“So, you actually went out on a date? That’s quick work.”
Abe was squinting into the sunlight, tilting his head, and craning his neck to get a read on my expression. For my part, I was working hard to be poker-faced.
We were walking toward the Hart House coffee shop and I had inadvertently quickened my pace.
“It just seemed the best way to get to know her,” I huffed, “to ask her to dinner and let her talk.”
He put a hand on my elbow. “Jeez, slow down Prof—We’re not cross country hiking.”
I slowed my pace. “Sorry.”
He smiled. “You know, you’re right—maybe you can write off dinner as a legitimate research expense.”
He uttered a raspy laugh, pleased with his witticism.
I wanted to kill him. “I’m attracted to her—so what? You didn’t tell me she was a knockout.”
“Ah, but I did, Pal—I said, she was a real looker.”
“Maybe I wasn’t paying attention.”
He smirked. “You were a bit distracted that night—mind you, Sam is also quite a looker.”
What I really wanted to tell him—which I couldn’t—is that Marilyn was a girl from my dreams. I’m not exactly sure what his reaction would be, but I’m sure it would probably be skeptical. I didn’t want to deal with that—at least, not now.
We ordered coffees and doughnuts and he chose the rear booth—the same one Marilyn and I occupied the first time we met.
“So, I guess she told you her story, huh?”
“There wasn’t much to tell.”
“Ha-ha, that’s right—from her point of view, she’s still totally in the dark.”
There was something in the way he said it—in his choice of words—that made red flags go up on the inside of me.
“What do you mean, her point of view—do you know something I don’t?
His face went somber. “Oh no, Pal—I’m just sayin’ that whatever she knows was told her by Ella and the doctors who worked with her. She hasn’t got a clue.”
“Oh,” I said, still suspicious.
“Plus, there’s my suspicion she’s being stalked by somebody and may be in grave danger.”
“If that’s the case, whoever’s stalking her may back off when they see I’m in the picture.”
The remark seemed to amuse him. “You think you’re Superman—like some killer who wants her dead is just going to back off because her Professor boyfriend has entered the picture?”
I was miffed at the remark, but knew he was right. “How credible is the threat?”
Abe had a mouthful of doughnut. He held up his hand, took a sip of coffee to help wash it down, and then said, “On a scale of one to ten, I’d put it at about an eight.”
“Sure. Take a look at the facts. She was almost run down and then a few days afterwards, some guy’s stalking her and following her home.”
“But you said yourself it could have been a coincidence.”
Again, the same vague suspicion haunted me—the feeling that Abe wasn’t showing all his cards.
“It coulda been a coincidence, but after a while when you work homicide you get this gut feelin that somthin’s not kosher—you know what I mean? My instincts are tellin’ me the girl’s in danger—and I can’t do a bloody thing to help her.”
I saw the earnest look in Abe’s eyes and I could feel my skin crawl. He saw it too.
“Look, Pal—I don’t mean to scare you—you can back away and no one would blame ya. My hands are tied. According to the psychiatrist, I gotta keep my distance. I’m just sorta monitoring the situation by remote control.”
“So, I’m your eye and ears on the ground?”
“If you choose to stand your ground—that’s up to you—and like I said, I wouldn’t blame ya if ya didn’t.”
“You mean, run? That’s not my style—besides, I like the girl.”
“Ha-ha. I kinda figured you two would hit it off—seein’ Sam and all. You guys are like puzzle-pieces—you fit together.”
“Yeah—I’m fascinated by the Thirties and she thinks she’s from them.”
“Actually, pal—I think you’re fascinated by her—and more power to you. She’s quite the looker.”
I was beginning to hate the way he said looker—it reminded me too much of hooker.
“So, you’ll keep me abreast of things?”
I think he realized what he said, “I mean, keep me up to date?”
“I will,” I smiled.
© 2017 – 2018, John J Geddes. All rights reserved.