Sharp in the Dark
6 min

Sharp in the Dark, Part 19

Elevator to the Penthouse

Why can’t people walk or take public transportation? Why do they have to drive?, thought Sharp. The Saturday morning roads were clogged with cars by the time Sharp was in her K-car and trying to keep a tail on Eve’s blue Buick.

Sharp turned right onto Dundas Street. A white van with simplified Chinese script on it was double-parked in front of a vegetable store. Sharp sat in her K-car as Eve Iverson’s Buick disappeared from view. She pounded the steering wheel and swore when suddenly an opening appeared in the oncoming traffic. Sharp seized the moment and raced around the stopped van. She was just in time to catch a glimpse of the Buick turning north on University Avenue. Sharp pressed on the pedal on the right and her beige K-car raced forward.

From University, Sharp followed the Buick up to Bloor Street where it headed east past Yonge. Sharp held back so that Eve wouldn’t see her. She thought to herself, the twin knows my car as well as I know hers. Then she stopped smiling and groaned as she remembered grabbing Eve by the arms. Bad move, she thought, wincing.

The Bloor Street viaduct gave way to a clear blue sky on either side. The bridge was popular with those wishing to end their lives. Sharp had read of nine suicides off the bridge, in that year alone. Jumping. What a way to go, thought Sharp as she clocked the Buick taking the ramp to the Don Valley Parkway north.

The K-car crossed to the slow lane.

Sharp let the Buick get well ahead of her; she didn’t want to risk Eve Iverson seeing her. And she didn’t need to follow her now, anyway. Sharp knew exactly where she was heading.

                                                        *

The K-car pulled up beside a single-storey warehouse. Weeds were tall and brown around the perimeter of the cinder-block building. The sign over the door read Milroy Typesetting Co. The one in the window said: For Lease.

Sharp climbed out of her car and walked around to the front of the building, which was across the road and just east of Iverson Devotionals.

She slipped behind a spruce tree that was alive and appeared to be thriving, despite the take-out containers, newspapers, and other debris that had collected around its trunk and even in its branches. The ground behind the tree was soggy. Sharp wondered what she was stepping in but didn’t have time to check. She held up the pair of binoculars she was carrying and trained them on the Iverson Devotionals building. The “D” came into focus. She drew the lens down and clocked the Iverson woman’s blue Buick. She panned to the left and the front door came into her crosshairs.

It was still there 10 minutes later, and Sharp’s arms were getting sore. She shook them out and stretched out her neck. When she looked through the binoculars again, Eve Iverson was walking quickly towards her car. Suddenly, she looked back over her shoulder, but kept on walking. She was unlocking the car door now. A man came into frame. He was trying to talk to her, but she didn’t seem to want to talk to him. Sharp recognized the man: it was Mark Taylor. He was in his weekend clothes, by the looks of it — navy windbreaker and khakis.

Sharp’s forehead creased. She wished she could hear what Mark and Eve were talking about. Whatever it was, it was a serious, no-smiles discussion. Suddenly, Mark reached out and touched Eve’s arm — kindly, not like Sharp had. Wait a minute, Sharp thought. Did she just flinch?

A moment later, Eve was in her Buick and Mark was rubbing the back of his neck like things weren’t going his way. The Buick backed up past him, and then rolled out of the parking lot and turned towards the highway.

Sharp lowered the binoculars and for a moment, watched the retreating car. Then she looked back at Iverson Devotionals. Mark was heading slowly back towards the building when the front door opened and another man stepped out and said something to Mark.

Sharp rubbed her eyes. Something over there was reflecting a shard of sunlight straight into her eyes. She lifted the binoculars back up and cautiously looked through them. That’s when she saw it: the gold ring. The man was wearing a gold ring. He also had a goatee.

She winced, remembering the fist — and its jewellery — coming straight at her.

So it was them, She said out loud. But why? She stuck the binoculars back on her face.

Gold ring had gone now. In his place, was Rand Iverson. He was looking like a golfer in a robin’s egg blue V-neck sweater over a white turtleneck, dark blue trousers and white shoes. He was standing next to Mark.

