“Angie,” I said, “what’s the deal with going to the hotel on a night-only basis?


“Just wondering. You know I’m trying to watch my weight when we go on a
one-night-only basis. I don’t eat while I’m on duty. It messes with my

“No,” I said, thinking that it might be an elaborate attempt to get rid of
the woman and not actually have a physical problem. “It’s just that this is
the only night we’ve been to that hotel, and I’ve never set foot inside before
in my life.”

“Well, if they get you to go, they’ll be a goner,” she said.

I laughed and took a sip of my wine.

“Who do they work for?” Angie asked.

“I don’t know.”

“Let’s take a good look at the map and see if we can find out where we are.”

We turned the map around and went over the route through town. I knew we
were about to get lucky.

“It says we’re about five minutes from the hotel,” my coworker said.

“That’s right,” I said. “That’s the hotel.”

“There’s not a hotel there. Not in town.”

“They don’t have a lobby.”

“There must be a lobby somewhere,” she said. “Let’s find it.”

We turned and began to head back toward the station to see what hotel had a

“Hey!” I said. “That lobby is probably filled with people.”

“It is not,” she said. “Now, let’s get back to the map.”

We found the hotel two blocks away, and walked into the lobby. There were
six clerks working there at a time, and there was a line of people waiting
to get service.

“What’s going on here?” I asked. “We need to get to a phone.”

“No phones,” our coworker replied. “They’re doing a switch-over in a few
minutes. They’re gonna shut the phone service down for security.”

“That’s impossible. No phones.”

“It’s only for a few days,” she said. “Then it’s back up.”

I walked up to the counter. There was a man behind the counter. He had a
bad haircut and was wearing a bright orange sweater.

“Is there a phone available?” I asked.

“Yes,” he said. “There’s a phone right there.”

I looked to see what kind of phone it was, and that’s when my feet began to
walk on their own.

“Excuse me,” I said.

“What’s your problem?” the man said.

“I need a phone to get inside this hotel and get into the security room,”
I said.

“Okay!” he said. “I’ll get you into the security room. Just wait in the lobby.”

I thanked him and headed into the lobby to wait the next few minutes. The
line moved quickly, and in about fifteen minutes the security man took over
the switch. As soon as our coworker was in the lobby, I headed to the
doorway and waited for the next customer.

“Wow, this hotel has got to have a lobby,” I said, looking over the crowd.

“Yep,” Angie replied. “This was their first night staying here.”

A man in his seventies walked up to the counter.

“Do you have a phone?” he asked.

“Yeah,” the man with a bad haircut said. “But I don’t have what you’re looking
for right now.”

“You’ve got a phone in the lobby.”

“Can I get some coffee?” the man asked.

I handed the man our card. He began to write the number for the hotel on a
sticky note, and I took the pen from him. He put the note on the glass and
tapped the glass.

I handed the note to Angie and looked at her for confirmation. She nodded.

“This is bullshit,” I said.

“You just have to keep your head down and hope it turns up,” she said.

“But I’ll still have to eat the rest of my lunch anyway.”

“That’s a good thing, because we’re out of food.” She looked over to the
man with the bad haircut. He had a thick mustache and was wearing a pink
paint-streaked T-shirt with a cartoon on it resembling Little Bo Peep.

“I’m not supposed to give you food,” he said. “This is a two-man operation,
ladies. You eat first and then go out to the cars. If you don’t come back,
they’ll go out and search for you.”

I smiled as we ate our sandwiches.

“So you’re an assassin?” the customer asked.

“No,” I said, embarrassed. “I work for a law firm,” I answered. “I work
for a firm that deals in cases like yours.”

“I bet it’s the same lawyer,” the man said. “I see him occasionally. He
comes in here sometimes.”

“I can’t believe you’re serious,” I said. “It’s a law firm. You don’t need
a lawyer to represent you. You don’t need to get a lawyer. You just need to
find out who to sue with money. So if you’ve got money, you sue whomever you

“I know, but you have to use a lawyer if you want money to pay his
fees,” the man said. “That’s the law.”

“I’ll take your word for it,” I said.

“What are your credentials?”

“You can just come with me and sign a few things,” I said. “Then you can pay me.”

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