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You have quiet a night planned for him.
Yeah, right! Which one of us was the sane one? Then again, there was that damn radio.
It took me a couple of hours to calm down and get my thinking to something resembling rational. The radio was real. I'd heard it. Mandrake, or whoever the hell he was, claimed it wouldn't work any more. Well, we'll see about that. It was locked in my safe, so no one was going to be able to tamper with it in there.
The really weird part was that I could forget the whole deal. I didn't have to join. Even if I did, I could quit any time. What was the catch? He was right about one thing though. I wasn't going to be telling anyone about this anytime soon unless I could prove it. The only proof I had was the radio. I'd be hanging onto that for dear life.
There's was one benefit for all this mental turmoil and that was that the long drive home seemed to pass a lot more quickly than last time. The other side of the coin was the headache I had developed with all the ping pong balls bouncing off the inside of my skull. My brain was full! No room at the inn!
I arrived home just before seven that evening, having driven non-stop after my quick lunch break. My first move was to head for the safe and check the radio. Within two minutes, I knew My Favorite Martian wasn't kidding. The radio no longer worked. Not even any static. Nothing! Shit! I grabbed the CD's and slipped them into my computer. Nothing! All that work ... nothing! Just my notes left for me to ponder.
I sat in my office chair for several minutes, contemplating my navel and accumulated frustrations. At length, I got up and went to the kitchen to make something to eat. I flicked on the TV absently as I gazed into the refrigerator looking for some inspiration. I wasn't concentrating. I was looking but not seeing. This was futile. I went to the washroom, splashed some cold water on my face, picked up my keys and headed out the door.
I ended up at Dorsey's, of course. I liked the place and although it wasn't as busy as it would be on a weekend, it was pretty lively for a Thursday night. A beer and burger later, I was feeling better and a little more relaxed about my predicament. I didn't have any new ideas about what I had experienced this morning. It looked like I should just wait and see. Snipe said something about a partner and training, so I might as well hang tough until one or the other showed up.
I had been sitting at the bar, as I usually did when on my own. After a bit, the attractive dark-haired female bartender wandered down toward me during a quiet spell.
"So where's the babe tonight?" she grinned.
"Huh?" I'm full of snappy rejoinders.
"You know, the blonde that you've been bringing in here ever since she gave you the evil eye a couple of weeks ago. Don't tell me she dumped you already?"
"No ... oh you mean Tish. No ... no ... nothing like that. I just got back into town after a long drive and I couldn't find the energy to make dinner."
"So you two ... you still get together?" She was giving me the once-over as she lazily chewed her gum.
"Yeah ... I'm taking it slow. She's had a rough time from some guy or other, I think. Don't want to rush things," I explained.
"Smart move. Too bad though. If she didn't snap you up, I would have," she snickered.
"Huh? You?" I told you I had a gift of the gab.
"Sure. Why not. You look good, you dress good and you're polite. You don't swear, don't smoke and don't drink yourself stupid. What's not to like," she said offhandedly.
I had to admit, I was surprised. I don't ever recall being approached this directly by a woman. Not ever.
"Thanks for the compliment. If it weren't for Tish, I'd be interested as well as flattered," I finally managed. At least I didn't sound like a complete idiot.
"Well, keep it in mind if Blondie doesn't work out," she said with an arched eyebrow.