Letter to Wade Garner:
I was going to call, but I thought it would be easier to put this down on paper. Help me think it through while I’m writing it. . . .
First, I want to think you for the job offer. Director of Toronto, Canada Headquarters of Garner Security is damn impressive. And you know I’ve been giving it a lot of serious thought.
But I’m going to have to pass on this one, buddy.
No, not because I’ve decided to stay here in Philadelphia. I know I seem to have what you’ve referred to as a “strange and inexplicable attachment” to the place. Maybe it’s because I’ve lived here longer than anywhere else I’ve ever lived in my life. And all jokes aside, it is a great city. But it’s time to move on now. Time for a change.
And the change I’ve decided to make is going to have you rolling on the floor. I’ve accepted the position as the University Police Chief of Piedmont State University in Gallagher, Virginia. And before you say where the hell is Gallagher, get a map and look it up. Actually, it’s on the border of North Carolina - in the Piedmont section of Virginia where they grow tobacco, or used to anyway. The university itself is pretty large - over twenty-six thousand students, plus faculty and staff. And, as Southern cities go, Gallagher seems livable, more cosmopolitan than some, a lot of history. . .and, yes, I know you want to know how the hell I fell into this one.
I saw the position posted on the website for Piedmont State University. I was visiting the university website because I wanted to know where the place was. And I wanted to know that because. . .remember the woman I told you about the first time we got together last summer after I’d been to Cornwall to visit my ex-partner? Yeah, that woman - the uptight, neurotic, spinster school teacher. The one who managed to be a major headache and a general pain in the butt. It’s a little blurry given the amount of bourbon we consumed that evening, but I think I mentioned at some point that the school she teaches at is a university. A university in a little town called Drucilla, Kentucky. That’s where she was. Now she’s going to Piedmont State for a year as a visiting professor.
And, yeah, I do recall that I told you that evening - as I was getting drunk as hell - that Cornwall had been a disaster as vacations go. A murder investigation in the midst of my R and R, and a woman at the end of it who had the nerve to tell me that she wasn’t interested - assuming that I was damn well interested in her. Well, anyway, after I’d gotten back to Philadelphia. . .well, the truth is I found myself thinking about her now and then. And then, Ed called and happened to ask how she was doing, if I’d heard from her - so, I e-mailed her, okay? And we’ve been e-mailing for the past few months. I know it’s stupid. The woman’s in Kentucky, and we’ve been carrying on this e-mail correspondence every week - her classes, my latest case, the price of gas. She even sent me a damn recipe for chocolate pecan pie after I mentioned my sweet tooth. Crazy as hell, right? I’m too damn old for this. . .
Anyway, now she’s going to be in Gallagher, Virginia. And I’m about to quit a perfectly good job and go there. . . .
But it’s not because of her. Or, at least, mostly not because of her. As I said, I need a change. I don’t have to tell you that things haven’t been that great in my life for a while. That’s why you offered me the director’s position in Toronto. And I do thank you for that, buddy. Not that I wouldn’t have been a hell of a director. But as unlikely a place as it seems, I think Gallagher, Virginia might be where I should go to start to re-think my life.
Not that anything’s likely to happen with my uptight spinster. And being a university police chief might turn out to be the last thing I want to do. So a few months after I land in Gallagher and unpack my bags, I might be sending you my resume - so save me a spot somewhere. But, for now, I’m going to go with it and see what happens.
And, yes, I will call you in a few days so that you can tell me that I’ve lost what was left of my mind. Meanwhile, give Bree a kiss for me. Tell her that I’m glad that she and baby Josh liked the rattle. The christening is circled in red on my calendar.
Got to go. Things to do.