Mick the Dick Ch. 39bymysteriousquill©
I walked into the office, walked over to Carla's desk, placed the bag on her desk and, without saying a word, continued into my office. She opened the bag, took the bagel out. It was her favorite, blueberry with butter only.
"Thanks Mick!" she yelled to me.
I just nodded my head. She picked up her coffee and walked into my office. She stood in the doorway for a few moments as if waiting for an invitation. I turned and looked at her.
"I'm sorry I acted like such a bitch this morning."
"That's okay, even though you did."
"I don't know what came over me. I should have known better. For some reason, when you said you didn't need me to go with you, I took it as you not wanting my help."
"I told you that wasn't what I meant."
"I know, and then when I saw you holding her ankle and laughing... I've never been the jealous type."
"I know. All is forgiven. And Carla," she looked at me, "thanks for coming out to check on me." Carla smiled. "Now get your ass back to work." Carla saluted me with her middle finger as she did an about face and went back to her desk.
"Oh, give Murph a call when you get the chance."
"I don't think so. He didn't really say. I think it was about the new office."
"He probably got a higher bid than mine."
"That wouldn't be hard to do."
I called Murph. As usual, I got his voice mail. Murph is very good at calling people back. About 5 minutes later, he called.
"Hiya partner.", he said as I answered.
"Did you ever decide on which office you were going to take?"
"Do you mean if the deal goes through?"
"Oh, the deal is through. Our attorneys are finishing it up this week. It's all done except for the crying when I hand Teresa the check. Even if it hadn't gone, I thought you were moving down here. I told you I'd let you have it for whatever you're paying there."
"Even the penthouse?"
"Sure, the fifth floor rear office. Is that what you want?"
"If that's alright. I like that one."
"You just want a place for Carla to sunbathe."
"No! You just want me to have a place where Carla can sunbathe."
"Yeah! Well, that too."
"Okay. If you're sure you want me as a tenant..."
"Tenant? You're a partner, remember?"
"Yeah, right. Like I said Murph, I'll believe it when it happens."
"Okay, I'll bet your first month's rent on it."
"Wait a minute, I thought partners get their office as part of the compensation."
"So how does that first month's rent work if the wharf falls through?"
"If the partnership doesn't go through, you have to pay your first month's rent."
"Murph, you're losing me again."
"I know. You can move in anytime you're ready."
"Okay, partner. I'll see you after work."
I poked my head out into Carla's office, "You'd better start packing things when you have some free time."
"Why? You firing me?"
"Nope we can move to our new penthouse office any time we're ready."
"OH BOY!!! I'm starting now."
I called my current landlord and let him know I wasn't renewing the lease. He wasn't very happy about it, but he's not a happy kind of person anyway. It wasn't like he wouldn't get someone relatively quick. The offices and shops around here have a high occupancy rate. It has some of the best lease rates around town and the turnover rate is just high enough to keep new businesses showing up from time to time, keeping the area from going stagnant.
I was one of the only tenants that were still around from when I moved here almost 15 years ago. I had very few complaints and made sure I told him so. He asked if I would try to get someone to take my office. He trusted my recommendations and knew I wouldn't solicit some low life to take it. I told him I would. As a matter of fact, I had an idea.
I gave Jones O'Shit, errr, Al Jones a call on his cell.
"Hi Al. It's Mick Pheury."
"Hi Mister Phe..., I mean Mick. What can I do for you?"
"This morning, when we were talking about your rent and amount of business, did you ever consider moving down this way?"
"Oh, I'd love to, but I don't know if I could afford it. I think you have everything sewn up around here and the offices are probably just as much as up where my office is."
"Well, I wouldn't exactly say I have it sewn up, there are quite a few very good P.I.'s around here. The reason I said something, I'm moving my office. I'm staying in the city, but this office is going to be available next month and it is very reasonable. I could put a good word in for you with my landlord. As far as business, I know I could throw a few your way from time to time."
"That's a very generous proposition, Mick. I appreciate that. Let me have your landlord's number. I'll give them a call."
I gave Al the phone number and told him to stop by when he gets a chance, just to look it over. When I got off the phone, Carla was standing in the doorway.
"What? Not enough competition for you?"
