Yeah, he knows about the stakeout. Ricky knows about everything I get involved in. It's part of what makes our relationship work. No secrets. The only bone of contention, as far as he's concerned, is that we're not living together. Not that I don't want us to, but I'm nothing if not a realist. If we did, it could put him in someone's sights if they came gunning for me. He understands, but it doesn't mean he likes it.
I chuckled. "Up to a point before the shit hit the fan, as it were."
"Uh-oh. Now what?"
"It seems someone thinks I have something that belongs to them, and they weren't taking no for an answer when I told them I didn't have a clue what they were talking about."
"Damn. How bad is the damage?"
See, Ricky knows me real well so the question was a given. He's not too happy about the fact I get hurt sometimes. But that's only to be expected. Both getting hurt and his not liking it.
"Could be worse. Sore gut, sore ribs, a few bruises and contusions."
"Walt, bruises and contusions mean the same thing." He had to point that out, being the more anal—and erudite—of the two of us.
"Yeah, well… Anyway, I'm alive and not in the hospital, so all's good."
He snorted. "Define 'good'. You really don't know what it is they're looking for?"
"Not clue one. All I know for sure is their boss apparently runs a theft ring. A good one from what Parker said."
"How'd he get involved?"
"He and his partner turned up just in time to keep me from being turned into hamburger." When he asked, I filled him in on the details.
"What am I going to do with you?" Ricky said when I finished. "No, don't answer that. I have the feeling you're not up for it at the moment."
Since it was Ricky I was talking to, I almost told him he was so wrong, but decided not to play into his double entendre. "Yeah, right now I have to figure out why they think I have this—whatever it is."
"They didn’t give you any hints?"
"Nope. Other than the fact someone named Bailey supposedly gave it to me for safe keeping."
"You don’t have a client by that name I take it."
"Come on, Ricky. If I did, then I'd know what the thing is. And before you ask, no one's given me anything to hold for them."
"Do you think the guys who attacked you believe you?"
"Has hell frozen over?"
"Not last time I checked," he replied with a laugh. "So how are you going to stop them from coming after you again?"
I sighed. "When I figure it out, I'll let you know."
"Thought you'd say that. Are you coming over tonight or are you going to be staking out the business again?"
"Yeah, on the stakeout," I replied. "But tonight I'll be armed and dangerous."
"How about keeping a low profile, be alert and stay out of alleys."
We talked a bit longer before he said he'd better get back to his spreadsheets. Damned if he didn't sound excited about the idea. But then he is an accountant. We finished the conversation with 'Love you' and hung up.