Michael Thomas Moore, named for the poet, gave Henry his start in the private detective business. Now he was nearing the end of his days of stake outs, crappy food, and sleeping in his car with his Leica on the seat next to him. Everyone called him Mickey. He taught Henry to pick a lock, trail a suspect, and always have friends on the force. Mickey would say things like, ‘The clients always lie.’ or ‘If the retainer is too generous, the job is too dangerous.’ and ‘Never forget your notebook, and write down everything.’
Mickey had shown Henry the art of observation. They spent hours just watching people. If they weren’t on a case, Mickey was teaching him to see his surroundings. At any moment, Mickey would ask, “What color hat was the woman, we just passed, wearing?” If Henry didn’t know, it would cost him lunch. Henry didn’t make a lot of money back then, so he had to learn fast, or Mickey would eat up his entire paycheck.
The Dublin Rogue, had darts, a pool table, peanuts and pretzels on the bar, half a dozen booths and a perpetually sticky floor. A hang out for the local beat cops, this had become a favorite of Mickey’s, twenty years before. There were few people who could remember a day, when he wasn’t sitting at the end of the bar. The Dublin Rogue had opened shortly after prohibition ended, and not long after, Mickey became a fixture.
“The next round is on me!” Mickey said, as he raised his beer.
Everyone in the bar cheered. The waitress and bartender, though surprised, started handing out the beers. Three of New York’s men in blue, from the ninth precinct, were giving Mickey a hard time about his largesse. “I must really be plastered, did I hear that correctly? Mickey is finally buying a round!”
“I am celebrating Mr. Thompson, er sorry, Officer Thompson. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and it isn’t a train,” Mickey shot back triumphantly. He had known Bobby Thompson, since he was a young boy, trying to sneak into the bar. Mickey never got used to the idea of him being a full fledge peace officer.
The short round officer called Carl, added, “You come in ta some dough Mickey?”
The tall thin sergeant, who everyone called Slim, said ”What’s the story Mic, you finally going to sail off into the sunset?”
Mickey had been telling everyone about his dream of buying a boat for years. He planned on sailing to Florida, opening a bar, spending the days on the beach, and his nights serving and drinking Mai Ties, for the rest of his life. Those who frequented the bar, knew his dream by heart. They could describe the pool table in the corner, they knew the specials on Tuesday, and they could picture his vision, as if it were a photo hanging on the wall.
He had developed a reputation for being a bit of a tight wad, which was true. Mickey had been living like a bum, which suited him, for 30 years. He saved every penny and knew exactly how much he needed.
Mickey took a long pull of his beer. “As you know, I have been looking forward to the day when I can sail off into the sunset and leave you rascals behind. This morning I took my last job. Two weeks, three tops, and I will be done with this racket, and by June 1, I should be ready to head south.”
“Cheers to Mickey!”
The waitress gave Mickey a kiss on the cheek, as she handed him another beer, “Congrats Old Man.” Mickey asked her to sail away with him, then smacked her on the bottom. “Can you even get your main sail up?” She said with a wink. Those within ear shot, howled with laughter.
Everyone stopped over to pat Mickey on the back, ask him to describe his boat, one more time, or just to thank him for the beer. After an hour or so later, Mickey grabbed his fadora and stepped out into the night to start his last job. The sky had opened up and a cold rain was pounding the pavement. Mickey yelled good-bye, held the day’s newspaper over his head and jogged to his car. The bar crowd gave him a cheer as he left.