Contrasting Love

Yesterday I was miserable. Today i am full of energy. I am constantly baffled by my fickle moods and emotions, swayed this way and that by the weather, my food choices, a phone call or a heap of laundry. When things feel bad I feel powerless and trapped and when they feel good I feel unstoppable and inspired. Yet I do not wish for all of the days to be “good ones”… I enjoy the energy and activity, but I cannot live in it all the time. There is something rejuvenating in those “down days”. The fog and listlessness allows for slowing down and reflection. The fresh start is that much more brilliant when preceded by a day of stale thoughts and cooped up restlessness. This morning I was out of the house first thing with Claire. Off to the grocery store and the cafe, ready to talk and walk and get things done. The sun shone, the babies cooed and cried, the groceries got bought and it felt good. Contrast is so useful to me, showing the light and dark, slow and fast, clear and foggy. I aspire to notice this love in the midst of every day.

“Good, bad, happy, sad, all thoughts vanish into emptiness like the imprint of a bird in the sky.” Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche


The Case. Part 3.

The next installment from Amanda Hester.

————————————————————————–

When he got to the councilman’s office the girl was there.  She was shuffling through papers at her desk in a hurry, and her cheek, where Ginger had hit her, was beginning to bruise and swell.  Her eyes were red, maybe from crying, but she looked angry and dangerous.

Sydney put on his most official and innocuous tone, “You Sally Shields?”

She looked up, startled and defensive.  “Yeah, who wants to know?”

He pulled out his notepad and pencil, “I’m detective Wolfe.  Mrs. Daniels asked me to look into her husband’s disappearance.  I just wanted to ask you a few questions if that’s alright.  Maybe we could go somewhere more private to talk?”

She stuck her lip out sulkily and hunched her shoulders, “Sure, of course I’ll help however I can.  If he is disappeared or whatever, but I don’t know what help I’ll be.  It has nothing to do with me, I’m sure of that.  Here, we can go into his office – you’ll probably want to see that next anyhow.”

“Yes, thank you that would be perfect.  Just routine questions, you understand. Like you say, we can’t be sure that he’s even missing at this point.”

He followed her into the room.  Most men would have said she was an attractive girl; she had the perfect balance of fragile and crazy to drive most men wild.  Sydney wasn’t fooled though.  He’d met her father a few years back during a job that nearly killed him, a nasty piece of goods.  She had the Turner nose, and he imagined that wasn’t the only thing she’d inherited from her father.  She was relatively skinny, but strong, and her clothes were strategically chosen to hug her best features as she walked ahead of him into the Councilman’s office and sat down.

“Mind if I smoke?” He asked her, sitting down in the second chair.

“There’s no smoking in the building.  But I don’t care if you want to.  There’s no detector in this room so it doesn’t matter.” She looked at him as he lit a cigarette and made a slight show of thumbing through his notes.  Her eyes were blue.  “You don’t look like a cop” she said.

“Yeah, I’m not. Not anymore anyway.  Private detective.  Mrs. Daniels hired me this morning, she didn’t want to bring in the police just yet.” He looked at her straight.

“Sam’s a bitch.  But she’s not dumb, probably doesn’t want any of her secrets getting out.  She’s a total control freak you know, I bet she’s just using you.”  The girl pouted a little and crossed her arms in front of her.  “I told her, and I told you, this has nothing to do with me.  I don’t know nothing about it.  He probably just went away on business and didn’t tell her.  That’s what I’d do, all the time if I was married to her.  What do you want from me anyhow, Private Detective?” She spoke the last two words with an insulting sneer.

Sydney smiled at the young girl.  He liked her, she was neither bright nor stupid; pretty enough, but not beautiful; mean and self centered, but not cruel.  She reminded him of girls he had grown up with in Truro; girls who mindlessly pursued any avenue of escape from the tedious suffering of their lives.

“Yeah, okay.  Where’d you get the chip for the Mrs. from, she not like you or something?” His eyes mocked her.  The girl continued to make faces at him.

“Yeah, she don’t like me much. So what? She’s one of those women, I told you, a real control freak.  She’s always coming into the office checkin up, even when Mr Daniels was out, looking over his shoulder, messing through files and stuff. You know the type: no one can do anything as well as she can, that kind of attitude. Doesn’t want her little pet husband embarrassing her or something, sure, I don’t like her, but I’m stayin clear of it.” She slumped in the chair, looking over her crossed arms at the detective, her eyes sulky and stubborn.

