(Yeah a case and less documents would’ve made today so much easier…)
“Beatrice, seriously, you need to either roll that up or move it onto your lap, otherwise I am stopping the Princess, and you’re going to sit in the backseat!”
Thank the gods Mr. John Dupree had taken one look at the Princess and decided to meet us there! As amusing as it would have been to watch him try to fit his frame in my tiny VW Rabbit (and listen to his overly starch suit crinkle) – I was glad I had the option of shoving Beatrice back there!
Why? I quickly discovered, without ever having once wondered, that I cannot drive with architectural plans strewn over the dash, the stick shift, and propped up against my person! I need to see thru my whole windshield, not just a narrow field – call me silly, but being able to see a granny crossing the road is a real concern at the moment (the members of the Senior Center would not be amused if I hit a fellow octiginarian….).
A variant of this conversation had been going on for the last twenty-five miles.
But in all seriousness, I now understand why Mr. John Dupree made sure I signed a legally binding contract before chauffeuring Beatrice. (Come to think of it I don’t think I’d ever ridden with her before, we usually met up someplace…..well the things you learn on micro-sized road trips.)
It also explains why he hadn’t volunteered for the duty himself and why my salary for a single day’s work was so generous.
“Beatrice, seriously, study another, smaller piece of paper I am begging you, or I am pulling over your choice.” Carefully I started steering the Princess towards the shoulder, devoutly hoping my tires weren’t heading directly at a ditch.
Somewhere from behind the castle of paper, I heard a muttered, “Fine!” This was followed immediately by copious amounts of rustling, which reminded me of squirrels running through the fallen leaves in our backyard. Eventually, Beatrice emerged from behind a plethora of documentation.
“Why don’t you load all this onto your tablet so you can study it easier?”
Capping the highlighter, “Because clients like this count on discretion. They don’t want to risk someone finding out that their dear old great grandad might have left a stash of racy love letters lying around. So they want analog – which means lots of paper.”
“This doesn’t appear more secure…” Thankfully she finally shifted the blueprints obscuring the windscreen onto her lap.
“It isn’t, but Dupree couldn’t convince them that no one was actually interested enough in their dirty laundry to hack into his servers.” Her voice dry as dust on the subject of today’s clients. Shaking her head, “If they’d drop the original plans off the first time I asked for them, we might have enjoyed the drive.”
Which, now that I could finally witness it in wide angles was rather lovely, all evergreens, frost tipped grass, farm animals and rustic houses. We’d left the outskirts of Rye about fifty minutes ago, and according to my phone, we had another ten to go before we reached our destination.
Still nosing through the documents, which in concession to my not so muffled grumblings she kept below the dash (but were still resting against my shoulder/thigh/elbow), “I thought you’d be more curious about my other job.”
“I was, right up until you smacked me in the head with a ten-pound roll of paper and then used me as an easel for over an hour.”
“Yes, that could kill one’s curiosity…” Contrition colored her words (but only a small portion of the papers changed positions).
Noticing (in my delightfully unimpeded peripheral vision) her cheeks turning pink, I threw her a bone, “So why do you need so many architectural drawings?”
Slightly bemused, Beatrice answered, “They tell me where the bones of the house are, which in turn gives me a solid starting point.”
Waiting for a beat, “Starting point? For what?”
“To find what they’ve lost.”