Beginnings (4): The Dog Who Knew Too Much
Was I proud of Bernie or what?
True, he’d been pretty nervous going into this gig. I can always tell when Bernie’s nervous – which hardly ever happens, and never when we’re in action – because his smell sharpens a bit, although it’s still the best human smell there is, apples, bourbon, salt and pepper; but now, up on the stage, he was doing great.
“Which, um,” he was saying, “reminds me of a joke. “Sort of. Maybe not a joke,” he went on, turning a page, “more like a – “ and at that moment the whole wad of papers somehow jumped out of his hands, all the pages gliding down in different directions. He bent and started gathering them up. That gave me a chance, sitting a few rows back, to recoy or recon – or something like that – the joint, always important in our line of work, as Bernie often said.
We were in a conference room at a hotel near the airport, and everyone in the audience – maybe not quite as big as it had been at the beginning, when Bernie had tapped the microphone, a painful sound for me, pounding like drums right next to my ears, although no one else seemed to mind, cleared his throat and said, “Can, uh, you hear me all right?” a terrific start, in my opinion – was a private eye, on account of this was the Great Western Private Eye Convention. We’re partners in the Little Detective Agency, me and Bernie, Bernie’s last name being Little. I’m Chet, pure and simple, and we’d been in business for almost as long as I could remember, although we’d never been to a convention before. “Not our thing,” Bernie said, so that was that, until Georgie Malhouf, president of the Great Western Private Eye Association, offered Bernie five hundred bucks to give a speech.
“A speech?” Bernie had said.
“Twenty minutes, tops,” Georgie Malhouf told him. “Plus questions.”
“I’ve never given a speech in my life.”
“So what?” said Georgie Malhouf. “There was also a time in your life when you hadn’t had sex. Did that stop you?”
Welcome Missy the island girl, Ty and Mak.
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