9. Harry Hogan – One For The Memory Book

“I’ve been on my own since I was eighteen and, like most people, I have my own set routines,” she said quietly. “I’m afraid that being under the same roof for more than a few days might put a strain on what we have now. We get along fine as friends and working companions but… I don’t want to ruin that.”

“I know what you mean,” he replied, nodding. “Since Mildred passed I’ve got used to being alone.”

“It will take a couple days to get the place cleaned and freshened up since it hasn’t been used in a while. Anything else turn up?”

“Sort of… Boris Bergman… do you know him?”

She frowned. “Used to be the school janitor. I know him enough to say hello when I see him but that’s about it. Why?”

Harry told her about Boris’s eventful night and the footprints.

* * * * * * * * * * * *
Bertie went along with Harry to see Boris after lunch since, as she said, she had nothing better to do until her new living quarters were ready. She took photos of the prints and of the window from inside and outside. Later they discussed every possibility they could think of, no matter how absurd it sounded, but failed to come up with a plausible explanation.

“Homeless people…” Bertie said thoughtfully. “I wonder if any of them frequent the area?”

“I don’t know. Why? What are you thinking?”

“Suppose one of them sneaked in while the place was open and hid in the storeroom until after the place closed for the night.”

Harry rubbed his chin. “But why would he sneak out again before midnight if he was looking for shelter? Why not stay all night?”

“That part is puzzling,” she agreed.

“I used to have an informant when I was working. I’ll go see him in the morning. Joe knows everything about the homeless.”

“Is he one of them?”

“Not quite,” Harry said with a chuckle, “though he could sometimes pass for one. He lives in a small trailer near the waterfront and lives mostly on handouts. He works loading and unloading trucks occasionally and he can stretch twenty bucks a long way.”

Bertie nodded. “While you do that I’ll check with Janet to see if there’s anything at all I need to get, other than groceries.”

* * * * * * * * * * * *
Harry stopped at the deli on his way to Joe’s place in the morning. Joe grinned as he opened the door and invited Harry in. Harry put the coffee and breakfast sandwiches he’d picked up on the small table and they both dug in.

“Haven’t seen you in a while,” Joe said. “Enjoying retirement?”

“Pretty good.”

“Heard you’re a private detective now. That right?”

“Sort of, ” Harry replied. “Nothing major. Just enough to give me something to do sometimes. That’s why I’m here now.” He told Joe about the footprints.

Joe frowned. “Don’t know why anyone would want to sleep in a funeral parlour, but any port in a storm, I guess. Might have an idea though. Call you later. Same number?”

Harry nodded. “Same number. The only difference is now I have to pay for it myself.”

Joe laughed. “Nice seeing you again, Hogan. Call as soon’s I know something.”

* * * * * * * * * * * *

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author
Now retired, after 39 years as a Librarian, Fay Herridge is a voracious reader, avid family historian, and a love of writing. She also enjoys walking, gardening, knitting, crocheting and photography; and is active in church and community events. Her poems and stories have been published in newspapers and magazines. “Satisfaction comes when others enjoy my work while inspiration comes from anywhere and everywhere.”
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