It was my final day as a private eye. I spent it mostly packing up and talking with former clients.
At noon, I had a special visitor; it was Lt—now Chief—Kirschenbaum.
I smiled. "Carl! Great seeing you!"
"You didn't think I'd miss out on your final day, did you, Jenny?"
We hugged and kissed.
"And I was hopping you'd like to have lunch with me."
I started to put my shoes on, but he stopped me:
"Stay barefooted; if the waiter objects, I'll threaten to arrest him for something!"
I laughed. "All right!"
We went to a place called the Fireside Inn. I wore my shoes after all, but took them off when we sat down. The waiter gave us a quiet booth in a corner. He ordered shrimp, I had lamb. I had wine, but because he was technically on duty, he had iced coffee.
"So, what made you decide to retire, Jenny?"
"I feel it's time. I'm a 57-year-old woman. My body doesn't react as quickly as it did 30 years ago. Two months ago, a suspect I was chasing got away. It was a 20-year-old kid. It was then I decided it's time to quit."
"We all grow old. I can feel it, too."
"Well, perhaps I feel it more than others. I won't quit completely; I plan to still do occasional jobs."
"That's good." He smiled. "It was 15 years ago that I first met you."
"Was it really? I don't keep track of time, I guess."
"You waded in a fountain to try and find something a guy was looking for."
"Yep. And I fell in, and you saved me!"
We smiled and laughed together.
"You know, you've ended up pretty bedraggled, on many occasions."
"Oh, yeah! It seamed to be an 'occupational hazard,' with me!"
"I still have the photos of you covered in blue paint!"
"I still get royalties from them!"
"And remember the time you tangled with 'the Mud Goddess!'"
"Oh, and there was the time you pulled out a dead body from the mud with your feet!"
"It took me a couple days to get all the mud out from between my toes!"
We laughed again.
The food came, and we started eating. It was very good.
"How many people would you say you've arrested, over the years?"
I thought about this. "Good question. I would guess. . . over 200. I'd have to look through my files. Of course, not all my work was concerned with going after bad guys."
"True. Some of it involved marital concerns, right?"
"Yes, that's right."
"I've arrested 754 people."
"You kept a record of that?"
"It's tracked on computer."
We continued eating and talking about various things. As we were finishing, he pulled out a small box from his shirt pocket.
"I have a special gift for you, Jenny."
"You do? I love special gifts!"
He gave it to me; it was a 1 caret diamond ring!
"Oh, Carol! It's amazing! Say, is this a. . . ."
He nodded. "Jenny, ever since you announced your retirement, last month, I've been doing some thinking. And I've come to a conclusion: I'm in love with you—and I've been in love with you for a long time. Perhaps ever since I first met you at the fountain!
"Barefoot Jenny, will you marry me?"
I was too shocked to answer! So he continued:
"You're retiring. In a year, or so, I'll be able to get a desk job, which means I'll be home evenings. And if you want to take occasional jobs, that's fine with me. If you don't want to give me an answer right away, I quite understand."
We hugged and kissed.
I then looked at the ring and tried to put it on my finger.
"No, it doesn't go on your hand."
"It doesn't? You mean it goes on my. . . ."
I crossed my leg. He put the ring on my middle toe!
"I thought that would be appropriate for you, Barefoot Jenny!"
"Yes, it is!"
It so happened that the very fountain we first met at was close to the restaurant. We walked by it, and I played in it, for a bit!
Four months later, we were married.
As he promised me, he eventually took a desk position. I still do jobs on occasion, if the pay is good. Sometimes, he helps me on them, as well.
And as the fairy tale ends, we lived happily ever after!