"I need to make a call." Gil said getting up from the table. "If the waitress comes by, tell her I want the Number Three, easy on the mayo."

Bauer, his partner, nodded and continued to study his menu as if it held the secrets of the universe. Gil walked to the restaurant foyer and pulled the letter out of his pocket. He dialed the number and leaned against the wall. Now or never, he thought, looking out the window and up at the gray sky. He listened to the line ring and wondered if it would snow.

"This is Joy Davison." a woman answered on the third ring.

"Hello, this is Gilbert Walton. I received a letter from you."

"Oh yes, Mr. Walton, how are you?" she asked.

"I'm fine."

"Are you interested in the position?"

"Maybe, can you tell me something about it?"

"All right. What do you know about the Department of Supernatural Affairs?"

"Not much. What are you?"

"We, the DSA, are a part of the Department of the Interior. We monitor supernatural activity in the United States. Now I've looked into your background somewhat and I understand you had an encounter with a werewolf in Missouri a few years ago."

"A werewolf?" he kept his tone even and fought back memories of Mona.

"Sorry, we use 'werewolf' as a catch-all. I meant a were-cougar. Can you tell me about your encounter?"

"How do you know it was a werewolf? Or cougar." he added.

"We received reports of a man-eating mountain lion that struck only once a month when the moon was full. It's not hard to see the pattern. Also, a local woman disappeared immediately after the lion was shot, so that confirmed our theory."

"What do you mean?"

"She left everything behind, including the clothes she was wearing that day. I recall that you were the head of the local Conservation office. You lead the hunt and resigned soon after it was done. Last year, you reported an encounter with a ghoul in a cemetery. That means you're something of a magnet, so we're interested in hiring you as a field agent. Would you like to come in for an interview? We can discuss this better in person."

Gil relaxed. The ghoul at Rosehill! He'd transferred soon after that and had nearly forgotten about it. "What day?" he asked.

"How about the 10th? I have an opening at 3:30, is that all right with you?"

"That's fine." She gave him the address and they hung up. He walked back to the table, where the waitress was setting down plates.

"Who were you talking to?" Bauer asked, picking up a fork.

"Just the contractor." he lied. "Wanted to check on some things."

"Hm." he grunted around a mouthful of food. He chewed and swallowed. "Aren't you almost done with that house? Seems like you've been working on it forever."

"Actually, I almost am. I'll have to decide what to do soon."

"I got a friend who's thinking of moving."

"Oh?" Gil asked, picking up his sandwich.

"Yeah. He lives in Peoria, but his wife wants to move closer to the city. I'm going fishing with him in a couple months in Kankakee. Maybe I'll talk to him."

Gil nodded, and took a bite of his sandwich.