Gregson sat on his red seat cushions, soaking his feet in a bubble bath. He had learned how to relax a long time ago when most men forgot about their health or neglected it on the force. Comfort gave him an edge. He was reading the meditations of Marcus Aurelius. The stoic philosophers intentionally went out of their way to make themselves uncomfortable so they would be ready when life got hard. Gregson had a different attitude; it wasn’t hedonistic, but he knew how to enjoy himself. Life was hard enough. There was nothing in the world that interested him at the present moment and he wasn’t going to go looking for it. It would find him; it always did. On cue, there was knocking at his apartment door.
“Just a moment,” Gregson said. He pocketed his revolver in his pink bath robe and stepped into his rabbit slippers. He shuffled across his oriental rug and opened the door.
It was a woman in distress. It always was.
“Come in,” Gregson said. “Before you say anything, I just want to let you know that you are being recorded.”
“That’s fine; I’ve come to talk to you about my brother. I need a private investigator and I heard you are the best.”
“Who told you that?” Gregson asked.
“A Detective Murphy at the police station.”
“Oh yes, Murphy. Not a bad man; surprised he still has a job; likes to shoot first and ask questions later; a police officer of the old school. Now how can I help you? You said you were worried about your brother?”
The woman was beautiful; she wore a pink bridesmaid’s dress. “My name’s Kate and my brother was supposed to be married today, but he didn’t show up at the altar.”
“Is he a drinking man?” Gregson asked.
“No, he never touches alcohol.”
“Maybe he made an exception before the wedding; I can tell you, that would cause me to take a few drinks.”
“His friends said he had a bachelor party two nights ago, but he didn’t drink a drop. He left the party and nobody has seen him since.”
“Okay, I’ll look into it,” Gregson said. “Do you have your brother’s address and a key to his residence?”
“It’s right here,” Kate offered.
“Give me a few days and I’ll find your brother.”
“Okay, thank you mister.”
“Call me Gregson.”