It was gone eight in the evening before I finally turned off my computer and headed out of the office. Mike had left two hours earlier to get ready for another hot date. I think he has been making up for lost time by dating the city since we left England. He was averaging about 4 dates a week, with at least one of them coming in for coffee, if you catch my drift. I on the other hand never seemed to have time to go on dates, I had been on maybe five since we got here. Every time I met someone and got a rendevous set up, a problem with one of our projects would arise or a client would need some questions answered at some unruly time of the night, and I would always be left to deal with it.
I made my way out onto the street and hailed a cab. It was just starting to get dark. As the cab made its way through the city I gazed up into the lit windows high above the street, ooccasionally I caught a shadow of another poor sod working late. Everyone seemed to work late in this city, and then party hard early into the morning, I had yet to get the hang of this pattern of life.
Getting out of the cab I was greeted by the doorman of my building.
"Good evening Jack, how was your day? Working late again I see." He said, pulling open the glass door to the building.
"Yep, we have a big project to work on at the moment and we just can't seem to get our heads round it. How has your day been Mario?" I asked.
"As doorman days go, it ain't been half bad." Mario laughed to himself.
I smiled. "So has Mike come down yet?" I asked.
"Well yes he has, and he has shaved off that awful beard he had. Obviously another one of his hot dates?" Mario was flicking through some papers on his desk.
"Apperently yeah, he met this one in some dive bar. Shes blonde, blued eyed and big breasted, just the type for him to use and throw away." I pushed the elevator button and waited.
"Well I will be sure to let you know what I think of her if she comes back with him tonight Jack. Have a great evening."
"Cheers Mario, you too." I stepped into the elevator and clicked for my floor.
I stepped out onto the carpeted corridor that lead to my apartment. There were 8 apartments on each floor, a selection of studio, one bed and two bed condos. With such a great location I had only been able to afford a one bed condo but there was plenty of room in it. I checked my hair in the mirror halfway down the corridor, the hairspray had worn away and left it looking frizzy and dry, my eyes were dull with dark rings underneath, I looked and felt exhausted.
As i reached to put my key into the lock and open my door, I heard a creak from the apartment next door to mine. It was Mrs Plinsky. She was short, skinny and very, very wrinkled but insisted on wearing thin, see-through night gowns, and insisted on catching me unawares as I came home from work. All I knew of her was that she originated from Russia and that her husband had died about ten years ago. She lived alone in her apartment with two cats, and didn't get out much.
"Hey Jack, your looking mighty fine this evening. Can I invite you in for a night cap?" She slurred as she looked me up and down, obviously she had already hit the vodka tonight.
"No No I'm in a bit of a rush tonight I'm afraid, maybe another night?" I opened my door and tried to make my way in as Mrs Plinsky latched onto my arm.
"Now come on, I will only keep you for a minute. Maybe we could get to know each other a little better." She started to tug on my arm.
Just at that second one of her cats came running out through the gap in her door, down the corridor and round the corner. It was black and fast, and quite menacing. "Oh Mr Biggles, where are you going?" Mrs Plinsky called after the cat.
"Oh, erm you go inside and I will catch your cat for you." I looked down the corridor and took a deep breath, this wasn't going to be fun, I hated cats!
I started to jog down the corridor and followed it round to the right. At the end was a door to the back stairwell, my heart sank as I saw Mr Biggles sat poised at the gap in the door. The moment he saw me, he shot off through the door and down the stairs. "Perfect!" I thought.
I puffed and panted all the way down to the second floor as I chased after the cat, finally Mr Biggles had got distracted by a big ball of fluff floating between the stair cases. He had stayed still just long enough for me to catch up to him and grab him. I walked out into the corridor and made for the elevator, cussing at the dammed Mr Biggles all the way.
I finally made it back to my floor and walked over to Mrs Plinsky's apartment. I pushed my way in through the door and found her laying spread eagle on the sofa passed out. There was a half empty bottle of Russia's finest on the table next to her. I closed my eyes and put Mr Biggles down on the floor, out of breath from the chase and mentally scarred by the sight of Mrs Plinskys knickers I went into my apartment.
Putting down my back and jacket, I noticed the red light on my answer machine was blinking, I walked over and clicked the play button.
"You have two new messages." The machine told me.
"Hi there, um I found your mobile phone on the floor today at the Empire State Building," My heart skipped a beat, the message went on. "I found your number in the contact list on the phone. Ha, don't worry I wasn't being nosey. If you want to come and collect your phone I will be at the entrance to the Empire State tomorrow at noon. Bye." The machine clicked.
I stood still for a moment, my heart rate pounding. I checked my jacket pocket and found that indeed my phone was missing.
"Message number two." The machine announced.
"Oh, and my name is Stephanie by the way. "
"Bugger me!" I gasped.