The Sawyer’s Arms opened into a small main room with tables and chairs lining the windows. A small step down led to a standing only area in front of the bar. Off to the right were some booths and more tables and chairs in a chaotic arrangement, theoretically designed to maximize space. A set of stairs led to another floor where the “traditional English fish and chips” had been served last night to a less than impressed Jack and Helen. There were a few lunchtime drinkers at the bar, but the tables looked mostly empty.
Jack looked hopefully around for someone who seemed to be waiting for him. There were no contenders, so he headed for the bar. He leaned on the aged wood in a space created by the exit of a muscular, bespectacled man.
The barman said, “Are you looking for someone?”
“Uh, yeah. I don’t know who though.” The man just smiled and took an order from a old woman towards the other end of the bar.
“Hey, Jack.” A hand grabbed Jack’s shoulder. Attached to the hand was a petite brunette wearing a pea coat. Jack was pulled away from the bar and led to one of the booths. The pea-coated woman sat, but Jack stood near his seat.
"Hi." The twenty-something woman flashed a smile that drew attention to her suddenly apparent prettiness.
"I know. Sit down." Jack submitted and took a seat.
"I didn't catch your name."
"Kate. O'Meara." Her accent swirled around Europe, touching down in half a dozen countries.
"Glad to meet you, Kate"
"And you.” She took a sip from the glass on the table. Something on the rocks. “Do you believe in God, Jack?"
"Do you always start conversations like that?” Jack looked to her for an answer, but came away empty handed. “No, not really. I'm not very religious. The question of whether there is a god is not one that I've spent much time on."
"I hate religions. They're annoying. But God exists."
"Oh really? You talk to him often?"
"No, but I know some people who work for him."
Jack stifled a laugh. "Are you some sort of Mormon trying to sell me a bible?"
"Well, what do you want? Excuse my rudeness, but you said you wanted to talk to me about my father." Kate lowered her head.
"I do, I was just testing the waters."
"A way to approach this. I used to work with your father"
"Do you know what a paladin is?"
"No. A paladin is a warrior. Your father was a paladin."
"A warrior? What do you mean? Like a pro wrestler?"
"Please be serious."
"I am being serious. What are you saying?” Jack pushed up against the back of his seat, putting distance between him and Kate.
"Your father was a member of The Paladins. They're a group of warriors sworn to fight evil."
"You're not going to expand on that?"
"Draw your own conclusions."
"So do these paladins dress up in costumes and beat up bad guys?"
"Do you always turn to humour when you're uncomfortable?"
"They don’t dress up and 'bad guys' implies amusing incompetence." Kate caught Jack’s eyes across the table. He turned away, but then looked back at her abruptly.
"What do you mean 'was'?"
"You said my father 'was' a paladin."
"Oh? What is he now?"
"He died, Jack." She looked out the window.