The detective looked back at her smiling still, his eyes were mischief.  “So what is it Ginger’s cut you out of Sally? You get the Councilman hooked on drugs, or something deeper? You don’t know where he is? That’s fine.  How’s your daddy doin up in Glace Bay?  I owe him a couple inches of steel, and maybe a right cross.  But you deal straight with me little girl, maybe I’ll forget I owe him anything.”

The girl’s face turned bright red and ugly.  She leapt out of her chair at him trying to claw her way through him to the door.  He grabbed her by the waist and pushed her roughly back into her chair. He growled at her while out of nowhere he pulled a cold black .38.

“Come on now sweetheart, play nice.  Let’s just sit down here and calmly have our little conversation.  I’m just trying to do my job, no reason why it needs to bring any trouble to anybody.”

She sat very still, her hands holding the arms of her chair, as she eyed the gun in the man’s hand.  It was unexpected.  She moved her gaze from the gun to the man’s eyes.  He sat down across from her and smiled, the gun on his lap still aimed at her.  He didn’t look like a man who carried a gun; those were just the kind of men you didn’t want to cross.  She wondered if he was right in the head.  She licked her lips and smiled, she tried to pretend to relax.

“Alright then,” she said, “let’s talk.”

“Yes, let’s.” He continued to smile slightly at her.  She wondered why, the gesture looked incongruous in his tired ugly face.

“Who’s Ginger? I don’t know what you’re talking about” she started.

“Clearly.”  He teased her.  She chewed on her cheek unconsciously.  Sydney found it cute.

“Alright, fine. So, you’re so smart then,” she said with forced lightness, “you should know I’d rather take my chances getting shot by you here, than give up Ginger and his business.  That’d be suicide, and not just for me.  I ain’t stupid you know.  We can sit here, and you can shoot me as you like, but I ain’t talkin about nothing that ain’t you’re business.”  Her eyes moved warily back and forth between his face and the gun.  She sat perched on the edge of her chair; her hands, now in her lap, twitched and fidgeted betraying the action of her mind.

 

-6-

 

Sydney looked easily around the room.  It was rather typical, some papers on the desk, a framed degree on the wall bragging of an MA from some prestigious university.  A few photographs set around, of Councilman Daniels with the Mayor playing golf, or with the Premier.  He wondered if he would find any liquor in the desk.  He got up and began to look for it.  The girl just continued to sit there, she watched him out of the corner of her eye.

“What has the Councilman been working on lately?”  He asked her as he broke into the locked side drawer of the desk, and pulled out the scotch and glasses that lay within.  He poured them each a drink, and put the files that he found beside them in the large pocket of his overcoat.

She hesitated, but then took the drink and replied.  “I don’t know.  He does stuff with construction.  I just answer the phones, and make appointments, and sometimes I do filing.  I don’t really understand most of it.”

Sydney wondered if that was true.  Sally’s type was used to people thinking she was dumber than she actually was.  She may or may not have graduated high-school, but he was fairly certain she would be able to grok anything important.

“When was the last time you saw the Councilman?” He asked her.

“Monday evening, I told Mrs. Daniels that, I had a dentist appointment the next morning and he had appointments all that afternoon so I didn’t see him Tuesday, I don’t even know if he came in.  He hasn’t been into the office since.”  She looked at him steady and calm.

“So you didn’t see him at your apartment Tuesday afternoon?”

“No, why should I have?  And before you ask, no I don’t know where he is.  I wish I did . . . it’s been very awkward.”  She finished her drink and let him pour her another.

Sydney put the gun away and smiled at the girl, his eyes still teasing.

“So you weren’t sleeping with him then?”

She rolled her eyes and smiled slightly, “Sure I was, but not Tuesday, and I still don’t know where he is.”

“What about Ginger? He know?”

The girl’s eyes snapped toward the detective, cold as ice.

