There wasn't all that much chatter between Flanagan and me during that typical wild cab ride through Boston, a little swerving, a little swearing, and a little sitting on the horn in those moments of impatience. Oh, the old man Flanagan would give an occasional historical reference to this place or that, standard cab driver talk offered for the tourists, now habitual for this old man, and he would give a social commentary for which crotchety old codgers are well-known. But nothing I needed to know.
As he drove I finally got a peek at the contents of Mrs. Devonshire's envelope, so rudely snatched from me by big Goldie the night before. Of course, I was making a mighty big assumption that the envelope still held what Mrs. D had placed in it. After looking through it, I sensed it did.
In the envelope was a rather embarrassing letter from a Molly to Benji Brown, recounting plans for a weekend tryst at some bed and breakfast called the Madison Inn. There were some rather intimate details in her pretty handwriting that suggested that Molly had a rather sexy side to her. The envelope contained some receipts with her handwritten notations on them and a pair of keys. They looked house keys with Schlage embossed on them, no number, no hint where they might be from, just a set of keys. Appeared to be copies made of the originals.
"We're here, Lieutenant." Flanagan pulled the cab into the parking lot of the zoo, right up to the first reserved taxi stand. I started to open the door but Flanagan stopped by saying, "Go ask that pretty lady in the information booth or some directions. And then come back."
"I just want you to meet her and be sure to check out her name tag."
I did. The lady behind the glass was a pretty red-haired gal, maybe thirty, maybe a little more. Striking green eyes and a rather lyrical voice, a trace of an Irish accent, nearly lost.
She offered her well-practiced opening words, "Yes sir. First time at our city's fine zoo? What can I do for you?""
I stumbled a moment but finally came up with, "Yes, I am looking for some brochures I could give some out-of-town guests."
"Oh, we have plenty. How many would you need?"
"Maybe, a half dozen, Miss ..." This gave me an excuse to take a long look at her little brass name tag. "Miss Brown."
She countered, "Mrs. Brown, Mrs. Benjamin Brown."
"Why I know an attorney by that name. Works downtown."
"Yes, that's my husband."
She pushed the brochures through the hole in her glass window. "Will there be anything else, sir?"
"No. But thank you."
"I hope your guests will enjoy the visit to our Franklin Park Zoo." With that she turned to other things and I returned to the cab rather puzzled. Flanagan gave me a glance that acknowledged my surprise.
As he cranked up the cab and put it into gear, I had to asked. "What is the wife of a high-class attorney doing working in an information booth?"
For the first time, my cab driver turned and faced me with his words, 'Oh, that's the first Mr. Brown, a high school mistake. Married just long enough to give their little mistake a legitimate birth. They've been divorced now for about fifteen years."
I started to continue, but then thought it best I cut myself short. "But she said that ..."
Apparently,I had come upon the reason for this first stop on this rather bizarre tour. A crazy ex-wife.
The next stop would be an even more bizarre occurrence ... I would come face to face with Molly's angel.