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Dinner Out

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There was nothing at all special about the invitation.

"Hey, Arthur."

"Hmm?"

"Wanna grab dinner tonight?"

"Sure."

After all, no one knew it was his birthday, least of all Harris.

The day went by like any other bland, ordinary day at the 12th. Two muggers wearing shark costumes who never actually succeeded because they kept humming the "Jaws" theme while they stalked their victims. A complaint between neighbors concerning the ownership of a bootleg laserdisc, which suddenly turned into each one saying it wasn't theirs to avoid arrest. And a wannabe holdup man, dragged in by Luger; the unfortunate criminal had made the mistake of threatening Mr. Kotterman while Luger was trying to choose a brand of sherry.

The day finally came to an end and Harris produced a flat rectangular box from his desk and held it out.

"What's that?"

"What's it look like? It's a necktie, Arthur. It won't bite you."

"Says you," Dietrich answered skeptically, but he opened the box. The tie was a titch narrower than the one he was wearing, and woven with metallic threads that shimmered--now silver, now gold--as he lifted the tie out of the box. "A present?"

Harris sniffed. "It's mostly for me. I refuse to be seen uptown with you in that fuddy-duddy tie you're wearing now."

"Uptown?"

"A gourmet meal with all the trimmings. That's your birthday present. You just have to be presentable for it."

Dietrich wasn't sure why his hands were shaking as he took his current tie off. Of course he figured out when my birthday is. He's a detective. He refused to ask himself why Harris would go to the effort of finding out.

"Oh, come here!" Harris snapped as Dietrich fumbled with the new tie. Harris whipped it expertly around Dietrich's neck and tied it carefully, fussing until it was just right. "There," he said, straightening Dietrich's lapels. "Fit to be seen in public."

"Even with you?"

"Especially with me."