"Carla, this guy is a nice guy, but not exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer. Trust me, he won't pose too much of a threat, competition wise. Besides, he'll give me someone to drop some of the cases I don't want to handle on."
"Okay, I just wanted to make sure you weren't getting too comfortable with your partnership."
"No. I'm not."
A little while later Carla answered the phone and talked to whoever it was for a while. Then she yelled in to me that it was Holly.
I picked up the phone. "Hi Holly."
"How come you didn't stop by Murphy's last night? Mom and I were there."
"Oh, were you? I was so tired, I just needed to relax."
"That's what Carla was just telling me. Poor baby, all of this hard work getting to you?"
"I guess so."
"Are you going to be at Murphy's after work?"
"Probably. It's not too often I miss two weekdays in a row at Murph's."
"Maybe I'll see you there."
"Okay. I see you then."
Well, everything was getting back to normal, or as normal as they can be around here. My sudden popularity in this town had Carla and me very busy for the rest of the afternoon. Even though the newspaper stories didn't exactly confirm my involvement in the fall of Benjamin Armacost, the grapevine in this town was on my side for a change. I was even asked to help out with a possible kidnapping of one of our rich and famous.
I was on my way to meet my 'ol pal Sergeant McNally on the "fashionable" west side of town. He had called me about a missing person case where the husband suddenly decided not to have the police involved. That usually means one of two things; the husband found out who the wife was fooling around with or she'd been kidnapped. You know how kidnappers on television always tell the person they're trying to get the ransom from not to call the police? Well, that's what really happens. The husband, the "ransomee", had mentioned wanting to call me and Mac wanted to fill me in first.
Anyway, on the way to meet with him I happened to see this pretty silver Mercedes convertible driving up the road in front of me. As I got closer I noticed the driver, Teresa Armacost. She had a passenger.
The main road to the west side of town goes directly past the hospital where Benjamin Armacost is committed, and sure enough, Teresa turned in the driveway. "Isn't that nice," I thought, "she's stopping by to see him."
I thought I'd follow her to the parking lot just to say hi. Naturally, I wanted to see who was with her as well. You know, my curious nature and all that. Funny thing, she drove past the main entrance and visitor parking lot. Instead she drove around to the rear of the hospital. She turned around on a small lot near some maintenance buildings and faced the main hospital building. She just sat there for a few minutes. Then she leaned over and started kissing her passenger. He was some black guy I didn't recognize. Teresa was really getting into it.
I slowly drove past Teresa and her "friend" wondering what she was up to. That's when it dawned on me. I turned around a short distance down the driveway and started back past Teresa's car. As I looked up at the windows of the main building of the hospital, I could make out the silhouette of a figure in the one window on the 3rd floor. "That's cruel," I thought to myself, "but, what the fuck? I guess it's all part of her plan."
I started back out of the driveway when I saw a blue import pulling in. It was Jones O'Shit. I quickly called Teresa's cell phone. She answered.
"Mick. I'm a little busy right now, can I call you back?"
"NO! Listen! You are about to have company. Your old man's private detective is heading your way."
"That's okay, I'm not at home."
"I know that. I know where you are."
"No time for quizzes, Teresa. Get the hell out of there, NOW!"
Jones drove past me without a glance. He pulled onto the visitor lot and was just getting out of his car when Teresa drove past him. He didn't even notice her car. He didn't even notice me when he drove past on the way in. "That there is one hell of a trained observer."
My cell phone rang as I turned back onto the main road. It was Teresa.
"What the hell was all of that about, Mick?"
"Your old man has a private detective."
"And what were you doing, following me?" I could tell there was a touched nerve in her voice.
"No. I saw you pull into the hospital and just wanted to say hi."
"When the hell were you going to tell me about his private detective?"
"When I got the chance. He had been following me this morning, not you."
"Why would he follow you?"
"Benjamin thinks you and I have been fooling around."
"I wish we were, but why would he think that?"
"I don't know. I had a talk with his P.I. this morning, after I caught him following me. He didn't know why either, but he was being paid to follow me, so that's what he was doing."
"Did he follow you to the hospital?"
"Was he following me? Oh, I hope not."