“I told you I wasn’t telling you shit about Ginger.  What’s he got to do with it anyway?  You should be careful asking around about him.  But then you do look stupid, maybe you are.”  Brassy now that the gun had disappeared, she downed her drink and glowered at the detective.  “I’m done talking to you anyway.  The Councilman doesn’t even bother to come into work, I’m going home.”

He nodded as she tentatively got up to leave.  He got up, leaving the scotch and glasses on the table.  He followed her out to her desk.  The papers she had been collecting when he arrived where sitting there.  Like she’d said, they related to various municipal contracts for projects in and around the city.  She put them into her bag as he leaned against the office door and watched her put her coat on getting ready to leave.

“What would the Councilman be doing tonight, if he hadn’t taken a powder . . . you?” He asked her, still teasing.  Despite herself she smiled.

“Ha, no.  He and the Mrs. had some big charity fundraiser or something, over at the Lord Nelson at 7pm.  Who knows, maybe he’ll show up and I won’t have to ever see you again.” She winked at him, “happy thought.”  She walked away, swishing her hips like a girl pretending in her mother’s high heels.  Sydney continued to smile at the retreating figure and lit a cigarette.

He smoked as he went back into the office, looking through files and papers and drinking the Councilman’s scotch.  He went out and riffled through the girl’s desk, pocketing cigarettes from a pack found in the left hand drawer.   Aside from these he also found a receipt from the previous Monday for what looked like drinks at a hotel bar, across the top someone had written “T. Grey” in pen.  Sydney guessed it had been Daniels, even though the receipt was found in the secretary’s desk along with various other business notes and invoices.  Wolfe tucked it into the pages of his notepad and decided to head over to the Lord Nelson.

 


For the Love of No Car

I was walking down Almon st yesterday, sending Gabe and Noel off to school and taking the Shrimpy one to the grocery. I said goodbye to the guys with”I love you”‘ and “Have a good day”, and headed down Robie towards Young. I walked along with a bright mind and a light heart. I started to think about my vow to reveal the heart of February as well as my own. What do I love? I looked around at the morning traffic, exhaust covered snowbanks, busy gas station and stressed drivers.

I LOVE not having a car. I love walking against traffic and knowing I wont have to go to the filler station, find a parking spot or pay parking tickets. I love  that I have to walk in all weather and with groceries and children. I love the sun and snow and fog and grey. I may curse the wind tunnels and the icy sidewalks in January, but I love this city because we have an intimate and raw relationship.  So I invite you cold wind, salt stains and late buses,wake me up and show me the edges of my heart.


Love is in the Air

It may look like snow to you but it looks like love to me. The heartbreaking kinda love that feels so good and so bad that you don’t even know what to do. As I walked the sparkly, snowy, silent streets of this sweet city last eve I found myself welling up with something that I cannot quite articulate. Awe of the beauty, energy from my day and heartache for the world. How could I possibly describe this in a blog post? What is it I want to share? Well there it was right in front of me- “Reserve you Valentine’s bouquet today!” on the side of Piltcher’s Flowers. It’s February and the heart shaped holiday is upon us. The oppression of a hallmark creation exaggerates our  glaring aloneness or togetherness or lust or desperation. Do we have love, want it, need it or even believe in it?

So February, I challenge you to a duel. I am ready to explore my local love, regional romances and Halifax heartbreak for a whole month. Bring on the chocolates and roses, breakup mixtapes and romantic gestures, I will in turn find the grit behind the grand and truth of our tenderness. Send me your love story @ marguerite.drescher@gmail.com

Enjoy the cold snowflakes on your cheeks and find out what makes you love…what you love and how to give it away.


The Case. Part 2.

Second post in The Case of the Missing Councilman by Amanda Hester.

Sydney Wolfe sat chewing his lip.  Martha came over and poured him some more coffee.  He looked at his notes and thought.  Finally he left some money on the table and got up to leave.  He had a brown wool overcoat hanging by the door and a hat, the kind men wore when his father was young.  It had belonged to his grandfather and was about as old and worn as the overcoat it didn’t match.  He put both on and turned his collar up against the cold as he waited for a taxi to take him to a bar full of criminals down on the waterfront, next to the stockyard.  He rubbed his face with one hand and spit onto the sidewalk, then bummed a cigarette from one of the punk kids who hung around outside the diner and put it away in his pocket as the cab pulled up.

