Abe drove my Camaro ZL1 to the hockey game and managed to stay within the speed limits, more or less.
We parked close to the arena and walked to the Air Canada Club Restaurant—it featured an upscale dining room, with a glass enclosed wine cellar and Sommeliers to cater to our every need. There were also excellent sightlines to the ice.
“I think I’ve died and gone to heaven,” Abe quipped, “I can eat, get tipsy and watch the game from the comfort of the restaurant.”
“But you’ll miss the atmosphere of being close to the action,” I reminded him.
At that moment, a blonde-haired waitress, dropped our menus and gave Abe a big smile.
“Plenty of action, here,” he winked.
“Are we back to that—Is this what tonight is, Abe—boys’ night out?”
“Naw, I’m not like that, Scott. You won’t understand till you’re married. It’s all in good fun—just a harmless fantasy.”
“I don’t know, Abe—that waitress seemed quite taken with you. What happens if you bite off more than you can chew?”
“That’s where you come in, Pal—you ride shotgun, watching out for me—you’re the designated driver tonight.”
“Yup—that means one glass of vino at dinner and one beer during the game.”
“And what happens if you drink too much to drive home later?”
“I crash on your couch.”
My jaw dropped.
He slapped me on the shoulder. “Just putting you on, Chum—worst case—you drive me home and I get my car tomorrow. Mitzy wouldn’t approve of sleepovers.”
I say a silent prayer of thanks for Mitzy and her short leash.
We both order Minestrone soup and salad, followed by a 24 oz. prime rib dinner with all the fixings.
Abe orders two large glasses of Chianti and we clink glasses and lean back in our seats, enjoying the ambiance.
“Ah, this is the life,” he sighs. “I could get used to this.”
My mind goes back to the room service breakfast in the Park hotel with Sam. Will I ever get over her? I wonder.
Abe’s eyes crinkle—What’s he got on his mind now?
“I was just thinking, Pal—I really needed tonight.”
“Why—because Mitzy chased you out of the house this afternoon?”
“Aw, nothing like that—it’s actually, something pretty sad really.” His demeanor has changed and he’s very somber.
“Something to do with work?”
He sighs, tipping his glass slightly, examining the wine in the light. “I’m gonna tell you something, Scott—and I’d like to see what you think.”
I put down my glass and lean way back in my chair. “Fire away.”
“This young girl comes to me with a suicide note she’s found beside her dead father’s body. In the note, he explains he was messed up because he was abused as a child. He keeps the secret for years, but it gradually eats away at him, turning him into an alcoholic, and then finally driving him to take his life.”
“Now the young girl wants to tell her grandparents about the note, but her older sister forbids it. The older sister claims the grandparents wouldn’t know who abused their father, and even if they did, what good would it do? It would only add to the grandparents’ grief.”
“Wow! That’s a rough one.”
“She wants my advice—but what am I gonna tell her, for Chrissakes? —I’m a cop. I always want to try to solve crimes.”
“But what are the chances of solving this one, Abe?”
“Slim, I guess—maybe impossible. But what do you want me to do—tell a twenty-two year old girl who’s just lost her dad, the police aren’t interested?”
“Yeah, that’s what I’d do, Abe. You’ve got no proof—the dad’s dead—it’ll just cause the grandparents more grief.”
“But what about the younger daughter—what does she do with her burden?”
“She can’t do anything, but feel compassion for her dead dad. You can’t always go back and solve the mysteries of the past.”
Abe shakes his head. “But we did, damn it!”
“But what did it accomplish in the end—other than closing a cold case? Bert was never brought before a court of justice and Officer Ricker’s widow died believing her husband’s killer got away with the crime.”
“Arghh! That’s what drives me nuts about my job—keeps me up nights thinking—I just can’t let these things go. When someone’s committed a crime, especially murder, they gotta pay.”
“I know how you feel. If I had it in my power to do something to bring a criminal to justice, I would—but an eighty year-old cold case? What’s the point? It’s chasing after the wind.”
“You believe that?”
“If nothing can be done about it—yeah.”
“Then, riddle me this, Pal—why study history—why are you so hung up on the Thirties?”
I look at him in exasperation. “Sam asked me that too—I don’t know Abe—I honestly don’t have an answer for you.”
“Well, it’s the same with these cold cases. I can’t give you an answer either—they just need to be solved, that’s all.”
At that point, the waitress shows up with our orders and Abe shifts into default mode, playing out his married/unmarried fantasy.
While he flirts with the girl, I pick at my salad, trying to piece out the riddle of my own life.
© 2017 – 2018, John J Geddes. All rights reserved.