Edwin Carbuncle always sat straight, a remnant of what his mom called “proper education.” To her, education had nothing to do with academics so much as it came from lineage and one’s place within society’s hierarchy. To his beloved mother’s dismay, at the age of nineteen Edwin changed his name and moved from England to where he lives now.
When a lawyer came to him with an envelope addressed to him from a friend who had disappeared for nearly a decade, he had no idea what it could be about. When Edwin learned that the envelope had been the only thing left behind in the safe, he felt a wave of excitement go over him at the idea that maybe – just maybe – his dear old friend wasn’t dead.
Edwin only let go his glass of water to push back the hair that would always fall over his face. He always kept his hair unkempt and unwashed, which would make him look as if he had a dark greasy mop on top of his head. Other than that, his hygiene and attire were impeccable; he wore cologne that smelled faintly of flowers, which men always mistrusted on another man, but which women found intriguing.
Edwin had his glass of water refilled three times before his meal was presented to him. He liked water. Water was the only thing he drank and the only thing he enjoyed consuming. Maybe he felt a special bond with water because he had no taste buds and, since water doesn’t taste anything, he didn’t feel like he was missing out on something. Ironically, he’d always comment on the taste of water in his critiques.
So Edwin sat there, drinking water, replacing the hair on his head and thinking about that little slip of paper. “Valera,” he sometimes said out loud. He duly felt that Valera, whatever it is, should be the starting point of his investigation, so he looked it up. Valera is a city in Venezuela and a district in Peru. Furthermore, many men were named Valera, from an Irish politician to one Spanish author and two sculptors. Even a famous young volleyball player was named Valera. To complicate thing, it is also the diminutive of the Russian name Valery and the name of a famous protestant Spanish version of the Bible – the Reina-Valera.
Then again, it could just mean anything. The numbers on the slip didn’t match the living years of anyone named Valera he could find. Edwin had not yet picked up a Bible to see if the numbers would bring anything up in there.