85 Honest, Herb?

On Wednesday morning, Kitty awoke to a call. It was not delivered, Old Testament style, in a dream; no lions, no giants, no beasts. The phone rang and roused her from a deep sleep brought on by hours of frenetic packing up. Hers were dreams of a different kind, dreams of running, connected but unimpeded, sinuous along wave splashed sand, the beach so firm underfoot.

“Kitty Doyle,” she croaked, into the phone. Chapter 85 Honest, Herb?

“You are Kitty no more,” intoned a man’s voice. “You are re-named Kathy, a Kathy called to service.” Kitty snapped awake in time to refrain from an uncalled for response.

“Herbie? Is this you?”

“The messenger, with excellent news. The Miracle Tour is coming and so is our leader. In the meantime, we must prepare.”

Kitty assumed this meant that she’d got the job. She sat up. “Am I in the employ of the leader, now?”

“Yes, with conditions.” Minosa was extremely pleased with himself; his recruiting choice had won him high praise from their leadership. From now on, he would be considered a link in the armored chain that bound that sublime organization. He could hardly wait to get his hands on his neophyte, to be the first to shape her for her coming role. “First, you are re-born as Kathy Doyle.” As her given name was Katerina, she, with reluctance, conceded the change. “Second, that you move to our pastoral house to undergo intensive training.” As she had already arranged with White, Choyce, and Wong to pre-sign on her unit closing as soon as possible and had no particular place in mind to lay her head after that, this too she was prepared to do. “Third, that you undertake this training immediately, with me, and my staff. The mission is at hand.” This was all beginning to seem like a walk in the park.

“Herbie, I’m thrilled. I’ve never had a call like this, ever.”

“We will take care of all your needs now so you can fully enter the life of service to which you’ve been called.” Kitty figured he must say this to all the ladies. Quite the pick-up line but two could play at this game.

“Does that mean that your staff will move me out of here, and in there, so I can begin at once? I’m so ready to move, worked at it all day yesterday, just hoping for this moment. Please say yes!”

“You have spent your time well. I’ll send over my son Linwood with the church truck. When would you want him?”

“You mean there’s a moving allowance built in, too? How wonderful! I have so much to put into storage, can you suggest a suitable place?”

“Linwood will pick up and deliver your things if you go along with him. We command a special rate there and will reimburse you for your storage expenses. Then he’ll direct you to our training center. Pack lightly for that. We have everything you could possibly require.”

Kitty requested that the truck arrive after five that evening, when Gervase would be done for the day. She could then avoid the interference of the concierge, who always asked that residents inform him when a move was in the works. It would be a fine time to tie up the elevator, when people would be arriving home or going out for the night.

That afternoon, once more in the throes of detail, she noticed by her door an invoice from the association, including the amount due for the repairs to the meeting room ceiling. Gervase had walked it up to deliver to Hans, slipping it under his door and Hans, analyzing its contents, had hastily transcribed it and slid it silently under her door, wishing to avoid another confrontation with Kitty.

She scrawled in large, unfriendly letters – ‘you pay’ – and sent it flying under Hans’ door. Hans, hoping to buy some time, slipped it back under hers after suggesting at length, in his customary small and precise hand, that she call her own insurance company to ascertain if they would pay for any of the damages. Later, he found it at his entry again, her new addition to it reminding him that as he was about to become the new owner he could call his own stupid insurance company. Scoffing, Hans wrote up and down and in-between the lines on the now palimpsest-like invoice, explaining that the way it worked was that these costs were assigned to the current owner, not to the unit number itself, and that she was personally responsible for settling the bill by the time of the closing whether she had any insurance or not.

Furious at his obstinacy, before she packed up her computer she donned a pair of dress gloves she’d found the day before in the back of a drawer, then printed out from her phone the incriminating picture of Peter’s car. She typed a label ‘Martin – Milwaukee Police’, slid the print-out into a standard mailer envelope and swiped the adhesive flap closed before stashing it first in a zippered plastic bag and then into her handbag. She quite liked knowing it was there, forced to bide its time, waiting for her will to act upon it.

A few minutes after five, she went down to the garage and opened the door to a truck waiting outside.

“Are you Linwood?”

“Yes, ma’am. Woody, to my friends. You can call me Woody.” Linwood leered at the pretty lady. There was another young man, in the passenger seat. “Here’s my cousin, Tad. You can call him Thaddeus, if you want.” Tad blushed furiously and looked at his shoes.

“Back in over by the elevator doors, and park. I’ll take you upstairs and we’ll get started. How old are you, by the way?”

“Twenty, ma’am, both of us.”

*     *     *     *     *

Just as Gervase was getting ready to leave for the day, late as usual, a few of the residents were standing and grumbling at the lobby elevator doors.

“What’s going on, Gervase? Damn thing’s jammed or something.” Gervase sighed, went to search, discovered a truck parked on the garage level, and walked up the back stairs to the first residential floor, where he saw the elevator doors blocked and the door to Kitty Doyle’s unit wide open, with sounds of grunting and heaving escaping into the hallway, along with a trail of boxes and bags. Never surprised by anything the Doyle woman might do, he was still curious. As far as he knew, this unit hadn’t been for sale but here she was, clearly moving, or showing all the customary signs of a complete-move out. To his trained eye, re-arranging for decorating looked quite different. He knocked on the door jamb and called out a hello.

“Hey, Miss Doyle!” Woody yelled. “There’s some guy outside.” Kitty appeared.

Condo move-ins and move-outs are scheduled, so that the elevator may be padded to prevent damage.

Condo move-ins and move-outs are scheduled, so that the elevator may be padded to prevent damage.

“Excuse me, Miss Doyle, but are you holding the elevator for some reason?”

“What makes you think that?”

“Moving in or out is scheduled, according to association rules, so as not to inconvenience other residents.”

“Too bad, I’m using it.”

“I’ll have to free up the elevator, now.”

“Aren’t you already supposed to be off for the day?”

“Yes I am, Miss Doyle, but people need to use the elevator.”

“Whatever.” He released the elevator, rode it down to the lobby, and went home. Kitty and Gervase both knew that she would lock it up again the moment his back was turned.