A cop had co-founded Tim Horton’s, so it seemed appropriate to get doughnuts and coffee from there. And besides, it was the only doughnut shop downtown. Of course, it didn't hurt that everything they served tasted like little bites of Paradise mixed with love. I pulled into the lot and went in the dining room. I guess I could have gone through the drive-through, but I never trusted the selection of something as important as doughnuts to a stranger.
A dozen doughnuts in hand, along with two large coffees—black for me, cream and two sugars for Otis—I headed back to my office, which was about a block from the City Building. But before I got there, I happened to check my rear-view mirror and spied my friend in the white van. I decided it was time to say hello, so instead of going on to the city building, I parked in my building, gathered up my goodies and pretended to walk toward the City Building. Since he was so incompetent at tailing, I hoped he’d not be much of a threat, but taking reckless chances is what makes the population at the old detectives home so sparse. So I dropped the coffee and doughnuts on the front porch of a house a half a block down, crossed the street in the middle of the block, casually walked back to the van, and tapped on the driver’s window with the end of my gun barrel. It was a snub nosed 38, a summer weight piece that fit nicely under a windbreaker and didn’t make me feel like it was going to pull my pants down when worn with a belt holster. Granted, it was less intimidating than my other gun, a Dirty Harry commemorative .44 magnum, but since I wasn't likely to need to fell a grizzly that day, I had gone with restraint.
The driver was obviously startled, as he nearly hit his head on the van’s ceiling, spilling his coffee down his shirt and onto his pants. The coffee appeared to be pretty hot based on the pained grimace on his face. I was hoping my charming smile would help ease the pain. It didn't seem to work, though.
“What—what the—?” was all he could sputter as he opened the window.
“Hey!” I practically shouted, turning up the wattage on the smile while touching the end of the barrel of my gun to the tip of his nose. “How are you? You spill your coffee?”
“Would you get that gun outta my face?!”
“This gun?” I asked as I pulled back the hammer. His eyes got wide and I could swear the coffee stain in his lap got a little bigger.
“What—who are you?”
“I'm the guy you've been following. Very badly, I might add. The more cogent question is who are you?”
“Sorry. I’ll try to use smaller words. WHO. ARE. YOU?”
“I asked you first pal.” I had to give it to him. He was rallying.
“Yes, true enough. On the other, hand, I'm holding the gun. Who are you and why are you following me or do we see if a .38 Special makes it all the way through the back of your skull.”
“Who says I'm following you?”
“You were here when I came out of my office this morning, left when I did, appeared again when I returned, had coffee at Tim Horton’s with me, and just pulled back up. That’s way too much being where I am to be a coincidence. Oh, sorry. Is coincidence too big a word? I know you're following me and you know you’re following me. Now—why and who?”
I jerked the gun to the left and fired a round into his passenger seat. It sounded like a bomb going off in the enclosed space. The stain in his lap definitely got bigger this time.
“I don’t know his name, I swear!” He shook his head to try to dislodge the cotton from his ears.
“Won’t be your seat next time.”
“Didn’t tell me his name! God as my witness!”
“How did he contact you?”
“Met me at a bar I go to a lot. Said he heard about me from a friend of a friend. Paid me five large just to follow you around for a while and tell him where you went and who you met up with. Said to look for a busty blonde bimbo too. His words not mine.”
“She’s not a bimbo and five thousand dollars just for following me around?”
“No, five hundred. Large is thousand?”
I rolled my eyes. “Why are all the thugs around here so stupid?” He actually looked like he was thinking about that until I poked him in the temple with my gun. “Okay, focus. Did he say to do something if you saw me with the blonde?”
“Nope. Just follow and report.”
“I meet him tonight at 10:00 in the same bar.”
“Why am I not surprised?” Sugars was a bar on Seventh Street that infamously advertised, “Fabric-Free Entertainment.”
“Hey, they make good spaghetti and have you ever had their coffee?”
“I’ll be in the parking lot. Find an excuse to get him out there.”
“Your problem. Now blow. If I see you again before tonight, I’m not responsible. ”
“What about my seat?”
“DO YOU WANT TO DIE?”
He apparently didn’t. He got the engine started and was screeching up the street almost before I could get my arm out of his window. I waited a minute to make sure he was gone and went to retrieve my coffee and doughnuts. It was with great relief that I found them undisturbed. I wouldn’t want to kill anyone over a maple frosted cream fill. I would do it, but I wouldn’t want to.