Part Eight – Untitled Story
“Well, you should be, Doris. It took a little arm twisting to get these reservations on such short notice.”
“What did you do? If it was illegal, don’t tell me. I do work for the court system, remember?”
“How could I forget? And it wasn’t anything illegal. I just led the owner to, possibly; maybe, think that I know more about the restaurant’s bookkeeping practices than I really do. I flash my badge; shake my head and go, ‘Tsk, tsk, tsk,’ – and poof! – table for two.”
“Good Lord. Couldn’t you just ask for reservations for us, like everybody else?”
“I thought you wanted to eat tonight, not next October?”
She sighed and a smile began to creep onto her lips. I always loved those lips. She patted my hand as I reached for a breadstick.
“Well, thank you anyway, Hon, but can you afford this?”
“Not a problem. The sky’s the limit tonight.”
“I know what you make. How can you possibly…?”
“Don’t ask. Don’t tell. I understand the veal is especially good tonight.”
After an awkward silence as the owner himself brought our salads and a wine we didn’t order, I thought I’d better change the subject.
“Doris, I really do appreciate you digging up that information on Ricky Cream.”
“Was he able to help you out at all?”
“In between his beer and his weed, yes. I think he told me more than he was supposed to.”
“Supposed to? Is somebody pressing him to be quiet?”
“Yup. None other than the gold plated Mrs. Cream. She had told me that she didn’t have any idea where Ricky might be, but I saw her pulling her Mercedes out of his place just as I got there.”
“You think, maybe, those two are – you know – making the beast with two backs while the Mister is out of the picture?”
“Not unless she puts on a blindfold and a gas mask first.”
“Then it sounds to me like there is something very rotten going on with those two. Be careful, Hon – big money plays rough. I don’t want to be called to ID your body.”
“I’ll be careful. Ricky is as harmless as a Girl Scout Cookie and Ginger Cream is not as clever as she thinks she is.”
“What are you going to do?”
“Good question. I’m beginning to see through all the lies and I think I can see the Who. The What and the Where. Now I need to fill in the How and Why.”
“If I can help…”
“You can. Dig up what you can on the Golden Pyramid Oil Company for the last three – four years. The finances and the people who work for, and under, Adam Cream.”
“Their ‘Annual Report to Shareholders’ should have all of that, and tax filings.”
“Shareholders? I thought Cream owned the company lock, stock, and barrel?”
“He used to, but that was quite a while back. When he wanted to take the company nationwide, even global, he needed to raise money. He incorporated and went public. He got the money and for all appearances, he still is ‘The Company,’ but in reality he runs the show at the pleasure of the Board of Directors. I imagine he still owns a major interest, so, in that sense, he still does own the company – the corporation. He’s got to be worth millions – a lot of them.”
When the food arrived our conversation turned into little more than grunts, sighs, and lip smacking.
“We should eat like this more often,” I said. “I might put on a few pounds, but it’d be worth it.” I’d forgotten how life changing the aroma and flavor of Rosemary Roasted Potatoes could be. You’ll never find that in any frozen pot pie or anything that comes out of a microwave oven.
A cup of strong coffee was just the ticket after our feast. It always is.
“Doris, thanks again for your help. Not with just this case, but for everything. If it wasn’t for you I’d be living in a cave.”
“Hon, if it wasn’t for us women, all men would be living in caves, but thank you for acknowledging our civilizing effect. And you’re welcome.
“This meal was – do you think you might be able to come up with some pictures of the owner doing the ‘nasty-nasty’ with a Bassett Hound or something? I could eat here every night.”
“I’ll tell you what. You dig up what I think you’ll find and I’ll even introduce the owner to the Basset Hound.
“Even better, if you can find what I need to crack this open, we – you and me – the two of us, we’ll go on one of those cruises to the Caribbean or someplace. How’s that sound?”
“Oh, Hon, how have I managed to let you slip away for so long?”