Supposedly, he’d joined the police force right out of high school. Gone on to be the fastest rising star in the Memphis P.D. and made Detective in record time. Then in less than a year he quit in disgrace. The papers had a field day with it; “Genius Kid Detective Fired!” the headlines read, though the details were murky even ten years later. Some people Angie had talked to in the force said Arthur got shitcanned because of his attitude with stodgy superior officers. At least one old detective told her (in confidence of course) that the Boy Detective quit because he had, as he put it in his lengthy resignation letter, “reached the apex of what the police could do, and - as my conscience dictates - must move on to a more effective means of resolving crimes, both great and small, unconstrained by short-sighted and ham-fisted departmental regulations.”
Or so it was said.
Supposedly he started his own detective agency, “Eye of Providence Investigations” he called it, “No case too big, no case too small.” The address in the old yellow pages from Angie’s apartment turned out to be a third story one-man office in a run-down complex somewhere off Poplar Avenue. The door was locked, and a blue sheet of paper was taped over the large, unblinking eye logo etched into the glass.
"This is a notice of eviction." Seth said, tracing his finger over lines of legal script, "Dated a year ago, I’m surprised it’s still here. Guess there’s not much demand for this space."
Angie looked up and down the dimly lit hallway, dirty yellow seventies carpet and all, and sighed.
"Yeah. Well fuck, this is the last information I had on him. Screw it, let’s get a drink. I saw a Mexican joint when we came in."
Together they rode the elevator back down and strode into Taco Del Diablo.
They perched on rickety stools at the tiny bar and she ordered shots of Tequila and cold beers from the matronly bartender, who smiled and patted her hand, saying something in Spanish which Angie didn’t quite get. Seth chuckled under his breath.
Angie glared at him, “What was that?”
"Well, my Spanish is rough, but I’m pretty sure she is very concerned about a woman your age dating a black man," he said.
She threw her head back and laughed. “Oh my god, we found the one bar in Memphis where my Mexican mother works, wow.”
They both laughed some more at that and hoisted shots of awful cheap booze at one another.
"Here’s to Arthur," Angie said, "What was it we used to say, back in the old days? Oh yeah." She placed her hand over her heart. Seth did likewise.
"Detectives together! Detectives forever!" they intoned, and drank.
A quiet voice behind them spoke, “Detectives never give up. That’s the other line.”
There was a moment of coughing and spluttering.
And they turned, and there he was. Tall, thin, dark haired, solemn. Like some Gothic stork.
He smiled slightly, which was really as good as he could do.