Gregson sat in his leather chair. Every real man has one. His father had one, and his father before him. Sometimes it’s left over from the dorm room, or it’s picked up when a man moves out of his parent’s house. It’s a comfort; a man keeps it until it’s worn and cracked and the stuffing is coming out. And as soon as he passes on, the chair is thrown into the dumpster by relatives. Over time, the owner becomes one with his chair. A good book is enjoyed there, in a dark house, where a light shines on the chair; just one man and nobody else; just the imagination and infinity.
Gregson did his best thinking in his chair. He closed his book on murder and stared straight ahead; he was going to a reunion. His leather-bound copy of the Hounds of the Baskervilles waited on the shelf. And Gregson dusted it off.
“This will scare the children, and make my sister upset,” he chuckled. “But no matter; most everything about me makes her upset.” He glanced at an oil painting on the wall. It was of a family estate built at the turn of the century, Spanish by design, overlooking the ocean in the tropical heat. Getting there was never easy, and living there never impressed Gregson. A man could appear wealthy and content, but he was marooned on his own island. No; Gregson thought he didn’t even want to die there. Some people have a place they call home. Some have a place they want to rest. Gregson needed the chase, in the same way girls need to be chased. Without attention or intrigue, what was there? The whole world ran on routines; some people had the next 30 years planned-out. It baffled Gregson that the whole lot of humanity was marching down a flat road with no twists or turns, just the inevitable conclusion without any mystery.
Gregson heard ringing. Was it his hangover, from drinking too much Sherry? Then he heard knuckles.
“The lawyer,” he said out loud. He had hired one, just for kicks. His sister wanted to steal the family estate. Gregson didn’t care about the land, but he was bothered by his sister. It was a competition with her. She had the brutish personality that gave a man a headache. Guys let her win because it was easier. And she always injected herself into as many deals or conversations as her stomach could hold, and they always went belly-up. Gregson got the solution in his chair. He opened the door. She was beautiful—straight skirt, straight jacket, and free-flowing silk blouse. He was crazy about her.
“I’m Evelyn, your attorney,” she said through muscular lips; they looked like they sucked souls for a living.
“You’re paying me by the hour, so I suggest we leave promptly.”
“You only get paid, if you win,” Gregson said.
“I always win.” Evelyn turned and got into the black limousine. Her peach uniform reminded Gregson of the forbidden fruit.
“I wonder what she has hidden under that straight jacket,” he mused. “Something crazy…”