Dragon's Claw

DragonsClawDragon´s Claw





Now (Beauregard Browne) was saying happily, "I do think, though, I really do think that Uriah´s despatch of the sinning policeman in Amsterdam was his most outstanding performance. That was the day we took the Hsuan-te chair from the Bor Museum, if you remember. A nice diversion."
The priest´s long jaw stopped champing for a moment and he said, "The end of a sinner is not a diversion, Beauregard. Let us beware the wrath of the Most High. He will not be mocked."
"Heaven forbid!" exclaimed Beauregard Browne. "You wrong me, dear brother, and it is indeed a sad thing to be wronged by the Hammer of the Lord. I was referring to our operation with the Hsuan-te chair as the diversion, permitting the exercise of your duty in dispatching the sinner. Which our foolish manmade laws might otherwise have thwarted."
Uriah Crisp nodded. "I ask your pardon for my misunderstanding," he said.
Dr Feng leaned forward a little. "Miss Blaise, I observed a slight reaction when my colleague spoke of the affair in Amsterdam."
She glanced at him, then went on boning the fish on her plate as she said, "The cowboy thing, when the patrolman was killed. It was in the papers." Her head lifted and her very dark blue eyes hit him suddenly so that his nerves twitched for a moment. She said, "Did you have a hand in the killing of Dick Kingston and Luke Fletcher?"
Dr Feng was trying to compose a reply when Beauregard Browne said brightly, "I feel sure, my almond-eyed medico, that our Miss Blaise is planning to mete out justice to those of us she deems to have been naughty, and we really must include you in, mustn´t we?" He looked at Modesty with huge delight. "Yes, duckie, put Dz Feng on your list. But you´ll have to be rather quick, I´m afraid, because it so happens that you are on Uriah´s list. His list of sinners."
In a choking voice the Reverend Uriah Crisp said slowly, "She is an abomination in the eyes of the Lord. There is lechery in her mouth, and in her breasts there is lewdness. Her loins
move men to debauchery, and her limbs invite fornication." He rose, pale face flushed, and strode from the room on long spidery legs.
Clarissa said, "Golly, he never says nice things like that about me."
"You´re not a sinner, darling. You´re a helpmeet and a comforter." The smiling violet eyes turned to Modesty and Willie. "When you´ve made a tour of the island, you can watch our Uriah give a demonstration of his skill as the Destroyer of Sinners, the Hammer of God, etcetera. And may I assure you that when you come to face him in Execution Square, you really will have a chance, because Uriah insists that the Lord Almighty must decide the issue. So you´ll have just one bullet for the Lord to work with."
Willie Garvin finished the last of his fish, jerked his head towards Beauregard Browne, looked round the table, and said, "Anyone know what Shirley Temple´s talking about?"
There was a silence, then Clarissa said, "Honestly, Beau, it was a bit cryptic for anyone not knowing the drill."

Peter O´Donnell, Dragon´s Claw, 1978