“There is little to do when there is little you can do, so that’s the best time to get things done,” Dave said to Steve and Niles. They sat at the table near the window overlooking the harbor in the dining room of the Harbor Inn.
“That makes sense to you, doesn’t it, Steve?” Niles said.
Steve chuckled. “That’s what our dad always said to us.”
“Stop helping me so I can get things done,” Dave said, “Remember that one?”
“We were in our 30s before we caught on to all those things he said,” Steve said.
“Show me a woman who can swim well and I’ll show you a woman that has to be burned at the stake,” Dave said.
“Sounds like your dad was quite a philosopher,” Niles said.
“Still is,” Steve said. “Has a little place at Otter Cove.”
“Said he’d never live to see 90,” Dave said, “so he’s been 89 for the past three years.”
“He checks on us every day,” Steve said. “He’s worried we may be getting too old to look after ourselves.”
“My dad is a cop over in a small town in eastern New York,” Niles said. “He’s a cop’s cop and I’m a detective. He wants to come over here for a month and run the department while I solve the cases. If he were here now, he’d be clearing my driveway with a shovel. I can’t tell you how many times, as a kid, waking up at five in the morning to the sound of him scraping the driveway with a snow shovel. My dad ain’t gonna make it in heaven, no crime to fight.”
“Or snow to shovel,” Steve quipped.
“I remember when a rookie, they sent me to work with my dad for a week,” Niles said. “I thought, oh crap. We walked into a middle of a bar fight two guys squaring off against two guys. I was ready to call it in. Dad walked up in the middle of them and said ‘come on you guys how long have you known each other?’ The guy says we just met. So dad says ‘than you haven’t known each other long enough to fight over anything.’ Those sort of things take time to develop.”
“Sounds like your dad and ours would get along pretty good,” Steve said.
“It’s amazing how when you’re a teenager you want as much distance as possible between you and your dad and when you leave home… Well, you know what I mean.” Niles said.
Steve looked at Dave. “No, we don’t.”
Charley and Shelly walked in from the kitchen, poured a coffee, and sat down for awhile.
They talked as the weather worsened; snow raced across the deck and the wind howled angrily. Some of the gusts caused a sudden drop in the room temperature. Snow plows were called off the roads.
Main Street of Brewster Harbor stood motionless and abandoned. Niles looked out the window of the front door. The street appeared lifeless as if a black and white photo, only the snow herded by the wind gave life to the raw brutality of nor’easter.
Niles tapped Jessica’s number on his cell phone.
“Town hall, Miss. Webster.”
“This is Niles, Jessica, how’re things going at the office?”
“Quiet,” Jessica said.
“I’ll come over and help you lock up,” Niles said. “I can walk you home or you can come over with us at the Harbor Inn.”
“You stay there, Chief,” Jessica said. “I don’t want you slipping and breaking any bones. I’ll lock ‘er up and be right over.”
Ten minutes later Jessica came in from the snow and fury. She hung her coat.
“Have a seat,” Shelly said getting up from the table. I get you a coffee or hot chocolate.”
“Hot chocolate,” Jessica said.
Niles grabbed a chair from another table and sat it with the others.
“Thanks, Chief,” Jessica said and handed Niles a sheet of paper. “I think you wanted this.”