Having just watched Ivy Morgan, Jonas Markham, and Alistair Sinclair drive away from his barbershop, Ray Brannigan heads upstairs, planning to get a few short hours of sleep. When he awakes at 6:00am, he cleans himself, shaves, and puts on his best suit. After taking a few hundred dollars from the safe in his shop, Ray stops at the local bakery to pick up his mother’s favorite (a honey-glazed pound cake), and jumps on the subway bound for Brooklyn.
Walking through the East-Flatbush neighborhood towards his mother’s house, Ray is confronted by recent events; the death of Horace Baker, the adventure in Red Hook, his inexplicable aging at the hands of Father Washington. He wonders if his mother will notice the new wrinkles and obviously dyed hair as he steps through her front door.
Despite the expert concealment of his recently aged features, Marilyn Brannigan is no fool. She notices the drastic change in Ray’s appearance, and looks her son over with shock and concern. He attempts to casually change the subject, but his mother will have none of it. She spends the whole of breakfast lecturing Ray on the evils of excess, and tries to convince Ray to move back home so she can look after him. Placating his mother by promising to visit a physician and get more sleep, Ray leaves East Flatbush later than he would have liked.
Ray returns to the barbershop after 10:00am and opens up for business. Much to his chagrin, his customers seem to be aware of the changes to his appearance as well. Unlike his mother, he’s able to assuage their concerns, chalking up his haggard appearance to an exciting evening in Harlem. However, the real reason for his change in appearance, as well as the events of the previous weekend begin to adversely affect his work, and Ray accidentally cuts the Vice President of a Manhattan ad firm. Apologizing to his waiting customers, he tells them that he’s closing up shop immediately.
Heading to the washroom to splash his face with cold water, Ray looks at the reflection staring back at him from the mirror. He takes stock of the older man he’s become and thinks, “No more cosmetics. This is my face.”
Ray closes up the shop and heads to his favorite greasy spoon for a bite. Once he’s eaten, he finds a phone booth, pulls a business card from his pocket, and attempts to contact Ivy Morgan. The last four days play over and over on a loop in Ray’s head, as he hears the phone ring somewhere in the distance. He is brought back to reality by the nearly screaming operator – “Sir? Sir? SIR? I’M SORRY, SIR, BUT THERE IS NO ANSWER AT THAT NUMBER?”
Ray hangs up the receiver. Looking at his pocket watch, he notices that it’s after 3:00pm (How long had he sat in that phone booth?). He looks down at the business card, verifies the number, and tries Ivy again. Making sure to keep his mind from wandering, Ray listens to the phone ring over and over until the operator breaks in – “I’m sorry sir, but there is no answer at that number.”
At a loss, Ray tries to remember something that can reunite him with his fellow investigators. He does not seem confident that he can find Ivy Morgan or Connor O’Shea’s residences, nor does he think that heading back to East Flatbush (and Michael O’Shea’s house) will help. Remembering his breakfast meeting with Alistair Sinclair and the others on Saturday, Ray picks up the receiver and asks the operator to connect him with the Hotel Bellclaire. The front desk clerk rings Alistair’s room, and after a long, maddening wait, informs Ray that the professor is not answering the phone.
Frustrated by his lack of progress, Ray hails a cab. He hopes that a few twenty dollar bills will be enough motivation for the cabbie to drive him around Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood, looking for the hidden entrance to The Slaughtered Lamb. All of his hunches have lead to dead ends – perhaps Ivy or Jonas will be knocking back a few shots of Old Unhappy Dog at the secluded speakeasy. For the next two hours, Ray rides a cab aimlessly around Hell’s Kitchen; while he cannot find alley he seeks, he does remember the password (Come fourth, Lazarus – and he came fifth and lost the job!) required for entry to the bar.
Finally, as the sun is setting upon the less-than-savory neighborhood, Ray tells the cabbie to stop. The corner of Tenth and West 39th looks familiar. Promising the cabbie another twenty dollars if he waits, Ray heads up the street, looking down all of the alleys he passes. He notices a severed wolf head painted on a garbage can at the entrance of an alley, and turns in. At the end of the ally, he notices a narrow gap between the two buildings that he can squeeze through. Within stands the large mahogany door with the strange symbol emblazoned upon it. Knocking, Ray sees the peephole open and a gruff, Irish accent say, “What’s the password?”
