Archive for July, 2012

(We’re beginning the eleventh chapter today.  Those visiting for the first time, please click back to They Had the Right to Remain Silent (1), to pick up our story from the beginning.  A new character enters the mix…if you’re already up and current on our tale, let us proceed.)
They Had the Right to Remain Silent
Richard S. Jachimecki
Chapter ( xi )
     OWEN BRADFORD LET HIS HIGH BACK, leather desk chair swivel as he took in the view through the windows of his office, fifty- five flights up. Sparkling reflections from nearby towers, the stream of traffic, the rush of crowded sidewalks at lunchtime. His personal metropolitan ant farm was silent, all noise repelled by the windows of his chamber. He sat, as weeks of work culminated to this, the phone’s speaker droning out rings of his just- placed call.
     “Randall Caldwell,” projected into the room.
     He sprung from the chair, “Randall, how are you? Owen Bradford, CC & Associates.” he said; his voice matched the vitality of his body, which was framed in an athletic- cut double- breasted Versace.
     “Very well, Owen, thanks. Yourself?” Caldwell replied.
     “Good as gold,” Owen stated.
     “And your wife, Elaine?” Caldwell asked.
     “She’s fine, thank you for remembering. Randall, I believe a deal is at hand.” Owen said, still a lilt in his voice.
     “Well,” hummed Caldwell, “I’m all ears.”
     Owen stood behind the chair, grabbed each side of the back and squeezed the leather, while he took in a slow, deep breath.
     “My clients,” he said, “are ready to tender the offer of 96 million for the Grant Building, well within the range of your parties’ expectations.”
     Owen stood motionless, his every fiber tensed. He could hear the creak of Caldwell’s chair on the other end of the line. He sensed his own breathing, stifled. The urge to speak prodded him like a gremlin shoving him from behind. The first one to talk loses, he thought. He checked the pinhole green light on the phone, the call was still connected. The click of the second hand on his desk clock was now hammer to anvil. He felt a cloud of tension starting to fill the office, blur his thoughts.
     Caldwell cleared his throat. “Well,” he began.
     Owen felt his own blood pressure drop twenty points. Caldwell’s chair creaked loudly.
     “That is a tempting offer, but…” The speaker went dead again. As he cleared his throat once more, Caldwell continued, “You know my clients will counter that. It’s not the original asking price.”
     Owen was on solid negotiating ground again. He’d run this script in his head all morning.
     “Very true, Randall,” the spark still in his voice, “and we know none of the other bidders are within 20 million of that number. My clients are aware of the costs they will incur to bring the building up to snuff,” Owen paused, “and you are too, my friend.”
     Owen could hear a long breath coming through the speaker.
     “Yes.” Caldwell answered. “Still, even with the slight shortcomings, it is a prime piece, in a showcase location.”
     “And it will cost to bring it to showcase level,” Owen was quick to strike, then countered, “which my clients are committed to funding.”
     Changing gears, Owen continued, “It will be in your best interest to convince your parties there is a true offer on the table, the best they will see. My people have been looking at three properties, all with relatively the same potential. Yours is on top for now. But, you know some of the players involved, how they operate. They won’t sit on this forever.”
     Owen appealed to the stature of the man on the other side of the line within the business community, and he chimed in for the lock, “You’ve got a chance to cut a very attractive deal for your clients. You’ve a chance for the Holy Grail on this one, Randall.”
     Owen sat down and let the proposal sink in. He envisioned Caldwell, the older gentleman, stroking his chin, just as Owen had seen him do at many face- to- face negotiations. Owen recognized pages being turned and then thought he heard humming of an old show tune coming through the speaker.
     “No promises, of course,” came Caldwell’s reply, “you should be hearing from me within twenty- four hours. My best to Elaine, enjoy the rest of your day, Owen.”
     “I look forward to good news,” Owen closed.
     The phone’s speck of green LED faded black. Owen stood and stretched. “No promises” from Randall Caldwell was as good as being in the bag. Here he was, Owen Bradford, rising in the firm with a bullet and not taking prisoners. His body tingled.
