Saturday, December 16, 2006

Connnected: Chapter 5

Tom Fitzgerald drove down La Brea and turned on Sunset. He was going to lunch at a small Indian restaurant well known for its vegetarian meals. He did not expect much in the way of traffic since he had stopped at the restaurant every Friday at the same exact time. He even had his meal ready for him when he walked through the door. One of the perks of being a good cop in a bad city. He parked the car across the street in the small lot and walked to the restaurant. His meal was waiting for him.
A smiling waiter brought him more of the flatbread called Naan for his meal. The smell of curry filled his nostrils and he asked for some water and a Coke. The waiter bowed, still smiling and went to the back of the restaurant.
“How are you my friend?” said an older Indian man.
Tom looked up and smiled. He dabbed at his mouth with his napkin and shook hands with the man in front of him.
“How are you Suresh?” said Tom. He motioned for the man to sit.
“Very good my friend, very good, business is running smoothly. Our karma is good because of you my friend. Please do not ever stop coming,” said Suresh. He laughed.
Tom laughed also. He looked around the small room and saw that it was packed and it was only noon.
“Suresh, is it always this crowded now?” said Tom. He took a swig of Coke.
“Oh yes, always during lunch and dinner times. We make enough to close on Saturdays until dinner time, Sunday too,” Suresh said. He smiled. “All this because you saved us that one day, my friend.”
Tom looked at Suresh and the smile had gone from his face. Suresh was being serious. Suresh looked back and forth then motioned for Tom to come closer.
“You truly are good karma for us Tom. Please do not stop coming. Also, there is a package for you from Chicago. I did not open it, for your eyes only,” said Suresh. He placed a small manila envelope on the red and white tablecloth and pushed it gently towards Tom.
“Thank you Mr. Fitzgerald for all that you have done, as we say in my country, Namaste,” Suresh said. He excused himself to greet other customers.
Tom looked at the envelope and looked around the room. He reached for it and his Coke at the same time. He then casually opened the letter and read its contents.
“This has got to be some kind of joke,” Tom said. He paid for his meal, leaving the cash on the table and running back to his car.
He opened the car door and took out his cell phone. He dialed frantically and waited for the person on the other end to pick up. Two rings, no answer. On the third Tom was going to hang up when he heard a voice say hello.
“What the hell is the meaning of this? I know that, but you shouldn’t have sent me anything at all. You don’t think he’ll find out who it was eventually? I know that, but what do you want me to do about it? You’re in Chicago and I’m in Los Angeles. There’s no way I can be there in ten minutes,” said Tom. His car started shaking and he held onto the steering wheel.
Before him was what looked like a blank canvas roughly six feet high and ten feet long. His cell phone went off again. He looked at the display and hesitated. It ran three more times before he picked it up.
“I see it. Now what? Drive my car through that? Are you crazy? Fine. I’ll see you in a few,” said Tom.
He turned the ignition on and drove straight towards the wall of white. As he approached it quickly changed color and was now a bright golden color. He put his shades on and drove through. The golden glow quickly dissipated as he passed through and no one on Sunset Boulevard noticed an LAPD Detective disappear without a trace.


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