John went back to his office. He had dropped by there earlier to check his messages on the way to the Sundowner. The idea crossed his mind to have someone there all the time while he was out working cases to greet walk-ins and answer the phones. But that expensive idea would have to be put off until he got back on his feet. For now, he'd wing it on his own. The mail came while he was out. He quickly flipped through the small stack while he dialed up Lt. Grimm.

"I just need to ask you a few questions is all," John told his old friend when he was finally able to get his attention. The lieutenant had picked up the receiver but was still engaged in an angry sounding conversation with someone else in his office. "Should I call you back?"

"No. I'm fine. I'm finished."

The private eye laughed. "You can tell me the truth. What'd Jason do this time?"

Frank sounded stunned. "You could tell that was him?"

"Who could mistake that little snake's voice? He hadn't changed a bit," John said. "To make this quick, what I called about was to get a few facts from you since you're the lucky one handling the Gallager case."

Frank sounded like he was thumbing through papers and writing with a noisy pencil at the same time. John could actually hear the lead scrape across the paper. "Monday, John."


"Weekends aren't good for me right now. You remember how crazy weekends can be. Monday would be better. I'd be able to spend more time with you."


"Can I see the car?" John asked.

There was a long pause on Frank's end.

"To take a few pictures and just check it out for my peace of mind. Nothing out of the ordinary," John told him, not wanting his friend to know his real motive.

"I guess I could call over to impound and clear you in."

"I owe you one."

"One of many my friend."


John and his mother ate his favorite liver and onions as he filled her in on the current case he was starting. She countered with her usual speech of how her baby boy should not have quit the security of the police force. She went on about the nice retirement benefits and health insurance. John had heard it so much before that he could have lip-synced along with her.

They sat out in her Florida room that was built while John's dad was still alive. The man loved building things. It would always take him a while, but he got things done eventually. The handyman gene never made it to the baby boy.

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