See the previous post here.
When Wolfe came down from the plant rooms on Monday, I knew he and I would need to have it out. Aside from sending Saul Panzer out with ten grand to do who knows what, he and I had done little in the way of detection. Since a detective is supposed to detect, I felt that the trail of who treated and perhaps killed the good Rabbi was getting colder by the minute.
When his largeness manipulated his seventh of a ton into his chair, a feat comparable with an aircraft carrier parallel parking at Pier 86, I decide to poke, prod and needle.
“Good morning and did you sleep well? How are the orchids? By the way, how do I account for the ten thousand dollars I gave to Saul Panzer? Was it a gift, a bonus, or a gambling stake?”
Wolfe glared, and went through his mail. I continued.
“You know I used to be a pretty good detective. You would give me instructions, I would go out, accomplish the task brilliantly, and then you would say, ‘Satisfactory.’ I would send the client a bill, and the client would send us a check. I am afraid of falling into disuse.”
Wolfe buzzed twice, the signal for beer, and said, “No doubt.”
“Yes, and no doubt the Bronx DA has a stiff on her hands, who died under suspicious circumstances. No doubt she’s convened a grand jury and no doubt she’s seeking an indictment for either manslaughter or homicide.”
“Pfui. Archie, what is the thesis of this case? That Dr. House treated this patient, made the wrong diagnosis, put the patient in a coma through maltreatment and as a result the patient died. Dr. House denies treating the patient.”
I listened and responded, “Except for the video of House being in the patient’s room, you might have established reasonable doubt. Meanwhile, you sit placidly, and I sit frustrated. I’ve got a good mind to quit.”
The doorbell rang, interrupting my resignation and I went to the hall. Looking through the glass, I saw Inspector Cramer, of NYPD homicide. I set the chain bolt, and opened the door.
“Inspectors selling tickets to the policeman’s ball? Will wonders never cease.”
“Archie, always with the wisecracks. I’d like to see Wolfe, please.”
Cramer calling me Archie happens about as often as the Mets getting into the World Series; not very often. And him asking politely to see Wolfe, well that happens as often as the Jets are in the Super Bowl; once.
I was intrigued to say the least and opened the door, took Cramer’s coat, and followed him down the hall to the office.
Cramer was downright jovial as he sat in the red leather chair. “Good morning, how are you and how are your orchids?”
Wolfe looked across the desk, and said, “Very well, Inspector, on both counts. To what do I owe this visit?”
Cramer sat back and took a cigar out of his pocket and rolled it. In all the years Cramer has sat in that chair, I’ve never seen him fire one up.
“Consider this a professional courtesy. The Bronx DA called me about that Rabbi who died Thursday. She knows that you’ve helped me out a few times. She’s getting ready to indict your client for reckless endangerment. With that video, there’s no way House isn’t going to lose his license and do some hard time. It looks like this is one client of yours that you’re not going to get off. Besides, think of the civil courts, your client is up the creek without a paddle.” Cramer sat back, and smiled a huge smile.
“Mr. Cramer, so why did you come here, to gloat?”
“Wolfe, I’ve been waiting for you and Goodwin to fall flat on your faces for a long time. I knew it was only a matter of time, I just wanted to see it for myself, first hand.”
With that he stood up and walked out of the office. I got up to follow and he said, “No need, Goodwin. I can let myself out.”
I heard the door slam, but force of habit made me check that he left anyway.
When I returned to the office, I sat behind my desk and said, “So you’re going to give Cramer the horselaugh? I’ve never seen Cramer smug before. I’m not going to cash my paycheck this week. I haven't earned it.”
“Pfui! Archie, the answer lies in what Dr. House told us. He never saw the patient. He can’t explain the video, since he’s never been there. As a working hypothesis let’s assume he’s correct.”
“Ok, so House was never there. The next thing you’re going to tell me is that, since House was never there, this whole thing is a hoax.”
But Wolfe wasn’t listening to me. His eyes were closed and his lips were pushing out and in. He was finally working. About what, I had no idea. An hour later, his eyes opened. Your notebook, Archie.”