Just starting? Be sure to check out The Legend of Slottsfjellet: Foreword and Disclaimer first, so you know what’s going on.
At eleven forty-five the next morning came a knock at the door of Joe Stadtler’s twenty-third-floor apartment. Believing the previous day’s phone call to be at best a prank, he had not done any packing, or even given it much thought, really. Still, the call had been just odd enough that Joe wasn’t very surprised to open the door and find a tall, blond man in his late thirties standing in the hallway. “Are you Mister Stadtler?” the man asked in a heavy Norwegian accent—clearly not the voice he had spoken to yesterday.
“You’re early,” said Joe accusingly, without inviting him in. The Norwegian smiled.
“The limousine is waiting downstairs. You will not bring many belongings; most of what you need will be supplied when you arrive in Norway. If you will get your things, we will go now, please?”
Joe closed the door and left the man standing outside the apartment. He stood quietly for a moment, hands in his pockets, bemused at the audacity of the situation. After several minutes had passed, Joe looked out through the peephole: the Norwegian was still waiting.
Shaking his head in disbelief, Joe let out a wry chuckle. On the one hand, the whole proposition was absurd. On the other hand, he had to admit that he was intrigued—the fact that someone had actually arrived at his door showed that these men were serious, even if a bit ridiculous. And of all the places I’ve been, I’ve never travelled to Norway, he thought, trying to justify the decision he was about to make.
With a deep breath, Joe made his way back to his bedroom, where he began packing a few things into a small suitcase—enough for a day or two at most. This was purely a business trip, he reasoned with himself; he would go to see what they had in mind, determine whether it was actually even feasible, and if so, he’d return to his studio to start designing.
When Joe finally reopened the door with his packed suitcase in hand, the man was standing there with the same grin, just as he’d been when the door closed. Joe shut and locked the apartment door as he went out. “Well?” he said to the Norwegian, who was still smiling. The tall man didn’t say a word, but turned and walked toward the elevator.