The ride in the cab back to Flynn’s office was quiet. His punch had been a good one, though not debilitating. I’d recovered quickly. CPAs don’t punch people often, and I saw him flexing his hand. He had felt it as much as I had. He was no longer larger than I was. My growth spurt years earlier had put me an inch taller. These days, he was leaner than I was, but didn’t look in shape, appearing gangly and in disarray. When we arrived, he paid the driver with his credit card and walked into his office, not waiting for me. I stepped in and went past the front desk and into his back office. It was a mess, with papers all over his desktop, filing cabinets partway open, empty food containers and used drink cans everywhere. There was a sofa in the room with a sheet, blanket and pillow draped on it. He had apparently slept here last night.
“No place like home?” I said.
Flynn gave me a look, as if to say “why are you here?”
“You always have to have a smart-ass comment, don’t you,” he said.
I tried not to shrug but couldn’t help myself.
“Yeah, that was your normal response when we were kids. Why the hell don’t you leave me alone?”
“Because you are obviously in trouble and I can help.”
“You’ve already helped enough by going to Helen and telling her what I was doing. Nosing into my business again where it doesn’t belong.”
“Flynn, she called me concerned about what you were doing, asking me to check up on you. I followed at her request and, as usual, you had to have a little tail on the side, instead of being happy with what you have at home. I reported back to her what I discovered. You can hardly blame me for doing what your wife asked me to do.”
“I’m sure you got a great big thrill out of taking me down. Well, you can kiss off, or I’ll slug you again.”
I glared at him intently with the hardest expression I could muster.
“Flynn, we aren’t kids anymore. You were older and bigger than me then, but no more. I do this for a living and you plug numbers into a spreadsheet. If you want to duke it out with me, you will lose and lose badly. Tuck away your anger and tell me what the fuck is going on. You are into something more than just screwing some sweet filly on the side. The FBI has you doing their dirty work, and I doubt it’s about doing the taxes for the Governor.”
Flynn backed down and sat in his chair. He put his head into his hands, as if he needed to escape. I stood there for ten minutes and he said nothing. After twenty, I decided to leave but made one last statement.
“You want to talk, call me,” I said while tossing my business card on his desk. “No one can do it all on their own. I’m offering to help because I have the skill set to get you out of whatever it is you’re into. I’ll hang around for a couple more days. If you need a place to stay I have an extra bed in my hotel room. I’m at the Drury Inn over on Mills Civic Parkway. Believe it or not, I’m your brother, and I do care about you.”
With that, I left him to his misery and went to get some lunch.
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