Unfortunately, it was quite possible that Jock really was an alcoholic, while I doubted that Maynard really did anything illegal with ruminants.
There’s a story (Byron tells it in a footnote to Don Juan) that a minor Elizabethan poet called John Sylvester once challenged Ben Jonson to a battle of rhymes. He kicked off with, “I, John Sylvester, lay with your sister.”
Jonson replied, “I, Ben Jonson, lay with your wife.”
“But that isn’t rhyme,” Sylvester protested.
“No,” said Jonson, “but it is true.”
So Seth won, on truth grounds. It didn’t matter. It meant he was cheerful enough to hear from me at the end of the day, and to tell me that Curnow was still missing.
Before we hung up Seth said, “Hey! Ok, you’ve got your sources. So have you heard any rumour that someone might have splatted Curnow?”
“Well, I know Ana’s dad doesn’t like him. But Curnow knows that too, and he was moving fast the last time I saw him. He could be a long way away by now. I haven’t heard anything and I just don’t know.”
“And yet – How’d you know that Maynard fucks goats?”
“K. Well, if you hear anything, tell me, okay.”
The phone rang again as soon as I hung up. It was Ana.
I said, “Hey.”
“Have you heard of tequila sunrises?”
“The bartender is selling them half price. He says it’s happy hour. It isn’t, you know.”
“Okay, I’ll be right there.”
Ana’s voice was like the grenadine layer, sweet and cherry-colored. “They’re really nice. You should have one.”
“Right there, girl.” The phone giggled at me, faintly, before I cut it off. I thought, as Ana had probably intended, about how much she needed spanking, and, for that matter, fucking. She was not a girl to leave alone with a cheap supply of tequila sunrises. I grabbed my coat.