I was back in my office by four-thirty, just in case Lieutenant Baker was one of those, “If you’re not ten-minutes early , you’re late, ” kind of guys.
As it turns out he was not one of those guys. At five-fifteen I checked the phone for a dial tone. At Five-thirty I began to think about what it would be like to tell Maria I’d lost the contract. I had just gotten to her saying something along the lines of , “El stupido grando,” when the phone rang.
“Animals on Call, Frederick James speaking. “
“JIMMY!!!!” Lieutenant Baker calling. How have you been?”
“I’m doing really well. How are you?”
“Well that depends on your answer. Have you decided to become part of the team?”
“Well Lieutenant Baker, I had a staff meeting yesterday and they’re on board. I went over the contract with my lawyer earlier and she gave me a green light. So, I am definitely in.”
“That’s GREAT Jimmy! You had me worried for a minute, with all that talk about staff meetings and lawyers….You signed the contract and had it notarized. Right?”
“Absolutely. It’s signed, sealed and ready to be delivered. You just need to tell me what the next steps are. “
“Alright! A tentative meeting has been scheduled for this coming Monday at O, Eight-hundred hours on the base. If that works with your schedule I’ll make reservations for three nights for you at the Conquistador Hotel. They have free breakfast and you can pick up the rest of your meals on base. Are you with me so far?”
“Yes. Sounds good so far.”
“Great. You will be meeting with Colonel Potter, Sergeant Smith and I. The animal trainer, who has been working with the opossums, unsuccessfully, for the past four months. Sergeant Flummoxed, will also be there. He will give you an overview of the project and a tour of the facility.”
“Will I be working directly with Sergeant Flummoxed?”
“I was about to tell you that Sergeant Flummoxed is transferring to another base. Let me see…a Sergeant MacKenzie will be replacing him. I haven’t met or heard anything about Sergeant MacKenzie. I will get on the horn and see what info I can find out about him.”
“Okay, sounds good. “
“If you get to the motel early enough, on Sunday, give me a call. I’ll give you the nickel tour of town. There’s a little Steakhouse we could go to for dinner and I know some great bars to get a little dessert, if you get my drift.”
“Sounds like a great time on the town. “
“If you have any questions or concerns, give me a call. Otherwise, I will see you on Sunday.”
“Thank you Lieutenant. Goodbye. “
I hung up and did a little dance around the room.
Good news like this needed to be shared. It was times like this when I really missed being married. If only Catherine were still here. We would have danced around the room together, gone out for steak and Champagne, or cleared off the top of my desk and made mad passionate love.
Instead I picked up my phone and called Maria. “Hey Maria, I just spoke with Lieutenant Baker….”