This is the continuation of a story. You can read the rest here.
“As I said, Mr. Drake, I can’t give you specifics, but I can tell you what I know of Mr. Duarte’s movements in Los Angeles.” The lawyer’s annoyingly businesslike tone makes me want to make fart noises into the phone. If there’s one thing I can’t stand from professionals, it’s professionalism.
“Several days ago, Mr. Duarte received a call from a Mr. Garity, he called himself, who said that if Mr. Duarte wanted the item in question, he would have to pay a ransom for it. Mr. Duarte was to wire money into an account, after which time, he would receive information as to the item’s whereabouts.
“After he arrived in Los Angeles, I received a call from Mr. Duarte saying that he had followed the instructions and paid the ransom, but he had not heard anything from Mr. Garity. He said that he had found a lead on Mr. Garity, but he thought he might need some professional help. That’s when I referred him to you. I did not hear from Mr. Duarte after that phone call, and then the police called me this morning notifying me of his probable suicide.”
Those cops are so predictable. “Alright then. I’ll check it out. I’m not promising anything and your retainer is non-refundable if I don’t.”
“I understand. Thank you, Mr. Drake. We’re counting on you. Goodbye.” I find this “we” business intriguing, but I leave that for now.
I put the phone back in it’s cradle. “We have a new client and this one isn’t dead… yet!” I explain the gist of the phone call to Bets, and by proximity, Macky. “Macky, go check on the bookstore. I want to make sure nothing has happened there since I visited this morning. If there is something happening, don’t do anything stupid about it. I’m going to see what’s what where farm boy was staying on our new client’s dime. Bets, you… well, you just go on being you.”
“Check,” Macky leaves in a din of skateboard and I secretly hope he tries to ride it down the stairs, but he doesn’t. I’m overcome with a sense of peace at his absence, the kind of peace you find in a large cathedral when it’s empty. It makes me want to cry.
Bets calls after him, “Be careful.”
“You never say that to me.”
“You’re not Macky.”
“Thankfully, that is true. Why do you mama bear that kid anyway?”
“He has no one else.”
“Well, neither do I, but you don’t hear me crying about it.”
“You’re not seventeen either.”
“Thankfully, that is also true.” I remember being seventeen and shudder. “Actually, can you figure out some transportation for me? This cab business is getting expensive.”
“Sure.” She throws me her keys. Since I’m not expecting them, I stupidly let them hit me in the chest like a man with no arms. I was never very ninja. Ouch. “For now, take mine.”
“You expect me to drive around town in your roller skate? What will the neighbors think?” but I pocket the keys. “Thanks.”
“Bring it back in one piece.”
“I think you’d be better off if I didn’t bring it back at all. One of these days, I’ll buy you a real car without training wheels.”