William Fitzgerald Dodges a Bullet

Despite his flaws William Fitzgerald was neither stupid nor unworldly. He knew people with a clarity that sickened him, and he knew Fate only slightly less well. He had a grudging respect for the haughty manipulations of a God in which he didn’t — quite — disbelieve, suspecting on some lower level that they, Fate and William Fitzgerald, had similar senses of humour, similar appreciations of humanity.

So he recognized trouble when it came looking for him. Like most trouble for detectives, trouble came in the form of a lissome young woman, as curvacious and scenic in her way as the bay that sparkled distantly outside of his window. She was cold and composed; she had been crying. William Fitzgerald disliked her intensely when he laid eyes on her.

Wouldn’t he help her, she asked, plaintively.

William Fitzgerald weighed her in his mind, found her wanting. He would not help her, no.

She looked shocked. She had no one else to turn to! Her family was gone (she anticipated a question he hadn’t intended to ask): her brother abducted, her father killed. She didn’t have much money, but… She blushed and looked down, her gamine charms on prominent display.

She could keep her money, as far as William Fitzgerald was concerned. He didn’t want it. She looked up at him hopefully. Then… He wanted nothing to do with her. She looked shocked again, but he didn’t care. He shooed her from his office. She was crying as he pushed her through the door, sobbing as she walked down the hall. He cracked the door when she was at the top of the stairs. Her eyes were quite dry as she went down, though her sobs continued. He nodded, approving, and went back inside.