Bugle P.I. — Lost in Thought

By the time I left my study session at the cafe, the roads were covered in slush and the cars were regularly spraying dirty, ice-cold water on pedestrians like myself. I was hit more often than usual because I was still concentrating on the fact that Garran Keocaigh was a major player in the Chicago Spire project. The same Keocaigh who worked with Eddie years ago. The same Keocaigh who now lived in Dublin. Keocaigh and I had lives that ran in parallel, geographically at least. Also, there was the obvious differences in success, fortune and fame.

I must have had terrible jet-lag, or maybe I was just cold. Either way, I didn’t notice the truck that pulled to the curb until its passenger threw something at me. I turned toward him, in time to get a hard piece of plastic in the nose. It hurt. By the time my eyes stopped watering, the dark-painted, late-model pickup truck was out of sight.

I bent over to pick up the missle, and found myself in a rather embarassing position. My nose gushed blood when I bent forward, so I had to slowly crouch with my head tilted back. I felt around in the slush for a full minute, while staring into the streetlight above, before I felt the familiar shape of my mobile phone. It had to be mine; nobody else is dumb enough to spend $10 on half a plastic cover for an old Motorola. My gut twisted when I recognized my Irish phone, and it wasn’t from the coppery taste in the back of my mouth. For the next hour, I deliberately focused on getting to Eddie’s, washing up, and making dinner. Anything but the web that I was ensnarled in.

I showed the phone to Eddie as soon as he got home. While I finished seasoning the stew, he tried to get it to power up, without success. Over dinner, I told him how I’d lost the phone in Fitzwilliam Square. He got upset, the usual how-could-you-risk-yourself-for-my-sorry-ass stuff.

“There was no connection until today, Eddie,” I said as he scrubbed the pot, pumping hard from frustration with me. “If anything, I was leaving a tight spot when I flew here.”

I wasn’t about to mention the second connection, about Keocaigh and the Spire. Eddie was fiercely loyal, so he didn’t cope well when one of two friends had to be wrong. His ability to wish away a conflict of interest had been a real pain in my ass at times. Eddie continued cleaning the kitchen in silence, grumbling to himself at times. I pretended to read the newspaper. He only looked at me after he’d put everything away.

“Well, get some sleep, or you won’t be any good to me anyhow. We meet with Dan again tomorrow afternoon, so don’t pick any more fights,” he said as he opened a can of beer. “And keep some ice on; you won’t look credible with a shiner. I’m gonna watch some basketball and fall asleep on the couch.”

I did go to bed, but before I fell asleep, I heard the front door open and then gently close. I hoped that Eddie had a prior appointment; he really was too old to pound the streets on my behalf. I didn’t have the energy to worry and I slept as if Eddie and everyone else in the world was also safe in bed.

1 Comment to “Bugle P.I. — Lost in Thought”

  1. Dave said...
    15 April 2008

    I’m hoping your nose feels better….