Episode Twenty-Five A Private Investigator
“Can I, uh, buy you a coffee, Molly? Maybe we could sit and talk a bit?” He motioned to the coffee shop across the street.
“Well, that sounds really nice, but I’m exhausted. It’s late, after nine. It’s been a long day for me. I’ve been working since nine this morning. Maybe some other time, okay, Tarek?” She turned and walked away from him.
“Okay. How about… tomorrow? Maybe you won’t be so tired tomorrow.” He caught up with her.
“Tomorrow night, I only work until six.”
“Good. Six o’clock tomorrow night then? Just coffee and conversation. I’m harmless. Really I am.”
“Isn’t that what all axe-murderers say to their poor, unsuspecting victims?” She smiled. For some reason, she wasn’t afraid of him.
“I wouldn’t know what axe-murderers say. But, look, I have no axe!” He held his hands up and turned around. “See, no axe hidden down my pant leg!” He bent one leg, then the other. “No axe, no sword, no machete, no weapon of any kind. The coffee shop is very public, with windows on three sides. You can get up and walk away from me whenever you want, if you feel threatened or uncomfortable. But, you won’t, I promise you. Say okay?” He had the sweetest smile.
“Well, okay,” she giggled. “But I warn you, I might be hungry!”
“Fine. Coffee, conversation, and whatever you want on the menu. Anything. Everything. Now, does that sound better?”
“Yes. Better,” she nodded. “So, where have you been hiding? I swear I’ve never seen you at the grocery store or in the coffee shop. Or anywhere.”
“Oh, I’ve been here. I just blend in with the background, I guess. Can I walk you home? See to it you get home safely?”
“All right. I live a few blocks from the corner here.”
“So, how long have you been in Demby, Molly?”
“I’ve been here about a year and a half now. I came here for the job. I work at Trafford Trucking.”
“Are you from around here?”
“Well, not too far from here. Northeast part of Ohio. I’m from Fulton Valley. How about you? Where are you from, and I’m sure you’re not from around here!”
“You’re right. I’m from a small town in Virginia called Rosemont Falls. It’s a beautiful place, with great weather, lots of history, and local color. But there are no jobs there either. Of course, I’m not having much luck finding work here either.”
“You came to OHIO to look for a job?” She laughed hysterically. “You are either extremely optimistic or crazy. I vote crazy. Do you have any idea how bad things are here? You have to wait for somebody to die off just to get a crack at his job. The kids get out of school and go away to college and never ever come back, even if they drop out, flunk out, whatever. Not even for a visit. And I can’t say I blame them. This place is dull and stagnant. You need to go to some big city, not this little grey, dusty, bump in the road. You need to go to Columbus or Dayton. Or Cincinnati on the river, ah, beautiful! What kind of work are you looking for, Tarek?”
“I’m a private investigator.”