Word Count: 919
McCarren Park – Saturday April, 24th
A 30 minute jog was enough. I finished lap five around McCarren Park and headed off toward Lorimer Street to Bobby's home. By power walking I reached 210 Mather Street in less than ten minutes.
The mail box included just one junk mail flyer from a nearby grocery store, a few other ads and a big envelope screaming Bobby had won a luxury car…as if! I threw all of the paper into the wastebasket in the entrance. Luckily I took a second look at the blue and shimmering card which slipped out between the folder leaves.
'Six…one of six'
I turned the card around and found only six more words and a date, the date of Thursday next week. 'Please meet me in YOUR city – 4/29' It was Bobby's handwriting.
MY city? I re-turned the card and climbed the few high stairs up to Bobby's apartment door. The building on the postcard didn't exist in New York City – my city.
Six…one of six. I brooded over the expression while unlocking the door. Where had I heard this before? I stepped into Bobby's living room and reached for the watering can. The ficus got its water and I screamed out loud as my gaze fell onto the Smithsonian Magazine from last November which still lay beside the plant.
"Alexandria!" My city, now I got it. I rushed over to Bobby's desk and opened his silver laptop. The computer took forever to boot. But in the end a little question mark icon named Robert 2.0 welcomed me: "Password protected," I sighed. Why I knew? Stretching my fingers, I tried my luck to hack the laptop. "Password programs give you a hint after three trying," I whispered like seven years ago.
'most important investigative tool' blinked on the screen. My eyes wander to the postcard I had leaned against the desk lamp. Then I burst out laughing. What a lucky break. Slowly I typed library card in the log in: it matched.
Opening the web browser, I googled Alexandria and library. The shown pictures confirmed my suspicion. The white and cylindrical building with the sloping roof was the new building of the Library of Alexandria. I leaned back in Bobby's comfortable swivel chair and folded my hands behind my head, started dreaming.
'Please meet me in YOUR city – 4/29'
My heart started beating wildly. Could it be that Bobby was so close, just five days away? I rubbed my hands over my face and started to browse for flights to Egypt. The prices were cheaper than I thought for the distance. What shocked me a little was the time I would need to reach Alexandria. To travel the 5500 miles I could choose between 20 or 30 hours.
I was magically attracted to the buy tickets button, but I resisted. I couldn't just fly to Egypt and meet Bobby. This was crazy. We would never find each other. Not in a crowded city like Alexandria. Over 4 Million habitants, I checked this with Wikipedia.
But Bobby sent me a postcard with the Library as clue…
…Should I take a shot in the dark and fly there?
I was nervous and excited and needed a moment to calm down. Chores would distract me. I walked into Bobby's room and started to make his bed. I hadn't changed the sheets and blankets after I'd spent the night in the apartment. I also vacuumed and dusted the two rooms plus kitchen and bath. But as the apartment became cleaner, I wasn't any wiser.
Before I could plan anything I had to know if I would get a few days off. I had a very kind boss and he made a lot of concessions to get me onto his team. We had a great working relationship. I should just call Matt.
On the phone – sixty minutes later at home
"Really, Matt?" I sat down my bed, pressed the receiver against my ear.
"Yes, Alex. Take the whole next week off. You've worked full time in my team since day one and have accumulated a lot of overtime."
"And what about the probationary period?"
"Four of your cases closed in less than three months. The illegal distillery operation was a huge success for the whole team, plus you supervised the reorganization of our division's database. Do I need to go on singing your praises?"
"No," I said subdued. "Thanks."
"Okay Alex, bring your former partner back home and maybe put in a good word for the bureau. We need more investigators from the same mold as you."
"Bye Eames and take care. We'll see you next Monday…on time at eight."
"Bye Matt," I replied and hung up. Now there were no more obstacles. I could fly. The wobbling in my stomach which hadn't stopped since I'd found the postcard increased to a butterfly armada. I took many deep breathes to calm down.
Slowly I went into my study and read the card again. It was stamped in Būr Sūdān ten days ago. Būr Sūdān? Somewhere in Sudan I guessed. Bobby was on his way north.
My eyes wandered again over the modern architecture of the library and the Mediterranean surrounding. 'Six…one of six' I would find Bobby.
I moved the mouse and my screen saver disappeared. With two clicks I was on the flight booking web page. I ordered one of the twenty hours flights with two stops, one in Frankfurt and the other in Cairo and then calmed down.