     “Yes!” he hissed, throwing a right uppercut to an imaginary opponent.
     “Time for the touchdown dance.” He pulled a card from his billfold, and gazed at the logo, C C & Associates. “Before you know it, C C & B,” he mused. Owen flipped the card over, gave the phone number on the back a glance, then placed it in his desk top drawer. His thumb raced across the keys of his cell.
     “Hello there,” he said, his voice low and smooth. I just closed the deal I was telling you about–well, it’s as good as done–I need to unwind, can you get away for a drink?”
(If this is your first visit to the site, please click back to They Had the Right to Remain Silent (1), where this story takes off.  Speaking of taking off, I missed a post yesterday, resting on my…drawing board.  The picture of our protagonists should be wrapping up very soon, and I’ll be literally back to the aforementioned board after this post.  If you’re up to speed with the tale, shall we continue?)
They Had the Right to Remain Silent
Richard S. Jachimecki
Chapter ( x )
     DETECTIVE MASON BECKER DRUMMED HIS FINGERS on the steering wheel watching his partner, Terrance Marshall, come out of the diner with two coffees. The cups practically disappeared in his hands.
     “Careful,” Terrance warned, “real hot.”
     “Thanks T,” Becker groaned, “I need this.”
     Terrance awkwardly adjusted his six- nine, 285- pound frame into the bucket seat.
     “Mase, we can’t use your car today,” Terrance reminded. “A sapphire blue GT 500, with white stripes running from front- to- back on top, just doesn’t work for stakeouts. We gotta blend,” he said, raising his eyebrows on the last word.
     “I know,” Becker answered, “but you have to love her in a chase.”
     Becker looked over at his partner’s deadpan stare, the joke lost. “OK,” Becker sighed, “we’ll sign out a plain- wrapper.”
     Traffic was steady on the way to the 17th Precinct station house, mid- Manhattan. Terrance pulled the quarter- folded newspaper from his coat side pocket along with his pen, and started mumbling letters. “h- e- r- t- i- f- g.”
     “What?” asked Becker, leaning over toward the passenger side.
     “The Jumble, Mase,” Terrance replied, not looking up. “Didn’t get to finish it this morning. Somebody showed up early in a big hurry to get going.” He murmured, “f i g h…FIGHTER…OK, one more.”
     “Let me see,” Becker interrupted.
     “Keep your eyes on the road,” Terrance warned.
     Becker shifted his glance occasionally.
     “It’s LONGSHOREMAN,” he whispered.
     Terrance looked up.
     “Part of the fun of the game is to actually do it yourself, Mase,” he said, low and slow. “Besides,” came his retort, “that isn’t the right…oh, wait, yeah that’s it…OK, I’m done,” Terrance said,, and tossed the paper to the floor as they pulled into the precinct garage.
     “Don’t forget that when you get out,” Becker said.
     “Don’t worry,” chuckled Terrance, “I’ve got to figure out the phrase at the end. You won’t have to detail your baby tonight.”


(First time here?  Great, we’ve left a chair for you by the fire.  Please click to They Had the Right to Remain Silent (1), where the story begins, and builds with each successive posting.  For those who’ve been following along, let’s get right to it)
They Had the Right to Remain Silent
Richard Jachimecki
Chapter ( ix )
     NORA HAD SETTLED INTO THE ROUTINE of coming into the gym during later hours of the evening. She didn’t have to wait for an available piece of equipment, as was the case at the peak, end- of- the- business- day sessions, when UCon resembled the trading floors of Wall Street; members scurried about, jumped from one machine to the next, some to the point of rudeness – Nora wondered if these might just be the same people who cut her off during rush hour traffic.
     There were about twenty members scattered throughout the expansive gym – no lines, no waiting. Nora also liked that the staff members were more accessible for help and advice.
