See Ya Later

1000 Blue Moon Way was spectacular. A towering sliver of mirrored glass piercing the sky. Paddy Crabtree skirted the line of tourists waiting to board the elevator to The Stratosphere, the tallest observation deck in the world. The young reporter moved to security. The lobby was what Paddy like to call precious minimalism, a fortune spent to look like nothing at all. Hands up, arms out, he went through the security scanner. A concierge, dark bobbed hair, impeccable tailored suit, generous red mouth, waited for Paddy to collect his belongings.
“Right this way, Mr. Crabtree.”
Paddy followed his guide’s sleek sure step across grey veined marble tile floor. He couldn’t shake the feeling that she was a panther leading him deeper into a jungle. Paddy also wished Bedelia hadn’t got roasted apricots on his tie. The elevator doors opened.
Emilia that was the concierge’s name led Paddy from high speed express elevator to high speed express elevator. All the while she purred over the features of the world’s tallest skyscraper and charms of the world’s richest man. Paddy was here to interview this colossus. But Paddy wasn’t here the typical meteoric rise from hard scrabble coal town boy to astronaut to tech stock wizard puff piece. Paddy was here for Harkness Pauls.
Emilia led him to a secretary’s office bigger than his and Siobhan’s apartment. After a polite knock by the secretary, Paddy was finally inside face to face with the great man.
Harkness was a big man. Over fifty with the well maintained body of a man half his age. In a tight white tee and joggers, Harkness walked quickly and shook Paddy’s hand. Paddy’s whole body rattled. Paddy and the great man sat down in a matching pair of oversized leather chairs. With sports memorabilia framed on the walls and a collection of vintage playstation games, Harkness’ office had a boyish dorm room vibe. At Paddy’s elbow was a platter of sugar biscuits and sipping chocolate, his childhood favorites. Paddy turned on his phone to record and scroll for his notes.
“Leave it Padriq. I hate to be bored, cut to the chase.” Harkness was learning back with his head resting on his laced fingers.
“You know you were my hero,” Paddy said and nibbled a cookie. It was exactly like his mother’s even down to the burnt edges on one side.
“I was a lot of people’s hero.” Harkness reached for a baseball and twirled it on one finger.
“No I was the real deal. I followed your mission to Kepler 452b like a religion. When you splashed landed off the coast of Enniscore I was there in the cheering crowd.”
“Skinny round headed kid with a blue and black striped jumper,” Harkness said tossing the ball back and forth. Paddy choked on his cookie. Harkness’s eyes twinkled. “Bring it home Padriq.”
Paddy chilled. “I studied the specs of your shuttle. I visited it at the Dublin Air and Science Museum. It was heavier when it left Kepler than when it arrive even accounting for the speciums. You–” He fumbled for his phone. This whole interview was a fever dream.
“God I can take this it is like wading through treacle. You think I found something out there. You think I found some alien tech that allows me to see in future and I used it to build an empire. But that doesn’t really make sense. If I could see the future I would’ve seen this meeting and known the great investigative journalist uncovered my deep dark secret. Use your noggin Crabtree. The future’s constantly being written.”
Crabtree ate another cookie. Harkness tossed his baseball higher and began whistling a jaunty sea shanty. There was a polite knock.
“Take care, Paddy, be seeing ya.”
Like a skinwalker, Paddy was guided back down the elevators by the ever sleek Emilia. As the doors closed, Paddy pictured the cookie platter and his mum’s wonky stove. Paddy remembered the crowds on the shore of Enniscore waiting to cheer when the spaceman fell from the sky and was fished from their sea. He even remembered trading with a daft old fisherman his tin of snickerdoodles for a Harkness tee shirt. Back on the sidewalk Pappy stared up at 1000 Blue Moon Way and then whistled a familiar tune back to his car.

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