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Kicking off my skis, fumbling around inside my jacket to dig out my pass, I heard an unmistakable, "Yo, Bro!"
My response was a practiced nonchalance; I ignored the ground glass voice as though it was no more threatening than a fart in the wind.
"Yo, Bro! Max!"
The voice was coming closer and the game was up. I was caught. Like a condemned man shuffling the last mile, I turned slowly toward my inevitable fate.
As usual, I was mildly stunned at what I saw. J.J. Geddyup, Whistler’s original and, as he liked to point out, only real private eye – "Not one of those boxtop, security cop weenies pretending to be a PI." – looked almost businesslike, in a scruffy, David Mamet kind of way. The suit, an obvious Re-Use-It find, a bit snug through the shoulders and just a tad long in the legs, was cut in a style reminiscent of the faux Saville Row excesses Tip Top Tailors enjoyed limited success with in the late ’70s. The handpainted, silk Hoochie Koochie girl under palm trees necktie screamed post war sailor chic and the shoes were way too shiny for any season where slush was a major barrier to walking.
But the capper was the brushed aluminum power briefcase. "Left over from the spook days," J.J. explained, pointing out the reinforced through-the-case ring where he claimed the handcuffs used to attach.
"You look like a business Dandy, J.J." I said. "What’s up?"
"Very perceptive. I’m dressed for success. I’m taking the plunge. I’m… aligned. Aligned for success."
"You sound like maybe you’ve taken a blow to the head recently, J.J. What in the hell are you talking about?"
"I’m goin’ into business, Dude. Enough of this pissin’ around snoopin’ on people, peerin’ through keyholes and skulking in the shadows. I’m startin’ a business. C’mon, I’ll show you where I’m settin’ up shop," he tugged my sleeve to drive home the point.
"I don’t know exactly how to say this, J.J., but unless you’ve forgotten to tell me something else about your past, I don’t remember anything that would even remotely qualify you as an entrepreneur. What kind of business you opening?"
"A sandwich shop. The Holy Panini Sandwich Bar, Yoga Studio, Esthetics and Wellness Centre," he said, proudly.
"Yeah, I’m gonna make sandwiches with the likeness of Jesus grilled into them in bas relief. Actually, you can pretty much choose your religious icon. Jesus, the Virgin Mary, any of the apostles, maybe even The Prophe…."