Nathaniel Cannon and the Secret of the Dutchman’s Cross No. 49

Cannon’s watch read one a.m. A few minutes earlier, the truck had sputtered to a halt. Cannon stood behind it, looking over a map spread out at the back of the bed. Burr, sitting next to it with her legs hanging over the edge, held a flashlight for him. Abou el Hidir was the last town they’d passed, five or six miles ago.

At the front of the truck, Iseabail had both sides of the hood up and open. “How is it ye dinna have wrenches in yon King’s units in a British truck?” She extricated herself from the engine bay to glower at Masaracchia. “What’s a half-inch in your damned millimeters? Dinnae answer, it’s thirteen. Hand me tha’ wrench. Nae, the box-end, ye gomerel.”

Cannon leaned around the corner of the truckbed. “Is everything all right up there?”

“Tha’s a daft question an’ ye ken it,” Iseabail shot back. “It’s makin’ nae spark. Yon magneto has nae bracket. How d’ye make a truck rust in a bloody desert? It’s a lucky thing I aye ha’ bailing wire handy. Ten minutes. It’ll go a few hundred miles.”

Cannon looked up at Burr. “She’s not happy.”

“Zep’s named Inconstant, captain, not Obvious.”

Sitting in the bed, di Giacomo chuckled, and Cannon blinked, canted his head, and said, “I guess I walked right into that one.”

Burr nodded. “You can’t blame me for swinging at a softball like that.”

“Well, I won’t, at least.”

“Sounds like the same thing to me.”

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