after the simple dinner he made his way from the bar towards the hotel entrance and the taxi stand. joining the small queue already waiting he noticed nothing amiss. when his turn came, he gave the cabbie an address on n. wabash. from there he could walk over to 2120 michigan ave and relish in the old days of the blues and chicago. after his trip down memory lane he caught another cab and had it drop him off a block from his apartment building.
the walk back to his apartment was uneventful and nothing was out of the ordinary. once safely back in his place he finished up what needed to be done for his trip. satisfied with the fact he was ready he took a long hot shower. after he poured himself three fingers of absolut on the rocks. then drank it slowly while sitting in the dark and looking out on the street below.
the alarm in his head woke him just before sunrise. getting dressed he could tell the day would be even be cooler than the day before. a good time to travel to warmer weather if only for a day or two. his bag was packed. just a carry on. the largest he could get away with. whatever else he needed he could acquire when he reached the job site. he picked out another phone from his kitchen stash and put it in his pocket. he also put another ID and matching visa card with photo in his wallet. no one would find it unless they had the wallet and went through it. that wasn’t going to happen. unless he was dead. then it didn’t matter. the apartment was checked. he collected his bag, coat and secured things. satisfied he went downstairs and outside.
he flagged a cab and gave the driver the congress hotel address. he wanted breakfast before his flight. the congress was as good as any place for a breakfast. with his bag he would blend in with the other travelers staying there. plus, the congress was a favorite of his since he and charlie musselwhite had shared a table there several years ago.
after his meal he made his way to the taxi stand and got a cab to midway airport. the 40 minute ride was uneventful. he favored midway over o’hare because there were no international flights departing or arriving at midway. thus, security would be a little less tense. he’d found it to be less stressful every other time he had flown from there.
collecting his boarding pass from the kiosk was a snap. his latest phony id proved to be no problem. so far they never had. cursory checks and the new pat down proved to be easy and simple as well. he bought a newspaper and sat where he could watch his back and the outside at the same time. his flight was called and he made his way down the gangway to the plane and his seat.
the plane slowly filled up and after it had there was a short interval before they taxied away and out to the runways. soon it was up in the air and turning west toward california. less than five hours later the plane was crossing the san gabriels then lining up for it’s landing at orange county’s john wayne airport.
after landing he bought an orange county map then made his way to the rental car area where he used his mastercard to rent a nondescript mid size car. with his bag in the trunk he sat in the driver’s seat and made a phone call.
let’s have dinner. you up for it?
nobu sushi on avenida pico. it should be crowded and busy enough for us to talk. i’m maybe forty-five minutes out. depending on traffic.
fine. i know someone there. i’ll get us a proper table. see you.
he ended the call then made another. this time to the hotel miramar on el camino real. they didn’t have a room but they and most other good hotels always do. especially if you were willing to pay for it. he was as he’d never get the bill. no one else would either. the mirimar would just put it down to doing business.
pulling away from the airport he turned the radio to a local sports talk station he knew from memory. the hosts were talking laker basketball. certainly not his favorite subject but it was better than news or crappy music. thirty-five minutes later he was turning into nobu’s parking lot. it was a good choice as the lot was almost full. meaning the restaurant would be. and a rowdy bar crowd to go along with the diners. the perfect place for a meal and a serious chat.