I waited in my office behind my desk with my back to the door when I heard a few knocks on it. Through the sliver of window to the left of the door, I saw his right arm wearing a tweed jacket with a blue-faced watch with a stainless steel band. I remained still as I slowly spun my chair back to face the door. I just watched his right arm since I had nothing else to watch. It just hung there expectantly while I watched my breath hoping he couldn’t hear me through the inch-and-a-half wooden door. It was times like this that I was glad to have foregone the pine door for oak. It took me a couple of seconds to catch hold of myself and then I finally decided I would acknowledge my presence.
As I was about to vocalize a noise, I opted to shuffle some papers together to make a single stack from the rows of those spread before me. I got everything together and then I made a sound that sounded like, “Come in!”
The private investigator opened the door and stared at me, “You called me.”
“Yeah, come in. I have a job that I need your help on.”
“Don’t call for me ever again.”
I finished mussing with the stacks of paper on my table and stared into his grey stormy eyes. He was completely serious. I felt sheepish as he watched me, so decided that I might as well start laying out my business on the table in front of me.
“I would like you to follow someone for me.”
“Ah, well, this is a little different from the other assignments I’ve asked you to do for me before.”
“No it’s not.”
Knowing I had to watch what I say now, I told him, “You might be right, but I have a couple of different objectives with this job than from other ones. I’m right now working on a contract with a competitor of mine to try and unite our businesses against our other larger competitors…”
“So, it is like every other job.”
“Now wait a minute. I didn’t get to finish. I’m not so interested in the business from an organizational point of view. I want to know about the owner’s wife, Kim.”
“Well, that’s my business. It’s proprietary.”
He crossed his legs to the right and leaned to his left. It was possibly the most contorted position I’ve ever seen from someone so intimidating.
“Well I can’t investigate someone if I don’t know the context. I’ll assume you want to create leverage against your fledgling business partner by discovering any sort of improprieties, infidelities, indebtedness of the like.”
The private investigator pulls out a cigarette and a two matches.
“Please don’t smoke in my office. I just had the drapery re-done.”
He lights his cigarette with only one of the two matches.
Shifting my eyes away from the cigarette smoking billowing from the cigarette, I say, “You’d be half correct about creating leverage against his personal life.”
“Then you’re fucking her and want to know if anyone knows about it.”
I watched as he flicked ash onto my carpet.