Mark appeared to be telling Rand something about Eve, because he gestured over his shoulder a couple of times. Both men turned and stared in the direction the Buick had gone — and then they shrugged and said something to each other. Sharp guessed it was something like: “Women. Who can figure them out?”

Sharp thought she’d give it a try. She jumped into her K-car and headed south, back into the city.

                                                 *

Following the Buick down the Don Valley Parkway wasn’t difficult. The traffic was light going south, and Sharp had a clear bead on the large, shiny blue car. But when it disappeared up the Bloor/Danforth exit, it was a different story.

Sharp took the same turn-off but couldn’t see the Buick anywhere. She didn’t know whether to go east or west along Bloor. She pictured Eve Iverson and decided on west and steered the K-car to the right, though the Buick was nowhere in sight.

She drove along Bloor Street but all she saw was every type of car except Eve’s blue Buick. Her fist bounced off the steering wheel.

A moment later, she caught a glimpse of a dark shape turning south at Jarvis Street. That’s got to be her, thought Sharp as she passed the car ahead of her and wove her way forward in the traffic. It was the Buick, all right. She pressed hard on the pedal on the right.

Sharp followed the Buick south on Jarvis and west onto Charles Street, until it disappeared down the underground parking ramp of a high-rise tower at Charles and Bay. Sharp drove past and pulled up to the curb. She threw on her hazards, and then booked it back to the high-rise.

It was a fancy place with its very own chunk of modern art out front. Two, 20-foot-high sheets of steel curved into near semi-circles that stood facing each other like they wanted to come together but wanting was as far as they were ever going to get.

Sharp pushed open the door and entered the lobby. A couple were just leaving. They wore co-ordinated pink and blue sweaters knotted around their necks over buttoned-down Oxford shirts, ironed jeans and loafers. Sharp smiled warmly at them and wished them a good morning as she slid past the security door that they weren’t really holding open for her. The pair looked at each other and frowned, then turned to the sunshine awaiting them and decided that whatever business Sharp was up to was not about to interfere with their Saturday.

The building had two elevators. The car that the couple had come down on was waiting at the lobby level under the pressure of Sharp’s finger. The other car was heading up. Sharp watched the numbers light up: 12, 14, 15 . . . It stopped at PH1. Sharp nodded at the glowing abbreviation.

“The penthouse, of course!” She stepped into the waiting elevator and pressed PH1. The doors slid closed in front of her.

The car whisked upwards then jerked to a stop at floor 10. Sharp cursed at the interruption. The doors opened and a man in a terry-cloth robe and slippers and carrying a towel over his shoulder peered in.

“Going up!” Sharp said too loudly.

“So am I,” the man said, stepping in beside Sharp and offering a smile that Sharp didn’t return. “Looks like a nice day, finally. We haven’t had sun in so long, I was beginning to forget what it looked like,” he said.

“Yeah,” said Sharp, watching the numbers light up as the car rose higher.

It jerked to a stop at floor 15. Sharp looked around, confused. The man stepped out, smiling. “Well, have a wonderful day!” he said as he padded towards the outdoor pool. I will if I can get to the penthouse before tomorrow, Sharp thought.

But a moment later, she was there.

The corridor was covered in rose-patterned carpet. Sharp walked along, peering at each door. There were several penthouse units on the floor and none had names on them, only numbers.

What did you expect? She thought to herself.

She bit her lip and walked on to the next one — the last on the south side of the building. She stopped near the door. Like the others, it only had a number on it. But unlike the others, there was a trace of scent in the air. Sharp’s nostrils quivered as she inhaled the scent of Guy Laroche, Claire’s perfume — and her sister’s, too. They’re identical in that respect, thought Sharp as she reached forward to knock on the door.

But she didn’t get a chance.

The door swung open and Eve Iverson stood on the other side of it. She had a large, beige portable phone in her hand. It’s antenna stood out, above her head.

“Yes, I’d like to report a stalker,” she said, loudly.

Part 20 >>