Ray recites the password and the door opens. Entering, he is greeted by a gigantic man with hands as big as dinner plates. Looking around, Ray sees a shaken-looking beat cop sitting in the corner, nursing a beer. At the bar sits another hulk of a man, wearing a trench coat and drinking from a hip flask. Behind the bar is a plain-looking, short-haired woman who Ray recognizes from his brief visit on Sunday afternoon.
“Welcome to the Slaughtered Lamb,” says the large Irishman, with a slight look of suspicion on his face. “I don’t think we’ve met.”
“It’s alright, Alec,” says Dora, “He was in here with Ms. Morgan and Mr. Markham Sunday afternoon.” Looking at Ray carefully, she adds, “Although he looks a little worse for the wear.”
Without having to be asked, she produces a bottle of Old Unhappy Dog and pours a glass. Tipping the glass, Ray finds himself calm down a bit.
Alec walks up to the bar and sits next to the other hulking man. “Ms. Morgan and Mr. Markham were in early this morning. Told us everything about the Red Hook situation; you’re running afoul those cult members…and the horrible entity they summoned.”
“Sounds like they could have used more guns,” quips the man next to Alec, sipping from his hip flask.
“Don’t know if more guns would have helped, Truth,” says Dora, “Just be glad that they eked out of there in the nick of time.”
“I’ll drink to that,” adds Alec, draining a pint glass filled with whiskey.
Dora, raising a glass and draining it quickly, continues. “They haven’t been in since, and I’m not sure when or if they’re coming back; got a little spooked after Andrew told them about that metal cylinder they brought in last week. Turned out to have a brain in it.”
Back in the corner of the bar, Ray notices the beat cop shiver a bit. He quickly downs the beer he’s been nursing, puts on his hat, and walks out the door without a word.
Looking back, the man called Truth says, “Dora, try to be a little lest blunt around Ray – he’s a bit delicate if you ask me.”
Noticing the look of confusion on Ray’s face, Dora chuckles, “Not you, Ray! Cop Ray!”
Truth looks at Dora and points towards the barber, “He’s a Ray, too?”
“Yeah,” Dora says, smiling, and introduces Ray to Truth Justice.
“Didn’t that English poof say something about being at Columbia University this week?” Truth asks. “Gave us that whole long-winded speech when he was in the other night.”
“He was quite good – despite being a limey bastard,” laughs Alec.
“Didn’t say otherwise,” says Truth.
“Well,” says Dora, “Anyone who’s tussled with a bunch of low-life cultists and lived to tell the tale is welcome at the Slaughtered Lamb.” She gives Ray and wink and walks in to a back room.
Asking to use the phone, Ray attempts to contact Ivy to no avail. Thanking the patrons of the Lamb, he walks in to the night, happy to see that the cabbie is still waiting at the corner for him. Pulling out another twenty, Ray asks the cabbie to drive up to Morningside Heights.
The trip is uneventful, but also fruitless. Perhaps his mind wandered during the drive, or the cabbie doesn’t know the neighborhood particularly well, but Ray does not recognize any of the houses as Ivy’s.
The cabbie says something about needing to get home (“I appreciate the dough, but I’ve gotta get home to the family,” he says), and asks where Ray wants to get dropped off.
Sitting in the back of the cab, Ray assesses everything he’s learned today. He can’t seem to find Ivy and Jonas. Perhaps it’s time to look for Alistair; he’s staying at the Hotel Bellclaire – Ray could wait in the lobby. If Alistair doesn’t show up, Truth Justice thinks he’ll be at Columbia University tomorrow.
Entering the hotel around 10:00pm, Ray walks up to the front desk and asks to see Professor Sinclair. The clerk rings Alistair’s room, but he does not answer. Disappointed but eager to see his plan through, Ray leaves a message with the front desk and takes a seat in the lobby. He waits for almost an hour, and is preparing to leave, when he sees the professor enter the hotel. Alistair stops at the front desk and is given a note by the clerk, who points in Ray’s direction. Seeing Ray, Sinclair turns away and begins to walk towards the elevator.
Ray pursues Alistair to the elevator. Turning quickly, the professor says in an airy, pompous tone, “Listen, I appreciate the dye-job and the whole to-do, but I’ll tell you the same thing I told Miss Morgan and that rube, Markham – I’m not going to spend my remaining years chasing things that go bump in the night!”
Pleading with Sinclair, Ray asks where he can find Ivy and Jonas.
“Talk to Professor Pearson at Columbia University – he’s become rather chummy with the two of them!” He begins to enter the elevator and stops. “Oh, that reminds me, Mr. Brannigan – do you have any interest in purchasing a truck from me?”