     She had spent an hour on the treadmill, and now was ‘feeling the burn’ as Sparky called it, from a rowing machine. There were two types, all lined in a row: air resistance and water driven. Nora sat on a water model. She would start with her knees bent and touching her chest, her feet strapped onto the foot- board, her body all crouched together, and held the machine’s handle in front of her with both hands. She pulled the handle and leaned backward, pressed her soles against the foot- board, extended her legs fully. A rope, which was connected to the handle, ran through a series of pulleys and caused a vertical axle, at the front of the apparatus, to spin. The lower three- quarters of the axle was sealed, and passed through the center of a squatting, clear polystyrene cylinder that was three- feet in diameter horizontally. Paddles were welded to the shaft, perpendicular to its axis, and were immersed in the water that filled the container, like a propeller.
     As Nora performed each rowing cycle, the paddle would gyrate against the water, causing erg- resistance. She was in full stride when Thurman approached her.
     “You haven’t missed a day in all these weeks since you joined, have you?” he said.
     “Don’t intend to,” she puffed, and continued to exercise. She looked up, toward him.
     “Maybe Christmas,” she said.
     “That’s the only day we close,” he said.
    “The only full day, that is,” he said, “we’re open Thanksgiving morning,” he chuckled, “people get in a workout – don’t feel so bad stuffing themselves all afternoon, watching football.”
      “I,” she panted, “remember.”
     “Everything going OK for you here?”
     “I’ve…lost several pounds already…and…I’m feeling stronger.”
     “Great,” he said, “you like this machine don’t you? I see you on it a lot.”
     The water churned against the sides of the plastic tub.
     “If I…could add soap, I’d…get my laundry done,” she smiled at him, then puffed a drop of sweat off her nose.
     “So what do you do,” he said, “for a living?”
     “I work for an ad agency,” she said, giving an extra effort, the water foaming.
     “No kidding,” he said, “TV?”
     “Print…photography…models, mainly.”
     “You’re a photographer?”
     “No…I clean things up,” she wheezed.
     “I’m not sure I follow.”
     “I do some corrections with a…computer.”
     “Like Photoshop?”
     “Kinda…but mostly with the printed paper photos themselves,” she said, slowing her pace a little to speak, “I do a lot of airbrush work.”
     “To hide things?” he asked.
     “Or improve them,” she said, “I give the guys stomachs with perfect six- packs.” She pulled a little faster, “and the girls great…boobs,” she said, “I’m the one who saves the day…when somebody shows up at the shoot…with a zit on their nose.”
     Thurman laughed.
     “Oh, it’s serious,” she said, “something like that could cost thousands…if they had to postpone a session…I’m Ms. Fix- It.”
     Nora paused, caught her breath, then started again. The water whirled.
     “I wish I could just airbrush my whole body like that,” she joked.
     “Just keep at it,” he said, “you’ll see.”
     “So, how did you get involved,” she asked, “in the fitness business?”
     Thurman sat on the pad of the machine next to hers, “I started weightlifting in high school,” he said, “for football.”
     “Oh,” she said, “what did you do?”
     “I played running back.”
     “Was the team…good?” she said, her breath got heavier.
     “We were State Champs, my senior year,” he said, “undefeated.”
     “Wow!” she said, “you must have been pretty good yourself.”
     “Got a free ride,” he said.
     “I don’t know… what…?”
     “Sorry,” he said, “a full athletic scholarship. Penn State.”
     “Awesome,” she said, “how did that work out?”
     “It was good,” he said, “but I knew I’d never go pro.”
     Thurman looked at his watch, “later than I thought,” he said, then turned toward the front desk, “Ricky, lock the front will ya?”
     “You got it,” Ricky yelled back.
     “Are you closing?” she asked.
     “No,” he said, “we always lock the front door when there’s only an hour left.”
     “Won’t people set off the alarm when they leave?” she asked.
     “We don’t set that,” he said, “until the staff is out the door.”
     “When you say staff,” she said, “you mean YOU.
     “Yeah,” he smiled, “pretty much.”