‘The Can’ was a dive where the liquor was cheap and the clientele disagreeable.  You went there mostly for drugs and information, nobody bothered you unless you asked them to, and the pool tables were free.   As he walked in, the bartender greeted him with a small nod and poured him a shot of bourbon. The Can didn’t serve anything but hard liquor and cheap beer, their bourbon was alright though.

“Heya Syd, been a while.  How’s tricks?”

“Good enough.  Digs around?”

“Yeah, in the back.  Don’t starts any trouble though, if you’re gonna shoot him you take it outside. Alright?”

“Yeah sure.  You know of a girl named Shields?”

“Nah. Who’s she?”

“No one. Thanks”

Leaving money on the counter he took his drink over to a shut door in a far corner, knocked a few times then went inside.

The back room was dimly lit and full of smoke.  Three tables were set up around the room where people sat drinking and playing cards.  Some of the men in the room looked up as Sydney entered, some didn’t.  Looking around, the detective found his man and headed over to the far table where he dropped some money and sat down.  He played two hands before Digs spoke to him.

“So what is it you want this time Wolfe? You still saying as I owe you something? Cuz I don’t owe you shit!”

Digs Murphy was a tall well built black man who ran drugs back and forth across the border; he had a cousin in Maine and liked to sleep with the girls who worked the Yarmouth Ferry.  Mostly he was a middle man.  He did a solid business without any ambition to better, and so he never got left outside when it rained.  Back when Detective Sergeant Sydney Wolfe didn’t drink Bourbon and still had a badge, Digs was just a young kid using his pretty voice to keep him out of prison.  These days cops and crooks alike would tell you ‘Digs don’t sing; not any more’, but that didn’t mean he didn’t still have the goods.

Word on the street was: the last time Digs had seen Wolfe he’d put two bullets in him; and that maybe the washed out detective was interested in a little pay back.  Word had also gone around that maybe Digs owed Wolfe two large for a favour he’d done him a few years back.  Either way, word on the street was wrong.  What had really happened was that Wolfe had caught some lead while covering for Digs and had won $100 dollars off of him later that night in a disputed card game.  Reality being rarely so glamorous as rumour.

Wolfe began to smoke; hardly looking at his cards, but bidding like he had.  He took the next hand before he replied.

“Yeah well, maybe you do, and maybe you don’t.  I’ll tell you what though, answer me a question, and maybe buy me a drink, and we’ll call it even.”

The black man considered this while he lost the hand.

“Well, I don’t know that I like playin cards with you gumshoe.  But yeah, okay.  Sammy! Get this guy another drink, we’re gonna go over to the corner and smoke.”

While Sammy went to get drinks the two men left their cards and went into a corner where the men in the room moved aside to let them be.  Sammy came in with their drinks and left them to it.  Wolfe smoked the black man’s cigarettes like they were his own, putting the butts in his pocket, and Digs didn’t mind.

“So whaddya want?” The young man asked, leaning against the wall and looking handsome.

“I need some information for a case.  What do you know about a girl named Sally Shields?  Been running around up-town with a Councilman, probably into drugs. . . Councilman Daniels, but you didn’t hear the name from me.”

“Yeah, maybe I’ve seen her.  Not always around here, but up town like you say.  She’s into coke and maybe something more.  Wrong name though, she’s Sally Turner, daughter of Tiny Turner, you remember, that gun runner from out in Glace Bay.  Word is she’s in Ginger’s gang and that they’ve got some big business coming into harbour from overseas, next week maybe, couldn’t say.  I don’t know about any Councilman, but it might still be her.  She’s cleaned up real nice and pretty to see ever since she got out of goal last spring.  That’s about all I know, which is why I’m tellin you any of it.  Now how about you skip off!”

Sydney Wolfe nodded and took a few more cigarettes to keep in his pocket.  He finished his drink, put on his hat, and left the bar.

-4-

The cab dropped the detective off at a small but well lit bachelor on North St.  A red cat met him at the door.  He picked it up and it purred, getting hairs on his corduroy.  Sydney sat down at a small table, poured himself a glass of scotch and spread his notes out before him; those he had taken in the diner, as well as those he had just finished writing on the cab ride home from The Can.  He smoked the cigarettes he’d taken from Digs as he looked at the pieces of paper that lay on the table.  After a while he left them as they were, to talk amongst themselves maybe sort themselves out a bit.  He took his drink over to the couch that doubled as his bed and put a record on repeat, hoping to sleep for maybe an hour or two.

