Tuesday 5 May 2020

Case 2 - Episode 1 - Back within the hallowed walls

Harry was once again standing at the front door to the offices of Walthenson, Walthenson and White.
He’d often wondered why Legal Practices had such long names, and who the people were behind those that had names like in his father’s case.
The story was, Harry’s father’s father, old man Walthenson, and Granddad Wally to us founded the practice with his then-girlfriend, Giselle White, when they were fresh out of law school.
Back then it was simply Walthenson and White, Attorneys at law.  It was a humble office, off the main street, and they used to deal with minor legal issues.
Then, one day, his grandfather got a ground-breaking case, one that had huge ramifications, one that had set a precedent that still stood this very day, and had ignited his legal career.
It was, sadly, what eventually contributed to his early death.
But, in the great traditions of passing the mantle from father to son, Harry’s father became a lawyer, as did his brother and sister, and then in turn, his two brothers.
Harry was the odd man out.
His Grandmother, who would always remain his grandmother long after his grandfather had divorced her, still worked in the practice, and, in her 80’s, was still the sharpest mind in the group.  Well, that was Harry’s opinion, but no one else seemed to agree with him.
Harry’s other grandmother, what you might call step-grandmother, Alicia Wentworth, was the same age as Harry’s father, also a partner, and trouble. 
And, try as he might, Harry’s father could not remover her.
Perhaps as part of Harry’s rebelliousness, he was able to like her, because unlike his father, what you saw was what you got.  Straightforward, and often one to speak her mind.  Even Harry’s real grandmother liked her, and that was saying something.
As for Harry’s brothers, both could use an imagination, but since they hadn’t, being a lawyer was the next best thing.
And, since he had an imagination, and a rebellious streak, they hated him.
But Harry had a job to do, charged by his mother to find his father, and this was the first port of call.
How much Harry would find out from any of the employees and partners would remain to be seen, but he wasn’t going to shirk his responsibility or put up with their bad attitudes.
He took a deep breath, and went through the door, a portal he used to call it in younger days, to a place that was different to anything he had known before.

It was not a modern office, but one with deep carpet, and wooden walls, and, in the foyer, dimmed lighting.  There were plants, comfortable leather lounge chairs, and an old coffee table with magazines on it, some from a period very few could remember.
It also had an aroma, Harry’s father refused to call it an odor, of old age, just short of musty.
Harry always thought he had stepped back in time, to the 1930s, a sort of art-deco before it’s time.  It was just a pity his father didn’t take up space in the Empire State Building when he had the chance.  This office would blend in so well there.
The receptionist was new, a young woman of about 30, whose name according to the plate on the desktop was Millie Blaxland, and whose hair was blonde with streaks of, Harry thought it was purple.  She had a bright smile and made him feel welcome.  She was, also, according to his mother in one of her rants, the daughter of one of his father’s flings.
She clearly didn’t know Harry, not surprising since the first time he had seen her.
“Yes, can I help you?”
“My name is Harry Walthenson.”
The name was not lost on her and elicited a change in expression.
“A relative,” she asked.
“Son, the miscreant one that I’m sure my father never told anyone about, or if he did, in very scathing terms.”
“Oh,” she said, back to her bright self, “the private detective.”
“No doubt my father would have been more disparaging in his description of me or my profession.”
“Oh, no.  Not at all.  He seemed to think you were quite good.  Has he called you in for a job?”
She was almost in conspiratorial mode, voice lowered, and closer to him.  Was he supposed to answer in a lowered voice?
“No.  I’m looking for him.”
“He’s not here, not in today.  Taking a few personal days.  Is there anyone else I can get for you?”
“His personal assistant, Merilyn.  Is she in?”
“Oh, yes.  Take a seat and I’ll tell her you’re here to see her.”

© Charles Heath 2020

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