      Nora had found a comfortable speed to keep rowing.
     “So, you weren’t going pro,” she said.
     “Right,” he continued, “I took Phys Ed and Business Administration as a double- major,” he shrugged, “it was a good fit.”
     “You must’ve been pretty popular,” she said, “your senior year in high school.”
     “A bit,” he said, “with a lot of kids trying to hang around us.”
     “Still,” she countered, “all the notoriety. That must’ve been great.”
     “It’s never perfect,” he said, “somebody always tries to show you up.”
     Thurman’s smile disappeared. His stony face conveyed his recall of a contemptible image from his memory. Nora stopped rowing. Thurman stared, his eyelids lowered slightly, as if finding that moment on his mind’s horizon, floating frozen before him, over a decade in the distant past.
     “That pep rally,” he said, “that little shit.”
     “Huh?” she said.
     “I haven’t thought about it for years…”
     Thurman never stirred, only his eyes shifted toward hers. She looked into clear ice.
     “The school put on a rally,” he said, “to celebrate our success.”
     “The whole student body was in the auditorium, everything going great,” his brow furrowed, “and then this little Milquetoast,” he spat, “comes out on the stage, behind us, dancing around.”
     “To steal our thunder!” he said, “ he just flitted around, got everybody laughing, like some kinda sissy clown.”
     “Sorry I brought it up,” Nora said, “I never meant for you to get upset.”
     She watched as his eyes opened, his face softened; the moment had passed. Nora noticed the music’s volume had been turned down. She looked around and realized she was the only member left in the gym.
     “It’s OK, all ‘water under the bridge’,” Thurman smirked, “let’s just say he was persuaded to never pull a stunt like that again. He’s probably still…”
     “Well,” Nora said, “I’ll get outta here so you guys can go home.”
     “All right, Nora,” Thurman said, and stood up from the machine, “you be safe, and we’ll see you tomorrow.”
     She hurried to the empty locker room and was sick in one of the toilet stalls, while Thurman joined Ricky at the front counter.
     “What was that?” Ricky asked.
     “Just talking with a member, is all,” he said.
     “I think,” Ricky whispered, “somebody’s got a little crush on the Boss of UCon.”


(Hey there.  Is this your first time here?  Grab a cup of your favorite beverage {adult, if that’s your preference}, and click onto They Had the Right to Remain Silent (1), where our story begins {it’s the July 16th post on the calendar, or click the lowest numbered post and scroll back, or click archives}.  For those returning, I really appreciate your visits and aim to keep entertaining.  Every day.  We continue the saga below)
They Had the Right to Remain Silent
Richard S. Jachimecki
Chapter ( viii )
     “THAT WAS QUITE THE ANIMATED CONVERSATION you were having,” Belle Pennington remarked, “I could hear you from the sun room. Who was that?”
     “New York. Guattiano’s,” her husband muttered, pouring a Glenfiddich 18 over ice.
     “Oh yes, your little statues,” she smiled, “how’s that going?”
     “Still a work in progress,” he said, as he stirred the ice with his index finger. The Little Emperor with blue collar roots.
     “Not to your liking, I gather?” she asked; she knew his code for projects with obstacles that weren’t resolved as quickly as he liked.
     “Belle, it was easier to get an audience with the President, for Christ’s sake.”
     He sat down on the sofa, leaned back and jiggled his drink; the ice made dull clinks against the crystal in his hand. She moved behind him, squeezed his shoulders, bent down further and whispered in his ear.
     “Well, you two were drinking buddies, long before he spent eight years in Washington.”
     Pennington chuckled and leaned his head against hers. They settled into a familiar warm place with each other. A couple, yet one, joined forever it seemed. They had faced the lean beginnings, Lee started out as a young oil maverick, one of the last in a dying breed. Passing years brought trials, success, security, and finally affluence. Their roles in each other’s lives hadn’t changed, just weathered with time. He was still the spitfire, ready to whisk her on adventures. She was his rudder, and kept the course.
