I came to, the lights were still on. My head hurt. It was doing that a lot lately. I indulged in a groan or two before getting to my feet.
The room wasn’t too badly torn up. They must have picked or keyed the door, or maybe the window, no obvious signs of forced entry. I could just as well been having nightmares by myself. Five-thirty.
I sat on the bed. This wasn’t good. Had they seen us driving back through town? This stunt usually worked pretty well. Was Fringle smarter than she looked? She did like to gloat, and was good at it, too, but that only got you so far.
Other things to worry about now. A crazy woman had abducted my client. I wouldn’t see my client again unless I found a mythological knitting pattern that didn’t really exist. Cinch. Now if my head would stop hurting.
They’d left Frieda’s things, Frieda’s bag had aspirin. That was a start. I picked up all her yarn and funny little knitting tools. She had little plastic bag of rubber o’s. What did she do with little o’s? I fit all her stuff, Gabriela’s offerings, into the bag and case. My few possessions took even less time. They’d left the money and the 9, this time. In a hurry?
A sleepy night watch-man checked Mr. Bronson out, apparently unaware that there had been visitors in the wee hours. So much for watching at night. It was dark as I pointed the sedan north.
The day gave me lots of time to think. It was hard not to try to figure out how Fringle’d found us so quickly, even after Dimmler and a change of direction. That wasn’t the important thing, though. How was I going to get Frieda away from Fringle? Was Sofakissen the Elder all right? What hat would I pull the Gordian Knit out of? With all that time, I didn’t come up with much. It all came back to Fringle being bonkers, wanting this thing she couldn’t have.
The guns-blazing approach didn’t seem good. If I could find her hideout, she was still a very violent broad, with a good supply of punks. Frieda might not survive that.
The fake pattern approach didn’t seem good, either. Even if a pattern fooled Fringle to start with, she’d try to knit it. Nothing would happen, she wouldn’t rule the world. Frieda might not survive that, either.
If I could put together some kind of dramatic showdown, distracting Fringle with a fake, then blazing the guns, that might work. Fringle might just fall for that. Would Frieda survive that any better? Maybe not.
I arrived Downtown early evening. It was hard to know what to do first. I opted for dinner, I hadn’t eaten to stay on the road.
Lola was just going on break when I got to the Picot, she joined me in a blue plate special. “So, how’s the case?”
“Not so good. My client has been kidnapped, and I’m not sure what to do next.”
“Yikes! That’s not very good at all! This the Frieda babe who’s been swiped?”
“You could say that. To get her back, I have to find something that doesn’t exist, and convince an insane broad it’s not a wooden nickel.”
“Double yikes! What do you have to find, if you don’t mind my prying?”
“Some mythological thing, the Gordian Knit, this knitting pattern so complicated you rule the world if you can knit it.”
“Gee, that sounds kinda lame. And I knit, too. So your insane broad, as you call her, wants to rule the world?”
“Yeah. She’s welcome to it. I just need my client back.”
“I’ve never heard of this Gordian Knit thing, is that kinda like the Gordian Knot? The one Caesar or Alexander or Aristotle or somebody cut apart?”
“That’s what I figure. Frieda said it was middle ages. The Gordian Knot, though, that’s ancient Greeks, right?”
“Yeah,” squinting into a distant high school history class, “that sounds about right. In English this all makes a nice pun. But I don’t remember ever hearing of it, must be an old-folks thing in knitting.”
Old folks. I could try Binding. But what was I looking for, even if she knew something? You couldn’t just knit your way to world domination. But what did I have? “Old folks, huh? That gives me an idea. Lola, you doll. Finish my blue plate for me. Gotta run!”
“All rightie, then. Sometimes you’re a pretty lousy date, Joe…”