The Accidental Watch. 8th in the STOPWATCH Series

ESTATE SILENT AUCTION and SALE Sat, 9Am until Dark. One Pinehurst.

Antiques: Ornate Carved English Walnut Head and Footboard bed Circa 1820. Matching Dresser, Paired Chifforobe and Commode cabinets. Pair Gold Rimmed Commodes.

Queen Anne Dining Room Set Circa 1710, 14 chairs. Includes Sideboard, Service, and Commode closet.

"Late Baroque" (Queen Anne) Drawing room; complete. Dated 1704 Unknown maker.

Three Suits Armor, with lance, sword, spurs.

Curios: India, China, Japan, America, North and South.

China: Unique Services for 28, 14, eight and four. Pre 1800.

Odd set of post 1900 high quality china ... no repeating pattern. Service for fifty, includes silver service, cups, drinking glasses and goblets.

Furniture: Assorted, varied, handmade, Pre 1860. English, French, North American. 21 rooms.

Guns: Rifles, Muskets, Hand Guns. 351 assorted from Matchlock to .50 cal Barrett. Collection appraised at 1.5 million. Preponderance of Ornate Pennsylvania Flintlocks.

Cases and cases of Ammunition, collectables and not so collectable.

Knives: 400 assorted. To be Sold as Set.

Military Vehicles: Unrestored.

Aircraft: Out of Annual. Some, very much out.

Boats: Sail. Scavenger hunt material.

Assorted boxes, bags and locked chests of One Man's Junk is Another Mans Treasure. (NO KEYS)

Stuff: Contents of 4 outbuildings.

FFL Dealer will be on premise for sale of guns.

"Let's go," she said.

"Sure," he said, "It'll be fun."

"We might actually buy something," she laughed.

"Dress up?" he asked.

"The Regency costumes from last year?" She thought.

"You got it," he grinned. "Will Jamie do your hair?"

"Call, will you? I'll see if they're clean enough." She started rummaging in the chests. He heard her groan. "Oh I hope this still fits ... It DOES!!!"

"Jamie will be here before curtain. He's bringing Yvette. " He paused ... hold it ... give her a chance. Rats ... she didn't bite. "And her makeup case."

"You know the best people," she commented.

"Charlatans and con-men all," he replied.

"Theater people, Dahling, theater people." She looked down her nose.

"We do get great seats," he explained.

"Oh, so true." She looked thoughtful, "Just once, I'd like a box."

"It's Free." He said, "Don't complain."

It was fun.

She was the perfect Deb, he was the perfect London Man about Town. They might have been at Almacks.

She wore thin muslin cut extremely low with laughable puffed wisps at her shoulders ... muted but gaily colored ... dancing slippers, silk hose. She blushed ... a lot. She had good reason ... her chest was mostly exposed.

He wore top hat and tails ... unapologeticlly Black. A Brummell to the toes. He was very protective.

They exclaimed over things ... as if they had had them in their homes. All in all, they were a major addition to the sale.

When the auctioneer finally got around to the boats, he explained, "All we have is titles ... the scavenger hunt is YOU FIND THEM."

Sure they sold ... yeah, Right.

Bidding over, the diminished crowd paid, packed up and left.

At Nine Thirty, the auctioneer approached.

"You bought nothing," he said.

"No, but we had such fun."

"I'd say you two added a good million dollars to the sale. I'd like to reward you ... with a blessing ... and a curse." He laughed.

"You mean like, 'Good news and Bad news?'" she questioned.

"Yes," he said. "The good news: you can have everything that's left."

That got a grin ... and a frown..."And?" she asked.

"It's got to be gone in a week ... here's the keys." He walked off.

What's left was a disaster.

"You know such interesting people," she said, prompting Edmond with her hand.

"Theater people ... I know theater people ... PROPS!!" he exclaimed. "You are so smart."

"Grab that chest," she commanded. It was the only one unsold.

"Yes ma'am. FUCK ... that's heavy!" Edmond exclaimed.

"I wonder what's in it?" she asked.

"I'll be right back, there should be a dolly in the mens quarters."

She hollered, as he went down the stairs, "At least they left the electricity on."

"Pers? Come down here."

"Persephone, please. I hate Pers, makes me sound like a cat ... Why?"

"Nothing from the basement was sold."

Persephone tripped lightly down the stairs ... but he caught her.

"Thank you, Ed." She batted her eyes.

"If you insist on Persephone, I insist on Edmund."

"It's so ... stuffy."

"So is yours."

They turned and surveyed the cavern. Floor to ceiling was packed with broken junk.

Like Twins they exclaimed, "OH MY GOD!!" They looked at each other. "Theater People!!! All we can find."

An electric motor started.

"What's that?"

He forced his way through stacks of magazines and newspapers toward the sound. Against the wall was a series of three inch copper pipes all leading to a tall brass can hooked to a huge motor.

"Imperium CV20000 Commercial Single Phase 230 volt In House Vacuum, Number Two," he read ... A lightbulb went off in his head..."Someone is in the house!!" Just then he noticed a series of lights ... one was green. "Master BedRoom," he shouted.

They trotted up the stairs ... he was dragging a dolly. They left the dolly by the trunk and hotfooted it up the stairs ... right turn ... there was a whisper from the closed door.

Edmond threw open the door. The running appliance was sitting on the hardwood floor ... alone.

The room was bare. The adjoining baths were empty.

