Episode Thirty Nine: Margarine

Ah, 39. I like this number too. It has a nice, odd, funny, almost satisfying -but not quite- feeling about it. Don’t you feel it? No? Well, you’re all poopieheads. Jack Benny would understand.

Hey, I want to thank you once again for all that you’re doing for me by just reading what I write. It means more to me than my words can say, and my words can say a lot. -BW

Sit down, both of you. You two look like cowboys in an old western. Can’t I take you guys anywhere?” Quin said.

Lennard dumbfounded, stared at the harmless detonator in his hand.

Nothing blew up.” he said.

Quin chewed and swallowed.

You certainly are an astute observer. No wonder that Tannenbaum follows you around like a Justin Beiber fangirl.”

I find that offensive.” Tannenbaum said.

Slowly and carefully, Lennard and Tannenbaum sat down.

Why didn’t my bomb explode?” Lennard asked.

Simple.” Quin answered. “It didn’t explode because there wasn’t any explosives in it.”

Why not?” Tannenbaum asked.

Quin wiped his mouth with his shirtsleeve and rolled his eyes like a man burdened with two slow witted toddlers.

Tannenbaum, do you remember where, when, and how we first met?” he asked the surgeon sitting across from him.

Yes, of course I do.” answered Tannenbaum. “It’s a little hard to forget. An idiot cabbie dropped me off in front of the Hotel Bristol in San Francisco.”

I was the cabbie.” Lennard interjected.

You were?” Tannenbaum cried in surprise. “If I would’ve known that, I would have arrested you then and there.”

You didn’t know that was me?” Lennard said in amazement. “I thought you were just playing me. I could have sworn that you knew what I looked like.”

Tannenbaum shook his head.

Nope. I had no idea what you looked like until you sat down here at this booth.”

Really? Then how do you know that I am who you think I am?” Lennard accused slyly.

Please, fellows.” Quin pleaded impatiently. “Let’s not waste any more time. Tannenbaum, I swear to you that this is Warren Lennard; bomber, hit man, and excellent cabbie.

At any rate, how did we meet?” Quin asked, addressing himself to Tannenbaum.

You were in the trunk of the cab.” he said. “I didn’t seem to think that was unusual at the time.”

Quin now turned to Lennard.

Lennard, when I was searching for Tannenbaum, how did I look for him?”

You had me drive around to different hotels, so you could sit in the trunk and see if you recognized them.” Lennard answered.

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Exactly.” Quin said in triumph. “Warren, do you really think I could spend that much time in the trunk of your car and not find your plastic explosives? I swapped them out for something else, kept the explosives in my bag, traded them to someone I know for a baseball card, and traded that card for a taco. From explosives to taco, I think I made a good deal.”

You mean the bomb I made was harmless?” Lennard asked.

Not hardly.” Quin said. “I substituted the block of plastique for a stick of margarine. Technically, margarine kills more people per year than the atomic bomb.”

I have to back him up on that.” Tannenbaum said.

So, now what?” Lennard asked. “I don’t want to go to prison.”

There may be a way around that.” said Tannenbaum. “I wanted to find you, sure, but I realize that in the big scheme of thing around the world, you’re just a small fry. When the men in charge of the underworld wants a man killed, a bomb made, or a button pushed, they come to you. You’re just a puppet. I don’t want to nail the button pusher, I want to nail the men behind it all.”

That sounds reasonable.” Lennard agreed.

Lennard, you are hard to find, but your boss is impossible to locate. I want to meet your boss. Arrange a meet, and I’ll let you walk away.”

Really?” Lennard asked. “That’s all you ever wanted?”

But, if I hear that you have done so much as steer a cab fare down the wrong street, I will find you, and I will be merciless.”

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Lennard chuckled.

You realize that’s an idle threat, don’t you. You couldn’t find me in the first place.”

From now on, Quin is going to be my right hand man.” Tannenbaum said. “How does that suit you?”

That’s terrifying. Quin could find Santa Claus in Tel Aviv. I’ll set up a meet between you and my boss. Is next Wednesday in San Francisco soon enough for you.”

That’ll do.” Tannenbaum said.

Lennard got up and left. After he had gone, Tannenbaum reserved a seat on the next flight to San Francisco.

For two.

There will be a shift in the story in the next post. Stay tuned!

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