We Play The Game – 06 – Worth his effort

And it wasn’t so much the words that made her narrow her gaze at Devon, it was the surly tone he’s used, as though he’d faced that question enough times for it to be annoying. Had she inadvertently walked into a cultural taboo? It wasn’t as though she knew much about Scandinavian culture, maybe? With a name like Olafson, he was probably form Sweden or Norway or Iceland, even if he didn’t have an accent. He just still seemed foreign to her in some way even if he didn’t sound foreign.

His company’s business number did come up as legit on the government’s website, so there was that. A week Friday and she’d be flush.

Tina was almost about to apologize when Devon reached out, collected the rest of the papers, stood up and turned away to file away them in in a cabinet to the side of his desk without another word.

Okay. Don’t talk about signing in blood again. At least it wasn’t enough to get you fired before you’ve even earned a toonie.

Damn though, Devon’s remark about being old school was right. The place was wall to wall file cabinets that looked so retro it was almost painful. Devon Olafson needed to move into the 21st century in a bad way. Tina idly glanced towards the ceiling to confirm there was a fire alarm, considering how much a firetrap this place probably was, although it was tidy and relatively dust free, not at all scuzzy like some of the offices she’d worked in. She spotted a small plastic disc above the door and felt a little better. Still, she wondered if Devon had a scanner, so she could more comfortable suggest starting to digitize things around here.

Her boss finished packing the papers away and then gave Tina the five minute tour. Actually it was more like the one minute tour, given the outer and inner offices was the extent of Recoverer of Heirlooms, Inc. He started with the cabinets in his office.

“In here I have my private casebooks,” he told her. “As well as ongoing research project information. You needn’t concern yourself with them. Besides, my system is rather complex and I rarely deal with customers whose first language is English. So unless you can read esoteric scripts half of them written code, I wouldn’t bother.”

He motioned her to follow out into the main office. Tina stood up and followed.

“Out here is the supplemental research library,” he continued. “From time to time I will ask you to provide me folders from these cabinets. This will be your primary job, except for answering the phone of course, but I don’t get many calls, so that shouldn’t take much time from your main job.

“Lastly, I might need some online research from various museum and archeological directories,” he added, not at her desk. His hand ruffled through what had to be a rolodex. Talk about archaeological.She hadn’t seen one in real life since her first year of college in her English Lit professor’s office, otherwise it was period piece movies for things like that. “I will provide you the basics of the system for finding what I need, so it’s not like you will need to translate what I’ve got in these cabinets.”

Yes, the cabinets, all twenty four of them. Well, they were filled with documents, but as Devon had intimated not one of them were in English. Not that she was able to find, anyway. Later that week, when she got bored, and she did, Tina even tried running some of the text from a few of them online, but in grand Google tradition, those that could be translated the text was garbled, sometimes amusingly so, especially the one involving Ducks and Horses. The more she ran it back and forth in Google Translate the sillier it got. Some of the text was apparently identified as Swedish, but not quite, considering what came out, nor was it exactly Danish, Norwegian nor Icelandic. She even tried Finish, German and Dutch, but what came back was unreadable.

Thankfully, Tina did have some work to do, although it didn’t make much sense at the time.

The people she called in the rolodex sounded like they’d be a riot at parties, going on about ancient cultures that made a simple question take an hour to answer. Very few of them seemed to have website or considered the internet a good idea.

Most of her office work involved research, looking into the culture of the Byzantium Empire of all things, along with and historical and mythological Viking weaponry. And some group of mercenaries called Skraelings. Most of what she got back came in the form of scans through an ancient and loud fax machine. So old, in fact, it used thermal paper that she had to wear gloves to handle or the sheets ended up covered in fingerprints.

Wednesday was a particularly heavy fax day, and she made several trips to the back office with reams of fax paper for her new boss.

“What are you exactly looking for,” she asked, curious at the volume of medieval looking text that was regularly printing out.

“My primary client has heard that a historical weapon is in the hands of a certain collector I have dealt with in the past, and I need to do perform authentication before I can confirm it will be worth his effort to rehome it.”

Tina thought that was an odd word to use, ‘rehome’. Made it sound like it had been adopted, like it was a untrainable puppy or an ugly sweater or a Christmas cake. Or was she thinking re-gifted?

Go to Chapter Five

Go to Chapter Seven