Benton Fraser was walking down the street when he realized his partner and his wolf were no longer with him. He turned and saw the detective staring at a young woman, Diefenbaker sitting next to him. They both had the strangest expression on their faces.
With a sigh, Fraser retraced his steps. “Ray…Ray, Ray, Ray, Ray, Ra-”
Ray Kowalski blinked and looked at Fraser. “Did you hear that?”
“Hear what, Ray?”
Ray shook his head and looked around for the woman. Maybe if he could ask her…Damn, she was gone.
“Nothin’, Frase, let’s go.”
With a bemused shake of his head, Benton fell into step with his partner. Diefenbaker looked once more in the direction the woman had gone then joined his humans. He shook his head to clear it, hoping he had just misunderstood what she had said. She couldn’t possibly have said…no, he’d misread her lips. It had been known to happen on occasion, though he’d never admit it anyone.
They interviewed the suspect they’d been on their way to see then went to lunch. Dief reluctantly waited outside the restaurant hoping they’d remember to bring him something. Fraser thought Ray was rather distracted, but knew better than to push.
As they sat in the diner, Ray said, “I can’t get what she said out of my head.”
Fraser looked at him questioningly, “What who said?”
Ray shook his head. “Never mind, it’s not important.”
“I disagree, Ray. You’ve been distracted all morning. Someone obviously said something to upset you. I’d like to help.”
Ray chewed for a moment then set his sandwich down. He looked at Fraser with troubled blue eyes and said, “There was this girl on the street this morning. She was talking to her friend and I overheard her say something that makes absolutely no sense to me. She said, and I quote, “If it weren’t for my horse, I wouldn’t have spent that year in college.” What the hell does having a horse have to do with going to college?”
Fraser tilted his head to one side as he pondered the statement. His brow furrowed and he tilted his head the other way. He opened his mouth then closed it again. Finally, he rubbed his left thumb across his left eyebrow and said, “Okay, that is quite possibly the stupidest statement I have ever heard.”
Ray’s eyebrows shot up and he looked at his partner incredulously. “You can’t figure it out either?”
Ray snorted, “You’re tellin’ me that you, Benton Fraser of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the man who has a story for every situation, you don’t have some obscure anecdote in that vault you call a mind that ties in neatly to a woman going to school for her horse?
Fraser scowled, “Despite what you may think of me, I do not have all the answers, Ray. Of course, I once knew a man who had taken a correspondence course to learn sign language so he could communicate with the bears in the region, but as the bears hadn’t also taken the course his efforts weren’t very effective. But I really don’t think there’s any correlation between the two. What she said makes no sense and I can’t imagine in what context it would. I’d advise you not to think on it too closely. It will only give you a headache.”
Ray grinned at his partner and picked up his sandwich. As they ate he put the question aside. Benny was right; he should let it go. He didn’t want to wind up dead in the bathroom a week from now because his brain exploded from trying to figure this out.
It was also nice to have his partner admit that he didn’t know everything. Then Ray’s brow furrowed…using sign language on bears? Never mind; he really didn’t want to know.
“So any ideas on how to solve this case?” Ray asked a bit later.
Fraser looked at him earnestly, “Well, you see, I think we should look into anyone familiar with certain rituals of the Mombatu tribe. These crimes bear a striking resemblance to some of the more esoteric practices…”
Ray sighed and sat back with a small grin. Then again, maybe Fraser did have all the answers, at least when it mattered.
Written for my husband's birthday. My sincerest apologies to Lewis Black.