Chapter Six Hundred and Thirty-eight - Mysterious (part four)
Chapter Six Hundred and Thirty-eight - Mysterious

Chapter Six Hundred and Thirty-eight - Mysterious (part five)

CHAPTER SIX HUNDRED and THIRTY-EIGHT

(part five)

Thursday morning — 10:00 a.m.

New York City, New York

Maresol Tafoya looked Bernie up and down before nodding. Bernie wore a brown wool suit and shoes that cost so much that she hadn’t told him the price. She straightened his silk tie and smoothed his starched white shirt.

“You look great,” Maresol said.

“I do look snazzy,” Bernie said with a big grin. “If I may say so myself.”

“Seth knows his suits,” Maresol said.

“It’s that gangster Big Daddy,” Bernie said. “Always wore the best suits.”

“One like this one,” Maresol said.

“Just like this one,” Bernie said.

Smiling to give him confidence, Maresol nodded. They were standing outside a tall high-rise building in Manhattan.

“You remember where to go?” Maresol asked.

Bernie nodded. Maresol grinned at him. He gave her a quick nod. Without another word, he turned in place and went inside the building. He nodded confidently to the security guard and took an elevator. He marveled that he was the only one on the elevator. He looked at himself in the shining mirror. The brown suit matched his brown eyes. His tie and face mask matched.

He silently wished he had one of those old fedoras. A brown one that matched this suit. He grinned.

“You’ll look like one of those hipsters,” Maresol had commented when he’d brought it up. “Kids. You are not a child.”

“But I am hip,” Bernie had said.

She and Seth had laughed, but they hadn’t disagreed. Children — they were both children compared to him. He stepped off the elevator on the 21st floor. He twisted and turned through the building until he reached the correct door. He went inside.

Being careful to stay six feet away, he told the young receptionist his name. He thought that she might have smiled at him, but he couldn’t see it behind her mask. She got up and walked him back to an office in the corner of the suite. She opened the conference room door, and Bernie went inside.

“Seth Bernbaum,” the man said. “I. . .”

“You can’t believe I’m still around,” Bernie said.

“That too,” the man laughed.

The man got up and gestured to a seat on his side of the table. Bernie passed the man.

“I would shake your hand, but they say we’re not supposed to,” Bernie said.

“So true,” the man said.

Bernie looked at the man. This man was the son of Erik Bearn, his old lawyer. Bernie remembered when the son of Erik Bearn was born. From where he sat, he noticed that the son had deep crow’s feet and little hair on his head, now.

The son’s name was. . . Bernie drew a blank. He tried to remember this middle aged man as a child. He remembered that his father had been deeply scarred by the Nazis, concentration camps, and the horrors of World War II. After changing their family name to Bearber, he’d given all of his children good English names.

William.

The lawyer’s name was William Bearber.

Denver Cereal continues tomorrow...

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