Scratching his head, Edmond unplugged the hose from the wall ... the vacuum automatically shut down.



"I'm frightened ... let's go home." She looked at Edmond..."I like Seph ... you can call me that."

The trunk was soon loaded in the Volvo. Ed returned to the house, found the master panel and shut off the lights. From outside he checked all the doors, locked the unlocked, and approached the car.

The police were there.

"We have the keys ... I was just locking up. We'll be back tomorrow," Ed said.

"Why?" asked the officer.

"We made a deal with the auctioneer."

"Let me guess ... you can have everything left but it's got to be gone in a week." He chuckled.

"You got it in one. How did you know?"

"He's done it before. I wish you luck." There was a twinkle in his eye ... like there was a lot more he could have said ... but didn't. "What's your phone and address ... just in case."

"In case of what?"

"Well ... it's your house, for a week ... we might need to call."

As they were pulling away, he looked back and hollered, "The place is haunted!!"

He and his partner were laughing so hard they drove through the roses.

Ed and Seph drove home, there Ed unloaded the chest, Seph ran ahead, unlocking doors and holding them open.

"Thank God for elevators," sighed Ed.

Eventually, Ed and the trunk arrived in their minuscule living room. The trunk was muscled up on some concrete blocks that were going to be a book case.

"Wait, Ed," she cried. "Tip it up ... thought so." Seph reached under the trunk and tugged this way and that.

"You better hurry, this fucker is heavy."

She gave a final jerk. "Got it."

Ed set the trunk down and ran for the bathroom. Relief was heard throughout the apartment.

Seph's IT was a manila envelope, taped, stapled and folded. KEY was written on the envelope in big letters.

"Ah ... Ed ... there's a bakers dozen of keys in here. One is pretty big, the rest ... tiny." She looked up ... No Ed.

She hear a flush and realized that it was a pretty good idea ... NO ... it was a GREAT IDEA!! "My turn," she yelled. They collided in the hall. "Oaf!" she said.

"OOF!" said he. There was a dance and she slammed the bathroom door.

"I wanna watch!!" Ed said ... and laughed. 'In my dreams.'

The door swung open.

Ed's eyes got big ... but she needed a million teenincy buttons undone. She was dancing but he got it done.




Then the flush and the shower turned on.

"Come wash my back."

Ed got a huge smile ... but the door was locked ... a laugh oozed out the door. "Go change your clothes."

"Good idea."

Ed, thinking like a girl, ran to the living room and grabbed the envelope with the keys. In seconds he was stripped and toweled. Seph came out ... bundled and dry. Ed walked into the bath, locked the door and turned on the cold water. He took a seat.

'Wait for it ... wait for it.' He was thinking. Ah ... stomping foot steps.

"Ed, you bastard," the door rattled, "Give me the keys!!"

"Water's running ... I'm in the shower. I can't hear you."

'Here it comes... ' The doorknob turned and opened. She crept into the bath ... Ed grabbed her, stripped off her robe and tossed her in the ice cold shower. The shriek was heard across town. The downstairs neighbor laughed so loud his windows rattled.

Ed stepped out, slid a chair under the doorknob and walked to the end of the hall.


'Damn it ... she Knows I can't stand that." He removed the chair ... she blew by him like a McDonnell F-4 Phantom at Mach 2, relieving him of the keys on the way by. He relieved her of her robe, dropped his towel ... well, hung it on his hook and followed her to the trunk ... his trunk leading the way.

"No! Ed ... No!" she eyed his hanger..."Maybe..." Little Ed knew tricks ... the towel bounced up and down. "Quickie?" she said.

Forty five minutes later they were in the shower ... together. He was up again ... she went down. At one minute after Two they finally opened the chest.

It was full of chests. A dozen smaller chests filled the available space. There was a great deal of fumbling ... with the chests, too.

Eventually, the correct keys were found. One after the other, the chests were opened. Boxes ... they were full of boxes.

Persephone opened one of the boxes. It had an even dozen sealed envelopes in it. She picked one at random ... an 1879-O, Double Eagle. All twelve were 1879-O dates. The next box contained the date1881, the one after that? 1882. Then twelve from1885. She just sat there ... mesmerized. She jerked ... dressed ... sort of, grabbed one ... just one 1879-O ... slipped it in its envelope and ran downstairs.

She banged on the door of the apartment below theirs.

"Mr. Smith ... Mr. Smith." The door opened ... she knocked on his forehead. "Oops ... sorry." She shoved the envelope in his hand, "What's this worth?"

Mr. Smith was a coin collector ... he knew ... she was sure.

He opened the coin pocket and took one look ... and dropped it. Persephone caught it.

"I'll be right back." Mr. Smith dashed for his 'BLUE BOOK OF COIN VALUES'. Seph was still standing in the open doorway. Smith fumbled his way to Gold ... then to Double Eagle.

"If this is real ... Fifteen thousand dollars. Where did you get it?"

"Locked trunk at an Estate Sale."

"What did you pay for the trunk?"

"Nothing. It was left ... no bid. The auctioneer gave it to us."

Smith clutched at his chest.

"One Pinehurst?"


"I was going to go ... I forgot."

"Thanks, Mr. Smith."

She got up and headed for the door.

"Here ... you forgot your coin."

"Keep it ... I have eleven more. Call it payment for putting up with Edmond and me for the past year."

Chapter 1 ยป