He woke more than two hours later to banging at his door, and opened it on a small shifty criminal named Simon that he knew from around—the man used to be a rat back before the force and Sydney’s drinking had had their little disagreement. Wolfe didn’t like the man, never had.

“Whaddya say Syd? Long time.”  The dirty little man had shifty eyes and a nervous tick that never went away.

“Sure.  What do you want Simon?”  Wolfe kept his body in the doorway so that the man couldn’t see or get into the apartment.

“Say, you gotta drink for an ol’pal?”

“No”

“Awe common man, whaddya gotta be that way for? We go back don’t we?”

“Sure.  What do you want Simon?”

“Oh alright, suit yourself, I don’t care. Stuck up, washed out, dick. . . Digs sent me to give you this.”  The man hesitated and then handed him a folded up piece of dirty paper with writing on it.  “Digs said as you’ld at least give me a drink for my trouble.” He whined.

“Yeah well, thanks for the message.  Digs was wrong, but I’ll give you something more if you don’t hit it.” Wolfe took the piece of paper and glowered with some menace at the irritating man.

“Awe common now Syd.  Geez.  You’re gonna be sorry one of these days that you treat people so raw.”

“What, you threatening me Simon?”

“No! common Syd, nah I’m just sayin as, you catch more flies with honey an all that.  Alright, alright, I’m goin. Geezus!”  The man shuffled away quickly and grumbling; his ticks jumping all over the place.

Sydney went back over to his table and the puzzle of notes that he’d left there, to read the message from Digs.  It was written tidy and clear, it said:

Turner bird and Ginger came in a little after you left.  Had a row, real scene.  She’s not too pleased with the way things are going (however that is).  He shut her up real nice.  She left, he stuck around.  Cards and not much chatter.  I didn’t mention as you’ld been around.

You owe me two now.  Don’t forget it.

— D.

It was getting on 430-5p and Sydney figured it was about time he headed up town to the Councilman’s offices.  Putting on his overcoat and hat he went out and grabbed a cab.  It was grey and raining, it often was.

Stay tuned for next weeks post of part 3!


Fall off the Bus

In the grand weekend of my mother’s birthday celebration we travelled down to Gottingen st. to the Bus Stop Theater to see Falling Off the Page, a dance piece inspired by Japanese Calligraphy. It was a beautiful, sunny and freezing Saturday afternoon. The Bus Stop was not yet too busy, as we had wanted to arrive early enough and get good seats. We bought our tickets and tried our hand at brush and ink stations set up around the room. There were films of the dancers practicing calligraphy as well. The whole room was black and white, ink and paper, sun and walls. When we entered the theater we realized there are no bad seats at the Bus Stop. Most of the room was dedicated to the dance space and we were so close we could hear feet and breath and jumps.The piece was so tender and genuine. I walked out feeling full and excited. Excited that the place where I live has so much to offer. A feast of music, dance, food, art, ideas, writing, commerce and community. I must seek no further because when I really pay attention there is nothing missing.


Tassel and Fringe

I love earrings. It will be something I really miss in this year of no shopping. I like to have new earrings all the time. A different pair for each outfit really. I guess this addiction has left me with some limitations in my shopping choices because although there are a lot of incredible jewelers in the province there are not a lot whose work I could afford on an ongoing basis. So I was extremely pleased to find Rita Van Tassel’s work in Love, Me Boutique last summer. I got a great pair of bright orange and teal earrings for a perfect $24. I realized later that Rita and I had gone to school together on the South Shore. We met again at the Crafter’s Market in December where I purchased another pair (or 2) of her dangly goods. They are my favorites and I will not tire of them any time soon. Rita’s work is totally stylish, playful, locally made and sustainably sourced. Almost all of her materials are off cuts too small for other projects but perfect for you and your feathery, fringy fancies. You can find her on Etsy at  http://www.etsy.com/shop/RitaVanTassel


The Case. Part 1.

