This is the opening of the third Jake Calcutta story. See? I am writing.
It was quiet in the pub. Jake had expected boisterous noisiness, drunkards singing loud at the next table, loose wenches wrestling with the less drunk at another table, music and feasting and all manner of brash and brazen behavior.
But it was quiet. Once he was past the mild surprise, he thought he’d make use of the peace to review his brief.
He didn’t. What he did was sit, drinking a mug of mild ale he found himself quite enjoying, nibbling on a plate of bread and cheese.
“We all know the Bard did the writing; we just need some kind of evidence to wither those Bacon and Marlowe naysayers. So get it.”
Felicity Bruttenholm’s voice in his ear was brisk, even strident. She took this stuff seriously, and when he was on missions she wasn’t shy about giving him a kick in the proverbial (or would it be metaphorical? maybe both) pants if she thought, as she often (okay, always) did that he’d skimmed the mission brief rather than studying, even memorizing it. She’d nagged him for five long minutes as he walked to the village. Every so often she’d say “If you’re nodding, I can’t hear you” and he’d grunt something that she could take to signify agreement, but which he suspected she realized was just a meaningless noise to fill his tiny space in the conversation.