It seemed a harmless exercise and after I looked it over I thought it was all the more fitting as a play on the tip to the detective. I had no idea if the tip had any value. It was much as if I had made up a short story, or the start of a novel. As if I had found a novel in the lobby, reworked it a bit, and then given it to the police and said here, here is what I think is a key in the crime you are solving.
After three or fours months I had carried out about six deliveries. By then I had established by custom, word-of-mouth and I suppose instructions by the hotel staffers exactly how to request my courier service. Today a woman approached and she executed the situation with perfection that showed she had done her homework. I appreciated that and told herself. She smiled knowingly. She might have been fifty. Understated elegance, a dark turquoise suit, blonde hair styled into a flattering curve around her face. She sat down in the chair next to mine in the lobby. I would like to engage your service she said, sure that the usual introductory exchanges were not to be used. Find, I said, explain the details. Not a hint of her story, of anyone’s story. No appeals, no explanations or background. She opened her large leather purse, a fine piece of workmanship, perhaps Portuguese or Moroccan workmanship, I couldn’t be sure. She handed me a medium sized, soft leather pouch, light gray colored leather, trimmed in burgundy welting. For Thursday, she said simply, between 2 and 4, to room 57 at the Phoenix Copenhagen. I nodded my approval and acceptance of the task. She began to rise, paused and seated again, and said, perhaps I will say hello again to you on Friday or during the week after. This is a bit unusual, I did not welcome or expect clients to check in with me after the job had completed or to seek any further information or approval. Fine, I said, it won’t be necessay but it could be fine to chat a bit. With that she rose and walked away.
I like the Phoenix and had even considered using it as one of my three bases. But it is too grand and showy for my taste these days. I knocked on the door of room 57 at 3:12 Thursday afternoon. An aide of some sort opened the door and took the pouch. I thanked him for delivering it properly, I was sure he would. This was the modus operandi I had worked out over the first six months in the city and it was what I wanted to use fore the remainder of my enterprise while I was there. “Enterprise” is of course the wrong word. No money was involved. I had too much of that now and I simply wanted to “be of service” as the cliché has it. I wanted some slight activity for this late phase of my life. I enjoyed imagining what value it might have rather than knowing or want to know if it did or not. What was in the soft gray pouch could have been anything. I enjoyed making the judgment in an instant, as soon as I saw the person asking, much as a jury is said to make its mind up as to guilt or innocence as soon as it lays eyes on the defendant for the first time.