‘The first one was a surprise…’ Father Connell clung to the mug of whisky as if it was a life jacket.
I’d never seen him drink anything stronger than an espresso from Molly’s Café and I’m sure that ended up watering the sickly looking yucca in the window.
I smiled – I hoped – reassuringly. ‘I should think it was.’
His hand shook, amber liquid lapping at the mug’s rim. I considered taking the 21 year old Glenfarclas malt back into protective custody, but resisted the temptation.
The phones were ringing behind me, Constables Ross and Dunlevy stemming the flow best they could. Calls had mainly been from local newspapers, but as the story spread, the nationals had been in contact too. There would be a press conference at three, the Chief Constable’s chance to sound reassuringly in control while not having a clue what was happening.
The priest had closed his eyes, mug raised, shivering. ‘The bird’s a moa?’
‘So they say.’
‘And the other?’ He licked his lips. ‘The missing one?’
I gazed longingly at the bottle of Glenfarclas. ‘A smilodon. Sabre tooth tiger to you and me.’
I shrugged. ‘Better ask your boss, Father.’
Oh, how the mind works in convoluted ways. Saw the bone belonged to an ostrich, thought of animals in incongruous places … And naturally, that led to extinct animals appearing in English rural communities.