Dad, scanning the article while slurping his third espresso refill, speculates
whys-and-wherefores with flagging curiosity. Sordid seems the affair
as viewed from his relieved-of-duty distance, elements patently evil or simply macabre
losing their fascination, so
self-absorbed is he in alcoholic blues... grays... blacks and whites as blurry
as Dad’s recollection of where he went the night before, what he might have
done, and who he had offended in the process. He
checks the newspaper’s date, then his wristwatch (specifying
indeed. I must’ve yowled like a tomcat when they declared my gear "off limits"
suggested I was "staggering." I never! I can always set a true course when a
wee bit tipsy, with nary a tilt to starboard. Must’ve made a fuss. Must’ve made
a fool of myself, as usual—basing said assumptions
on years of misbehavior... which ought to give a drunkard pause to
pause. Perchance to stop? But even if an Irishmen gives up drink, drink won’t give
up an Irishman. We’re bonded, don’t you know, till death do us part.
Sober as a priest before
Holy Communion, Dad rolls up the paper,
tucks it under his arm, and leaves Espressoholic
through downtown streets now bustling with
work-a-day-world commuters—en route to make a living, O’Rourke to make amends.
possession of his possessions, finally, Dad prepares again to leave New Zealand,
his passport found in an outside pocket of the bag in which he stashed it
(barcode included), his status as a Duxton Hotel guest reinstated (albeit temporarily),
ruffled feathers smoothed by generous tips (from him) and gracious apologies (from
the management), smiles and obsequious well-wishes expressed all around; his departure, however,
is scuttled for
a second time.
FINAL REPORT RECEIVED. MAINTAIN YOUR LOCATION. FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS PENDING
(WITH APPROPRIATE COMPENSATION).
holding pattern, his least favorite directive (like being ordered to
run in place) is not the best prescription to countermand Dad's ennui—his most
debilitating symptom when coming off a binge, crushingly depressed and
terminally bored by life’s utter pointlessness. But the job—no longer
done i.e. completed—grants the private eye a temporary stay.