He had six-pack abs, and I wanted to feel the carbonation. This one dressed like the stereotype of a construction worker, down to the handkerchief he used to wipe sweat off his forehead. I don't know if he or the hot day brought it out, but sweat poured off of me too. He had no interest in me as a person, though. I was invading his territory. Still, I enjoyed the view. For my part, I knew my clothes looked crappy. I didn’t have to wear uniforms anymore, but my street clothes, well they were very—street. So there I stood, a turd in the sun in front of this Adonis. Oh well.
He pointed to a small trailer up a muddy hill. The supervisor I asked to see apparently stayed in there. Stayed, as in never left. Great. Mud. Now I'd be a dried turd in the sun. Adonis went back to digging and I started the trek up the hill. At least I came with boots. Steel toed.
Once I made it to the trailer, I heard an argument going on inside.
"Look, I don't care who you are. The plans are publicly filed. Go get them yourself!" yelled someone.
Then I heard a voice I knew. Calm, cool, subversive. "Is there any reason you're being so difficult? A man did die on your watch."
An encounter I hadn’t planned on. Well, at least not until later tonight. I knocked loudly on the door and with my sweetest voice said, "Hello, boys. Am I interrupting something?"
"Great," groused the supervisor. "A party." He appeared to me like another stereotype, puffing on a cigar over a fat jowl line and rotund stomach that threatened to overturn the small desk he was behind. I guess there's a reason for stereotypes. He looked about four hamburgers away from a heart attack.
On a wooden chair in front of the supervisor sat Jack. A fellow independent detective, an ally at times, a competitor...and my on and off lover.
"Well, well, well," he said smiling, but I could tell he wasn’t happy to see me. Not here. It meant we were both working the same case. "Hello, Carolyn. Who hired you?"
"Girlfriend," he answered back.
We stared at each other. Complications.
The supervisor didn’t give a damn and said to me, "Well, missy, I'll tell you the same thing I told this guy." He jerked his thumb around to Jack. "The plans are publically filed and that’s all I have to say about it."
I tried a different tactic. "That’s fine with me. I have no problem going downtown for a copy." I wore my practiced, saccharine smile. "But I wonder, could you tell me the name of the architect? Please?" I smiled again. God, this job sucks at times.
The supervisor sighed. "Jones, Evan Jones."
"Thank you so much," I said, smiling my best smile again. "I'll get out of the way and leave you two boys to...whatever you were doing."
I opened the door to go and started to shut it only to find Jack following me out.
"Sure, flash your tits and get what you want." Boy was he in a bad mood.
"There was no tit flashing in there. Face it, testosterone was not a good choice in that situation."
Jack's response: a grunt.
"Besides," I tried to placate him, "I didn’t get the plans either."
"No, you did one better."
"That's assuming the architect will have anything to do with me and cooperate." A thought occurred to me. "So are you going there too?"
"No, I might as well wait and see what you turn up. Besides, I have my own leads."
"Are you planning to share?" Just call me hopeful. As in full of shit, because that’s where hope always seemed to lead.
"No," he said, still grumpy.
"I see. So it's gonna be like that."
"I guess so."
I felt like such a female. Damn. But I had to ask.
"Are we still on for tonight?"
I wasn’t convinced but didn’t push it. God, sometimes I hated myself. But we were good together—when it was good—when his competitive edge didn’t get the better of him. Though I was one to talk. I did the same thing at times. Hence our on and off status. But currently we were supposed to be on. So, I kept it light in the spirit of things to come.
"Okay, master detective, I'll leave you to your leads. See ya."
"See ya," he replied, already preoccupied, pondering a piece of paper he'd taken from his pocket.
I made my way down the hill in my muddy boots.