Chapter 5

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Chaäptor Filsborgen (Chapter Five)

Janooargen Furdassen (January 4)

MARTY STU went back to his apartment to prepare for the trip back to Headcasetad. He packed his Apple Macbook, his Apple iPhone, his Apple iPod, and Apple T-shirts.

Cheesika walked over, arms folded over her chest. "Wow, you sure do love Apple products."

"Well, who doesn't love Apple? They make the best products. Nobody doesn't love Apple. Especially authors who write mystery novels and get free Apple Macbook Pros in exchange for including plugs for the company's products."

He went to his cabinet and took out loaves of bread and cold cuts. "I just need to pack for sandwiches, and I'll be done."

Cheesika nodded. "But shouldn't you be packing warm clothes?"

"No, I'm going to just wear a light jacket and jeans. After all, it's not like I've ever been through winter in Sweden."

He pulled the suitcase onto his shoulder. "Well, I'm off."

"Okay, I understand that you have to do this to reclaim your pride, earn some money, distance yourself from the libel scandal, and maybe get information that could vindicate you, but I'm still going to be extremely angry and resentful to you."

He kissed her cheek. "Understood. Take care of the magazine. Say hi to your husband for me. No, scratch that. Still creepy."

He walked out to climb into a taxi, which took him to the train, where he sat through another eighteen hour ride where nothing happened.

When he got off, he took another taxi to the island of Headcasetad.

Along the way, Marty Stu called out, "Hello."

The driver turned his head. "Hello. I am Ibraham, an immigrant who arrived in Sweden only three short months ago. I'm fleeing my former life in Afghanistan, where I endured the horrors of life under the Taliban, but escaped and I'm trying to earn enough money to bring my wife and son to this country as well. I enjoy mystery novels and play the piano at a local jazz club on Saturdays."

"Nice to meet you. You certainly sound interesting. I look forward to getting to know you better while I live in Headcasetad."

The taxi driver pulled up to the Avenger mansion. "I'm sorry, but I'm just here filling in for a friend. I'm afraid we'll never meet again."

"Oh. Then why did you tell me all that?"

Ibraham shrugged. "I don't know. I'm just one of the many people you'll encounter here with an interesting and complex background for no reason whatsoever."

Marty Stu climbed out of the cab to find Heartsick Avenger waiting in front of his mansion.

They shook hands as Heartsick said, "You still haven't gotten warm clothes? You know, this is making you look kind of stupid."

Marty Stu shrugged as his face turned blue from the blistering winds. "Well, how else can we talk about how incredibly cold it is here in Sweden?"

Heartsick tramped through the foot-thick snow to a small house nearby. "You can stay in my guest quarters for the next year. It has no central heating, no Internet or phone access, and the plumbing freezes, causing the pipes to burst every now and then. Take note of that, because it'll happen again soon."

Marty Stu frowned. "Is this really the best I can get? You're a billionaire. Couldn't I at least get a room in your huge and mostly unoccupied mansion?"

"No. I enjoy my privacy."

Marty Stu sighed. "You know, I'd wish you'd mentioned these would be my accommodations when you offered me the job."

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