If anybody was waiting anxiously for this post, my apologies for the delay getting it up. I plead busy-busy. But the silver lining is that book four, Ace Carroway and the Growling Death, is now available for sale at your favorite online stores and also independent bookstores.
In this eighth (and next-to-last) post, we meet the fifth of Ace’s five associates. He’s got sandy hair and blue eyes in a dark tan face. The suit he wears is almost the same as Bert’s from yesterday but somehow comes off as less showy. It could be the same suit; the two men are about the same average size, both trim, both good-looking as far as my limited powers of judgement can discern.
GW: Greetings, Quack.
Quack: Greetings to you.
GW: Oh, you’ve got a bass voice! I’m a bass.
Quack: Have you ever done radio?
GW: Yes, but tell me, what’s your full name?
Quack: Boxnard Warburton Snana.
GW: Decode that for me. I’m not getting a feel for country or region.
Quack: It is a mixture. My father was, shall we say, well-traveled. His and my last name is his family name among the Lakota, but he could never stay still. He loved South Dakota, but also spent time in Boston and London. Cities fascinated him.
GW: How did you get the nickname Quack? Surely not from Boxnard or Warburton or Snana.
Quack: I was a field medic in the Great War. Bert — I knew Bert at the time — was fond of pointing out that I was not a fully trained doctor, and called me a quack.
GW: How do you feel about that?
Quack: It’s fine. Honestly, the name hasn’t stuck much outside our little group. Also, it’s convenient. “Quack, duck!” is shorter than, “Warburton, get your head down!”
GW: Does that come up very often?
Quack: Often enough. This detective business is risky.
GW: Your grin says that maybe that’s not a bad thing.
Quack: I love it. We all love it.
GW: You’re talking to a guy who is fine with strawberry jam on his toast, and raspberry is acceptable, but leaping to orange marmalade is just too risky.
Quack: It’s not for everyone. You do have to be a little heyoka, a little backwards in the head. But, let me be clear, none of us have death wishes. When somebody says, “duck!” we duck!
GW: What do you do when you’re not getting shot at?
Quack: I have no steady job, but I do have an unsteady one. From time to time, I’ll land a role in a play. I’m an actor.
GW: No kidding?
Quack: “In jest, there is truth,” says the Bard.
GW: Shakespeare? That’s … very pithy.
Quack: Jest is also necessary to stay sane. We can’t dwell on those times we almost died or we’d be unable to peel a potato for fear of getting impaled.
GW: Honestly? Don’t talk like that. I faint at the sight of blood.
Quack: That’s perfectly fine. You have the luxury of being able to do that.
GW: What? Luxury?
Quack: Imagine living in a small village surrounded by tigers. Danger is constant. Injuries and deaths are common. In such a life, could you really permit yourself the luxury of fainting at the sight of blood?
GW: I’d be tiger food.
GW: Are you really an actor?
Quack: “Cowards die many times before their deaths;
The valiant never taste of death but once.
Of all the wonders that I yet have heard,
It seems to me most strange that men should fear;
Seeing that death, a necessary end,
Will come when it will come.”
GW: I stand convinced. Thank you for speaking with me today, Quack.
Quack: It is my pleasure.
Quotes by Quack:
- Bert-scolding: “Wipe that smirk off your face, Brat, or I’ll wipe it off for you!”
- Learning lines and diction: “How do you say saboteur in German?”
- Improving Bert: “Envy, Bert? Tsk. It does not become you, old chum,”
- On Ace Carroway: “Wait! I heard about you! You were on track to be the youngest M.D. in Harvard history! It only clicked just now.”
- Bert-praise: “You got your man, though. By the thunder of the Wakinyan, I think you broke his face!”
- On Gooper: “It is odd. Somehow, he blends into the scenery. His red hair is like the red leaves. His pale skin is like birch bark.”
- On flying: “We walk on sky trails.”
- Quack gets to say the line that I regard as the very pinnacle of book one: “She’s Ace!”
And a limerick!
Blond Quack is a whiz at disguise.
He’s 5 feet, 9 inches, blue eyes.
This actor’s tight focus
And (hard to miss them) tight thighs.