Kids are always scared of their parents, no matter how nice they seem or act. Harry was told once by his aunt it was a parent’s job to be mean and scary. Harry would be the first to attest that his father took the job very seriously.
Another angry rap on the door and he took a deep breath and opened it.
“Where have you been?” Not so much as a how are you, or how glad he was to see his son.
“Here, as always, unless I’m out on a case. Except of course, if I have to spend some time in the hospital recovering from nearly being killed, but I’m fine by the way, thanks for asking.”
Harry’s father gave him a long measured look. “You don't look like anything is wrong with you.”
“Appearances can be deceptive Dad, you taught me that. Come in.”
Harry stepped to one side, let him pass, and then closed the door behind him. His father stopped several steps in and looked at the room. There were still signs of the break-in, but you had to be looking for them. Another thing about his father, he never missed anything.
“Not only did I get turned inside out, so did my office.”
“What were they looking for?”
Yep, that’s his Dad. More interested in what was missing and not how Harry was feeling.
“I have no idea what they were after. Do you?”
It was tossed in as a joke. To his father, no doubt it was anything but. “What?”
“I said ...”
“I know what you said. Why do you think I might know?”
“It was a joke, Dad.”
“It’s not something I would joke about.”
Harry sighed inwardly. This was going to go from bad to worse very quickly.
“Follow me. My office is slightly more liveable, and there’s a chair you can sit on. Then you can tell me why you came.”
He looked at the sofa, Harry had no idea why, but it seemed to capture the attention of everyone who came to the office, another glance around, then towards the door, which worried him, and satisfied, followed him in.
His father didn’t take off his coat or hat. It was not going to be a long visit.
His look of contempt, disapproval, or more likely, disdain, didn’t lessen when he walked into the office. A cursory glance around the room before his eyes returned to Harry. As always, it made him uncomfortable.
“What have you got yourself mixed up in?”
“Nothing I can’t handle.”
“You almost got killed.”
So he was aware of Harry’s circumstances. That was probably due to Sykes.
“I’m surprised you had time in your schedule to find out what happened to me.”
“Some policeman by the name of Sykes called on your mother. Said you’d been in an accident.”
Good for Sykes. He’d have to thank him for not making the details of what happened available to anyone, including his parents. Not until he could talk to them personally.
“In a manner of speaking.”
“Were you careless or at fault?”
Always considering how much trouble Harry could cause the family. He’d once referred to Harry as a ‘black sheep’. Harry doubted he was joking then.
“Nothing to worry about. It won’t reflect on the family.”
An interesting change in expression. Maybe his father thought it would.
“Where’s your sister?”
Harry looked around the room. “Unless she’s hiding in the cupboard, she’s not here.”
“Don’t be flippant with me.”
“Then, she’s not here.”
“Is she working with you?”
“No. She came to see me because she also heard from Sykes about my accident, and then visited here. She seemed surprised I could have a life outside the house.”
“This isn’t having a life. What do you investigate? Missing cats and dogs.”
So he’d been keeping up with my work, and this after telling his son he didn’t care one jot what he did with his life.
“And a few other cases involving people. I’m working on three currently, and, no, they were not the cause of the accident.”
“Are you sure? Because my information is the Jones brothers are not the sort of people you want to be dealing with. They are very dangerous.”
OK, that came out of left field. Harry tried to keep the shock out of his tone. “And you know this because?”
“Before one was murdered and the other disappeared presumed dead, I was an intermediary between my client and them for a rather large loan.”
© Charles Heath 2016-2019