- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
He dropped the two audiocassettes into the red plastic bag. Listening as they thudded against the new cassette player inside, he weighed the small package in his scratched, dirty hand for a moment, and then sighed before he gave it, and a twenty-dollar bill, to the waiting bellboy.
"Thank you, sir. Any message?"
"No. I'm afraid it's too late for that. Just take it up and…."
Little puffs of dust rose lazily from everywhere on the man's somewhat tattered, very soiled person, when he shrugged away whatever he had been going to say and substituted, "Son, if this doesn't speak for me, nothing will."
"Yes, sir," the young man said, hesitating just a second before he added, pointing to the man's left, "The public restrooms are down that way, if you'd like to clean up or something."
"That bad, huh?"
The bellboy didn't answer directly, but his nose wrinkled, just a trifle, before he grinned and hurried toward the elevator.
Albert Weston, full-time mystery writer, self-appointed detective, and late, very late, romantic hero, stood there for a long moment. It was long enough to almost see the tape unwinding in the player, to almost hear his own voice explaining how one small act of mercy from an innocent bystander, himself, had led to such bloody and unbelievable consequences. Albert's lips wanted to move, to mime the tape, making his excuses as only a fiction writer could, but they didn't.
All he said was "I'm sorry," knowing it wasn't enough, could never be enough.