     She extended her right arm and patted his ‘little Buddha belly’.
     “When you want something, you hang on like a bull- terrier until it’s yours,” she said.
     “That’s how we ended up together, darlin’,” he reminded, and gently covered her hand with his.
     “Excuse me,” the maid said, as she entered the living room, “the attorneys are here, sir.”
     “Thank you, Betty,” he answered, “I’ll meet them in the kitchen.”
     The moment had passed, what they felt always lingered. Pennington rose and turned to his wife.
     “That new field I’ve been negotiating,” he said, “time to sign the papers.”
     “Was that another work in progress?” Belle asked.
     “Yep, but they came around to my way of thinking. It’s a done deal now,” he said, clapping his hands, “got a feeling it’s gonna be a real producer.”
     “The attorneys. In the kitchen?” she asked, eyebrows raised.
     “I’m hungry,” he replied, leaving the room with a skip in his step. It was a gait she knew all too well.
     Just like a bull- terrier, she thought.
(Hello, welcome to the reading parlor.  If it’s your first time at this blog, thanks for dropping in with us.  Ready for a summer read, which can fit into any schedule of surfing the web?  You’ve struck gold.  To get to the beginning of the tale, click back to They Had the Right to Remain Silent (1), which is located on the menu to the left, in the archives, or July 16th on the calendar at the bottom.  If you have to leave before you’re current, each post is sequentially numbered for the next time you return.  My commitment is to entertain you every day of the week with another bit of the story.  Those of you up to date, good to have you back.  I’ll ice up a pitcher of lemonade.  Shall we proceed?)
They Had the right to Remain Silent
Richard Jachimecki
Chapter ( vii )
     THE CHARCOAL PINSTRIPE SUIT COAT was removed and draped on a wooden hanger in his office closet. He gently tugged on a braided chain, and withdrew the silver Usher and Cole timepiece from his vest pocket. This day has passed quickly, he thought, seeing the hour.
     He moved behind the brass and glass desk, which was fashioned in the style of the boutique’s showroom cases. On it a laptop, lamp, and phone sat like isolated islands. The desk’s transparency gave the illusion that the articles floated above the floor. He leaned forward and flipped open the computer, then adjusted his glasses to focus on the screen. He entered the password then navigated to his shipper’s website, then highlighted the TRACKING tab. He crossed the room to the credenza, opened the cabinet door on the right side, and removed the folder simply marked ‘Arrivals’. From this was extracted a sheet listing dates, vendors, and UPC numbers of pending deliveries.
     He sat down at the desk and began to enter the first code, when the phone’s tinkling chime began. The Number One Line was already in use on the showroom floor, this call transferred to the office on Line Two.
     “Gauttiano’s. How may I assist you?”
     “Henri, Lee Pennington here,” came the familiar drawl.
     “Ah, bonjour! You are well?”
     “Good, good. Henri, I want to get right to the point. I’ve got a hell of a proposal for Mr. Tiernay and his artwork.”
     “Sir, as I explained the last time you called…”
     “Now just hear me out,” Pennington interrupted, “I had me a little soirée recently and some of my business acquaintances were admiring the pieces. Long- story- short buddy, I have six people who want something done for them. Six commissioned works, not to mention my own!”
     Henri knew he was walking a very fine line; he wanted to please, welcomed new business in this current market, and yet still guarded the artist’s imposed parameters.
     “That is very impressive sir, no argument there,” Henri started, “however, Mr. Tiernay’s schedule doesn’t offer him the latitude to accept new work presently.”
     “What time frame we talking here?”
     “Conservatively, one year.”
     “Henri, I didn’t get where I am by sitting on my hands. I strike while the iron’s hot. We’re probably talking a quarter- to a half- million or more to your boy, not to mention the favors I’ll bank with these people. I like to bank favors. They come in very handy, if you get my drift. I told them I’d deliver.”
     “I truly appreciate your situation, sir. You’ve presented your position quite clearly. I can plead your case once more…”
     “I don’t beg Henri!” the Texan voice bristled.
