“Name, please,” asked the unknown polite man in the wrinkled suit at the front desk of the Palazzo Castellano Hotel in the heart of beautiful downtown Heaton Valley, Ohio. I looked for a name tag. These guys always seem more agreeable when you called them by name. No nametag.
“Mary Catherine Collier.”
“Oh, the obituary writer for the Herald?”
“I thought you’d be…older.” He squinted at me as if I were out of focus.
“I’m here to see Mr. Bittmor,” I answered as quietly as I could, not for his sake but because of my pounding headache.
“Do you have an appointment?” He scanned an appointment calendar in front of him. “Collier…Collier.”
“Would I be here so damn early in the morning on this cold, gray, snow-clogged, icy, miserable day if I didn’t?” I seriously considered leaping over the counter and choking him. Not a death-grip, mind you. I’m not a violent person. Just a little squeeze.
“Shall I take that as a yes?” he asked.