Broken Heart led Earie through a series of backyard passages where they met several colorful characters. I’ll get to that story more later. But true to her word they were here outside the Joint Joint, with Jacob I. supposedly within. Broken Heart had further explained that the I. stood for nothing. “Think Harry S. Truman,” she said while striding over some old tires on their journey. Seeing Earie not reply, she added, “or U.S. Grant.” “So his full and legal name is Jacob I.,” Earie replied back, dodging a broken coke bottle. “Formerly Jacob the Lawnmower,” he furthered, alluding to earlier conversation. By this time they were passing through Old Lady Bedford’s clothes line in another tight spot, being careful not to get, well, clotheslined (caught in the neck). At 96 she represented the town’s oldest prostitute, but her only remaining customer was Billy Tokesalot, a nonagenarian himself. Sometimes it took them 10 days.
In the present moment, Earie tried the door to the establishment. Locked. “Don’t knock the knockers,” Broken Heart ordered from below. “He’ll come.” Nothing happened for several minutes. Earie glanced over at the policeman standing beside them a couple of times, but his gaze remained fixed on the window. “Nice night,” Earie finally offered. The policeman didn’t answer; focus unchanged. At 4:45am Jacob I. opened the door, and stared at each figure in front of it. “Broken Heart,” he said, nodding down to the cat-person. Jacob then came back to Earie. “I thought I told you to stay away, Chuck.”