Previously: Week -1
Idle thoughts: Can I keep writing in present tense? Every couple paragraphs I find myself switching to past...Should I keep reading Spenser novels - I'm through about a third of them and there's over 30 - while I'm trying to find my own detective?...How soon do I pull back the curtain on the bio I've crafted?...
Sometimes I feel like I only do things because I've already started something and I like finishing what I start. I hope I can finish this one, I think to myself. I look at Bettye Cooke's driver's license. She's 26, and she doesn't appear to have left a big mark on the world. Except ol' Del Gardner.
I found the license in the back of Dusty's, a comfort bar in Pioneer Square where I like to drink cheap beer and people-watch. Valerie is the bartender, and she's a friend of mine and doesn't give me crap about drinking Rainier. I was there my first day back in Seattle, and I found it in the men's bathroom, which was intriguing, but I wasn't looking to problem-solve right away. I gave the license to Valerie, and a week later she told me nobody had called about it.
'So return it to the Department of Licensing or whatever,' I had told her.
'Is that what I do with it?' She raised an eyebrow. Valerie has very expressive eyebrows under her short red hair and gets a lot of tips. She looks Irish now, but I know she's really a blonde. Sometimes I bully moon-eyed would-be lovers away.
'You're the bartender.'
'You're a cabbie,' she said. 'People usually aren't so mushed in here that they forget where they left their ID. I check calls when I'm early shift, they come in, easy peasy. What do you do when they leave their wallet in your cab?'
'I usually look up the address and return it.'
'Prince Valiant,' she said, pressing the card into my hand. 'So do the lady a solid. Maybe she'll appreciate it.' Again with the eyebrows.
That was Tuesday. It's Friday. I wonder what makes Valerie think Bettye Cooke is my type. She's brown-skinned, wearing a V-neck sweater over a white collared shirt with blue stripes. Shoulder-length black hair, bangs. She's got a nice smile especially when you factor in the usual DMV wait. It was issued a year ago. She's 5'7", 155. Or at least that's what the license says. They don't actually weigh you at the DMV.
You can learn a lot about someone from a driver's license, but that hasn't helped me track her down. The address listed was a phenomenal bust, which only makes me more interested. No one was home in the lower apartment unit D on Pill Hill on Wednesday. On Thursday, I waited for an hour and then talked to the tenants in A, B, and C - all elderly folks who were reasonably nosy, because I had a much better lie about being her cousin when I talked to A than when I started at C - didn't know her. The tenants in C were a Marian and Phil, and they had been there about two years, and they were out of town and the old man in B was supposed to get any junk mail that fell outside their slot, and did I want to come in for some coffee?
I did some math.