The Surprising Life and Death of Diggory Franklin
I sat back in my chair and blew air from my mouth in frustration. Old Man White stared back at me, grinning.
“I know it sounds ludicrous,” I said, “But it’s so deliberate. With uncanny timing, my father rode waves of profits until just before the bubbles burst, and then pulled out. Every time. Not one risky investment, one loss, over the last year. Why do I get the feeling that I’d see the same thing if I looked over last year’s books, or the year before?”
After confirming with Matt that he’d had no trouble dropping off the money to the Squid, I hustled downstairs to catch a taxi and head over to Mr. White’s house. I tried to concentrate on the matter at hand, running my father’s business, but I found myself distracted.
Why did that dream bother me so? It wasn’t even totally comprehensible. But I was still certain it had taken place in the warehouse. And Calla clearly remembered events from last night that I couldn’t recollect. Something was wrong. But what?
“You… had a good time?” I asked, sliding into the seat across from Calla.
“Of course I did! It was amazing. Thank you so much!” She grinned.
“Anytime?” I said, raising an eyebrow.
Calla giggled. I’d never seen her so enthused, she usually seemed a lot cooler than this. She was almost giddy, like a kid at Christmas. Whatever I did, it seemed like it had been awesome. The problem was, I couldn’t remember most of yesterday at all.
I rolled out of bed on Monday morning, shaking cobwebs from my head. I rubbed my face vigorously and then headed for the shower.
As I soaped, I went over my plans for the day: Matt was going to go to the bank with me, then I had to hold the first meeting in our temporary “offices,” before a meeting with Old Man White. I had to be on my game today, as the new head of Franklin Investments. I didn’t look forward to it.
“Oh yeah! Okay!” Agent Jameson said. He raised his gun and started firing randomly. Every time it went off he blinked, as if the noise and flash were unsettling. He moved his hand spasmodically, as if hoping to get lucky without actually aiming. “Run!”
I stood in the doorway of the warehouse that would be the temporary headquarters of Franklin Investments. I had my hands deep in my coat pockets as I watched light rain drizzle down outside. It was just before four o’clock.
A taxi pulled up a few moments later, and the lanky form of Agent Jameson emerged. He smiled pleasantly and waved. I nodded back.
“Hi there, Mr. Franklin!” He said, in his eternally cheerful voice. “So, it’s still raining, huh?”
Agent Johnson reached into his suit jacket, as we watched the door swing open. I tensed, slowly lifting my beer bottle. It wasn't a great weapon, but I'm not a gun-carrying C.I.A. agent.
"Digger?" A familiar voice called out as the door opened.
"Hey, Matt," I said, waving Johnson off. He slid his hand back out of his coat and resumed his relaxed posture.
Matt entered my apartment, smiling as he saw me. "Hey, bud, feeling any better since Friday?"
He cut himself off there, seeing that I wasn't alone in the kitchen.
After recounting my meeting with Zebediah to his satisfaction, Agent Johnson let me up off the floor. I rubbed feeling back into my arm while he went to my fridge. He got out two bottles of beer and then went directly to the right drawer for the opener. Popping the caps with practiced ease, Johnson slid one down the counter towards me. Smiling, he sat down casually.
"No hard feelings? It'll wear off soon."
"I know," I said, taking a seat at one of the stools against the counter. "I used the same manuver on Friday. I put Ford Jones against a wall."
Completely drenched, I trod towards home. Even my shoes felt water-logged, sloshing around my feet. The rain slowly petered off as I walked further and further away from the park. For the first time I found the September weather cold, but the wind on my wet skin probably didn't help.
I had already done my running for the day, so I found myself with a lot of pent-up anger that I didn't have the energy to deal with. My arms and legs ached. I rode up in the elevator, slumped against the wall.
I laced up my sneakers and stretched in the elevator, hoping for a good, pulse-pounding jog. I walked across the lobby and hit the sidewalk. And a butt-load of pedestrians. I actually had to bob and duck backwards to avoid getting run over by three. It seemed like a mad rush of people.