By Sean Tuohy
I met Gracie Rosen on a warm Tuesday morning at the Pelican Hotel on Fort Lauderdale Beach. It was less than a mile from the hotel that I call home but they were worlds apart. The Pelican was a grand place located right on the beach. Piercing the bright blue Florida sky, The Pelican offered stellar views of the ocean from their five hundred dollar night rooms. The balcony dining room offered brunch to the public and I figured since I was meeting a client I could foot them for the bill and grab eggs.
Gracie and I sat across from one another in the air-conditioned dining room. To our right floor to ceiling windows gave a sweeping view of the surf below. I sipped at coffee as Gracie abandoned her fruit salad. She was a tall young woman, long limp, shoulder brown hair, and wearing a pants suit that was muted but tasteful.
“Dennis recommended you to me,” Gracie started. “He said you used to work with him.”
I nodded, “I was still with the Sheriff’s office then.”
“And now you do private work?”
Gracie considered this before she spoke.
“My firm hires a lot of private detectives but they don’t look like you,” she said.
I glanced down at my outfit; tropical shirt that was fraying and stained khaki pants. Not my worse but not my best either.
“Lawyer?” I asked.
Gracie nodded, “Dennis works for us now. I work in corporate law. A lot of south American clients opening businesses here.”
I studied her face and could see the distress in her eyes; it was lingering pain.
“But that’s not why we are meeting, is it?”
Gracie quickly pulled out her cell phone and unlocked it. She handed it to me and looked away. On the screen I found myself looking at a young olive-skinned man with tubes coming out of him lying in a hospital bed. His face was a black and blue mess.
I handed the phone back.