The Joy of Life Through Nature By D.I. Jolly (Part 2)



Jones arrived at his office, with a take away cup of coffee in one hand and a brown paper bag, packed with a couple of deluxe sandwiches in the other.

Under his arm was Frank’s folder, and despite his curiosity, Jones had managed to resist reading it. In part because he knew that reading confidential documents in public was a bad idea, but also to prove Frank at least a little bit wrong.

He placed the folder and the paper bag on the table, took a sip of coffee and considered the options in front of him, then he took another sip of coffee and reached into the paper bag. Frank could wait a couple minutes longer.

As he bit into the sandwich, he felt the crisp lettuce let out a deeply satisfying crunch, his mouth then filled with the flavours of salted tomato and cold roast beef liberally smothered with horseradish. The combination sent a wave of pleasure through his soul and he decided that he could eat his lunch in peace. Besides, it was still the height of summer and he had originally planned to spend the day getting some much-needed down time. He considered the bottle of 18-year-old whiskey he kept in his desk drawer, but then looked at the folder again and decided to stick with the coffee until he’d at least glanced at how much trouble he was in.

Inside the folder he found a few pages describing the arrest, and a few photographs, and suddenly Franks willingness to so casually break the law became clear. He put down the last bite of his sandwich and reached into his desk drawer to grab the bottle of whisky and poured himself a small glass and took a sip. Without ice it clamped the back of his throat and left a lingering burn as he swallowed.

He recognised the man in the pictures as Jenkins, the former barman at The Jazz Bar, Jones’s own dream business that he’d lost to his wicked witch of an ex-wife in their divorce.

She was not his favourite person in the world, and the idea of having to go see her to start asking questions felt like, in her own words. “A vegan BBQ, a massive missed steak.”

Jones could hear her voice in his head and it send a shive of cold down his spine and between his legs, causing his nut sack to tighten. But that wasn’t the only problem. Jenkins wasn’t anyone’s prime example of what you’d call, a smart man. It was actually very possible that if he was sitting at the police station saying that he didn’t know anything, it was because he literally didn’t know anything.

Worse still, if he did know something and wasn’t talking there was the very real chance that something sinister was happening in the background to keep him quiet. Regardless, it all boiled down to one painful truth.  Jones would have to visit his ex-wife to try and get on the path that led Jekins from the bar to the back of a police car.

The drive over was long and hot, and longer because Jones had unconsciously taken the scenic route. But eventually he had to arrive. He parked across the street, took a few deep breaths and made his way into his old bar. It smelt the way he remembered, cigar smoke, strong drinks, and good times. Though she’d claimed in court that she was the one who put her soul into the business and that’s why she should get to keep it, it still looked the way he’d laid it out. Dark cherrywood bar, black leather booths, round tables and candle lights. At the back was the stage where his ex sang most nights, and was probably the final nail in the coffin of his claim on the business. Everyone who ever came to that bar had seen her there.

Without checking in with any of the staff, who were still mostly setting the place up, he walked around the bar and into the back rooms. He reached what had been his office and knocked as he opened the door.

“I said I’m busy!”

Came a voice he wished he could forget.

“Yeah, I don’t really care, I need to talk to you anyway.”

Kerry Jones was still a knock out, even when dressed for comfort and paperwork. She rolled her eyes when she saw him and said with bored disinterest.

“What do you want?”

“Yeah, it’s not great to see you either. Look I’m working with Frank on a case, I’ve got a couple of questions, then I’m gone. If you just cooperate and this can be over quickly.”

A smile twisted the corner of her mouth as she said.

“So, business as usual then.”

Jones let out a sigh and sat down across from her.

“You remember Jenkins?”

“Yeah, cute kid, not bad at the job, trustworthy, kind… I guess, as much as people are kind these days.”

Jones considered her words for a second then said.

“Trustworthy in what way?”

Kerry let out a slightly exasperated sigh.

“I don’t know, what makes people trustworthy? He had a kind face, he spoke with old style manners, he was too stupid to think of stealing anything.”

Jones clicked the fingers on his right hand and pointed at her emphatically.

“Yes, see, that’s the problem.”

“What is?”

Her tone was flat and obviously annoyed.

“Franks got Jenkins in lock up at the moment for some big under world crime thing, and I just don’t see the connection. He was never into back door dealings, or not when I knew him and here you have the same opinion.”

Kerry took on a look that neither of them had seen in years as she said.

“Wait, so what’s the case? If Franks got him why are you looking into it?”

Jones too slipped into a very old groove and said.

“I’m supposed to dig up some dirt on him to use as leverage in the interrogation, problem is, I just can’t see him being anyone’s go to guy, nor a criminal, not really, not on purpose anyway. So now I’ve got until 6pm to figure out what the hell happened and report back to Frank with something useful. And since it’s not going to be useful in the way he wants, it has to be concrete. You know him.”

Kerry ran her hand over her mouth thinking, then pulled out a black note book from her desk and began flipping pages.

“Ha, yes, here we go. He always had his paycheque split, half to him and half to his mother.”

She quickly wrote down something on a spare bit of paper and handed it to him.

“Here, this is her address.”

Jones reached across and grabbed it and as he did their hands met. For a moment Jones remembered almost the exact same thing happening at her 18th birthday when he’d given her his phone number, and it sent another ball shrivelling wave of cold over his body. Kerry quickly pulled her hand back and adopted her usual hateful scowl.

“Now get the fuck out of my bar Jones, or I’ll burn the place down just despite you.”

Jones tucked the piece of paper into his pocket as he got up and considered saying thank you, but instead said.

“You wouldn’t dare, without this place how would you find the next hapless wallet with a penis that you can suck money out of?”

She recoiled as if slapped and called, “Fuck you!” As Jones walked out the door.

He got into his car before he checked the paper to see if it actually was a name and address, then put the key in the ignition and headed off to go meet Mrs Martha Jenkins, and see if she knew anything about her son’s new job.

Part 3

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