Color Me Dead #8

Color Me Dead

#8

Something about this set-up wasn’t right.  I could feel it in my pores.  I went home and got to work on Irene’s report about my surveillance of her husband.  While I was writing, the phone rang.  It was Eric, getting back to me with info about the partial license plate number I’d given him.

“Tracing it was easy, once I started looking for a Prius,” he said.  “The car belongs to Amanda Davis at 51 Hopewell Loop.”

I scribbled down the information, then asked, “Any activity on it?” 

“Nothing recently, but there was a slew of parking tickets a few months ago.  Come to think of it…” I could hear him turning pages, “there seem to be spurts of those.”

“Maybe somebody else is driving her car once in awhile,” I suggested.

“Could be,” he said.  I was about to thank him and end the conversation, when he added, “We need to talk.”

I took a deep breath and let it out in a sigh.  “I know, but I’m really busy…”

“You’re always busy,” he snapped.  “I’m busy, too.  But some things you just have to take time for.”

There was a pause.

“I don’t think now’s a good…” I began, when he cut in again.

“Not now, of course not.  How about tonight?”

I considered.  What did I have going on tonight?  Nothing. 

“I’m working on a case,” I said. 

“You have to eat,” he said.

“So?”

“So you could come out and eat with me.  Or we’ll do take out.  I’ll bring something over to your place.”

I shifted uncomfortably in my seat.  “I really don’t have time tonight.  I’m on a deadline.”

“Tomorrow night, then.”

I sighed again.  He wasn’t giving up. “What is so important that we have to talk right now?”

“You know what,” he said.

I sat up straight in my chair.  “No, I don’t know,” I replied.

“What it usually is,” he said. 

“Oh,” I said heavily.  “That.”

“Yes, that,” he retorted.  “Don’t you think it’s time you did something about your drinking?”

“What am I supposed to do about it, Eric?” My voice rose.

“Quit.”

“Like hell!”

“You’re willing to throw us away, then,” he accused.

“Eric, please.  I don’t want to discuss this right now.”

“You’re right,” he said unexpectedly.  “I’ll come over tomorrow night around six.  I’ll bring food.”

“No, I…”

“See you then,” he said, and hung up.

I stared at the phone receiver for some time before putting it back in its cradle.  Damn him!  I ran my fingers through my hair. He always thought my having a few drinks was such a big deal.  I couldn’t take it anymore.  The reproachful stares, the silent and not-so-silent accusations.  The hell with it.  And the hell with him!

I turned back to the report, but all I could think about was how pissed I was, how unfairly I was being judged, and how I had worked damned hard these past couple of days and damn it, I deserved a drink.  I looked at my watch.  It was past lunchtime.  I’d forgotten to eat.  Well, I wasn’t really hungry, anyway.  But…

I thought about it.  You can have one glass after you’re done with the report, I told myself.  I set about finishing it with renewed vigor. 

Twenty minutes later, I was knocking back my second glass of wine.  I was starting to feel good.  Really good.  The thought flashed through my head that I needed to get going, needed to put my plan into action.  I had two stops to make.  I finished the wine, got up and, ignoring the strong pull to have another glass, put the report in a folder along with the photos I had taken the day before, put the whole thing in a manila envelope with Irene’s name on it, and left my apartment.

 

 

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