     “A figure of speech on my part, Mr. Pennington,” Henri backpedaled, “I will present your desires, along with the additions which will, how you say, sweeten the pot. I will do my best to bring this to resolution.”
     “I’d consider it a personal favor not taken lightly,” Pennington said, softening.
     “Please realize I must try and persuade a change, from what was declared to me a concrete time line,” Henri reserved, “ but I will press the incentives you have shared with me.”
     “One way or the other, this will happen,” Pennington pushed, “I won’t forget your help.”
     “I appreciate your confidence,” Henri said, his mind already racing to conceive the best approach to sway Tiernay’s considerations.
     “I’ll call you soon,” Pennington concluded and hung up.
     Henri removed his glasses, dropped them on the keyboard, and rubbed his eyes. He questioned his métier, his true livelihood. Was he the liaison between artistic talent and lavish wealth? Or, was his gift the polished adroitness in stroking inflated egos?
     “Henri, mah’ friend,” he resigned, assuming the manner of speech more in tune with his Southern caller, “you are sometimes the referee in a pissin’ contest,” he said to the empty room.


(If this is the first time you’ve dropped in, you’ll want to click back to They Had the Right to Remain Silent (1), which is the launchpad of the novel you have entered.  Welcome, put a bag of popcorn in the microwave, find a comfy spot, and enjoy the build-up for two NYC Detectives, as they take the ride of their lives.  Sincerest Thank You’s out to those who have left ‘likes’ and are following.  I’m here to entertain for a few minutes out of your day, committed to making an entry every day of the week.  Please let me know what you think.
p.s. – in one of the first posts of this blog in early July, I mentioned I enjoyed drawing…my first rendering should be showing up by the end of the week, the weekend tops.  I see coffee-filled nights in my near future.)   Shall we?
They Had the Right to Remain Silent
Richard S. Jachimecki
Chapter ( vi ) continues…
     Trent dropped the phone and mail on the black granite kitchen countertop, took a knife from the drawer and got an orange out of the fridge, then sliced the fruit into quarters. He sat down on a stool, then separated an orange chunk’s meat from its rind in one bite, turned on the TV to check the weather’ and the traffic flow out of Manhattan toward the stadium.
     The gold lettering piqued his interest, and he picked up the envelope and knife from the countertop, then cut across the envelope’s seal. Juice and pulp from the knife seeped into the parchment.
     “Shit,” he moaned, and dabbed the drippings off with a sheet of paper towel he yanked off a roll that hung on the wall.
     He pulled out two cards and a smaller envelope from inside. On the top of the first card, a logo of the Colonial Mascot stood at attention, weapon at his side.
     Below this, Trent read:
You are Cordially Invited to a Reunion of Your Billings High School Class
A Year of Excellence
Saturday, October 14th, 8 PM
To be held in the Dulcinea Room
The Bradley Hotel, Avenue of the Americas, NYC
Banquet, Your Accommodations for the Night, and Sunday Brunch
RSVP, Enclosed Card, by September 10th
     “September 10th?” he said.
     He took out the scribbled note from his jacket pocket, What’d ya hold onto this for a month or two? he thought, no wonder you didn’t sign it! He opened the cabinet door under the sink, then tossed the note into the trash can, located on the cabinet’s base, below the sink garbage disposal.
     Trent pulled out his calendar for the New York Stallions season. It’s a Bye week, no Sunday game. Saturday will be an off- night from practice. Film session on Monday. I can make it. Sounds like a good time.
     He noticed there was no ‘donation’ amount on any of the correspondence.
     “Wonder who’s footing this bill?” he said out loud, as he saw that the stamped return envelope was addressed to a Manhattan P.O. Box.
     I’m sure they’ll accommodate, he reasoned, if mine doesn’t make it quite on time. He took a pen from the countertop, filled in the RSVP, then shoved it into the return envelope and sealed it.
     The phone started to ring on the countertop.