Here is the first post in a NEW series of fresh local lit. My loyal contributor Amanda Hester has written an awesome short story which will be released to you every Sunday over the next 6 weeks. The story is based in Halifax and will keep you on the edge of your seat!

Case of the Missing Councilman

By Amanda Hester

-1-

The first time Samantha Daniels met with Sydney Wolfe it was at a small diner in the West End of the city.  He was roughly 40 years old and had shaggy, greasy hair the colour of dry autumn mud; it was thinning and he pulled it back behind his ears whenever it fell into his face.  He had on a worn corduroy suit, which she would see again in subsequent meetings, and his white shirt looked slept in.

Sydney Wolfe P.I. did not immediately inspire confidence.  He was clean shaven, with sporadic patches of missed stubble.  He was lean, average height, he slouched.  His green eyes were tired and cynical, and hung heavy in his face.  As Samantha walked into the diner, she found him sitting at the bar with a half drunk cup of coffee and a half eaten turkey sandwich.  He was dumping the tobacco that remained in smoked cigarette butts onto a small piece of ‘roll your own’ paper, which early on in their conversation she would watch him roll and smoke.

“What inspired you to become a private detective?” She asked, trying to make conversation as she ordered herself a cup of coffee.

“I hate people” He answered without specific intonation, in the same voice that he ordered a piece of apple pie.

“My fee is $75 per day plus expenses, I find out you’re lying to me my fee is $100.  So don’t lie and it’ll save me time, and save you money.  You can tell me everything you got to say here, Martha’s about as dumb as she is deaf, and me, I don’t judge” He said all this in a rolling monotone, nodding at the waitress, and stopped when he had finished without giving any sense that he waited for a response, or even that he had spoken at all.  He just continued his business with the cigarette ends and finished his sandwich.  Looking up at Martha he ordered another coffee.

When Samantha began to speak he looked at her evenly with his tired eyes, listening to what she said.  His pupils remained fixed, his breathing even.  It was disconcerting for her that he showed no sign, no recognition, or awareness even, of what an attractive woman she was.  She spoke nervously at first, trying to lure him into some sympathy with her plight, but he just looked bored and began to tackle his pie.

After a while he turned to her and began to smoke.

Martha called from the back room “Oy! Syd! There’s no smoking in here.  Put that out!” He ignored her.

“So, you can cut the pretty ingénue act, I’m not buying it.  I’ll tell you later if I need any back story, you just cut to the chase and tell me what you’ve got going on.”

Samantha looked at the dirty little man, her face flush.  She sipped at her coffee and said, “Alright then”.  The man summoned Martha who poured them more coffee and they moved with it over to a booth in the corner, where the man, continuing to smoke, pulled out a dingy looking note pad with a broken wire. As Samantha spoke he wrote on it with a stubby pencil and she noticed his hands were narrow and feminine.  She wondered if he had ever been anything other than what he was now.

-2-

Samantha Daniels’ story was more or less exactly what one might expect.  The pretty daughter of a successful lawyer, she had grown up smart and arrogant, and in society.  She’d married young and married well, and soon after had grown bored with her friends, her money, her husband, and her life.  Now in her mid to late 30’s (an age she never admitted to) she struggled with ennui and a mild addiction to prescription drugs.  She had affairs, but her husband didn’t care.  He had affairs and she didn’t care.  She generally tended to dislike everyone she met, but then she generally disliked herself.  Having graduated with a degree from Yale, she was a part-time investment broker and held the chair for various women’s clubs and societies.  She was an extremely competent and composed person; she was also profoundly unhappy.

As she spoke quietly to the private detective she played unconsciously with her fingers in her lap.

“My husband, Councilman Daniels, has been having an affair with his secretary for about six months now.  While I hardly care about that, I have recently had it from a good friend that the girl in questions, a Miss Sally Shields, may have a disreputable past that, were it and the affair to get out, could significantly damage the chances for my husband’s re-election.”

“When I spoke to my husband about it a few days ago he became enraged, quite uncharacteristically so.  But then, he has been acting strangely for months now.  He has been moody and irrational.  I have encouraged him to go and see a doctor, but. . .  I especially worry about his heart.  He has been so odd lately, sometimes pale and sweating, and the next day flush and feverish.  At any rate, if he has been to see a doctor, he’s not informed me of it.  But I do know that he went, after we spoke last, to go and see that woman.  I know it because he told me that was where he was going.  I don’t know whether he went to break it off, or to carry on with her, but I know he went to see her. .  I even followed him . . . out of concern . . . he went to her one-bedroom on Charles St. . .  After I saw him go in, I left.”