"I don't think so. He pulled in too late. Besides, I probably would have seen him back there somewhere. Anyway, who's your friend?"
"Just a friend of a friend. It's not how it looks, Mick. We weren't really doing anything. It was fake."
"I think it's exactly the way it looks."
"No it isn't, really. I just drove out here to aggravate Benjamin. His room overlooks that rear lot. All he does is stare out the window all day. I just wanted to make sure he knew I was still thinking about him."
"That's why I said it was exactly how it looks. I figured out what you were up to. Teresa, have you ever heard the phrase "kicking a man when he's down"? You just added an entirely new dimension to it. I hope I never piss you off."
"Thanks Mick. I appreciate the tip. That would have ruined the whole thing if I'd been caught doing this. After all, a half dozen times is probably enough to keep him going for a while."
"A half dozen?"
"Yeah, this was my sixth time down here doing this."
"You are a ruthless, heartless woman, Teresa Armacost."
"I never used to be. I had a big heart for that man. He's the one that blew it."
"It's probably a good thing those windows have bars, he'd probably jump out."
"Oh well, you can't have everything."
"You're probably right. Keep your eyes open for a bright blue Japanese car. That's what his P.I. drives."
"Who is this private detective anyway? Do you know him?"
"I didn't until today. He's not up to my standards, but I think he's alright."
"Is he from around here?"
"No. I guess Benjamin's attorneys are playing it safe. He's from out of town."
"Oh. I was wondering why you wouldn't have known him."
"I think that's what they were hoping. They couldn't use someone I'd recognize."
"I'll talk to you later, Mick. Thanks."
"Okay, Teresa. Later."
We hung up and I continued on to meet McNally. He filled me in on Tony Romeo and the disappearance of his wife, Maria. While I was getting the lowdown from Mac, Carla called to tell me that Mr. Romeo called about seeing me and asked me to stop by.
Ahh! Nothing like new material.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
So, it looks like Benjamin Armacost is going to be a little tied up for a while, I think Teresa is going to make sure of that. I'm not sure if his watching his wife making out with a black guy outside his padded cell is having quite the impact it would had he seen the video of her, but what the fuck, right? I wonder what impact his "cracking up" is going to have on all of the trials he has pending. I'm sure he's heading for an early retirement, if he's smart. The law firm has some good muscle and can survive his retirement. Hell, the way people are these days, they'll forget everything about Armacost over the last few weeks anyway. His property may be another issue, at least that which is controlled by Teresa.
Teresa Armacost is still applying her revenge to Benjamin. I just wonder how much of this her with black guys is a game, or is the old adage about "once you go black" true? It's still nice of her to help set me up for a very promising future and to help Murph and his family, and probably that entire area of town for that matter, achieve something they would have thought impossible two weeks ago. If I get a chance, I might even see if I can buy some of this property she has before Benny finds a way of stopping her.
Holly was still trying to figure out which one of her parents she has the biggest issue with. Meantime she is finding sexuality she never knew existed. I don't know how long I can keep her around, but with us becoming business partners in the very near future, I'd better watch myself.
Carla? Well Carla is Carla. She is definitely a one of a kind. I'm still wondering why a fabulous girl like her is hooked on some guy like me. Oh, I'm not complaining. I'm just concerned that one day she is going to wake up and find out what I've been telling her is true, she deserves better than me.
As for me, I think it is time to take a partner. NO, NO, NO!!! Not a wife, not a domestic partner, a private detective partner. I have a lot of work coming in and Carla has been wanting to become a private detective anyway. Yeah, I know what you're thinking, I really should ask her to marry me, right? I'm still not ready for that. But I have been thinking about it. You should be happy I've gone that far. Two weeks ago, I'd have never considered it. We have a new office to move into and I'll have some new responsibility in Murphy's Properties.
As for everybody else, Murph is going to be getting his dream, the space needed to enlarge the Pub, spreading the revitalization effort to the waterfront, and getting the property he needed to make it happen. The Schmidt's are still apart and I don't see things changing there. McNally said he wants to be a cop forever, we'll see.
Speaking of seeing, I'll see you all later in Mick the Dick II, The Case of the Handsome Ransom.
THE END (finally!)