‘Are you the Kauffmann that writes that over-the-hill blog?’ the gravel-like voice on the phone sounded like it had recently run over broken glass. Who was it? What did he want? How did he find me?
‘What is this about?’ I asked cautiously.
‘I’ve got something to tell you, but can’t talk now, it’s too dangerous,’ he continued, hardly above a whisper. ‘We need to meet.’
Meet? This was spooky. I was scared, but intrigued. I hesitated, then made a decision without really thinking it through.
‘Okay,’ I said, ‘Let’s meet at Terra’s on 4th. (That was smart…I’d be safe there, they know me.)
‘Naw, too many ears around, let’s meet under the murder of crows. I’ll see you at 10:15 tomorrow morning.’ Click. Dial tone. I stared at the phone in disbelief.
The murder of crows? Gasp! That’s a mere couple of blocks away. He knows where I live! What to do? I thought of taking my Samurai sword along, but hadn’t had enough practice wit it yet, so decided on my walking stick instead — in case I need to defend myself. Well, at least at 10:30 a.m. it’s daytime…..
The next morning if I still smoked I’d have been puffing away at cigarettes
as I paced up and down under the murder of crows. The minutes dragged. At one point I put my watch up to my remaining good ear to see if it was still working. It was… I shouldn’t have come… This could be dangerous… It was stupid of me! My overactive imagination was overly overacting at triple high speed. After what seemed like an eternity, a man arrived. It was him, in a disguise.
‘Kauffmann?’ I froze. My feet were glued to the pavement.
‘Yes…’ Why was I whispering?
‘Listen, I’ve got a scoop for you. This will make your blog the biggest thing on the Internet.’
‘Who are you?’ I wanted to know.
‘Let’s just say — a friend.’
‘You know that proposal to build senior housing next to the church across from the school around the corner?’
‘Yeah, I heard about it.’
‘It was turned down because word leaked out.’
‘Shut up and listen,’ he continued, ‘I don’t have forever. The neighbours were scared those seniors would corrupt their kids! Here’s the deal.’
‘Okay, shoot.’ Well, maybe that was the wrong thing to say, but after all, I was nervous.
‘Them seniors are all part of a crime syndicate.’
‘I told you to listen, dammit! What do ya think those old grannies are doing when they make cookies for bake sales supposedly for church? It’s a money-laundering scheme, a front for a Columbian drug cartel.’
‘What? What? What are you, some kind of echo or something? Just listen, there’s more. All those prescriptions they finagle out of their doctors? You think they’re really for lowering their cholesterol and blood pressure? No sir. They sell them drugs on the street and make a bundle — and think of all those kids from the school across the street those fakers could have sold that stuff to.’ I was speechless.
‘And all those canes they carry? Ya think they need them because they’re frail? Or dizzy like you?
Uh-uh. They’re weapons lady, they use them to mug unsuspecting upright citizens. They whack them, grab their dough and off they run quick as a wink. Those old meanies beat up kindergarten kids just for the fun of it. They’re also cutting into the prostitution racket…’
‘That I don’t believe…’
‘Believe it. Believe it. Grannies can sell their fannies for less ‘cause they’re already collecting government pensions! They’re undercutting hard working young hookers. They also had plans to recruit the school kids for the brothel they would’ve set up in the senior housing right there next to the church. Good thing the project didn’t happen. Then there’s the gambling…’
‘Gambling?’ I gulped.
‘C’mon, you don’t actually think they’re playing pinochle at those senior
centres, do ya? They rake in plenty. I tell ya, these people are dangerous, they got the whole crime industry tied up!’
‘Why are you telling all this to mu-ME?’ I stuttered, ‘I’m not a reporter.’
‘I gotta warn people somehow.’ he answered and walked off — just like that.
Well, what do YOU make of it?