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Friday, April 1, 2022

F³ A Different Fee

             My brain was skeptical, but my nose was sure.

            “You carried this in an insulated bag from Boston?” I asked, inhaling the aroma of the still warm clam chowder.

            “Yup,” Kate threw out as if it was an ordinary thing. “I remember you saying you were from there, and I came back that way from Switzerland, so I thought I’d grab us something.”

            She popped the lid on a plastic to-go box, and the aroma of lobster and butter filled the car.

            “Lobster roll,” I almost drooled. “I haven’t had one of those in years.”

            “Full confession,” she said, “I had a dozen of these before I left. I think the buttered ones are better than the mayo.”

            I nodded. “Me, too,” and my hand reached out of its own accord to pluck up a roll, and I took a bite, feeling the pop of the lobster meat under my teeth as it exploded with juice and flavor.

            We ate more or less in silence, just talking about the food, especially my memories of it growing up. I still couldn’t get over just how much food Storm Riders inhaled on a regular basis. Kate downed half a dozen more lobster rolls and a quart of chowder and its bread bowl while I had barely finished off a pint of chowder and three rolls.

            She graciously offered me the last lobster roll, but as I reached for it, I paused. “You’re not going to do something to me if I eat it while you’re still hungry, are you?”

            “No promises,” she said. “Getting between a storm rider and food is a hazardous venture.”

            I went for it, anyway. “I think you’ll let it slide since this is supposed to be my fee. Not sure for what, yet, but you went a long way to butter me up. This still have to do with Reilly’s and Jack’s problem?”

            She frowned at me, then sighed, rolling her eyes. “Okay, yes, I guess I am that transparent for the detective. So, will you take the case?”

            “What’d you bring for dessert?”

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