should be to make the viewer understand exactly how precarious his life is." Yeah. Case closed.

The Scigrave site was still open the next time Greyghost came through the office. I said, "Carl had a bookmark on here to some paintings by a guy named Scigrave. They're pretty good."

He didn't even slow down on his way into the blue room. "It's my policy not to discuss art during business hours."

So that's sort of a confirmation.
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