Last Call

It’s never too late and it’s never too early. You’re never too old and you’re never too young.
Once he couldn’t wait, now he was throwing on the brakes. Brakes? Hell, he was throwing out an anchor, and a battleship anchor at that. 
He was philosophical about his decision all the way to the ground floor where a sharp bell-chime and gentle shudder brought him back to the physical and the muffled grinding of rarely oiled mechanics revealed the lobby. He stepped out of the elevator and strode down the line of dark varnished doors with their brass name plates catching the the gentle upmarket light from those fancy wall fittings in this more public and therefore better maintained and furnished part of the building. Hell it even smelled like a different class down here, it smelled like easy money made by little men in big offices. Down here you wait on a leather couch to be seen, with coffee and smokes. Upstairs you stand and rattle the glass on the doors and the poor slob inside has nowhere to hide so they usher you in, ready or not.

Where was Frank? He wasn’t at his desk, his newspaper was there, his reading glasses too. His chair was pushed back against the wall and was facing right towards the door as if he’d got up to answer it. The front door was always locked at this time of night and Frank gave any curious drunks or hobos looking for a warm corner for the night firm advice regarding their fortunes if they remained local on his watch. His active service was long behind him, but Frank had the eyes and a tone that spoke much more than his words alone.
The front door was ajar, just a few inches, enough for the rain to be painting a speckled pattern on the tile floor. Frank was no where in sight, this was a first, this was news. As night-man he infrequently opened the door, rarely left the frame to go outside and certainly never left it unattended for seeing to any personal business, he was straight down the line, solid.
His pulse stepped up a gear, he shifted his eyes as far left and right as he could, taking in the whole lobby without moving his head and giving away his search should anyone be watching. Nothing was out of place. Go back? No. Go to the door; act normally?
He had to, if he was walking into a play that had been written for him to take top billing, then they had to be kept in the dark as long as possible. But how could they know his desicion, he’d only shared it with…and Frank, why would they…?

He opened the door wide and felt the cold air carry a few drops of rain onto his face. He looked right and he looked left towards his car.
He just caught the street light on a shoulder and the brim of a hat as the wearer stepped back into the shadows.

The rain pettered out as he stood and thought. The moon broke from the edge of the cloud and it’s thin light washed over over the wet surfaces all around.

Hands thrust into his pockets and with a shrug of the shoulders to draw his coat collar up around his neck, he stepped into the street and turned left.

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