It was Ian’s and Lila’s anniversary this weekend, and they went to the Desert Rose to celebrate.
Stopping off at their place first, Lila determined to do some research before they left.
“It looks like LACMA is running an exhibit on the Golem legend.” Lila paused. “This makes me think about our trip to Krakow. I really loved those bread circles covered in poppy or sesame seeds. Mmm…” She fell silent with a blissful look on her face.
Ian waved his hand near her face. “Earth to Lila. Time for another trip to Europe.”
“Yes!” Lila’s eyes brightened. “Let’s go in July. Don’t you have some time off coming up?”
“Okay, back to the subject,” Ian said gently. “Golems. What do we know about ‘em?”
Lila turned determinedly back to the computer. “Let’s turn to our favorite source, Wikipedia.” She pulled up the site and read silently for a moment. “Okay, so it’s a lump of clay that is essentially magically made alive. A relative of the rabbi who originally made a golem way back in the 1500s said that when the rabbi saw the golem growing too huge, he ended up getting injured while trying to put the kibosh on it. Sounds like at first the golem was pretty useful, but after awhile it got out of control.”
“What does a golem have to do with a drone?” Ian asked quizzically
“Maybe,” Lila said slowly, “it has something to do with this larger legend about Rabbi Loew making a golem to protect the Jewish community in Prague during the late 1500s. There’s even a World War II era legend about a Nazi going up to the attic where this original golem is supposedly stored to try to stick a knife in it, but then the Nazi operative mysteriously ends up dead.”
Lila took a breath. “Wasn’t the company that produced the drone called Magen?” She quickly typed in the word and searched. “That means protector in Hebrew. The company has an office here in Los Angeles that we should probably visit.” She tapped her fingers on the table, thinking. “Todd Regelmeister, the defense guy who was killed, he could have been a threat to someone. We need to find out more about him.”
Lila sat there for several minutes thinking about this new information. Pearson continued to purr and knead his claws on her leg.
“Ouch,” she exclaimed as his claws cut through the material in her pants to the skin underneath. Carefully dislodging the cat, she set him gently on the floor.
The time until Ian arrived home passed quickly. Lila settled into the couch to read a research article that she was co-writing with a friend of hers to boost their academic street cred. Hearing the door creak open, she set aside her laptop and petted Pearson, who had nestled in next to her leg.
“Hey,” Ian greeted her tiredly.
“Hey, yourself,” Lila replied. She hoisted herself up off the couch and followed him into the bedroom, where she sprawled on the bed to watch him change out of his work clothes and into his workout gear.
“So how did your day go?” Lila asked casually.
“It was okay,” Ian said dismissively. “Nothing special. How about yours? Did you get your paper proofread?”
“Not quite. Still working on it.” Plucking at the quilt cover, Lila inquired nonchalantly, “When did you see that drone demo last month? Was it the 23rd?”
“I think so,” he said sitting on the bed beside to lace up his running shoes. “Why?” He turned to look at her.
Lila announced bluntly, “Someone got murdered that day.”
That got Ian’s full attention. “What do you mean?” His eyes sharpened on her.
“The guy visiting from HQ, Todd Regelmeister. There was an explosion during the exhibition that apparently killed him.”
“It’s tragic,” Ian paused. “But that doesn’t mean it was murder.”
“I got this in the mail.” Lila passed over the paper that she had brought in with her.
Ian studied it carefully and handed it back to her. “Who do you think sent it?”
“I don’t know, but it seems to have something to do with that project you were working at the time.”
“You know I can’t talk about that,” Ian remonstrated.
She held up her hand in a stop gesture. “I know, I know. I’m just saying, maybe you can think of someone who may have wanted to stop that project or keep that company from moving forward with its design.”
“There are lots of people who would fit that bill,” Ian said looking pensive. “Every competitor they had would’ve killed…” His voiced trailed off. “I see what you mean. I’ll give it some thought.”
The doorbell rang at that moment and Ian rose up to answer it. The FedEx employee handed him a standard paperboard express envelope and pushed the signature pad at Ian. Before signing his name, Ian examined the address on the envelope.
He closed the door and walked back into the bedroom where he sat beside Lila. Opening the envelope quickly, he fished out a single sheet of paper and read aloud the writing on it:
San Jose. Computer History Museum. Hour of Code.
Ian looked at his watch. “That’s tomorrow.” He quickly pulled up the details on his Smartphone. “How about a trip to San Jose this weekend?”
“Sweet.” Lila perked up. “I’ll bring my article and edit on the way.”
“Looks like we’re in for a December surprise,” Ian said, smiling slightly.
Lila leaned in and kissed the corner of his mouth. “Always an adventure.”
“Pack your bag and catch a few hours of sleep before we head out,” he suggested.
Lila reached for her mobile phone, which sat on the bedside table. “I’ll call Josie,” she said referring to the cat sitter, “ since I’m figuring we’ll be gone at least through Sunday.”
Ian took Lila’s hand in his. “How about making an early anniversary weekend of it? We can stop in Monterey on the way back.”
“Nice idea.” Lila returned his smile. “Never a dull moment with you.”