“Gert just told me about someone named Bettis who sells woodstoves, but she couldn’t tell me where his shop was. Do you know, Art?”
Art smiled, “Have to ask Bettis. It moves around.”
Jack looked puzzled, but many local answers puzzled him since his move to Mud City. There really was no town as he had imagined one. The nearest town was Morristown Corners and that was merely an intersection with a gas and beverage store. The nearest real town was Morrisville with Gillen’s Department Store, Patch’s Market, Graves’ Hardware, Copley Hospital, the Bijou Theater, a Carnegie library, Tippy Bailey’s Drive-in, and the Morrisville Drive-in Theater.
Jack stopped by the town clerk’s office to see if the building permit for his recently completed garage had been approved. He took advantage of the opportunity to ask Martha where Bettis’s Stove Shop was. She smiled and said, “If you find it, let Officer Boright know. He’s been looking for it for three years.”
Jack was flummoxed. As he left the town clerk’s office, Martha whispered loudly” Give Whitey a call at 4494 and ask him, he’ll know.” Jack jotted the number down on the notepad in his Volvo and headed home.
“Whitey, you wouldn’t know me. My name is Jack Daulton and I’m new in town, but I’m looking for Bettis’s Stove Shop. No one seems to know where it is. Can you tell me? Everyone I ask either says it’s moved or just looks funny at me.”
There were several moments of silence in the earpiece and then he heard a voice,
“Whose iss again?”
“Wha’ choo want a stove fer?”
“To heat my camp.”
“Oh, ya know Bettis personal do ya?”
“Never met him. Where does he live?”
“Wha’s yer nummer?”
“I’ll tell ’im ta call ya.”
Click and then a dial tone…