49. Talk About a Handful

“Optimized for tablet. You got one, right?”

Danny, the IT kid, pulled our website up on his laptop.

“A tablet,” I said.

He took a breath, did his best not to sigh. “Here, buy this,” he said, scribbling on a sheet that he passed to me.

“Let’s look at your contacts,” Duke said.


“Whatever. LinkedIn. Facebook friends. Gmail. Whatever you got.”

“An address book, that’s what you want?”


I pulled out the black booklet in which I’ve been scratching for decades. Lot of history there. Addresses for people I haven’t seen in thirty years. People I don’t know who they are anymore. Names blacked out so thoroughly that they must have committed some crime against me.

“You’re kidding,” Duke said.


“Okay. Doesn’t matter. We’re thinking about the fish here, not the hook. What we need is, somebody where you mention he might possibly die some day, he doesn’t wet his pants.”

“Him or her,” Brimsnod interjected.

Like Duke, she only had one suit of clothes. She wore that same red power suit with the formerly white blouse, all of it dust-sodden. Her nail polish was chipped away, revealing another rind of grime beneath her fingernails.

“Male, female, doesn’t matter,” Duke said. “We’re talking frame of mind here. Hard-headed but flexible.”

“An outside-the-box type,” Brimsnod said. “Early innovator.”

“Fun-friendly. Knows how to have a good time. Knows people who know how to have a good time. Plus has some extra dough.”

“A connected trend-setter. Country club type, a little golf, a little tennis, maybe a little romp in the hot tub now and then.” A wistful smile came to Brimsnod’s lips. We were talking about memory now more than conjecture.

“The people I know…”

“Think,” Brimsnod commanded. “Doesn’t have to be your best pal. Just someone you can pick up the phone and they won’t hang up.”

“Jen Litely,” I said.

“Jen Litely!” both Duke and Brimsnod exclaimed.

“Brilliant,” Brimsnod said. “Perfect.”

“Couldn’t agree more,” Duke said. “Jesus, she was a handful.”

“You’re telling me,” Brimsnod replied.

They traded a look that made me wonder what I was getting into.

Tomorrow: Hay’s made for rolling

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