Since the death of his Mother Nick Fallin has never been one who bothered much about his birthday. For many years it brought back painful memories - his mom would make it a very special day for him- now he tended to just work through it, ignoring it's existence, wishing the day could just disappear from the calender. He certainly never told anyone the date. But this birthday is one he is never likely to forget as it almost became his last...
It all started a few days before when he took on the case of an 85yr old man called Arnie, who was in need of a lawyer to get his cat back. Nick picked up the folder and opened it as he walked out of his office. He reads from the file:
An old man with a shocking amount of white hair sticking out from underneath a trilby, and wearing a brown three piece suit, slowly raises to his feet.
"Over here son"
He hands his hand raised in greeting and Nick notices a twinkle in his eyes and for some unexplained reason takes an instant like to the man.
"Come with me."
Nick turns towards his office. He waits at the doorway for Arnie to catch up with him. He gestures towards the visitors chair and then walks around his desk and sits down. He looks up from the file and asks:
"What can I do for you Mr Jack?"
The man breaks into a smile'
"Please call me Arinie, everybody does."
"Arnie, my name is Nick, Nick Fallin. Now what can I do for you?"
"My neighbour has kidnapped Helena and I need you to help me get her back."Nick looks up startled then looks down again at the file.
"Kidnapping Arnie? This file mention a cat."
"Yes Helena is my cat. She wondered into my neighbours house and he says it's his cat and he won't give her back. Look I have a photo to prove she is mine."
Arnie reaches into his pocket and brings out his wallet. From inside he produces an old photograph. Nic take it. In the photograph is a younger version of the man before him holding a white cat with black markings on it's face.
"This is you and Helena?"
"Yes, she is a lovely thing."
"How old is Helena?"
"She is four years old"
Nick leans back in his chair and sighs. He wonders what is going to be the best wayto handle this situation.
"How old are you in the picture?"
Nick leans forward and speaks gently:
"That would make Helena 57yrs old."
"Don't be silly young man that would be impossible. Now come with me, you need to talk to Ralph - that's my neighbour - and get Helena back for me."
Arnie stands up while he is speaking.
"Arnie I need to get more information from you."
But he is already out the door. Nick stares at the photo a moment longer then pick up the file and his jacket and follow after him, deciding that perhaps he will find more answers at Arnie's home.
In the car Arnine tells Nick how Helena was originally his wife's cat, but that she had died two years before. Nick asks him how old his wife had been when she died. '26yrs' was Arnie's reply. he tells Nick that she had died in childbirth along with their child. Nick expresses his sympathies and asks Arnie what year it was. Arnie looks at him aghast and while shaking his head he says somethng about how he thought lawyers were suppose to be smart and that it was 1953. Nick feels that Arnie needed help but he suspected it wasn't by a lawyer.
Nick pulls up in front of a small but neat single dwelling home. It's small garden showed loving attention, The paintwork looked like it was ready for a new coat of paint but showed no evidence of neglect. Arnie unlocks the door and they both enter the home. After the evidence outside Nick was not surprised to find the inside equally well looked after. Although the furnishings were a little outdated everything was clean and tidy. Nick accepts the offer of a drink and looks at the photos dotted around the room seeking evidence of any living family memebers. Nick is disappointed to find that all the photos are old, he is looking at Arnies wedding photo when Arnie re-enters the room with their drinks.
"That's my Amy. It was a wonderful day. I never knew anyone could look as beartiful as Amy did that day. I always told her that I didn't knw what I had done to get so lucky."
"She was very beautiful, but hat is an very handsome man standing next to her."
Nick places the photo back on the shelf and takes his drink, they both sit down. Nick is unsure how to proceed. Should he continue being in 1953 or should he try to bring Arnie back to the present. he is feeling out of his depth. He places the glass on the coffee table in front of him and rests his arms on his knees, clasping his hands together.
"Tell me Arnie how did you get ot LSP?"
"Well I took a bus. Young man you do ask some stupid questions!"
Nick tries again:
"What I mean is how did you learn about LSP?"
Arnie looks quizzical.
"Well I'm not really sure. Someone must have told me about you. Ahh yes Judith!
"And who is Judith?"
"She lives in the house across the street. I was upset aobut helena and she suggested that you could perhaps help me. Do you think you can?"
"I will need to talk to Ralph and Judith before I will know how to proceed. Which house does Ralph live at?"
"No 2537 it is the blue one"
Nick looks at his watch and stands up.
"I have an appointment right now but I will be back tomorrow to talk with them. Are they usually home during the day?"
Arnie nods and begins to stand. Nick holds up his hand.
"No don't bother getting up Arnie I can see myself out. Thank you for the drink."
Nick shakes Arnie's hand and returns to his car.