he hoped the meeting would go better than the last similar encounter he had had
and was resolved to make a better effort to not pontificate about his obsessions
at least in the initial stages of conversation
and before they ordered lunch.
suddenly walter realized he was being followed
by his two worst enemies, morris and jardine
they were half a block behind
and making no effort to conceal themselves
when walter looked back a second time
morris waved at him!
it was obvious they meant business
well, walter meant business too
there was a police station on the next cross street
and he resolved to enter it
even if it meant being late for his date with zorine
which in any case was not a matter of life and death
without giving morris and jardine the satisfaction of looking behind him
he turned left on main street
and walked up the wide steps of the police headquarters
although he expected to be greeted with indifference
if not outright contempt
he in fact received the most courteous attention
from the young sergeant at the front desk.
when he explained his predicament
she picked up a phone and after a few words which walter could not make out
told him “please enter the fourth door on your left, sir, and a couple of technicians will be with you shortly.”
although walter was slightly nonplussed by the term “technician” rather than “officer” or “detective” the young woman’s manner was so pleasant and winning that he followed her instructions without demur.
two persons were waiting for him when he entered the room.
a slender young woman with a bald head
and a husky young man with a walrus mustache.
the young woman smiled at walter.
“would you like something to drink?” she asked.
“yes, i would, thank you, very much,” walter answered.
the young woman pointed to a small refrigerator in the corner.
“thank you,” walter answered.
he opened the door of the small refrigerator. cold air flowed out from it.
after some consideration walter selected a bottle of perrier water with condensation forming on it.
when he turned around the young woman and the young man were gone!