(Welcome.  We’ve been waiting for you.  If this is your first visit, so glad you could drop by.  You’ve entered a crime novel that is in progress, being written for your entertainment.  Please click back to the July 16 posting, They Had the Right to Remain Silent (1), where it all begins [Archives section, to the left].  Each post is sequentially numbered, so whatever time you have to spare, you can always pick up where you left off.  If you’ve been here right along, thank you for following, and shall we continue?  And please, let me know what you think so far.)
They Had the Right to Remain Silent
Richard S. Jachimecki
Chapter ( xiii )
     RICKY WAS BEHIND THE COUNTER, going over his Physiology notes for the next morning’s quiz. He looked up and around the gym, and saw the dozen members still exercising, then checked the clock behind him on the wall. It was 11:10 pm.
     He went around the counter, through the turnstile and to the front door. He was turning the lock’s knob, when through the window he saw Nora running up the sidewalk from the corner, waving at Ricky to get his attention. He pushed the door open for her.
     “I’m not too late, am I,” she said, “ I just want to go on the treadmill for a while.”
     “No problem,” Ricky said, then noticed Nora carried a bag much larger than her usual grip, “That’s new, isn’t it?”
     “Yeah,” she said, “I need it to bring stuff home from work. The other bag just didn’t cut it.”
     Nora got out her ID card and went through the turnstile; she noticed that that was no longer a problem on her hips. She stored her bag in the locker at the far corner of the dressing area and went straight to the gym and a treadmill.
     She calibrated all the resistance levels, then set the stopwatch for thirty minutes, and began her easy jog, as the tread- belt skimmed over the platform beneath her.
     Ricky came along, with a manual carpet sweeper.
     “Thanks for letting me in,” she said, “I wasn’t sure I’d made it on time.”
     “No big deal,” he said, pushing the sweeper back and forth around her treadmill, “you’re not going to work out that long.”
     He pulled out a rag which was hanging from his back pocket and began to wipe down the machine next to Nora’s.
     “We had a problem for a while,” he said.
     “How so?”
     “Some guys would come in just before closing time, and we’d have to stay open later,” he said, “or they would stay in the steam or whirlpool until midnight, and then take a shower.”
     “So that’s why you shut them down early?”
     “Exactly,” he said, “and we lock the front door to remind people there isn’t much time left.”
     He picked up a spray bottle of disinfectant, from a stand located near the machines.
     “That pretty much cleared the issue up,” he said, “but we still get a couple of guys every once in a while, who stay late just to be jerks. Thurman usually has a little chat with them the next day, if you know what I mean.”
     “I believe I do. Well, I won’t wear out my welcome,” she said, as she increased the speed slightly, “I’ll even save you some time tonight and just go out the back when I’m done.”
     “You can’t,” he replied, “the alarm.”
     “But Thurman told me,” she said, “you don’t turn the alarm on until staff leaves.”
     Ricky sprayed disinfectant on the display of the elliptical machine that sat in the row just past Nora’s line.
     “Only the front door,” he said, wiping the display dry, then spraying a handrail, “the back door alarm is never turned off.”
     “Glad you told me that,” she said, “I wouldn’t want to cause a ruckus with the police.”
     “Oh, they come around a lot on their own” he said, “with their searchlights, after we close.”
     Nora’s run was nearly completed. Ricky had finished his routine through the aisles of machines, and was working his way back toward the front desk.
     “Ricky,” she said, “I see you and Sparky touch- up cleaning here and there all the time.”
     “Yeah, just trying to keep the place looking good.”
     “Do you ever, you know,” she asked, “get a chance to do a thorough ‘spic and span’ on the place?”
     “Sunday nights,” he said, then “actually Monday mornings, at one o’clock. An outside cleaning crew comes in and has it all set for opening, at five.”
     “Does Thurman have to wait, to let them in?” she asked.
     “Nah,” he said, “they’ve got their own key and know the alarm code. They’re bonded, insured, and all.”
     “I would think, they’d never consider…well,” Nora said, as the machine’s stopwatch registered all zeros, and started to chime, “I don’t think they’d want to tangle with Thurman personally.” She turned off the display.
     “You got that right, Ricky confirmed, “he could kick some serious ass.”
     “Thanks, Ricky,” she said, getting down from the platform, “gotta run. See you tomorrow.”
     “We’ll be here,” Ricky said, and finished sweeping the carpet.
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