This is the continuation of a story. You can read the rest here.
I stand on the street outside for a while, wondering how it is that I came to be standing in front of a nightclub in the relative morning without a clue as to what’s happening in practically every area of my life. Then I remember that this is actually the second time today that I’ve wondered about my life on a sidewalk, but at least this time, I’m vertical and not covered in pee. Moving on.
Since I am a detective, I suppose it’s about time I detected something. I need to get ahead of this thing instead of wondering on sidewalks like a dolt. I’m tired of tumbling down and breaking my crown. I put my serious hat on signifying that I am, in fact, quite serious. I make a mental note to buy a hat since my serious hat is, sadly, metaphorical.
I pull out the page I tore out of McGinty’s datebook and look up the address for the delivery he may or may not have made yesterday. It’s as good a place to start detecting as any. The office in question is only a few massive city blocks away. I decide to walk, partly to stretch my legs and partly because my car is still a crushed pile of metal possibly being fixed by an overalled man in the mountains, because goons have no respect. Also, Bets’ wouldn’t loan me her car. Also, goons suck so very, very much.
McGinty’s datebook says he delivered something to Elbert Dixon & Associates. I’m not sure if Elbert Dixon is one name or two. Since there isn’t a comma, I’m going to assume that there’s a person running around with the first name of Elbert. Coincidentally, the mental image of a running Elbert is quite humorous to me since it somehow involves frilly sleeves and squealing. Do you see? This is exactly why I need a serious hat.
Well, I suppose the mystery of Elbert and/or Dixon shall be solved post haste as I’m about to enter the building. I am such an awesome detective.
To the twelfth floor we go. This is one of those weird buildings downtown that has been here since the dawn of time, or at least since the dawn of downtown, that no one without any business here pays any attention to at all. A million people probably pass this building in a day and don’t care.
The building is old, but well looked after. The elevator isn’t as scary as some. The doors open with a slight odor of ammonia and even fainter cigar smoke. Someone without my olfactory prowess would probably miss the latter altogether.
There’s something about old buildings. They make me wonder about all the things that have happened on this exact spot over the years. Strange that I never do that outside. It’s not like I walk through a park and wonder if Sacajawea or dinosaurs ever pooped on that spot, which they probably did (the dinosaurs, not Sacajawea; she was a lady). Hopefully none of the things that happened in this building are dinosaur poop or murder.
The elevator deposits me in the middle of the dozenth floor’s creaky parquet flooring. Even though it’s sunny afternoon, the hallway is dimly lit by one small window at each end and wall sconces every so often that absent-mindedly light an area of approximately five inches around them. Wall sconces in the best of circumstances, aren’t very bright, but these in particular are rather dim.
I make my way down to 1213 and see that there is no comma on the door title either. ELBERT DIXON & ASSOCIATES still gives me no clue as to what goes on in here. Well, there’s one way to find out.
I’m blind! So this is where all the sunlight from the hallway went. I hear, “May I help you?” before I see it.
It takes about ten seconds for my eyes to adjust enough to see the diminutive woman sitting at a reception desk. She’s got her hair pulled back in a rather severe bun and glasses attached to a a chain around her neck like small children do with mittens so they don’t lose them.
I stammer quite elegantly, “Is Dixon in? Or Elbert? Or Elbert Dixon?”
She peers over her chained glasses at me like she’s a librarian and I am holding a stack of rather overdue books. “To what is this in reference?” Clearly, she has a strict list of things to accomplish today and I am nowhere on it.
“It’s in reference to a delivery from McGinty’s Bookstore yesterday.”
“Please, wait a moment.” She gets up, straightens herself, walks over to a door marked PRIVATE, knocks so softly that I can’t even hear it and disappears inside.
Obviously, I use her absence to snoop around. On her desk is a stack of papers. Not one of them gives me any sort of clue as to what this office is all about. Sadly, the papers are mainly purchase orders for various items made of boring and payments for bills like yawn. It’s as if she specifically left uninteresting things out for nosy people like me. I return to my former place just as she soundlessly returns.
“Mr. Dixon will see you now.” She brusquely beckons me towards the PRIVATE door and ushers me inside. Apparently, I’m not in as quite as much of a rush as my bespectacled tour guide since the door nearly closes on my behind.
This episode of The Dwarf was brought to you by the most kind and benevolent Alex of Excerpts From Nonexistent Books who most graciously donated a copy of Storymill to yours truly. This is the first time I’ve used it to write, and at first blush, it has helped immensely in collecting my thoughts, which are scattered even at the best of times. Thanks, Alex