Welcome to my page devoted to my novel Meter Maids Eat Their Young – A Love Story.
News Never Sleeps
Except for the half-dozen cats scattered about the king-sized bed, I was alone beneath the twisted sheets, deep in an uneasy dream. A gong struck and struck again, the reverberations echoing through the air like a cold wind that lifted me upward toward a starless sky and settled me down in a room aglow in predawn light. The beeper chirped on the bedside table. I reached over and turned it off without looking to see who it was. The page could only be from one person. I fumbled about for my cell phone, flipped it open and pushed the only speed-dial number set on it.
“A little early for a Sunday wake-up call, don’t you think?” I said when the connection was made.
“News never sleeps, Teller,” said Felice, her usual melodious voice muted and somber. My heart began to race.
“Bad news, I suspect.”
“For you especially, I’m afraid. Your friend Harrison de Whitt was found dead in the East River Monorail parking lot.”
I bolted up, scattering cats. Harrison? I’d had dinner with him two nights previous.
“When?” I said, swallowing hard. “How?”
“As to the when, approximately ten minutes ago,” she said. “As to the how, I assume you are asking how was he found and not how he died? I can answer the former but have no information regarding the latter.”
There was a long silence. I could hear a deep inward breath followed by a long exhalation.
“I’m sorry, Teller. That was a harsh way to answer your question. He was my friend as well.”
“I know, Felice, I know.”
“His body was discovered soon after most of the parking meters in the lot went up like Roman candles. I’m afraid I know nothing more, which is why I suggest you get there as quickly as possible.”
I rolled off the bed.
“I’m on it,” I said. “I’ll call as soon as I have something.”
I flipped the phone closed and went in search of clothes, dressing in the dim glow of pre-dawn with whatever I could find quickly. I wasn’t ready for lights. I wasn’t ready for Harrison being dead.
In the kitchen, I poured food in the cat bowls, spilling most of it in my haste. There was a drip supply of fresh water but I checked it anyway, tripping and kicking it with my toe, splashing water across the floor. Cursing, I considered mopping it up but decided I didn’t have the time.
As I stepped out the front door it struck me that the light in the stairwell leading to the upstairs flat was out. The darkness gave me pause. That light burns 24/7, one of those low-watt forever bulbs and its being out meant something. As an investigative reporter, I’ve learned that a healthy dose of paranoia is a good defense mechanism.
Standing there, the dawning sun broke and shone through the balustrade, casting slanted shadows up the stairway, stirring up fragments of dream memory. For a moment I could smell a hint of L’Air du Temps in the air. But that wasn’t possible. I knew it wasn’t my boarder’s perfume. She wore a fruity blend of something I couldn’t quite distinguish.
I closed the door behind me and hurried to my car, that hint of L’Air du Temps following like a phantom.