Roman-Holiday: Taking No Nonsense

11 Jul


It was bad enough to be on the dumb plane in the first place. But then to have this crazy sit right next to me with a suspicious briefcase – it was too much. I hate flying. This must be made clear. Being not on the ground, thousands of miles away from the ground yet, is just not my cup of tea. It makes me a little nervous, to say the least. This is my frame of mind. I am not happy.

So there I was, being not happy, when Mr. Clutch-my-briefcase sits in the seat next to me. He was a middle-aged gentleman; sort of balding and rotund. Sweat was pouring from his forehead and he kept glancing around nervously. I don’t think he even knows that he is acting so peculiar. No one else seems to notice either – only me. This is like a scene from a very bad movie. I tried to think of what could be in the case that would have made it through security. I drew a blank. So I strike up a conversation with Mr. Briefcase.
“Frequent flyer?” I chuckled.
He gave me a petrified look.
“Don’t do it.” My eyes narrowed.
“Wh-what?” He swallowed.
“Sorry.” I held out my hand, “Let me introduce myself – Marty Holiday.” I smiled.
He shook my hand and nodded, “Uh … Walter Oak.” He swallowed again.
“Walter, don’t do it.” I advised and opened a magazine.
“Do what exactly?” He asked warily.
“Don’t you hate flying?” I loosened my tie. “It just repulses me. Man …” I shook my head.
“What?” Walter set his briefcase down gently.
“Yeah, be careful with that.” I grimaced, who knows what he’s got in there.
His eyes widened, “Why?”
I stared at him. “Why? Do you actually have to ask me that?”
“You know what’s in it?” He wiped his brow with a handkerchief.
“Walter, I’m not as stupid as you might think. And if I were you, I would stop right now and think about what you’re going to do.” I clasped his arm briefly to emphasize my point. “Do you have a family, Walter?”
“Think about what this would do to them. Do you want them to go through that?”
“No.” He covered his face with his hands.
“Good. They don’t deserve that.” I said quietly. “They need someone to be there for them. Someone they can count on.”
“What am I going to do?” He whined.
“Turn it over.”
“To the cops?” He shrieked.
“To me.” I held out a badge.
“You’re a cop?” He looked closely at it.
“Will I get into trouble?”
“It depends on what you’re going to do with it.” I raised my brow, hoping he would tell me.
“OK.” He shoved the briefcase my way. “Just take me in and let me call my lawyer.”
“Great. Now all I need is some ground.” I muttered and then glanced at him. “Behave and I won’t cuff you.”
“OK.” He sunk in his chair and I whispered him his rights in a conversational manner. When the plane landed, I took him to the station to see what we would do about him. I filed my report, knowing full well that the guys would make fun of me tomorrow. The plan was to hold Mr. Oak for possession until we could get the wrinkles out of his situation, but then his lawyer got him out on bail. More paperwork; finally, I got to go home to my family.

