Mr. McCune puffed on his cigar and smiled into the air, watching as the smoke drifted back to his rotund belly. Although, not the best visitation he'd ever had, things seemed to be going quite swimmingly. Beans was still flustered from the unexpected company, leaving McCune to do as he pleased.
"Family portrait," Mr. McCune muttered as he inspected the unsmiling oily faces that hung above the fireplace, wiping a finger across the dusty mantle piece. "Old family portrait. Must be a third generation. Parent's have passed away. No siblings, or else they've gone to France. Highly unlikely. No one would have let this place go." McCune shook his head as he threw some old logs into the fire pit. "Higher priorities is what it is. What, what though? Beans, you funny old fellow! What's in your office?"
By the time Beans came back, the fire was lit and Mr. McCune had assumed a gentlemanly position; one hand in his vest pocket while the other pinched his cigar. “The name’s McCune, by the way.”
Mr. McCune went about pleasantries, remarking on the state of the manor to pass off time until Beans would have to leave to care for the tea. This infuriated the poor man superbly. Mr. McCune watched as Beans rushed off at the call of the kettle.
As soon as Remington was out of sight, McCune put down his drink, let out a breath and rushed to the main object of his attention. In the corner of the parlor, near a curtained window stood a mahogany roll-top desk. McCune couldn't restrain his curiosity as he pushed aside the cover. Underneath was an array of papers and unopened letters, seemingly discarded for years.
McCune brushed through the sealed envelopes trying to glean as much information from them as possible. Most of the letters were trivial and useless, although he did find quite a few with the University's seal. He also found a couple of receipts from both the apothecary and the university. This intrigued McCune so much that he hardly noticed the clacking of claws until it was too late.
The feathered rat came flying toward him in a flurry of crimson. McCune had little time to react before the creature bit him twice in the hand, springing from the desk. McCune cried out as he dropped his cigar and the papers from the desk cascaded to the floor. It wasn't long before Beans came running back into the room, calling out for his demonic, lab-rat creature to lay off his attack on Mr. McCune.
"Nice rat you have there," Mr. McCune mumbled as he brushed himself off and stamped out the smoldering ashes from his cigar. Beans scooped up the strange rodent which McCune had kicked aside. Without looking Beans in the eyes, McCune began to pick up the papers that had dropped on the floor. "Pardon me. Let me help you clean up this mess. Really, you ought to open your tax forms, Mr. Remington. You know better than to let them collect dust."
"Your presence is no longer tolerated in this household," Benedict Remington answered in a commanding tone. "I would appreciate it if you would see yourself to the door."
Mr. McCune knew well enough when he was defeated. "Fair enough, I see I have caused you enough damage for one night. My deepest apologies to the...animal." He looked down at his lacerated hand, watching as drops of blood oozed from the deeper parts of the bite. He took out a handkerchief to hold against his hand.
"The apologies are mine, Mr. McCune," Beans replied icily as he led McCune to the door. Mr. McCune put on his coat.
"Expect a letter from me, my dear Benedict. I have matters of utmost importance to discuss. I trust you will read what I send you, and reply promptly?"
"I'll do my best," Beans returned, holding tight to the winged rat who had turned a bright shade of scarlet. McCune slowly fitted his hat to his head.
"Your hospitality is most gracious, especially to an old fellow like me. I bid you farewell. Have a good night."
"Goodnight," Beans said as Mr. McCune grabbed his umbrella. As soon as he opened the brolly and stepped out into the downpour of rain, the door to the manor was closed to him.
Mr. McCune walked out of the estate only half disappointed in the visit. Although he would have liked to stay longer and enjoy a warm cup of tea or a glass of brandy, he had all the information he needed. Beans was purchasing materials from the University and from pharmacists, which meant only one thing: Beans had a keen interest for the sciences.
So the rumors were true after all.
Mr. McCune pulled up his collar as he walked through the dark toward the cab waiting for him at the gate of the manor. He pulled his weight inside of the small carriage. "Where to, sir?" the cabbie asked.
"Take me to the University," Mr. McCune ordered. "I've got some business to take care of."