Full Circle

Part 2: 101 Uses For Children

April 8, 1939
The rest of the night passes uneventfully, after the burglary. Tommy and Esme fall asleep in the study "keeping watch" and playing cards; Gerti puts some pails of water atop the front and back doors. (Esme thinks holy water in a pail would be better, but Gerti thinks that would make it not holy pretty fast). In the morning, Roderick wants to set a large rat trap in the secret compartment in the attic, the one where the knife used to be. While Ezekial may have gotten some of the notes, he didn't get far enough upstairs to get the knife, and he may be back.

In the morning, Gerti makes breakfast, which Amelia lets her after a brief struggle. Everyone shows up. There's some concern over where the knife is now. Probably in the gun cabinet in the Valiant's office. Well, that's somewhere Ezekial is sure to look, at least, if he's on a burglary spree. Eddie drives Tommy and Esme to the train station to to head to the office to put the knife in a safe deposit box. Roderick instructs them to buy a rat trap.

"Just because he doesn't try to kill you doesn't mean he's not Ezekial" - Roderick (about Clarence Montaugh, I think)
Since the burglary was reported to the police, everyone is waiting for the sheriff to come by and say "What are you people doing back in North Ashfield, and what horror does it portend?" but he doesn't.

Gerti wants to go and talk to Clarence Montaugh, but doesn't have a good excuse. Borrowing a cup of sugar, perhaps? But why the Montaugh's? She gets flyers from the church and goes to nearby houses first (to set up her cover), then Montaugh's house. Clarence is clearly very cranky, and when Gerti explains that she was making sure he and his guest were coming to church on Sunday, he says if she sees him, she can damn tell him herself. He then slams the door.

From inside:

"Grandpa, who was that?"
"Some damned nosy anarchist burglar neighbor. Don't you mind. And don't you use that language, neither."
Hmm. "Grandpa", eh? This gives Gerti an idea... she sets Junior and Timmy to play in the back yard, while she knits and supervises. Roderick notes that they are using the children as bait, and doesn't entirely approve. Eventually, another boy comes out and joins in the fray, which seems to involve trying to get the ball stuck in a tree.

Gerti brings lemonade and tries to interrogate him. His name is David. Yes, there was another guest, but he's gone now now. Dad left David to stay with Grandpa. It's unclear what Dad does; David is a little evasive about this. Dad's name is cited as Joe, giving them (maybe) a full name to go on. (Roderick reminisces about the last century, when you didn't have to socialize with children.)

The group discusses what's up. Maybe call Boston to see if a Joe Montaugh has been put in jail? Some of Charlie's friends will ask around at jails. Junior gets instructed to ask David to lunch; he tells him he's coming to lunch. They (followed by Charlie) go to tell Clarence this; he doesn't bite anyone's head off.

Trying to figure out exactly who David's father is, Gerti calls David "Young master Montaugh", which he doesn't correct. Charlie asks what his grandpa is like. Mad. There's some mention of Mr. Woodruff (the visitor) being a spy, and David also feeling guilty for being a spy. "Squoogly books" get mentioned, and that Mr. Woodruff was looking for apricots. He needed more apricots, or something. And he maybe killed a boy named Julian. Um. Should David be telling the police this? He doesn't want to talk to the police, he's scared of Mr. Woodruff. Clarence is spotted heading for town.

Eddie returns with Miss Saravelda, and Eddie and Roderick are promptly sent by Gerti to break into the Montaugh house. Charlie and the kids are detailed to play outside to keep watch, with the code word ("Gerti, is there any more lemonade?") to shout if they see Clarence.

Eddie finds a not-perfectly-locked window, and lets himself (and then Roderick) in. The room gets searched; not a lot gets found, other than the dead dog under the bed. Roderick puts it in a pillowcase and steals it. They fail the listen roll to hear Charlie's code word, but Gerti intercepts Clarence, and asks him about stuff like David's parents (mother dead, father in Boston for still unclear reasons).

"Here, Doc. I brought you a doggy bag." -Roderick
Dr. Schreber does an autopsy on the terrier. Its name was Tacky, according to its collar, and its neck is broken. Eddie buries the poor creature out in the wood.

Esme calls to talk to Gerti, to check in, after having asked some people about geneaologies. The Keelings bit of the family tree gets noticed; Gerti remembers the stuff in the attic from Cold Spot. The letters and wedding announcement get found. The Keelings went to Royalston! Eddie tells Gerti to look for a professor of history named Woodruff, but there aren't any at the couple of universities Esme checks.

Esme pulls in a favor to get a safety deposit box; they put the knife in the box under Esme's ID, and give the key to Tommy. Then they fly to Worcester. Grovelling through the library in Worcester turns up some Keelings in Royalston - Percival and Norma. And there's a suspicious guy with a mustache, also in the library. Esme bats her eyes at the librarian, and he agrees to mention it if anyone else comes and looks at this particular stack of newspapers.

(Roderick has set a hideous death trap with bear traps and rat traps in the secret compartment).

The sheriff reports to Amelia that the Boston police say the car was borrowed without permission and that they don't really think they have cause for a search warrant on the society. What society? Clearly they have to interrogate the sheriff about this. Eddie descends on the sheriff, who is not necessarily pleased to see him. The Boston police appear to have told him it was "some sort of moon society". The license plate of the car, as reported by Mr. Montaugh, was LUNA4. The Boston police do not appear to be giving him a lot of details, as they're not taking the theft of a family tree very seriously. Neither is the sheriff, but he doesn't like being blown off by the BPD anyway.

Charlie hears Clarence calling for Tacky, and talks briefly to him. "Tacky" is apparently short for Spartacus. Now everyone feels a little sorry for Mr. Montaugh, who they had previously been writing off as a bit of a psycho.