The Mysterious Bookshop

Who Is Brand?

Brand awoke with a start. Where was he?  It was a very disconcerting feeling, suddenly being aware of your surroundings but not knowing not only where you were but how you got there.  

Brand remembered the time he’d really had amnesia.  Funny thing, remembering when you had amnesia!  It wasn’t too long ago, either. Nowadays Brand could remember his address, if he consulted his driving license.  But back when the world was young and he was strong, Brand could get along with his client list in his head, names, locales, phone numbers, the whole works.  But on that Trent caper, he’d gotten a sharp blow to the head and just like that, forgot everything up to and including his own name.  He’d thought that things like that happened only in the movies, but was much less skeptical when it happened to him!

Brand was a lone wolf and had no partner to rely on.  Oh, he’d worked in tandem with others from time to time, but the fact that he could not hand off work to someone else when he lost his memory was something of an obstacle.  So he muddled through the best he could, with the help of numerous written notes and redundant questions of redundance directed at his clients.

One day, about three weeks after the incident that had cost him his memory (and three teeth, one gold chain, and eight dollars), his faculties returned very suddenly.  All at once, not gradually.

He was standing at the oyster bar waiting for his bivalve order when, just like that, he remembered his name, his place of business, his phone number, and that he hated seafood.

The way he walked away, you’d have thought that he was still in a daze, but he was inwardly rejoicing at his newfound wholeness.  His mind wandering no less than his body, he wasn’t watching where he was going and slammed right into another man, and both of them went down in a heap.  Just what he needed, another enemy!  But the other gentleman was smiling as he picked himself up.  ‘You ok?’ Brand cautiously inquired.  ‘Sure, sure.  Sorry--wasn’t watching where I was going,’ said the stranger, who held out his hand.  ‘Jones is the name.’ ‘Brand.’  ‘I wonder if I could trouble you for a huge favor,’ said the other man.  ‘Could you possibly tell me the name of this fair city, and the year?’

Puzzled, Brand gave him the information that he sought, and uncharacteristically asked if he needed any help. Jones put a finger to his lips, then licked his pinky and wet down his right eyebrow.  Completely nonplussed now, Brand stood dumbly as Jones walked away.

‘I’ve a feeling I’ll be meeting that man again.’

Little did Brand know how right he was!

But that was then, and this was now, and he didn’t know where he was or how he ended up there. Start at the beginning!  He’d been nearly at loose ends for once and decided to pick up a cold case, the Trent affair.  He'd scarcely started dredging up the witnesses from the case; could he have rubbed someone the wrong way unintentionally?  Or intentionally? Now he found himself in a room in what appeared to be a shabby boarding house, with a mattress on the floor and a chair with a hole in it.  Nothing else, not even a window. He tried the door.  Locked.  He sat down, despite the hole, to ponder his options.  That didn’t take long, since he had no options but to wait and see if anyone came in.  But what if no one did? What if he’d been forgotten?  What if his abductors, if abductors they be, had left him to starve?  Who would feed Raffles the cat?  What would become of….just then the door opened---and in walked the stranger from the oyster bar!

Again he put a finger to his lips for silence, and beckoned to Brand.

Well, anything has to be better than sitting here alone in the dark.  But who was this mysterious stranger?  

Tune in May third for the exciting continuation of ‘Who Is Brand?’

If you can remember, check out these titles dealing in whole or in part with amnesia:

Your friendly blogger will be on holiday; tune in on Monday, May 3, when we will resume our regular blogging schedule of Mondays and Wednesdays with a NEW character!  Don’t miss it--even if you can!

Questions/Comments/memory cards?

Written by Ian Kern — April 18, 2016