“We should talk about him some time.”
I handed Ed a cup of coffee and said coldly, “No, we shouldn’t.”
He smiled slowly and said, “Well, maybe not.”
“Why do you care, anyway?”
“Habit. I need to know everything. Even things that are none of my business. I’m always getting in trouble over that.”
I could get to like this laid back FBI agent. He had loyalty and an odd way of looking at life. But I wasn’t going to tell him about my past just because he was likable.
Ed sipped and leaned back. “So you got discharged and spent three months wandering around Europe. Then you came to San Francisco. Why?”
“Did you ever live through a Wisconsin winter?”
“No. But I get your point.”
“I had met my Aunt Adele a few times when I was a kid, and I liked her. She was about the only relative I had left, so when I was in Germany I started writing to her. She invited me out. I’d gotten my GED while I was in the Army and wanted to go to college, so she put me up here and gave me this job. She paid my tuition, but I worked for the rest.”
“How does Joe Dias fit into all this?”
“I met him through Rusty Dixon. Joe and I both fire at Rusty’s pistol range. I was complaining about the price of Rusty’s reloads, so he introduced me to Joe. I went to work for him a few hours a week for spending money.”
“How long were you a P.I.?”
“I wasn’t – exactly. Joe called me three-quarters of a P.I.. I went to work for him in 1982. There weren’t many computers around then, and I had learned how to use one in the Army, so I started out doing computer searches. Eventually, I did everything, but it was never a profession with me, just a job. It was exciting sometimes, and it paid OK, but mostly I was interested in college.”
“How long?” Ed prompted.
“I can’t say, exactly. It was off and on. There were months when I wouldn’t see him at all, and times when I would work for several weeks straight. He let me work around my college schedule. I had a pretty tough time at first, and Joe was always understanding.”
Ed didn’t say anything, but he didn’t look bored either. He had the knack of drawing you out, making you want to explain further.
“A GED is no real substitute for High School. My junior year was a disaster after my Dad ran off and I was trying to raise my sister. Then I missed my senior year altogether. When I got to college, I made really bad grades at first. It took me a while to learn how to learn. Then I had to retake some classes to get my GPA up so I could get into grad school. It took me a long time to get my M.A..” more tomorrow