Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

More from OT

This is what I worked on, this evening -- Tone said the exact wrong thing to Jake, who's got out for an early-morning run to clear his head. Then he checks out a warehouse owned by his uncle and doesn't like what he finds there.


I ran back to my SUV and saw it was nearly nine, so I headed over to Dion’s. He answered the door in a pair of shorts and a wife-beater that had grease stains on it, both dogs at his side. He looked beautifully flustered, and I’m sure I looked like shit. But he didn’t let on.

“Jake? You’re up early.”

“Sorry,” I said, “you in the middle of something?”

“We’re just finishing breakfast. You want a bite?”

The idea of food slammed into me and I nodded. His eyes lingered on me, for a second, then he said, “C’mon in. It’s very informal. We’re having French Toast and bacon. Kent’s still asleep so keep it low. Coffee or juice?”

“Coffee’d be cool,” I said, following him inside. The dogs stayed by me, silently alternating between sniffing my butt and begging for some petting. I absently tickled each one’s ears. “I just...I dropped by to pick up Lenora’s info.”

“Lorinda. That’s at the office – no, wait...I may have her card on the fridge. Lemme see.”

He led me into the kitchen, where Joel, Sarah and Samantha were seated at a small round table, finishing lightly battered bread topped with fruit and drizzled with maple syrup. Half-full glasses of orange juice by each of them. I smiled at them. Joel kept eating, but the twins eyed me with distaste.

“You’re dirty,” said Samantha. I think.

“I was running. Working out.”

“We’re doing brunch,” said Sarah. I think.

“Looks great,” I said. “Mind if I join you?”

“Wash your hands first,” said Sarah.


I went to the sink and sloshed soap and water up my arms and over my face.

“Don’t forget behind your ears!” Followed by giggles.

I have no idea which twin said it, and really don’t care. The warm water felt great. I dried off with a dishrag and the twins set up a space between them for me to sit.

Dion handed me a cup and pointed to a counter next to a fairly new range. “Milk and sugar’s over there.”

I fixed my coffee and sat between the twins.

“Papa’s taking us to the zoo,” said Samantha...I bet.

“They have one in Palm Springs?” I asked.

The girls giggled as Joel said, “In LA.”

“Griffith Park,” Dion chimed in as he looked on the scores of notes and drawings and cards on the door of the fridge.

“I don’t want to keep you,” I said.

“You won’t,” he smiled. “Here we go; I do have one.”

He handed me a neat card for Lorinda Waller-Burke, with a nice bright photo of a pretty professional woman on it. She was both a lawyer and real estate agent.

“You think she’d be working today?” I asked.

“It’s Saturday; she’ll be out in the field, but that’s her cell phone. Call her. Buy her a coffee then just try to get her to shut up.”


Dion looked the table over as he slopped bread into the last of some whipped egg. “Do I see some empty plates that need to go in the dishwasher? And three little travelers who need to get dressed? Do I?”

“Pappa, you’re not wearing that!” asked Samantha. Probably.

“I guess not. But I bet I get changed before you do.”

The kids scrambled to put their dishes away then hurried down the hall to their rooms.

“Quietly,” Dion softly called after them. He turned to me. “We’re giving Kent a down day. Rough night, last night.”

“Oh?” I sipped the coffee, and even with milk and sugar, it damn near took the enamel off my teeth, it was so strong.

He nodded and flipped the French Toast. “Business is down at the restaurant and they’re talking about cutting back to five nights a week instead of seven. If Kent wants to stay on, he’s got to agree to do lunches, as well as dinner. Split shift.”

“That messes with your set-up.”

“A little. Where’s your other half?”

“Tone? Probably still asleep. He’s not a morning person.”

“You two have a fight?”

I frowned at Dion. “Why’d you ask that?”

“Sorry. I’m being Blanche, again.”

“No, it’s not that. It’s just...I felt like goin’ out for a run well did you know my uncle?”

“Jake...I trusted him with my kids. I don’t do that with people I don’t know.”

“So you knew what was going on in that warehouse he owns?”

He looked at me. “What warehouse?”

“Down the Ten, a little ways. Big thing. Curved roof. Middle of nowhere.”

He flipped the toast onto a plate and set it before me then pulled a bowl of fruit from the fridge. “Owen had an apartment complex, the hillside and the townhouses, that’s it. What makes you think he owned a warehouse?”

I watched Dion. He was genuinely confused, so I held up the key.

“This fits the front door to a warehouse that’s pretty much empty. He sent it to me.”

“Pretty much? But not completely?”

“No. Could he own property you don’t know about?”

“Not unless he bought it years ago, because his capital’s all tied up. We found that out when he tried to buy the unit across from him when it went up for sale. Got turned down by three banks and two mortgage companies.”

WTF? “Dion, can you get into the county’s tax records?”

“No, but I think Lorinda can. So what’s in that warehouse?”

“Lies,” I said. “Nothing but lies.” And that’s what it was. The whole thing was bullshit. And I was beginning to understand why, and the reason for it unleashed my appetite. I think I ate that French toast in four bites.

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