By Mark W. Meier
Windowed The Soul
On your elevator ride the next day you retrieved a voice mail from Detective James. You were cleared of all wrongdoing in your car’s explosion. Various reasons were given, but your lingering headache made them seem trivial.
Then you wondered about how to get into racing. You could buy an existing NASCAR team, but watching someone drive in circles didn’t interest you. Maybe something with more immediacy.
When the lift doors opened the beagle greeted you. “Welcome back, sir.” Understated, as he usually was.
“Thank you, Victor. I appreciate the lack of ostentation.”
“Head injuries come with headaches, sir. Fanfares are noisy, and I didn’t want to make it worse.”
The two of you worked well together, if you could call what you do “work.” Most of the rest of the week passed without your involvement, with you simply staring into nowhere or looking out the windows at the city below. I was able to push you closer to depression, since you did nothing of use to anyone.
You ruminated about your lack of participation in society, how if you vanished nobody would really care. The thing you craved now was relevance. Money you had, influence as well. People looked after you, but nobody sought you out for yourself – only because you had the money and influence
On Friday morning the beagle raised his head above the privacy shield in your Grambic Tower office suite. “They got the guy.”
You turned from your perusal of the Savannah skyline. “Context, Victor.” At times people lost track of what they hadn’t said aloud.
“The man who bombed your Paris plant. He was shot and killed trying to escape from soldiers.”
That someone even sent soldiers was surprising to you. “French special forces?”
The beagle’s expression was unreadable to you, but I saw something flicker. “If so, nobody will admit it.”
Maybe Howe was more than just a beagle. I could get to like him, but Brothers seldom experienced affection.
You shrugged. “I hope someone thanks the people responsible.”
“I’ll see to it.”
I smiled. He would indeed. And your accounts would be docked by a few hundred thousand, though you’d never notice. The gunman, however, would notice. Nice job, Beagle.
A half-hour later the Paris Police Prefecture liaison called the beagle’s desk. It was Lepine, announcing what you already knew.
“Pass along my thanks to the responsible parties, Monsieur,” you said.
Lepine seemed puzzled. “They were mercenaries, Mr. Grambic.”
“If you say so. Thank you for the call, Monsieur Lepine.”
After ringing off, you told the beagle to have your car ready. “I’m leaving early today, Victor.”
The beagle nodded as the elevator closed.
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