Page 50… in a fiction series.
Neil Lipman pulled into a full parking lot at Tommy’s Gotcha and snuffed out his cigarette on the ground. The bar and grill was just up the hill from the Mallard Point Club, the swanky Traverse City yacht club where Miranda used to spend her summer weekends with Harry. Neil often wondered if Miranda’s ex-husband was “the client” who was paying to have her watched. Joe Ramano wouldn’t say.
Joe was seated in the last booth on the right, looked at his watch, and greeted Neil with a curt, “You’re late.” There were chicken wings waiting on the table, and Neil tore into the bucket with delight. He licked his fingers while Joe reviewed the file. He was clearly impressed. “How did you get this?”
Neil was beaming. “I was stationed at my usual post next to the ladies room. Miranda was in there half the night reading the same thing over and over. All I had to do was write it down.”
“This is excellent work, Neil. Do you know what this means?”
Lipman ordered a beer. “I have no idea.”
“Think about it, Neil… it’s her resume! Miranda’s applying for a job. And from the looks of things, she’s alot smarter than we gave her credit for.” Three pretty girls enter the bar, Neil is distracted. “It explains how she designed that aft super structure overnight, and the extent of the modifications she must have made to survive that storm. She’s got a good head on her shoulders.”
“The client saw her right over there at the bar. It was last fall. She was going on and on about anodized paint compounds, and bragging about her new orbital sander. Now that I think about it, she had paint on her nose.” Joe didn’t mention she was drunk.
Neil shook his head. “For a girl, that’s just plain weird.” He held up his Bud Lite in a toasting gesture, and ordered the girls a round of drinks, on Joe.
“Maybe. But the client was curious. He walked around the bar, stood behind her, and listened to her talk like a pro about boat restoration. If Miranda would have turned around she would have bumped right into him.”
Neil asked, “Where did ya hear that?”
“I was sitting beside her. She said she was leaving Mallard Point for Charlevoix in the morning, that she was planning to live on her boat all winter.” Joe Ramano took a sip of his diet Coke. He never drank during the day.
Neil’s eyes lit up, finally making the connection. “So the guy at the bar is the client?”
Ramano wouldn’t say.
“So why’s he having her tailed? Is he up to no good? A madman? A stalker?
“He likes her, Neil. He’s a guy who has the hots for a broad who lives on a boat. Happens all the time…”
Neil frowned, brushed the crumbs from his beard.
“We set up the surveillance deal after she left. I put you on the job the very next day.”
“And I was waiting at the Boat Basin when she motored in.” Neil downed the rest of his beer. “Why doesn’t he just ask her out on a date?”
Ramano looked as his watch. He had to be in court. “This guy doesn’t operate that way. He’s a big shooter, Neil. He wants information before he’ll meet her face to face.” He gestured to the waitress, asked for the check.
“So he’s not a stalker.”
“You’re an overpaid babysitter Neil, but so far you’re doing a real good job.” Ramano stood up laughing, slapped Neil on the back. “So where is she now?”
“I have no idea.”
To be continued…
*This story is based on some true events, however, has been fictionalized and all persons appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real people, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
© 2012, Shoes for an Imaginary Life. All rights reserved.