Paddy waited for Konan to finish his meal. He stood at the counter when Konan and Lilly came up to pay. He hugged Lilly.
“Can I have a word with you, nephew?”
“Let’s go outside for a moment.”
Paddy and Konan walked outside. It was raining. As is typical in Mississippi, rain showed up whenever it wanted. No season was exempt. Konan leaned against a post of the back porch; Paddy shoved an unlit cigar into his mouth.
“What’s going on, uncle?”
“Ah, boy. Here it comes,” Konan thought. He grimaced.
“Your dad wanted me to ask what you are doing for work. He wanted me to offer you a job here at the pub, I told him you wouldn’t accept my help. Your father insisted I ask, so, do you want a job here at O’Shea’s?”
“I have a job, Paddy. Although, it was kind of you to offer me one. If this whole ‘consultant’ gig doesn’t pay off, I’ll be back to take you up on it.”
“It ain’t no thang.”
Paddy chewed on the cigar. Konan watched the rain come down.
“Kid, it’s no business of mine, but does Lilly seem kind of sickly to you?”
Paddy pointed his finger at his stomach. Konan nodded.
“You’re going to be a dad? Oh man, your father will flip out!”
“It’s not mine, Paddy.”
Paddy’s face fell. He shook his head and muttered, “of course not. There’s no end to our rotten luck.”
They stood silent on the back porch. Esther came out and joined them.
“You’re partner is sitting in the foyer, Konan. She’s not looking too hot. You need to check on her.”
“Thanks, Esther. I better go.”
“Don’t be so long between visit’s, nephew.”
Konan walked through the restaurant. The ‘who’s who’ of Fredericksburg had turned up for lunch. On his way out, he saw Mayor Smith, and other notable figures from the state.
Mayor Tim Smith nodded at Konan. “I would rather die than shake hands with that oxygen thief,” Konan sighed. His firing was only a few months ago, but bitterness had crept in Konan’s heart.
He had no intention of being rude or spiteful to anyone, but he refused to acknowledge those who had thrown him under the bus. He walked by Mayor Smith and stopped in the foyer. Lilly sat on the bench. Her face had a bluish- gray tint to it.
“Are you okay?”
“I don’t know, I’ve got to puke.”
Konan helped Lilly to her feet and walked her to the ladies’ bathroom. He leaned against the wall and waited on her to do her business. An old man sat on the bench.
“What are y’all having,” he asked.
“Your wife, she’s pregnant, isn’t she?”
“Oh. Um, not sure what she’s having. I just found out she’s with child.”
Lilly walked out and the old man smiled. He gave Lilly a nod, she nodded back.
“Y’all make a beautiful couple,” the old man said. “I wish you both lots of happiness. There’s nothing like being a parent. It’s an important job. Good luck.”
“Um, thank you,” the detectives said in unison. The old man smiled.
Konan had never been so glad to leave the pub. There was no time to focus on his pregnant friend. He was billing the city to solve these homicides.
It was time to work.