Gazing deadpan at the Blackberry in my hand, I drawl disinterestedly, “To what do I owe the pleasure, Art?”
I’m tempted to act like I’m focused on something offscreen taking up my actual attention, but I worked under Art long enough to know that when he asks you to do something, he doesn’t give a shit what you’re doing because you’re going to be doing what he wants, if you want your next check to clear.
“Me, for keeping your bum ass on the payroll,” Art snaps, though his frown wrinkles into smirk, softening his face. He runs massive paw over his muzzle as if trying to physically pull out the words he is trying to say. “I know you’re off the clock, Miles, but I’ve got a rush job for you.” Something gives in my face and he adds,“Just came up.”
I look up from the phone, scanning the boardwalk. A lone baboon in a black wetsuit strolls whistling toward the marina, scuba gears tuck under one long arm. Two raccoons in tropical shirts and short stand over by boardwalk banister, chatting and casting lines into the water below. Another bench beckons to me and I’m tempted to sit if Art is going to be awhile. I drag my focus back on the phone and Art.
“Did I catch you at a bad time?” Art asks apologetically. Whatever the job is, it’s bad enough for Art to tactful for a change.
“You know Friday evenings are sacred to me, Art,” I state plainly. It’ll be better to rip the Band-Aid right off. “But what’s the job?”
Art’s bulk sags back into his reinforced ergonomic chair. “There’s been a mishap at the docks I need you to look into while things there are fresh,” Art sighs, exasperated, distractedly pawing a button open on his white shirt. Nervously, maybe. “A crane by the port failed and dropped a light shipping container one of the dock workers. The poor ape lost an arm.” He makes slow, slashing motion across his neck with his thick arm, couple with sawing noise from sucking his teeth. “Cut it clean off.”
“That container doesn’t sound light, then,” I quip. That means a bloody scene, since the cops, assuming they’re even done processing the scene, probably aren’t going to be able the crime scene cleaners out here for a day at least, if they’re feeling productive.
Most days they’re not productive.
“Is he going make it?” I ask partly because I don’t generally, with some strong exceptions, don’t like people dying and partly because if that dock worker dies, the job and the insurance payout will be even fucking worse.
No wonder Art wants me to do overtime.
“He’s a silverback,” Art says a little more dismissively than I like. “Y’all are tanks. He’ll make it.”
“Yeah,” I snark, mock breezily. “Good thing we have two arms; you have a spare if something happens to one.”
Art flinches at that. “I’m sorry. Didn’t mean to be insensitive.” He hold up his paws placatingly.
“No offense taken,” I lie, slightly. I glance at the setting sun. A decent jog would probably get me to the loading dock while the sun was still in the sky. “We’re burning daylight, Art. What do you want me to do, exactly?”
“Nothing you’re not paid to do.” Art has a talent for meaning two thing at once. “I just want you to take a look at the scene and make sure everything is on the up and up. Find out if the client was holding up the terms of the policy. See what the damage is. If everything checks out, we pay out, according to the policy.”
Translation: Take magnifying glass to scene of that accident and make sure there is nothing there that could void the client’s insurance policy with us. Find out if the client engaged any fraudulent conduct or made any false statements relating to their insurance that we can use as an excuse to void their policy with us. See exactly what the damage so we can itemize it for a precise payout that isn’t a euro more than necessary. If everything checks out, we’ll pay out only what we’re contractually obligated to.
“Gotcha,” I reply noncommittally, wanting to wrap this up. I’m already walking toward the port, ready to resume running when we break off the call.
“Bellissimo.” Art beams, baring his sharp teeth, looking predatory. Then his smile shrinks to something more pensive. “Hey, Miles. I know your going out of your way for this, so if you wrap this up nicely, there’s a bonus and time off at the end of this for you.”
At bedrock, this is why I like Art and, more importantly, work for him. He is firm, but fair, which rare in a friend, more so a boss.
“I appreciate that, Art. I’ll bring this one home.”
“I know you will,” Art agrees, his voice full of faith I’ve trained myself to ignore. “You’re my closer.”
“Thanks. Bye.” I click off the call and slip the Blackberry back in my arm sleeve before breaking into a run for the port.