Where You Go
Chapter 15

Copyright© 2011 by Robert McKay

When I gave the list of names I'd extracted from Larry's address book another examination, it didn't take long for the source of my unease to become clear. It wasn't anything definite, nothing that proved anything, but a couple of the names weren't what I would have expected. They were people I knew, or knew of at least, and they weren't the kind of people I would have expected Larry to have ever met. For their names to be in his address book was odd.

Of course we none of us are perfectly transparent even to those closest to us. Cecelia had never known of my first love until Tina had shown up at the office one day and startled me into the only faint I've ever experienced; it wasn't that I'd deliberately deceived her, but that the ancient past was something I'd just never thought worth mentioning. No doubt there were things about Cecelia which could surprise me – not that I expected an ex-boyfriend of hers to turn up and tell me tales of her wild youth, for I knew from her own mouth just how tame her life had been till she met me. Of course, "tame" might not be the right word to describe growing up the daughter of an Alabama sharecropper, and seeing one burning cross, and the scars of virulent racism on people's bodies and souls.

It wasn't, then, surprising to me that Larry's life held things that surprised me. But it wasn't conducive to good thoughts to find in his address book people who operated on the fringes of illegality. They were people who didn't quite engage in open violations of the law, but who didn't quite strive to obey the law either. And that just wasn't consistent with anything I'd ever known about Larry Entragian.

I turned to my computer and extracted those two names, put them in another document, and printed that off. I created a folder on the hard drive for what I had so far – which wasn't much – and saved both documents to it.

And I contemplated what I had to do. It was simple, really – I had to talk to the two people whose names I'd recognized, before I followed up on any other contacts, and see why they were in Larry's address book. I hoped that both would be dead ends, and that I'd have to come back and run the whole list. But they were the closest thing I'd found so far – though I was just getting started – to something that might explain why someone would kill my friend and make it look like suicide.

I got a Coke out of the fridge and drank a healthy slug of it while looking out the window. With the angle of the winter sun, and the cloud cover, I couldn't see the tram cables. In the summer, early in the morning, the light reflects from the cables back into the city, and if you're in the right place, and up early enough, you can see thin curving lines of light reaching up the mountain. As beautiful as the view is riding the tram, I almost think that the light on the cables is the best part of the conveyance.

I'd slept late, and now my work had taken me into afternoon. I was hungry, and I thought about where I might want to go. Maybe I'm in a rut, but I love burgers. I could go across the freeway to the Fuddrucker's, but I'd eaten there just the other day. I decided on Sonic. There's one on San Mateo, in front of the Goodwill building.

I got my gun out of the desk and put on my hat and jacket. Carrying the weapon in its holster – there's not much point in clipping it on my belt just to go down to the Blazer – I went into the outer office. Marla was at her work again, and smiled at me as I went by. I waved and went on out.

I rode the elevator down, and walked through the lobby, my boots echoing on the tile floor, and out into the day. It was indeed warmer than it had been the day before, and I left my jacket unfastened. I got in, and put the gun under my seat, in the clip I installed so that if I have to get at it quickly I can. In all the years I've been working in law enforcement I never have had to grab my gun in a hurry while driving, but I'd rather be ready for something that never comes than not be ready when it does come.

I pulled out of the parking lot and turned north on the frontage road. The office building is about halfway between Bogan and McLeod; I drove north to McLeod, and turned east, away from the freeway. When I got to Jefferson I turned right again, going south. It was the long way to Sonic, but I know the traffic on San Mateo and it would be much easier this way. At Montgomery I did a left, going east again, past the Women's Hospital – what used to be St. Joseph's Northeast Heights Hospital – to San Mateo, where I turned left again. Now I was headed in the right direction. Traffic was thick as it always is, and I stayed in the right hand lane even though it moves dreadfully slow through that stretch. It's not just people turning off, though Albuquerque drivers make a turn as though moving faster than a crippled snail will land them in jail; mostly it's that this is one of the parts of town where, with the speed limit at 40, people drive at 35 and under. There are other parts of town where 40 seems to mean 50, and where 35 seems to mean 55.

This particular Sonic has outside tables as well as the standard drive-in slots, but it wasn't warm enough to eat outside. I pushed the button and gave my order, and while I waited for it to come out I looked around. I'm always observing what's going on around me; it's an old cop habit that comes in handy now that I'm a private detective. More than once being observant has kept me from getting hurt. Across from Sonic is a whole row of restaurants, beginning pretty conspicuously with the Hooters at the north end of the Montgomery Plaza shopping center. I like the food at Hooters, but I almost never eat there because of the women – most of them strike me as being mediocre in appearance at best, and all of them need to put some clothes on. Cecelia doesn't dress like that around the house, much less in public, and those waitresses would look, in my opinion, much better in something besides orange shorts and tight t-shirts. But my standards of feminine beauty are, I've learned, not typical.

My food came, and I paid for it, and dug in. Reading in the driver's seat while trying to eat a hamburger isn't terribly practical, so I left my book in the passenger seat where I'd put it. I had grabbed it automatically when I'd left the office, since I habitually read while I eat. I'd formed the habit as a kid, learning from Tony and Anna, my uncle and aunt who'd raised me. Out in the middle of the Mojave Desert there wasn't anyone to tell us it wasn't polite, and we all loved to read. At least we all did as far back as I can reliably remember; I went to Tony and Anna's place when I was just five, after my parents died, and it may be that I got my love of reading from them.

There is more of this chapter...
The source of this story is Finestories

To read the complete story you need to be logged in:
Log In or
Register for a Free account (Why register?)

Get No-Registration Temporary Access*

* Allows you 3 stories to read in 24 hours.