Family Tradition

Jake looked up from the old newspaper he on the table and stretched his neck. He had been searching through the paper, looking for information about his family. The librarian walked toward him, smiling. “How goes the research?” She asked. 

Cracking his neck, Jake said, “Better than expected, but it’s still going slow.”

She looked back over her shoulder. “Can I get you a soda?” She asked.

A smile touched his lips. “I thought we aren’t supposed to have things like that in here?” 

She put her hand on his shoulder and lowered her head next to his. “You’ve been in here every day for the last few months. You’ve earned a bit of special treatment,” she said.

“Sure.” He nodded, going back to reading the article in the paper. 

She walked away, chuckling to herself. He folded the paper and stacked it on the growing pile on the corner of the table. He glanced at the notebook where he had written the names and dates of the people he was researching. He picked up the next paper and turned to the page he noted down. The obituary he was looking for was there, and this time he found the information he needed. He was giddy with excitement as he copied out the details from the obituary. 

The librarian came back with the soda. She sat it on the table. “Take it you finally found something?” She asked.

He lifted his head, putting his pen down. “Thanks for the soda and yeah, I have found the connection I was looking for. Now all I have to do is verify the connection.”

She tilted her head and read the name on the obituary. “Joseph Teague? Why is that name familiar?” She asked.

“My guess because of the Pirate’s movie that came out a few years ago. There was a pirate by that name once upon a time,” he said.

“So that’s what you are trying to do. To connect your family line to the pirate?” She asked.

He nodded. “Yeah, it’s been a family story for years and now I’m trying to prove it,” he said.

She glanced from him to the paper. “Looks like you might have found the path.”

He sat back and stretched his arms over his head, letting the muscles tighten and release. “Until I find the connection, I have no proof. At this far back, things are hard to prove with documents.” He checked his watch. “How in the world has it gotten so late tonight?”

“What time did you get here today? I mean, you were here when I got here at two.” She asked.

He took a drink of the soda and tried to clear his head. “I got here when the doors opened this morning. This is the last week I have off. I need to get as much done as I can before I have to go back to work,” he said, putting the soda back on the table. He stacked up all the papers he had used and moved them to the trolly behind him for the volunteer to put back. 

“Well, if you need anything let me know.” She said, walking away.

Jake smiled and picked up the rest of his things, unable to believe it was already seven at night. He hadn’t eaten since breakfast and now that he wasn’t focused on the research; he was hungry. He put the notebook and stay scraps of paper into his bag. Then pushed the chair in and headed for the entrance of the library. As he passed the trash can near the door, he dropped the now empty soda can into it. 

Outside, he thought about what he had read. Was there a chance it was the same family? Could he tie his family line to one of the famous pirates? If he could, would that stop the dreams he was having? 

He shook his head and walked across the parking lot to his car. An uneasy feeling settled over him when he saw the envelope tucked under the wiper on his windshield. Reaching forward, he pulled the envelope free. His name in bold, sharp strokes. He climbed into the car and used the knife he kept on the visor to slit the envelope open. Pulling out and unfolding the single piece of paper, he read the note. 

– Jake Marshall

If you want in more information about the decedents of Edward Teague. Look for a book called, “The Lies of the Caribbean Seas.” From there, you are smart enough to find what you need. Do NOT keep asking people questions or telling people what you are looking for. There are people out there who don’t want anyone to know the people in that bloodline. 

– A Fellow Researcher

Jake swallowed. Looking through the windshield he watched as the parking lot emptied. No one seemed to notice him and there wasn’t anyone standing around, so he put the key in the ignition and started his car. He drove across town, headed for his favorite rare book store. Parking, he killed the engine and stepped from the car. The owner of the store met him at the door. “It’s good to see you, Jake. How are you?” The old man asked.

Jake smiled. “I’m doing well, Marcus. I’ve come looking for a special book,” he said.

 Marcus stepped back through the door, inviting Jake to follow. “What are we looking for this time? Are you still searching for your family?” He asked.

Jake thought about the note he found on the car and changed his answer. “Actually, it’s for my nephew. A book called The Lies of the Caribbean Seas. He’s doing a report on the area.” He said, lying.

Marcus’ eyes lit. “It’s an interesting place. Let me check and see what I can tell you about the book you are looking for.” He said, walking across the store to the little checkout area along the wall. He typed information into the computer, and Jake watched as a sly smile crept onto his face. “Here we are. I can have you one of the last copies in about three days, but it’s a pricy book.”

Jake sighed. If Marcus said something was pricy, it was going to cost him a good deal to get the book in his hands. “How pricy?” He asked.

Marcus looked up. “Seventy-three and change,” he said.

Jake nodded. It could have been worse. This wouldn’t be the most expensive book he had ever bought from Marcus. “Order it. You’ll call when it comes in?”

“Yep, same as always.” Marcus said.

“Thanks,” Jake said, walking back to the door. It always amazed him when he stopped at the bookstore and asked Marcus for something unique. He climbed back into his car and drove home. Three days would be the day before he had to go back to work. So he would have enough time to give it at least one read through. 

* * * 

Jake hadn’t bothered to go back to the library in the three days he waited for the book to come in. Instead, he spent the three days vegging out in front of the television. The phone rang with a sharp blast of Rag Doll by Aerosmith. He answered with a smile in his voice. “Hello,” he said.

Marcus’ voice came across the line. “Afternoon, Jake. Your book arrived this morning,” he said, coming right to the point. 

“I’ll be down in, say, twenty minutes?” Jake asked.

“Sounds good. See you then,” Marcus said before hanging up.

Jake shook his head and put the phone back in his pocket. Grabbing his keys, he headed out and got into his car. The drive to the bookstore was uneventful until he reached the street where the store was. It was then that he noticed the car following him. He parked in front of the store and the car behind him parked in the next spot. 

An old man got out of the car walking up to the driver’s side of Jake’s. “Jake Marshall?” He asked in a voice that reminded Jake of an old rusty hinge. 

Jake climbed out of the car before answering the old man. “That’s me. Do I know you?” He asked.

The old man shook his head. “No, but it looks like you took my advice.” He nodded in the direction of the store. “Did your book arrive?”

Jake swallowed. “Yea, are you the one who left me the note?”

“Sure did, and no, we aren’t related. But I know about the family you are looking for.” The old man said. “Go get your book and meet me over at the diner down the street. We have a lot to talk about.” He said, walking away without waiting for Jake to say anything else.

 Jake walked into the bookstore and called out to Marcus. “Hey, Marcus. You here?” 

“In the back. Your book is on the counter,” Marcus said.

Jake walked to the counter. Marcus had been telling the truth. The book sat in the center of the counter with a tag on the top saying paid in full. “What’s with the paid tag?” He called back toward the storage room where he knew Marcus was unpacking more books.

Marcus’ voice came back. “Some guy came in and paid for it about two hours after you ordered it. Left you a message. It’s inside the cover.”

“Thanks. See you next time I need a treasure.” Jake called. He picked up the book and walked out to his car. At his car, he opened the cover of the book and sucked in a breath as his eyes scanned the small note. 

– Jake, this is the proof you need. Be careful who you tell about it. See you soon. Mr. Johnathan Teague.

He closed the cover and smiled. Then walked over to the diner, knowing the man he was about to have coffee with had all the answers he needed.

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