I make my living as a private investigator and security specialist, a job that fulfills and enriches me as well as pays the bills. Still, I’m not presumptuous enough to say exactly why I was put here on earth, because I don’t know. And when I meet somebody who does …
Everybody is addicted to something. Tobacco, alcohol, cocaine, sex, gambling, food? Except for the nose candy, I’m addicted to all of them, to a greater or lesser degree. I’ve smoked Winstons for more than twenty years, although periodically I try to cut down. I enjoy a beer, I’m inordinately fond of women, I like to bet on football games, and one quick glance tells you I haven’t missed many meals …
It was a black-and-white-movie morning when I opened my office, looked out the window down the Cuyahoga River, and saw the angry thunderheads hunkered over Lake Erie. It was one of those mornings we get in Cleveland at the end of April. We’ve been looking at gray skies and fastening our coats and jackets up to the top button for almost eight months, and the longing for a spot of sunshine and warmth to burn through the pewter-colored overcast becomes as urgent and palpable as the throbbing of an infected hangnail.
Virginia Carville was, as usual, right between my bare feet.
That’s because she was the special reporter and sometime coanchor on the eleven o’clock news on Channel 12, and I’m generally lying on my bed when I watch her.
I met her once or twice several years ago when she was an eager college intern at the station and still known as Ginger. It wasn’t until after she’d progressed to newswriter and then to full-fledged reporter that she began insisting everyone call her Virginia because it was more dignified.
I owed Victor Gaimari a favor. Favor being a broad, all-purpose word subject to many interpretations, you might think I’d be picking up his dry cleaning or driving him to the airport or taking his homely visiting cousin to dinner and a show. But it wasn’t that kind of a favor.