Color Me Dead
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 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.
“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.”
“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.