     Trent answered, “Yeah Adam, I’m on the way out. Your percentage is safe and secure…
     “No, I’m just breaking your stones…
     “I’ll see you in 45.”
     Trent dropped the response envelope into the Outgoing Mail box, that was located next to the security guard’s counter, as he headed out of the lobby.
(Welcome to the reading room!  If you’ve been here before, you know the drill.  If this is your first time, head on back to They Had the Right to Remain Silent (1), where the story begins.  Those who’ve missed a couple days, just go back to the number where you left off.  Sincere Thanks to all who are stopping by…please enjoy the tale, which continues below)
They Had the Right to Remain Silent
Richard S. Jachimecki
Chapter ( vi )
     TRENT BAYBERRY ENTERED HIS APARTMENT BUILDING, hair still damp from his shower at the gym, and he shivered, as his shoulder- length locks had cooled in the morning autumn air. Since walking out of that last meeting at Stallion headquarters, he had continued his exercise regimen for nearly a month and a half. He went to the gym in the morning and then again in the afternoon, as he replicated the two- a- days; the double workouts held each day during the team’s training camp. The team no longer followed this pattern, now that the season was well under way, but Trent knew this was his only resort, to stay in shape, as negotiations dragged on.
     Once reinstated on the team, all pressure would be on him to produce. He had every intention that soon, the sports journalists would be recounting a triumphant return, and would scribe Trent’s proficiencies, as he would put his money where his mouth was. There was no secret to the dispute.
     Day in and day out, updates appeared on the sports pages across the country. Fans made phone calls, to New York talk shows locally or ESPN Radio nationally, and ranted that ownership needed to loosen their purse strings, if the Stallions had any hopes to save the season. Trent had done nothing but compliment his team during interviews, saying he knew they would do what was right. He had his ‘Aw shucks’ persona down to an art form.
     He opened his mailbox just inside the foyer, and was pleasantly surprised as the contents were lesser in number for a change. He greeted the security guard in the lobby and rifled through the bills and junk mail, as he walked toward the elevator.
     He stopped his sorting at a square envelope, addressed in raised gold lettering. A hand-written note was attached with a paper clip: ‘Sorry, this was put in my box by mistake, and I forgot about it for a few days.’ There was no name on the note. He crumpled the clipped paper, then put it in the right jacket pocket of his running suit.
     As he exited the elevator on the sixth floor, his cellphone chirped from a small outside pocket of his bag. He checked the incoming screen.
     “Yes Adam…
     “Yeah, I just got home, I haven’t forgotten…
     “At the stadium in an hour and a half.” Trent bent down and unlocked his apartment door, using a key from the lanyard around his neck. He pressed the phone between his ear and shoulder.
     “You said this will take about four hours, right?…
     “It can’t take longer than that…
     “Because there’s a quarterback skull session tonight and they can’t have it without yours truly…
     “Yep, the ad agency delivered the uniform yesterday, everything fits. But Adam, I’m wearing my own cleats…
     “Because those shoes they sent over are stiff as a board…
     “Then we’ll have mine polished…
     “I’m not getting blisters for a deodorant I don’t use…
     “I’m not going to start…
     “Whatever. I’ll keep one in my medicine cabinet, OK?…
     “Anything new…
     “They’ll cave, just keep pressing for the number you and I talked about…
     “Come on, you’re watching the same games everybody else is, aren’t you? The offense was sputtering during preseason. For the opener they went belly- up in Cleveland, the next one they got embarrassed in Dallas, and the last game they squeaked a win, by one point. To a team that’ll be in the basement at the end of the year…
“Hell, Adam, the team won’t even vote for a permanent Captain until this is settled…
“Everything is still cordial, but they’re sweating now. These games count, and I’m not in them…
“I’m only showing up for the films and meetings, as long as they let me use the stadium for stuff like this. Did you talk with Gatorade?…
“Told ya. They see this thing coming to a close soon…
“Don’t get all pansy- ass on me now, Adam…
“Keep pushing, I’ll see you there.”