Chapter 10

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During his younger years, big city traffic annoyed Art. Now that he was older, traffic made him downright anxious. His reflexes weren't what they used to be. Ditto his eyesight. Although he didn't need glasses except for reading, he always doubled-checked and triple-checked his mirrors before passing and merging.

He made the appointment with his old colleague, Veronica Hall, at eleven. Art could leave Harrisburg at nine, after that city's rush hour traffic and make the two-hour drive to Baltimore. He figured the meeting would take less than an hour, two if she invited him to lunch, which meant he'd be out of the city well before the afternoon rush. No way would he risk taking the Mustang and opted instead to drive his old sedan.

Art drank just one cup of coffee for breakfast. He worried about his overactive bladder and didn't want to waste time during the drive to take excessive pee breaks.

He found the police substation easy enough but cursed the lack of parking. He ended up driving into what he considered to be an overpriced city parking garage and walked two blocks to the station.

He tugged at his shirt collar and wished he hadn't worn a tie. The heat of the day raised perspiration causing the shirt to cling to his back. He sighed with relief after entering the air-conditioned police station. A male receptionist sat behind a thick glass barrier, a uniformed officer who gave him a quick once over before pressing an intercom button. "How can I help you?"

Art looked around for a microphone to speak into but couldn't find one. Darned new contraptions. How was he supposed to know what to do? He said in a normal tone of voice, "I have an appointment with Veronica Hall." It wouldn't be his fault if the cop behind the glass couldn't hear him.

"Your name?"

"Art Presley."

The man picked up a phone receiver and made a call. After hanging up, he pressed the button. "Captain Hall's office is on the third floor. Elevators are through the door to your right."

Art heard a buzz and the door unlatched. He walked through. While riding the lift, he realized during their phone conversation, Veronica hadn't told him she had made captain. It didn't surprise him. She had always been a go-getter and politically-minded. Good for her.

When the doors slid open, Art faced a large room, rows of desks occupied by uniformed officers and detectives, the typical layout of a cop shop. He figured Veronica's office would be in the back and walked that way. Eyes checked him out as he passed, but nobody stopped him.

As he approached, she stepped from her office wearing a big, toothy smile, "Hiya, Art." She extended her hand.

Art shook. "Good to see you, Ronnie. You haven't changed a bit after all these years." He remembered her as being full-figured. She looked the same with the exception of graying hair which added character to her dark, chocolate-colored face.

"You're looking good yourself. Retirement suits you." She extended an arm toward her office, a gesture of invitation.

Always mindful of being a gentleman, he said, "After you."

He followed her in and sat in the visitor chair.

"Can I get you anything?" she asked. "Coffee? Water?"

"No, thank you. I'm good."

She leaned against the edge of her desk and began to reminisce about old times and asking about people they knew back in the day.

"I envy you, being able to retire," she said. "I have four more years to go until I can receive a full pension."

"You're a captain now. Any chance you'll stick around to climb the ladder higher?"

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