Niles retrieved the Harbor Inn’s ledger from the evidence box in the other cell. He sat at his desk and went over it line by line.
After a half hour, Niles’ cell phone rang. “Chief Quinn.”
“Hey, Chief, it’s your lawyer. I’ve been so busy I hardly had time to think about how things went with the town council. How did it go?”
“Hold on,” Niles said. He held the phone to his chest and whispered loudly to Ernie, “My lawyer.”
He put the phone back to his ear. “Everything went fine,” Niles said. “You should have seen their faces when I laid out the criteria for firing me.”
“I wish I could have been there,” Annie said.
“Wished you were here too,” Niles said and added, “if I ever get to the city again, I’ll buy you dinner.”
“That sounds too much like a date,” Annie said.
“It’s not a date,” Niles said. “It’s payback.”
“I’m glad to hear things are good for you – so far,” Annie said.
“Annie, this is really a nice place,” Niles said, “it really is. I got a guy in jail right now, he took a swing at me, but really a nice guy.”
“I have some briefs to examine,” Annie said. “If you need any more advice…”
“Yeah,” Niles said, “I’ll know who to call. Bye.”
Niles pushed his phone off.
“My ex,” Niles said.
“You still love her, don’t ya?” Ernie said.
“Yeah, Ernie,” Niles said, “and like so many things in life, I can’t do a thing about it.”
“How bad does it hurt?” Ernie said.
Niles opened a desk drawer and pulled out a piece of paper. “If you tell anybody about this. I call it The Tides of Brewster Harbor. Bear with me I’m not a poet or read poetry well.” Niles read from the paper;
“When the sun rises, I think of you.
When it sets, I long for you
When the moon brightens the dark, I think of you.
When it passes with the night, I long for you.
When the stars come out at night, I think of you.
When they fade into the blue, I long for you.
When the tides of Brewster Harbor are in, I think of you
They go out, They will return, but not you.
I long for you, a tide that never returns
All that remains; the sun, the moon, and stars,
To remind me of you.”
“That’s some sad serious stuff, man,” Ernie said.
“I’ve got some work to do,” Niles sniffed. His attention returned to the ledger.
Ernie turned off the TV after the news. Shortly after that Niles turned off the lights.
“Good night, Ernie,” Niles said as he walked by the cell.
“Hey, Chief,” Ernie said.
“Yeah, what do you need?” Niles said.
“Thanks for reading that poem,” Ernie said. “I want to love like that someday.”
“I hope you do, Ernie.”