Dickie had solved the mystery. A man, walking in a cycle, runs into him if he stands in front of Jim’s counter and pushes him to the corner, where he then leaves him and dashes diagonally across the road.
About 2 minutes later he’s back, pattern repeated. Again and again this happens. Did Jim set this up on purpose so customers wouldn’t loiter? he thinks.
The morning light was increasing. He had to find Joey Avatar to talk to her about the shoes and some other important things. Like their prospective date tonight. He doesn’t think he’s up for it. Besides, that apple juice he just bought from Jim was not quite agreeing with his stomach. Perfect excuse for backing out. “I’m sick, babe,” he rehearsed in his head. “Jim?” he imagined her saying, because he was responsible for the bulk of things bad in town. He may even be the person behind the transmutation of Black Bart himself, Dickie realized in this created scenario. He then imagines going back to Jim, confronting him. Oops, there’s that guy pushing him to the corner again. Yes: convenient.
Jim L. Brown, he recalled. He makes a mental note to check what the L. stands for sometime, because he’s heard of another Jim Brown and doesn’t want to confuse the two in his continued investigation. A., he also remembers about the other. Jim A. Brown, with the A. standing for nothing, he recalls, even turning into B. at the drop of a dime, for no rhyme or reason. Maybe L. is just a progression of this, and stands for nothing itself.
Here comes the dasher again. “Merry f-cking Christmas to you too!” he called in turn, stepping aside this time. Dasher yes, hmmm.
He checks his wallet but it’s okay. The guy appears to be a pusher but not a taker. Hmm, again.
(to be continued)