The Personal History, Adventures, Experiences & Observations of Peter Leroy
The Personal History, Adventures, Experiences & Observations of Peter Leroy
🎧 702: In movies, . . .

🎧 702: In movies, . . .

What a Piece of Work I Am, Chapter 26 concludes, read by the author

IN MOVIES, there are always clues. A spy will walk into a deserted square in Bratislava and we, the viewers, will know—from the way the shadows fall, the stillness in the air, the unusual way that the pigeons are pecking at crumbs—that this is a setup, that he’s walking into a trap, but the clues in life are subtle, unreliable, and often misleading, so we rarely spot the setup or see the ambush coming.
     When Ariane arrived at Sunrise Cove, she saw the surprise on the faces of her coworkers, and when she leaned around the corner of Mr. Murray’s office door, she saw the surprise on his face, too—in fact, she told herself that he looked as if he had never expected to see her in the place again—but she didn’t see that he was discomfited by her sudden appearance, that he wished she had stayed away.
     “Ariane,” he said.
     “Back at last,” she said.
     “I wasn’t expecting you.”
     “I thought I’d surprise you—and everybody.”
     “Well, you have. You have.”
     “I’m—you know—fully recovered. Rarin’ to go. I thought I’d kind of say hi to everybody before I got back to work. Guy around?”
     “Come in, Ariane,” he said. “Come in and close the door.”
     “Oh? Okay.”
     Mr. Murray seemed tired and embarrassed, and Ariane hadn’t a clue why. She closed the door. She sat down. Mr. Murray opened his desk drawer, took an envelope from it, and tossed it onto the desk. Ariane recognized it, because of the two pieces of masking tape on it. It was the envelope she had found taped to the back of the drawer in Guy’s bedside table, the envelope that had held the money.
     She could hardly keep from smiling. Guy had been found out, without her having to say or do a thing. All she had to do was keep Mr. Murray from guessing that she had known anything about it.
     “What’s the story?” she asked.
     “I think you can tell me, can’t you?” He had adopted the manner of a detective from a series of B movies he had enjoyed twenty years earlier.
     “What makes you think that?” asked Ariane.
     “Oh, come on, Ariane,” said Mr. Murray. “You’re disappointing me. That makes twice.”
     What the hell, she thought. I might as well just tell him what I know. “Okay,” she said. “I found this when I was cleaning Guy’s room—”
     “What?” said Mr. Murray. He seemed not to understand her.
     “The envelope,” she said. “It was taped—”
     “It was taped to the top of your locker,” said Mr. Murray.
     “It was taped to the top of your locker. Up where nobody would be likely to see it. That’s where Guy found it.”
     She grabbed the envelope and looked inside. The mismatched pair of earrings was there, and a couple of the other cheaper pieces.
     “Oh, shit,” she said.
     “Watch it,” said Mr. Murray.
     “You don’t believe this?”
     “I saw it there myself,” he said. “Guy was worried about you, and he was going to see if there was anything you needed, so he went through your locker. And that’s how he—”
     “Where is that bastard?”
     “I don’t think you appreciate how upset he was.”
     “Oh, I know how upset he was. Where is he?”
     Mr. Murray got up and came around the desk. He took Ariane’s arm. “Look, Ariane,” he said. “I don’t want any trouble about this.”
     “Look, Mr. Murray,” she said, “let me explain—” He began pulling her from her chair. “What is this?”
     “I told you, I don’t want any trouble. You’re a local girl—I don’t want to—accuse you of anything. I don’t want a lot of noise about this. I don’t want trouble, you understand?”
     “No. I don’t understand. Let go of me.”
     “I want you out of here,” he said. “Just walk away.” He did not let go of her arm. He pulled her toward the door. “Walk away, keep your mouth shut, and I’ll just consider this a mistake—a passing thing—a little mischief. Okay? Nothing more. Just go away.”

[to be continued]

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The Personal History, Adventures, Experiences & Observations of Peter Leroy
The Personal History, Adventures, Experiences & Observations of Peter Leroy
The entire Personal History, Adventures, Experiences & Observations of Peter Leroy, read by the author. "A masterpiece of American humor." Los Angeles Times