"Come on, answer!" Another ring. "Come on, Mary, be there." Yet another ring and another and another.
Then a woman's voice answered. "Hello."
"Mary, is that you?"
"Yes, Mary. What's going on?"
"Ian," she struggled to hold it together,"Ian, someone's been following me home from work, I know it. Then I got this letter warning me not to talk to the police especially you."
"MacKenzie, there was this guy that a couple of days ago starting riding the same bus I ride and then I think I saw him across the street from my apartment the other night."
I tried to calm her. "Mary, now take a deep breath. Are you some place safe?"
"Yea, I think so. I'm with my aunt, the nun."
"Alright. ...You have an aunt who is a nun? Well ... You stay there. Don't call anyone and don't tell anyone where you're staying. I'll set it straight with Shirley. But you don't call her, or even Miss Hill."
"Miss Hill, your landlady."
"But how ..."
"Never mind, I just do. Now can you describe this guy who was following you?"
"Jeez, MacKenzie. Ah, let me see. White. Big guy, maybe six-one, six-two. Built like a football player, big, burly guy. Sort of looked like a big bear. Crew cut."
"Wearing a light blue windbreaker?" I interjected.
"Yes, with a black turtle-neck shirt."
It was the younger Flanagan, the detective and my would-be partner in this case, working both sides of the street. Setting up Mary so as to have a little leverage with me if things ever started going sour.
"You stay there, Mary. I'll take care of this.'
"Yes, Mary. Sorry about Friday. I guarantee you a rain check.'
I appreciated the affection and appreciation in her voice. "You stay put Mary. I'll call you when it's safe to come back. And see if you get the good Sister to pray a couple of rosaries for me."
She giggled a bit, "I will, Ian. And ... thank you."
i hung up. Took a breath. And then grabbed Scarborough. my over-sized friend was about to return my recent favor. Mr. Flanagan and I were about to have good heart to heart and I wanted Scarborough to make sure I got things right.
"D*mn that Flanagan!"