I opted to walk the four blocks from my apartment to the New York City office of Tracer International. It was my last day. By this time tomorrow, I’d be heading to Omaha, NE. A free house was an offer I couldn’t refuse. And, Omaha would be a welcome change of pace.
“Dez.” Sam Walters greeted me as I stepped out of the elevator on the 20th floor.
“Sam.” I kept walking. He tagged along. The office was like every other place I’d worked. The elevator door opened and the reception desk was all you saw. To the right, a door led to the back offices and cubicles for entry-and mid-level investigators. That was me. I waved my ID in front of the sensor. There was a click, and the lock released.
“You’ve got one more assignment. Becker dropped it on your desk an hour ago.”
I checked my watch. It was 7:30 a.m.
“He said I should go along with you.”
I stopped at my desk. A file rested in the center. I’d cleaned everything else out last night, not that it amounted to much after two years. It all fit in a shoebox. I opened the file.
“It’s a stolen-property case. The client doesn’t want the police involved. I’m not sure why.” Sam plopped down in a chair next to my desk. He was an entry-level investigator.
“Sasha Alexander? Why do I know that name?” I asked more to myself than to Sam, but he spoke up anyway.
“Socialite. She owns a gallery in SOHO.” He twirled a pencil between his fingers.
“Wait a minute! Not that gallery?”
“One and the same.” He grinned.
“Christ.” I dropped the file. “Let’s go.”
We grabbed a taxi. Screw the trains. It was my last day. Company-paid expenses are a privilege I’d be without in about 24 hours.
Alexander’s gallery fit in perfectly with all the others in SOHO until you walked through the doors. I paused on the street in front and took a deep breath.
“Let’s go!” Sam, always the eager one, reached for the handle. People pushed past me on the sidewalk. I followed Sam through large, ornately-carved wood doors into a small alcove. Heavy, plush, red drapes hung from the ceiling, blocking our view.
Sam pulled one of the drapes aside, allowing me to enter the gallery.
“Oy,” I mumbled, and took it all in at once. Some things can’t be unseen.
“Wow” was all Sam could manage to say.
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