“Daddy!” I heard as soon as I walked in the door.
“Hey, squirt!” I scooped up the little tornado that was my five year old son, and gave him a hug. “Where’s my wife?” I growled at him.
“Mommy?” He blinked, “I tied her to the washing machine again.” He said, deadpan.
“Great.” I put him down and ruffled his hair. I walked into the laundry room off the kitchen and stopped. I grinned, “Hello?”
“Marty, your son is a holy terror!” She said around a mouthful of rope.
“Doing laundry?” I leaned against the doorway and crossed my arms.
“You know I’m not.” She frowned as well as she could.
I shook my head and bent to untie her. I took the rope out of her mouth.
“You should really teach him to respect me, Martin.” She complained.
“You shouldn’t play cowboys and Indians with him so willingly.” I admonished. “Especially since this has happened before.”
“We were bonding!” She huffed.
“You bonded to something,” I agreed.
“Marty, please, let’s just forget it.” She gazed into my eyes, “I missed you.”
“I missed you.” I grinned and gave her a kiss.
“How was your flight?” She asked as she massaged her wrists.
I rolled my eyes. “Guess.” I ran my fingers through my dark brown hair and then put my arm around my wife of six years.
“You got hijacked by terrorists?”
I shook my head.
I sighed, “No, a perp with a suitcase full of heroin.”
“Oh, that explains the long face.” She reached up and squeezed my chin.
I grabbed her around the waist. “You know it was because I had to fly.” I growled.
Just then the phone rang. She smiled at me and then walked over to answer it.
“Hello, this is Destiny,” she turned toward me as I walked into the kitchen.
“No, you didn’t,” she laughed. “I know.”
I frowned.
She covered the mouthpiece and said, “They thought they dialed a nine hundred number on accident.”
I smiled wryly. Destiny Holiday has the sweetest voice on earth. When I first called her and she answered the phone like that, my heart melted. I walked over to the fridge and got out some milk.
I studied Destiny as I drank a glass. She was short compared to my 6’ 3”. Standing at 5’ 4” in heels, she could give a guy a crick in the neck. She has long, curly, light brown hair and big green eyes. She’s average weight, not according to her, of course, but I think she’s just fine. Our son, Andy, looks just like her. Certainly not like me. I have blue eyes and brown hair, but my nose has been broken so many times that I am lucky I still have one. My face looks like a well-traveled road map. Destiny calls that ruggedly handsome.
“Sure, just a sec.” Destiny gestured with the phone.
I grabbed it from her hand. “Hello?”
“Detective Holiday? This is Walter Oak.”
“Oh, hello.” I frowned, wondering how he got my number.
“I got your number from the station. I forgot to tell you about the guy …” he was cut off by a noise in the background. I strained to hear what was going on.
“Walter?” I asked. Then the connection was broken. I frowned down at the phone.
“Who was that?” Destiny was doing the dishes at the sink.
“A guy I met on the plane.” I hung up the receiver and immediately picked it up again. I dialed the station and asked them to run by Oak’s house. When I was finished, I turned to dry the dishes that Destiny had washed. It’s always important to help out your wife, in my opinion.
“What are you doing?” She grabbed the plate out of my hand.
“Helping,” I shrugged.
“The last time you helped we had to buy new dishes. Besides, you leave streaks,” she grinned and slapped my hand.
“You try to do a good thing …” I said to the air and turned to leave.
“Go tie up your son to the dryer. It’s his turn to fold.”
“OK.” I left the kitchen and ran upstairs to Andy’s room. I found him torturing our puppy, Fuzzball.
“Your mother is not going to be happy if you keep that up.” I smiled and squatted in front of them.
“But, Dad, Fuzz’d make a good girl to play Godzilla.” He continued to tie a scarf of his mother’s around Fuzzball’s neck.
“Andy, Chows don’t make good damsels in distress. Why don’t you use your mother?” I gently took Fuzz out of the death grip Andy had on him.
“Mom said she’d never play with me again if I left her to go get Chief Indian Warneck to scalp her,” he said with wide eyes, “but I had to! Once you capture a white man, you have to report it to the chief!” He complained.
“Well, Mom gets a little touchy with people in authority. She doesn’t like to listen to anyone. That’s how I met her, you know.” I smiled and ruffled my kid’s hair.
“How, Dad?” He asked and climbed up in my lap on the floor.
“I was a rookie cop working the beat and she was a punk kid. I was a kid, too, but as least I was one of Chicago’s finest. So, anyway, she was jaywalking in a very tight area …”
“What’s jaywalking, Dad?” Andy interrupted.
“It’s walking across the street, but not at a light or a cross walk. At the place where she did it, it was very dangerous and illegal.”
“Mom broke the law?” He squealed.
“Technically, yes,” I paused, “but it wasn’t that serious. Had she been hurt or caused an accident, well, that would have been another story.”
“So, mom got a ticket?” Andy asked, enthused.
“No, I was lenient with her ‘cause she was pretty. I just gave her a warning and my phone number.” I grinned, elbowing him.
“Oh, funny Dad.” He nodded.
“Boys,” Destiny called, “It’s time for dinner!”
“Coming!” We both yelled.
“Let’s wash up, buddy.” I pulled him into the bathroom and lifted him so he could turn on the faucet.

“Mmm … great, honey,” I mumbled around a mouthful of mashed potatoes.
“Mom, I heard you were an in-law!” Andy mumbled around his mouthful of mashed potatoes.
“Yes, I am, Andy. Please don’t talk with your mouth full.” She looked at me pointedly.
“Dad says you got lucky and didn’t cause an accident.” He gulped down some milk.
“I suppose … “she raised a brow at me. “Just what story have you been telling him now?”
“It’s outlaw, Andy, not in-law. That is a completely different kind of criminal.”
“Oh,” he burped. “Can I have some more meat?”
“What do you say, young man?” Destiny chided.
Please can I have more meat?” He looked at her expectantly.
“Before that,” she hid a smile.
He sat there for a minute, confusion all over his face. “Mom, please can I have more meat?”
“No, that’s not what I meant.” She laughed lightly.
He scowled, “Aw forget it! I’ll just have more green beans.”
“Son, I believe you burped somewhere in all that.” I informed him.
“Did I? I can’t even remember. ‘Scuse me,” he shrugged.
“Have some more meat and green beans,” Destiny passed them to him.
“Thanks,” he helped himself generously.
When the phone rang, I jumped to answer it. “Hello?”
“Marty … Ed. I ran a check on Oak. The guy is dead, Marty.”
“What? I just spoke with him. He’s the guy with the briefcase.” I argued.
“No, Mart, I mean now he’s dead. We ran over to his house to check on him after your call. We found him strangled with the phone cord. He must have died while on the phone with you.” Ed grunted.
“Any clues? What’s up – come on, Ed, give me details.”
“His house was broken into. No fingerprints.”
“What about his family?” I asked, horrified at the thought of what could have happened to them.
“There was nobody there. He was a loner.” Ed informed me.
“What? He told me he had a family at home.” I frowned.
“No sign of any wife or kids. He must have lied to you.”
“Well, thanks, Ed. Who’s on the case?”
“Sarge says you are. Good luck.” Ed hung up.
“Wait …” I groaned
“What’s up, Marty?” I looked down to find Destiny staring up in concern with those big green eyes. I glanced around for Andy.
“He’s in the laundry room.” She put her arms around my waist.
I closed my eyes. Sometimes it seems she can read my mind.
“Walter Oak is dead. He was killed while on the phone with me.” I shook my head.
“Oh my gosh,” she exclaimed.
I shrugged, “I’m in charge of the investigation, though — probably because I brought in the case.” I leaned against Destiny and groaned. “Why do I always have to be concerned for a stranger’s welfare?”
“You wouldn’t be Marty if you weren’t.” She kissed my chin and patted my backside with affection.

Copyright 2007 By D.M. Wright


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