dooley had no problem finding the countess’s country place, but was not impressed with it when it came into view.
her passenger was a fat old man with a cane, whom she had been given to understand was some sort of famous amateur detective.
whoever he was, he was a very demanding passenger, and had been complaining and grumbling since dooley, in her capacity of limo driver, had picked him up in the city.
“why are you stopping, driver?” he demanded, when dooley slowed down on approachimg the line of cars parked at the bottom of the hill. “do you expect me to walk up that hill?”
“i am stopping because i am being stopped, sir,” dooley told him. a tall man in a white shirt and a black bow tie, apparently some kind of parking attendant, was approaching.
it was green. dooley recognized him, but did not say anything.
“this is far as you can go,” green told dooley, peering into the car. “if the gentleman wishes, we can bring him right up to the house in a car we have here -“
“i will be damned if you will!” cried the fat man from the back seat. “why should i have to get out of one car and into another - wth my damned leg! take me up to the door if you please, driver!”
green hesitated. “it can be tricky getting up the driveway,” he said. “but i can drive it up for you , if -“
“no, damn it! i want to get up there now!”
“very well, sir, if you insist.” green pointed down the road. “turn right up there,” he told docley. “but be careful of the rosebushes. especially when you get right up to the house and have to turn around, be very careful of the rosebushes.”
“i will be,” dooley assured him. she drove off.
green waited until she returned. he watched her park the limo at the back end of the line of cars and walked down to meet her.
“i hope you didn’t hit any rosebushes,” he told her.
“i don’t think so.”
“that was the big thing i was told when i got here. the countess - that’s the owner - is very obsessive about her rosebushes.”
“i don’t think i hit any rosebushes.” dooley got out of the car. “do i know you from someplace?”
“i don’t know,” green said. “where would i know you from?”
they started walking up the line of cars to where the other chauffeurs were hanging out.
“packy’s pinball, maybe?” dooley said.
“oh yeah! i used to hang there sometimes. “ green turned and looked at dooley. “sure! you were the champ! you were there all the time. i didn’t recognize you, in your driver’s uniform.” he laughed. “yeah you were the champ!”
“i put a lot of time in,” said dooley. “i should have got halfway good.”
“whatever. it’s a small world.”
dooley did not tell green that she had deliberately maneuvered herself into this particular job, because she had heard joe b might be there.
she looked up at the house. it looked like most of the guests had arrived, and she wondered if joe was already there. she had arrived later than she had planned, as the fat man with his aggravations and back seat driving had slowed her down.
dooley checked her phone, but there were no messages. she wondered if the fat man would complain about her to the limo service. he had wanted her to assist him into the house, but she had been afraid of running into joe, and had left the fat man at the door and handed him off to a servant.
she wondered if she could try to ask green about joe, without making him curious.