Today I am posting a snippet of a short story I am submitting for a contest.
I'm always searching for some tidbit or snippet of information on the computer. My boss calls me a computer genius. My friends call me a whiz. But that all changed a few weeks ago when the search for information put my life in a tailspin.
I work for a private detective in the Miami-Dade area and business had been slow. It was Spring break and I was getting up enough nerve to ask Mr. Peterson for some time off. He was a hard-nosed retired ex-police officer, but still a big teddy bear. Asking him for time off would be a piece of cake or so I thought.
You can do this Dana. Just get up, walk into his office and ask, no demand time off.
The hot Miami weather was getting the better of my skin. I blotted beads of perspiration from
my forehead and clicked the mouse putting my computer into hibernation mode. Too many snoops around this place.
Before I could make my way into his office the phone rang. “Private Eyes Watching U Detective Service. How may I help you?” I inquired.
“Fred Peterson,” a deep male voice boomed on the other end.
“May I say who's calling?” Mr. Peterson didn't like me to put calls through without knowing to whom he was speaking.
“Just tell him Johnnie B. He'll know who I am.”
Johnnie B? The name didn't sound familiar, but then I don't know all Mr. Peterson's contacts.
“Hold on please.” I placed the stranger on hold and buzzed my boss.
The heat was starting to get to me. I walked over to the mini fridge, popped a few ice cubes into a paper towel and went back to my desk. Mr. Peterson's light still blinked. Being curious in nature I wanted to know just who Johnnie B was and why he was so adamant about talking with my boss.
The office was dead, except for me and the boss. He was still on the phone, so I clicked the mouse and starting doing what came naturally. I wanted to know more about this Johnnie B character. Typing in his name came up empty-handed. But I knew it would. Johnnie B couldn't be his real name.
My thoughts were focused on the computer screen when the intercom buzzed me out of my trance.
“Dana, could you come in here please?”
Computer back into hibernation, I tossed the melted ice into my trashcan before going into Mr. Peterson's office. His office was really too small. I barely fit into the cramped space. Mementos
from his years on the police force were scattered about. I scanned the room for any clues as to the identity of Johnnie B. Nothing.
“Dana, have a seat,” he instructed.
He looked frazzled. His worn and calloused hands ran through his graying hair. Something or someone was bothering him.
I plopped into an overstuffed chair opposite Mr. Peterson. “What can I do you for boss?”
He hesitated. “Dana, I know I can trust you.”
Trust me? What was he talking about?
“Of course you can trust me.”
His face was beet red from the heat. The whirling of the metal fan blades didn't put out much air.
“Dana, that phone call was from an old Army buddy. He needs my help, actually he needs our help.”
“OK. You know you can count on me boss. That's what I'm here for.”
Mr. Peterson reached for a manilla folder and took out an old photograph.
“This is me on the left,” he pointed to a younger version of himself. “And this is Johnnie B.”
Johnnie B looked to be about twenty-five and was very handsome. I wasn't exactly sure what my boss was asking of me, but whatever it was I would do it without question.
He placed the photo back in the folder and handed it to me. “Dana, all the information is inside along with your instructions.”
“Yes sir,” I answered. “I'll get to work on it right away.”
“Good. Dana, time is of the essence.”