The next morning, I decided to make one more call to Harville. Knowing he wouldn’t answer, I put the phone down, threw my feet up on the desk and started drinking my coffee. I almost spit my coffee all over my pant legs when he actually answered the phone.
I had gone over and over in my mind exactly what I was going to say if and when he ever answered but suddenly, my mind went completely blank. It seemed like an hour before I finally blurted out the words “the equalizer.”
Harville said “I’ll book you on the next flight to Chicago. Somebody will be waiting to pick you up. Plan on spending a few days.” Then I heard the “click.” I have seen movies where the players hear that click and continue to say “hello? Hello? Hello?” I never understood that. I would yell “you stupid idiot! Why are you still saying hello? They hung up!”
Call me a stupid idiot. I found myself saying “hello? Hello?”
Oh boy. Obviously Harville thought that I had “figured it out,” but I didn’t have a clue what was going on. I would have to fake it. Maybe I’d pull the ole “what do you think?” hoping he would think I knew what the hell I was talking about and start telling me what I didn’t know. I knew I was going to be intimidated by his “status” but I was determined to act like I wasn’t.
I got to the airport just in time, given the short notice. It was a relatively short flight and when I walked through the terminal, I saw a well dressed chauffeur, holding a sign bearing my name.
When we got outside, he opened the door to a stretch limousine. Of course. What was I expecting? A ticket for a ride on the city bus? When I got in, that song “How Do You Like Me Now?” popped into my head. Yep. I wasn’t on the “list” but I was being chauffeured around in a limousine. That was class.
I had to snap back into reality because I was about to face Harville and like I said, I knew nothing. I figured the worst that could happen is that he would toss me out and I would be relegated to fetching a cab back to the airport.
The limousine pulled up to what could only be described as a mansion with a well-groomed lawn, luscious landscaping and a fountain that was as big as my living room. Okay. I was duly impressed.
I rang the doorbell and I kid you not. The classic British butler answered. I told him who I was and he said “of course. My name is Mr. Winslow. Mr. Harville is expecting you. Please follow me into the library.”
I looked around the room and felt like I had landed in the middle of a storybook castle. “Please make yourself comfortable,” Mr Winslow said. “Might I bring you a cup of tea?” I thanked him but declined. “Oh, yes,” he said. “I forgot. You Yanks prefer coffee. Might I bring you a cup of coffee then?”
I politely declined once again and he said “very well. Mr. Harville will be with you shortly.” I spent a few minutes, fantasizing about what his life must be like. Butlers, maids, chauffeurs, limousines and it was a given that he had his own chef. I decided that I hated him.
Don’t misunderstand. I lived comfortably. I had a nice home, drove a nice car and had money in the bank but I had started at the bottom and clawed my way to the top. But being there, it seemed like my top was almost like his rock bottom. Yep. I hated him.
He finally came into the room and at that very instant, I realized that I had forgotten to bring the autopsy report. I was hosed. He shook my hand and told me to sit. He got comfortable in his overstuffed leather chair behind his, what I was sure was a hand crafted desk.
As he glared at me, I sheepishly admitted that I had forgotten the report.
“I don’t give a shit about that report,” he said. “You think I needed to see that report?” I shrugged and asked why he had requested that I get it and send it to him. “YOU’re the one who needed to see that report,” he scowled. I was at a loss. I didn’t have a clue what to do or say next. He obviously thought I knew what the hell he was talking about.
He opened a drawer and pulled out a rather thick folder. He plopped it down on his desk and said “look through this.”
“What is it?” I asked. He acted a little perturbed and said “I don’t like to give instructions twice and I don’t like to repeat myself. Understand?” I nodded, I think.
“Now, ” he said. “Before you do that, let’s talk about Parker.”
To be continued________________