“Where do you hunt?” Eric asked.
Watson paused on the trail. He pulled out a pipe and began to stuff the bowl.
The ritual reminded Eric of Chief Ross.
“I usually wind up around the Chickahominy River. There’s good game in that area,” Watson said. He held the pipe between his teeth as he spoke.
As the two continued their walk back, the conversation changed to dogs and it ended with remarks about Jager, who was running around their feet playfully biting at their shoes. Watson walked toward his home and nodded good-bye with his pipe still firmly between his teeth.
Eric hooked the Springador back to the line, and went upstairs to make coffee. Filling the pot from the tap, he thought back to his hunting days with his father. Watson’s conversation struck a note. Using rifles for deer hunting east of the Blue Ridge Mountains, in all but a very few counties, was unlawful, he suddenly remembered, you had to use shotguns. Eric thought the law had not changed.
When steam burst from the pot’s spout in little gusts, he removed it from the stove. He stared out of his window at the Watson home and at the small-paned third story windows where Watson’s workshop occasionally showed a light during late hours. He thought about his friendly neighbor, a man who said he hunted with his rifle in an area where Eric felt sure it was not lawful. A man who had a computer company at his disposal. That fleshy hint of Watson’s smile kept prodding his memory, making the hair at the back of his neck stand up. He couldn’t place the man. Was all this friendliness sincere? Could he be trusted? Apparently Ross and Langley thought so.
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