November 23, 1941;
16:41:16 - 16:44:49

- - LaGrange calls in for a favor.

oneRidgeland pulled into an empty spot of the curb across the street from Sapphire's, turned the radio off, and held onto his hat while stepping out of the car, keeping it pinned on his head as a forceful wind blew down the street. He crossed over in the middle of the road and approached the entrance in quick steps, darting his eyes to the sides of his sight while in the street. He heard no nearby traffic to make him stop for a more extensive check. When he entered the bar he stood near the entrance, waited for the door to close itself behind him, then approached the front counter. Lanaia was seated in a stool behind it, crouched over to read a magazine which she held open with both hands pressed on the sides of the pages. The gloss from the pages reflected some light coming from the brass desk lamp perched above it.

"Hey Lanny," he said while approaching her.

She cast her eyes upward, then brought her body upright, meeting Ridgeland with a smile as he stood opposite of her.

"Hello there. Need me to hang onto that?"

"Yeah," he said while flipping the hat off of his head and handing it to her. "Actually, take this too," he commanded while pulling the long overcoat off of his back. Ridgeland folded the coat in half before handing it over the counter and returning his attention to her. "She's in the back?"

"Last I seen, yeah."

He stepped away with no reply and proceeded to walk down the highway. Lanaia kept her smile and eyes upon him as he left the counter, turning her head to the right to watch him proceed to the bar, before quickly returning her attention to the magazine and dropping the faked expression. She puffed a sharp breath from boredom through her nostrils and shifted her body upon the stool.

"Mute bastard," she softly said to herself while continuing her reading of an article about the incredible year Joe DiMaggio was having, and how he could be baseball's MVP.

With the entertainment not coming for another four hours, the bar room was relatively unpopulated and quiet. Ridgeland nodded to the bartender who returned the gesture while washing some used mugs. An older man who didn't remove his long brown overcoat sat alone in the corner of the bar, hunching over a thin and mostly depleted glass of some sort of beer. A few stools away and in front of the bartender sat a pair of men who came to have some drinks after their day's work; they faced each other and lightly chatted while a pitcher of beer rested on the bar between them. Their attire - unwashed with visible shades of yellow and light brown at the ends of the sleeves and overalls - suggested construction work of some type.

None of the patrons looked towards Ridgeland as he walked past the bar and opened a door at the back of the room bearing a thin placard which read "STAFF ONLY" that was nailed into it at eye level. He manually closed the door, which creaked in protest while he swung it shut, before he took hold of the iron railing and ascended the stairway in quick hops. After climbing two flights he stood at the hallway and looked to his sides, and proceeded to enter the center room after seeing nobody around.

LaGrange was seated at her desk in the office room, holding some papers and a pencil to the desk while fixing her gaze to the doorway. The setting sun cast a bright orange hue into the office, which was caught by some lettering on the spines of books in the case to her right, and glistened from the light.

"Hey honey, you're early again," she said as he stood across from her while the door closed behind him. He replied with a shrug, turned his attention away as he slouched into a chair, then ridigly tugged at his necktie. Ridgeland released a sigh of exasperation once his neck had some breathing room.

"Aw," she said with some genuine concern, "what happened to you today?"

"Eh, I've been running everywhere. Long day."

"All right, well, this will only take a minute, so relax."

He procured a cigarette and lit it while she pushed at her desk and slid backward in the chair before standing up and grabbing the papers and pencil. While humming to herself softly, she walked over and stood next to him, holding the paper to her side to let the light reflect upon the writing as she inspected it. A final tally was needed, and her counting was annotated with her jabs at the paper with the pencil's tip.

grrrr! "Four ... seven ... yeah, this should be it," LaGrange said before handing it to Ridgeland. "Here, take a look. The main reason I've called you here is to glance this over and see where you and your boys shouldn't go. Oh, and to make sure you've got a truck. You do have a cargo truck in holding -"

"Yep," he replied before she could fully ask the question. "When's your boy gonna show up?"

"I was thinking 9, hun. Sound good?"

"Fine with me," he replied while folding the papers and sliding it into the pocket inside his suit coat. "I'll be there."

"Good. Have fun, darlin'," she said as she turned away, knowing that Ridgeland was already leaving the office. By the time she sat down in her seat again, the door was closed and he was walking down the stairway. After sifting through some ledgers and notebooks which were formed in small clusters on the desktop, she found a small wirebound notebook with a red plastic covering which was textured to resemble leather. She parted the small phone book with her thumbs and used a single finger to fold the pages back as she searched for his address, which took little time to find. LaGrange took the receiver up to her ear and entered his number. It was answered after the fourth ring.

"Hello?"

"Hiya, darlin'. Remember me?"

A short period of silence came before he replied with, "Uh... no?"

"Now now, you know not to play dumb with me now, boy," she patiently said with a smile on her lips.

There was a longer silence now before he finally came to realization of who he was speaking with.

"Oh!," he replied, then remembered the nature of how this call was arranged to come to be. "Oh," he repeated in a quiet voice.

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