Monday, August 10, 2015

Apartment 11C: A morning visit

The day started with an early telephone call from a beautiful cliente. Robin Greene was inquiring, yet again, if he had followed any leads about the movements of her wandering husband, Clyde. 

"I have reason to suspect — and you know about a woman's intuition — that Clyde hasn't been telling the whole truth about where he's been recently," Robin said, choosing her words very carefully. "He's been gone six days a week, has been ignoring my calls, deliberately, I'm certain, and I've discovered he keeps gallons of bleach in his car. I'm afraid this is getting very serious, Mr. Lyons." 

"Professor," Henry Lyons corrected her gently. He was only twenty-eight, yet had completed all his years of university and earned his degree in criminology. "Bleach, you say? That definitely sounds out of place." He considered this for a moment, and heard her sigh on the other end of the line. 

"Can I come over to your office later?  I think it's best if we discuss some things in person."  He quickly agreed, although he wouldn't describe his one-room apartment on the eleventh floor as "an office."  He was still in the midst of settling into his new home and paying off the exorbitant amount of money from his student loans, by teaching classes at the community college, and doing a bit of investigating on the side.  

He found Collingwood Heights to be an unusual place.  It barely took any time to discover the curious cast of characters in the neighborhood, and there was a huge aspect of the culture here that was centered around the town's deceased founder, Stanley Collingwood.  It barely took any time to learn that Shawn, the shady guy behind the counter at El Cheapo's, would get into arguments with anyone who didn't pay their respects to Stanley everyday. 
Professor Lyons didn't usually meet with clients on a Saturday, so it left him with roughly half an hour to complete his morning routine.  He searched his drawers, meticulously organized, for a freshly ironed shirt, and pants, then combed his curly black hair.  Glancing at the paper, the Collingwood Gazette, he skimmed the headlines.  A local girl was discovered drowned in the lake.  Someone had found her submerged under the inky black waters, her lungs filled with liquid until she couldn't breathe.  This place is too small for a fatality, he thought, but he didn't have much time to dwell on it before he heard urgent knocks on his door.  He strode over to unlock it for her.

"Can I get you anything?" He asked Robin, escorting her to his desk.  "Coffee?  Tea?"  She shook her head politely, and folded up her long limbs as she took a seat.  She looked flustered, as her pale cheeks were flushed with color, and her dark hair was tousled by the wind.

"Can't we talk somewhere a little more...private?"  She asked, glancing nervously at the air vents in the corners of the room.

"I would take you up to the rooftop, where it's windy, and we couldn't be overheard, but there is ongoing construction of the top floor so it is currently inaccessible," Professor Lyons said apologetically.  "We'll just keep our voices low for now."  Robin didn't answer, but fished out a picture and some notes out of her bag.

"I have something important to show you."