Friday, 9 March 2007

Chapter 43

Back in his office, Harry hung up his hat and coat, digging the medals from his pocket as he did so, and took up position in front of his computer. Danny pulled a seat up beside him.

“Hey, Harry – what was all that about, back there?” Danny asked.

“Let’s just say our Mr McAllistair knows more about these medals than he’s saying,” Harry replied. He pulled open the drawer where he’d put the box the medals had been in, and fished it out.

“I don’t get it. Why would he hold anything back? He’s obviously interested in them. What does he know that he didn’t tell us?”

Harry was beginning to wonder whether Danny was as smart as he’d thought. Still, it was a good feeling, having an apprentice. Maybe, when all this was over, Danny would sit back and appreciate just how lucky he was to be apprenticed to Harry McFry.

“What’s this, Danny?” he said, holding the cardboard box in his hand, and looking at it.

“It’s the box, Harry. The box the medals were in. Lillian McFry gave it to me. So what?”

“So how come Colin McAllistair knew about it?” Harry asked, reaching into his shirt pocket for his cigarettes. He saw Danny grimace as he pulled one out, tap it against the desk, and light it.

“Say, Mr Longhurst – have you got a problem with my smoking?”

Danny didn’t know what to say. Yes! He did have a problem, actually. He hated cigarettes. His mother and father had smoked when he was younger – but they didn’t now. They’d had the sense to stop. It seemed like Harry didn’t have that same sense.

“No … I mean … it’s not very pleasant. Not for your clients, Harry … coming in here. Do you think Laurel didn’t notice?”

Harry took a deep drag on the cigarette. “I’m not the only genealogical private eye in the country, Danny,” he said. “If my clients don’t like it, they know what they can do.”

Well, it was a view, Danny thought.

“There are worse things in life than tobacco,” Harry said. “Like duplicity. Now that’s something you wouldn’t want to get addicted to.”

Danny considered the comment. Harry was right, of course. “So you’re saying Colin McAllistair wasn’t telling us the truth?”

“Oh, he told us the truth, alright. In fact, he showed more of his cards than he realized.” Harry looked at Danny, but saw he’d lost the train of discussion he’d started earlier, side-tracked by his smoking a cigarette.

“Think, Danny – think! How come McAllistair knew about this box?”

Suddenly, Danny saw what Harry was getting at. “OK – I see what you mean. But what was all that about a certificate?”

Harry lifted open the lid of the cardboard box in front of them.

“I think we’ll find something here that Mr McAllistair wants even more than the medals, Danny,” and as he said it, he pushed aside the tissue paper in the box, revealing a folded piece of dog-eared paper.

“What’s that, Harry?” Danny asked.

“I’m not entirely sure, Danny. But I don’t think it’s a certificate.”

As he unfolded it, Harry realized that, within a day or two, he might be meeting up with Ana for the first time in longer than he sometimes cared to think.

No comments: