May 272012

Start Reading from Chapter 1

I looked over the line of messages which had sprouted up in my email.  Nope, no one was going to give me a call, to say, hey, Mr. Smith, I’m really enjoying my apartment this month. The toilets are working fine, the heat’s great, my air conditioner didn’t miss a beat this month. In fact they tend to run around the exact opposite.  And nobody praises their air conditioning in November anyways.

This morning they ran to the worst, the petty and the repetitive.  I forwarded the bulk of them to Teresa, worked on sending what I had to to  Emily.  And I Let Vaclav know I was going to be heading up to his place as soon as I could.

The others I sent to Arturo, he was the superintendent, after all, even if he would be kind of busy today. We were both going to be. Emily doesn’t like it when complaints somehow reach all the way across the province to her octogenarian eyes and ears, and she was even more unhappy when the building actually made the news, electronic or otherwise.  Because, yeah, when it did, the news was invariably bad.

Unfortunately, there was a reason why Arturo wasn’t answering his phone or responding to my texts.

My cell vibrated.  Yeah, it was Fingers.

Impatient this morning aren’t you Mr. Detective?

Well I had things to do.  Things I could do to put off going down to the second floor.

Unfortunately, not forever. Because just after ten, I heard a rap on my door,  then it opened, and Teresa’s head poked in. The expression on her face could best be described as anxious.

“Is something wrong with your phone?” She wanted to know. “Fingers said he’s called you three times.”

You’d think he’d at least let me finish my second coffee.

“Why don’t you call him back,” I asked. “And ask him to explain fully why he needs me down in 213 so damned urgently. It’s not like anyone’s going anywhere.”

“Maybe it’s about the news van,” she suggested, nodding at the window that looked out over the front of the building. “Somebody sure got the scoop fast.”

I pointed at the window.  She nodded.  I got up from the desk and crossed the office, looked out, and down.  It was pretty much as I’d seen it earlier, although there people milling about, one with a big shoulder mounted broadcast camera.  It looked like the media guys were prepping for a live broadcast.  As I watched, another van turned around the corner, from one of the national networks.  Must have been a slow morning.  Fuck.  They hadn’t even confirmed it was more than just a freakish suicide.

I looked back at her.

“Domestic disturbance?” I asked hopefully. “The Willingham’s in 608 again?

She returned a serious look.

“I can only imaging how Mrs. Fennity is reacting,” she replied.  I looked over her face, her expression was still serious. “That’s probably another apartment that’s going to sit empty for a year or two.”

“Yeah, but maybe just maybe she’ll understand that sometimes you can’t always achieve full occupancy, even in the trendy west end.”

“I sure hope it’s not something you missed in the application?” she tried in a sympathetic if somewhat worried tone. “That could get you in trouble, couldn’t it?”

“I don’t remember anything odd about the guy, his credit was double A and his references all checked out ” I replied. “But if you’re still so interested, why don’t you go down there instead of me.”

“I don’t think so,” she told me quickly. “I think I’ll catch it on the early edition.”

“You do that,” I told her. “And while your watching their feed, why don’t you print out the filed I sent to you.  We do have work, you know.”

“Yes sir,” she replied.

She said it in a way that meant she was annoyed, offered that particular smile she did when she was supposed to accept being treated as a piece of furniture, showed off her two bright rows of white teeth.  Her incisors were at least a half inch longer than they’d been yesterday.

“Oh, and apparently,” she turned back, adding. “Detective Fingers has requested you to come down to apartment 213 at your earliest convenience.”

I suspected that translated as immediately.

“He says are some questions he needs to ask you, and he wants to show you something.  He told me he wants you down there before ten.”

She looked at her wrist.

“It’s five to ten, in case you didn’t know.”

“He didn’t suggest I call Vaclav, did he?”

She rolled her eyes.

“I don’t think you’re a suspect,” she told me. “Apparently they’ve been there since Arturo called 911 at two. If they haven’t come up here with handcuffs by now, I think your safe.”

I sighed.  I’d fought it as long as I could.

“I’ll leave it up to you to handle the tenants.”

Teresa waved at me, before I left. I turned back.

“Can I book off work early today,” she asked smiling sweetly, thickening eyebrows raised.  I’m sure they were thickening.

“Anything I should know?” I asked her trying to maintain some level of humor.

“Do you want to know?” she told me.

I shook my head, and I pulled open the door that lead unfortunately out into the hall, and replied without looking back, “No I don’t.”


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