"Good. Well, thank you very much for your time. Don't all rush to get out. You might wake Jim over there."
"I wasn't asleep," said Jim, eyes tightly closed. "I heard every word."
"Even the bit about the bears escaping into the Oracle Center and eating a balloon seller?"
"Of course," he murmured, beginning to snore again.
Jack picked up his notes and disappeared through a side door.
"Are there usually this few people for his press conferences?" asked Mary, horrified at the prospect of the career black hole into which she was about to descend like a suicidal rabbit.
"Good Lord, no," replied Briggs in a shocked tone. "Often he has no press at all."
He looked at his watch. "Goodness, is that the time? Check in with me first thing tomorrow, and I'll introduce you to Jack. You'll like him. Not exactly charismatic, but diligent and generally correct in most .... some of his assumptions."
"Sir, I was wondering"
Briggs stopped her midsentence, divining precisely what she was about to say. The reason was simple: All the detective sergeants he had ever allocated to Jack said the same thing.
"Look upon it as a baptism of fire. The NCD is good training."
Briggs had to think for a moment. "Unconventional policing. Your time won't be wasted. Oh, and one other thing."
"Welcome to Reading."
From The Big Over Easy by Jasper Fforde. Copyright Jasper Fforde 2005. All rights reserved. No part of this book maybe reproduced without written permission from the publisher, Viking Publishing.
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No Man's Land
by Simon Tolkien
Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.
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