“The thing of it is . . . is that this was three days ago and I have not seen or heard from him since.  I have left tentative messages with all of our friends and at his office, and as far as I can gather he has disappeared. What is strange, however, is that his secretary, Miss Shields, has been in to the office every day.  I went in yesterday and asked if she had seen him and she lied to my face that she hadn’t seen him since Monday, which is the day before I followed him to her apartment.  I asked her if she could account for his continued absence from the office and she said she could not, but that maybe he had gone out of town on business and just failed to let either of us know.”

“Is that likely, I mean, has your husband ever done anything like that in the past?” The detective asked this unobtrusively.  He watched her calmly, his head tilted slightly forward.

“No. No, that is just it, not at all.  It is not something Herald would ever do.  He is not absent minded or thoughtless.  It is all a very great mystery.  I am, indeed, beginning to become quite worried.  But you see, especially with the possibility of the Shields girl being involved, I hesitate in going to the police, because of the publicity and the questions.  It is very important that I understand better just what is going on, before I involve anyone in an official capacity.  That is why I have come to you.”

Samantha Daniels took an envelope out of her bag and handed it to the man across from her. “Here.  This is $500 and my private number, it should cover your costs to begin with, I imagine.  I’ll expect to hear from you in the next day or so.”

The man took the envelope and, folding it, put it in the inside pocket of his jacket. “Yes, thank you. That’ll be enough for me to start.  Where exactly are your husband’s offices and what was the address on Charles?”

Samantha wrote these down for him on a clean page in his dingy notebook.  After a few moments of silence she pulled her things together and made to leave.  “If that will be everything Mr Wolfe, I really need to be going.  Thank you so much for taking the case I suppose.”

He looked at her again, with those inscrutable eyes.  “Yes, of course.  One last question Mrs. Daniels, have you ever known your husband to take drugs of any kind?”

“No, of course not, it would be absolutely out of the question for him.  He has a career in public office, and he is simply not that sort of man.”

She put on her coat, smoothing the front of it, she put on her gloves. She was unruffled, composed.  Nodding farewell to the man in the worn corduroy who still sat in the booth, she calmly left the diner and hailed a cab to take her up town.

 

I told you you would love it! Part 2 coming next Sunday!


Festive Food at Fid

Well I have to say I was mighty impressed last night when I went to Fid with my family for my mothers birthday dinner. It is such a pleasure and relief to see local food on a menu. I could imagine the booths at the farmers market, the faces of the producers and the land where the veggies were grown. How sweet to feel the richness of Nova Scotia pulled together in such a well crafted menu and beautiful space. We enjoyed our food and wine and each other’s company with immense relaxation and humor. I realized that much of our conversation revolved around “Local” topics….the food, the market, the economy and business. As we talked we tried to articulate what it is that we love about this place and the stuff of this place. My mother always promotes local,organic and seasonal but there is something else that we value- something difficult to describe because it is magical, elusive and full of heart. I feel further challenged to find this quality in the food I eat and serve to my family. I am happy to report that Fid lived up to all of these criteria and beyond. A dinner to remember and repeat for sure. http://fidresto.ca


The Big Bowl

Friday Market today. How wonderful! All the fantastic foods smelled delicious for the international day. But, for me, the gem of the day was Ironwood Bowls. Wow. These bowls are made here in Halifax by the MacDonald family. We met Laurie at the Market and she told us how her father made the bowl making tools with old motors and her mother places each of the “Ironwood” letters on the bottom of each bowl. A family affair indeed. She make the bowls from scrap wood from big timber companies- bought by the ton! Some of the wood is made into beautiful bowls and the rest gets used for firewood. Each bowl is made by digging one out of the next- like nesting bowls- to use as much of the wood as possible. Off- cuts are also made into necklaces with beautiful grain patterns. The bowls I saw today range fro $65-$325. They are perfect family heirlooms, just in time for wedding season!