Henry Wood: Perception Ch 11

Henry walked in to the office and Celine was busy writing something.  She didn’t look up but said, “How did it go with Mike?”

“It was strange; I will tell you about it later.  I think our client might be right about it not being an accident, but I don’t have anything except the feeling in my gut telling me so.  Of course, I might just be craving some lunch?”

Celine smiled, not feeling it was worth an audible chuckle.  “I am trying to write out what I want to say to Gladys.  This is my third version and it is awful.  Awful is a considerable improvement over the first two, so I am keeping at it.  The problem is that I seem to always end up saying that she is the problem.  She isn’t, it is just that, well, she has lost herself.  Maybe I need some lunch too.”

Henry caught a glimpse of her left wrist.  The red cut marks stopped him in his tracks.  Was she taking this job too seriously?  He pulled up a chair and sat down.  Henry looked at her and she gave him a cockeyed expression.  The mood change was palpable and she didn’t understand why.  “Celine…”

Henry was looking for the words.  She wasn’t known for patience, “Yes?”

“What I mean to say is, well this is a tough business, we can’t let ourselves get too involved with the clients.  I can be too much sometimes.”

“Being involved is what makes us human and I am mostly sure I am one.”

Her tone was slightly defiant, but the look on her face wasn’t, and sometimes he had to replay what she said in his head, just to keep up.  “What I mean is, well you can talk to me about anything.”

“Last month I had my period and …”

“Ok, let me rephrase that.”  He grabbed her arm and looked at it.  “What is this about?”

“Since the beginning of time, I believe, cats have been plotting to rule the world.  My cat spends all day napping in wait.  Last night, when I got home, I innocently tried to pet her.  She decided it was time for a game of claw and scratch.  She won.”

Henry laughed.  “I am relieved, I thought you were…”

“Trying to kill myself?  That would be playing right into the little furry devils paws!”

“I would like to meet this cat someday.”

Celine just shook her head.

Henry headed back into his office, his mind back on the list in his notebook.  “Give Lawrence a call and put him through, if you get him.”

Celine had him on the phone less than a minute later.

“Lawrence, how are you doing?”

“Doing good Henry,” he said sounding excited to be asked.  “How are you?”

“I am just fine, but I am working on a case, which I was hoping you might be able to help me with.”

Not even trying to hide his glee, “I would love to help.”

“Before you answer, I better tell you a little about it.  It is going to take a lot of your time.”

“I got plenty of that.”

“What?”

“Time.”

Henry smiled, “I got a case where I need someone to go undercover.  Basically I will be paying you to get a job.  I need someone to snoop around, get to know one guy in particular, become his friend, and give me updates.  I will give you $100.00 per week, plus you will really be working, so you will be getting paid twice.”

“That sounds great.  My mom will be thrilled I have a job, even if it only for a little while.”

“I want you to take the job seriously.  It is a good company and if everything goes as I hope, they may never know you work for me.  When the case is over, if you want, you may be able to stay.  The point is, I need you to work hard to get the guys trust.  Can you do that for me?”

“You bet I can!”

“I also need you to keep our arrangement secret.  You can’t tell anyone, even your buddies.”

“I understand.”

“I haven’t made all the arrangements yet, but consider your-self on the payroll starting right now.  Stop in later today or first thing in the morning.  Celine will have some stuff for you to fill out.”

“I will be there today.”

Henry hung up and brought Celine up to speed on his plan to help Frank.  She approved.  Henry decided to learn some more about the late Daniel Kupton.  An hour of working the phone and he had a pretty good picture.  Daniel Kupton had inherited a small manufacturing company when he was 30.  In three short years he had expanded the production line to include industrial piping, valves, and gauges.  His quality and production speed won him his first Navy contract in 1940.  The war was good for business.  His net worth was described as being ‘A Boatload of Cash’.  The company, Kupton Mfg, acquired several smaller plants to increase capacity.

Henry called Celine back into the office.  “Guess what I just discovered?”

“I like games.”  She said clapping her hands only half mockingly.  She really did like games, though she liked mocking more.  “A new element for the periodic table?”

“No”  Henry had learned to let her get it out of her system.  “Guess again.”

“A previously undiscovered planet, possibly containing unicorns?”

“Close.”

“Hmmm…Did you find Incan treasure?”

“I will give you a clue.  Guess who owns Long Island Iron Works?”

Celine suddenly stopped and thought for a moment.  “It isn’t the late Daniel Kupton?”  She said, suddenly intrigued.

“You are a clever girl, but you knew that.  It seems that fate has brought us two related cases.”

“That is very strange.”

Henry thought so, but thus far in 1955, he was starting to think it was just business as usual for fate.  He decided to make some more calls.  He was on a roll.

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