When I look at you, I see a bag filled with blood, bones, viscera, and meat, held in by the most fragile and vulnerable covering, so easily punctured, so facilely ripped or torn. I have to admit, I was looking forward to it.
It's more than a question of mere ownership. I mean, who owns Michelangelo's David? If the Italians wanted to break it up to make marble bathroom tiles, would that be acceptable? If the Egyptians decided to level the Great Pyramid for a parking lot, would that be okay? Do they own it? If the Greeks wanted to sell the Parthenon to a Vegas casino, would that be their right?
Exactly. The letter from the tribe, asking for the return of the Great Kiva masks, arrived only last week. The board of trustees has not yet discussed it. The museum hasn't even had time to consult it's lawyers. Isn't it a bit premature to be editorializing on something that hasn't even begun to be evaluated? Especially when you're so new to the position?
Not once in a hundred and thirty-five years did any member of the Tano tribe complain or accuse the museum of acquiring them illegally. Now, doesn't it seem just a tad unfair for them to suddenly be demanding them back? And right before a blockbuster exhibition in which they are the featured attraction?
"Another thing: we're going to need to trade down."
And Pendergast abruptly pulled off the airport expressway into the returns lot of a Hertz office, steered the big car into an empty spot, and killed the engine.
D'Agosta looked up from the laptop.
"What, rent something?"
"No. Steal something."
"I later learned of the count's curious death. Was that you?"
"I was chained in the tomb for almost fourty-eight hours."
"In the dark?"
Pendergast nodded. "Slowly suffocating, I might add. I found a certain specialized form of meditation to be most useful."
"I was rescued."
"As an FBI agent, though, he must be pretty hard to get the jump on."
"He's one of the best field agents in the Bureau. I fear that would deter Diogenes not at all."
Dear brother. So good of you to come all this way to visit me. You've kept away so very long, you bad creature. Not that I blame you, of course, it's almost more than I can bear, living in the north with all these barbarous Yankees.
Aloysius comes to visit me here every now and then. When he needs advice. He's such a good boy. Attentive to his elders. Not like the other one.
The Pendergast bloodline has been tainted for centuries. There but for the grace of God go you and I, Ambergris.
Cornelia Pendergast is living in an insane asylum, after poisoning her immediate family because she believed they were possessed.
I do believe it's time for that mint julep, Ambergris. John! Three mint juleps, well chilled, if you please. Use the icehouse ice, it's much sweeter.
Cornelia Pendergast's remarks to D'Agosta, who she believes is her long dead brother.
The professor took a small, lurching step forward, bumping into the podium. And now his other hand flew to his face, feeling it all over, only harder now, pushing, stretching the skin, pulling down the lower lip, giving himself a few light slaps.
Professor's slow descent into madness, before he rips his face off, due to the effects of a poison.
Now the place looked like a war zone. The sink was overflowing with soiled pots. Half a dozen empty cans lay in and around the waste basket, dribbling out remnants of tomato sauce and olive oil.
Vincent D'Agosta's attempts to cook.
She was sitting in a wheelchair whose every surface was encased in thick black rubber. A small needlepoint pillow sat in her lap, on which rested her two withered hands. Ostrom himself pushed the wheelchair, and behind him came two orderlies wearing padded protective garments. She was wearing a long, old-fashioned dress of black taffeta. She looked tiny, with sticklike arms and a narrow frame, her face obscured by a mourning veil. It seemed impossible to D'Agosta that this frail-looking creature had recently slashed two orderlies.
Visiting Cornelia Pendergast, living in an insane asylum.
He was ex-military and had always endowed his movements with economy and precision, yet it was mot preciseness that kept him so erect in the chair. A heavy steel bayonet had been driven into his mouth, angling down through his neck and pinning him to the headrest. The point of the old bayonet pierced all the way through the chair back, sticking out the back side, its rough edge heavy with blood. Drops fell from the tip onto the sodden carpet.
He had entered the house, no doubt immobilized Decker with some kind of drug, then waited for Pendergast to arrive before killing him. Chances were that Diogenes had deliberately tripped the burglar alarm while leaving the house.