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Gag Order – Installment 21 – The Revelation
Jeevan chaired the meeting in the conference room of Damodar, Bronn & Associates. Krasten had not touched his brimming cup of coffee and it had long turned cold. Joe Bernard had emptied his cup, and Wilona had wisely remained with a cup of water.
‘They found pubic hair under her mattress. DNA matches Bastien Tee’s and Lavinia Ying will have to explain how the hair got there,’ said Joe Bernard, wrapping his report. He leaned back with an accomplished look. Krasten quickly lifted his eyebrows as a mark of satisfaction.
‘Good work Joe,’ said Jeevan, as he scanned the report. ‘I knew you would come through.’
Krasten and Wilona traded cynical looks but a knock on the door drew their attention. It was the paralegal, Zinnia Welsh, in a low-cut chilly-red blouse and a tight skirt that kept her knees knocked.
‘Krassi, uh, Mr. Bronn,’ said Zinnia, quickly correcting herself, ‘Mr. Boey from the AG’s is on the phone. You can take it there.’ She pointed to a telephone, its push button already flashing impatiently, on the side table.
Krasten snatched the telephone and rewarded Zinnia with a sweet smile. This provoked a frown from Wilona.
‘Hello! Sakaris,’ said Krasten, in a happy mood. ‘A meet? Yes, I think we ought to.’ He winked at Wilona. ‘Sounds good. Real coffee? Not some gutter run-off that’s the in-thing this month? Great! Be right there.’
As Wilona gathered her stuff, Krasten said, ‘Can you believe that? Even the civil service gets better coffee.’
‘Legal service,’ said Jeevan.
‘Whatever! Catch up with you Joe, and hey, good work!’ He switched to Jeevan and said, ‘Why don’t you buy him lunch, you said you would.’
‘I did? I mean yes, I did,’ said Jeevan. ‘Uh, Joe, would you like to do lunch? You know, something simple, downstairs.’
Krasten and Wilona hurried out. Moments later, Krasten popped his head back into the conference room and said, ‘Jeevan, the candy jar needs a refill.’ He produced a candy stick and stuck it in his mouth.
Krasten and Wilona swung open the heavy glass door and stepped out to the lift lobby.
‘Why do you do that?’ said Wilona.
‘Do what?’ asked Krasten in faked innocence.
‘Always lighting a fire under Jeevan? He’s our boss.’
‘Oh, don’t worry about him. He’s fat enough to absorb punches,’ said Krasten. ‘Anyway, all that aggro is good for him.’ The elevator door pinged open and they stepped in. ‘Helps him burn off some calories.’
Seeing Krasten, the solemn people inside the lift car perked up. Evidently, his runaway mouth already had a following in the office block.
‘Does it work?’ said Wilona.
‘Burn off calories?
‘Definitely!’ said Krasten. ‘Observe and you’ll notice that most angry people are skinny, and fat people are happy people.’
The lift reached the ground floor lobby and the door pinged open. Out spilled the small group of people, some of whom looked amused. Krasten’s face remained dead pan but Wilona stifled a smile.
‘Don’t believe me, huh?’ said Krasten.
Both of them walked fast. Krasten took a couple of quick steps and held open the door for Wilona. The people following quickly stepped out the building, the women giving him soft looks. Momentarily basking in god-worship and realizing that Wilona had strode off, he caught up with her. They matched brisk steps to the taxi stand.
‘Ask Judge Gurshan,’ said Krasten.
‘What are you on about?’ said Wilona.
‘You don’t believe fat people are happy people. Ask Judge Gurshan.’
‘Does that mean, you’re an angry person?’
‘No, I’m a funny person, which makes it close to happy. And I’m not skinny.’
‘Padded shirt, huh?’
‘Padded underwear!’ said Krasten, his face a comedian’s blank.
‘Is that your pick-up line?’
‘Yes! Low expectations lead to greater shock and awe.’
A taxi pulled up and again Krasten took a few sharp steps and pulled the door open. And Wilona entered the back seat without pausing.
‘You’re a clown, alright, and here I was thinking you’re an alley cat living its ninth life.’
‘See, I rest my case!’ said Krasten, bustling in after her. ‘Upper Pickering Street, please.’
The cab driver said, ‘Righto!’ And with squealing tires, the taxi merged into traffic.
Krasten fell back. Recovering, he leaned forward and tapped the man on the shoulder. ‘Not the mortuary. Upper Pickering Street.’
‘Upper Pickering Street. Righto!’ And the taxi weaved in the traffic and, unable to beat the lights that just turned red, came to a brutal halt with a lurch and recoil.
‘Wow!’ said Krasten. ‘We actually managed to get one car length ahead of the next guy.’
Wilona placed a light hand on his arm and said, ‘Close your eyes, Brave Eagle, and you’ll be safe.’
‘I’m on my ninth life. I can’t afford to take chances.’
‘Must you always have the last word?’
*** Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2017 ***
*** Continued on Wednesday 23 August ***