Vadner’s office smelled like mothballs and paint thinner. I put the key in my pocket and walked in.
I’d been here before, though, not like this. It was a sparse room. No filing cabinets. Just a few bookshelves, a few uncomfortable chairs, and his desk.
I went straight for the desk.
Behind it now, I pushed his chair out of the way and pulled open the drawers.
Empty. Junk. Locked.
I pulled on that one again. Nothing.
He probably didn’t keep the key in here. I leaned my arms down on the top of his desk and in a single motion, swooshed the papers and that stupid leatherette desk calendar off onto the floor.
I looked around. I needed something to get into that drawer… I grabbed a chrome letter opener out of his pencil holder. I jabbed the drawer’s lock with it then I jammed it inside the drawer, prying it hard. I put my weight on it. It broke. I almost fell. I swore and tossed it onto the ground. I looked around again.
There was a closet door across the room. I went to it, pulling the doors open. Just more of that identical suit jacket that he wore every day. More mothballs. More paint thinner. What is this guy doing in here…
And, then I saw it. A small rusty box on the floor. I picked it up by the handle and then, promptly, everything inside of it clanked loudly onto the floor. Random greasy tools. I seriously doubted these were his.
I grabbed a screwdriver and a hammer and walked back to the desk. I lined it up and put my back into it. The whole desk shook when I hit it. I did it again. And again. Until I saw the lock disappear inside the drawer, leaving a little dark hole. I dropped the tools and pulled open the drawer.
There were a few papers and extra pens. I moved them aside. And then, reaching my hand deep in the drawer, up to my elbow, I felt it. It must have been taped. I pulled and it ripped. It was an envelope. I opened it up and looked inside.
“Vadner, Vadner.” I had what I needed now.
I was just about to bolt when I heard voices. Vadner and his secretary. Moving fast, by the sound of it.
I moved quickly to the door. Too late. I could already see them walking into the outer office…