Above the paired revolving doors, the words The Denver Cotterell Building and the insignia of Cotterell Industries left no room for doubt about the building’s owner.
Starting at ground level, Harris’s eyes followed the lines of the building, up, past the dark glass and silvery steel until, his head craned back, he was looking at the thirtieth floor and, beyond that, at the cloudless sky of the Colorado summer day. The temperature was already uncomfortably warm despite the early hour, the forecast for another day in the nineties.
Harris wore a well cut, lightweight business suit. In his right hand he carried a leather attaché case; his left hand gently stroked his chin. Around him scurried lawyers and bureaucrats, receptionists and businessmen, middle managers and accountants, the small people who were the life blood of the city.
Somewhere up there, on the thirtieth floor, was Vincent Cotterell, one of the richest men in America and the reason Harris was in Denver. Momentarily oblivious to the crowd around him, Harris’s mind skipped forward to their meeting, wondering how it would end.
Someone jostled him.
“Sorry,” a heavyset man apologized over his shoulder as he hurried toward the revolving door and disappeared into the building.
His train of thought interrupted, Harris walked forward, blending with the crowd, one more businessman about to start the last workday of the week. As he entered the building he glanced at his wristwatch. 8:26. The appointment was for 8:30.
A crowd of workers stood in the elevator bay, waiting for the next car. Harris attached himself unobtrusively to them. Around him the talk was of the Denver Broncos and their chances in the upcoming season. No one paid him any attention.
An elevator car arrived, the doors opened, and the crowd heaved forward. He was swept inside, the last person in. He stood facing the rear of the car, unable to turn around in the squeeze of bodies. Buttons were pressed, and the elevator began to rise fitfully up the building, disgorging its passengers in ones and twos.
The highest number on the buttons was 29. Harris waited until the last remaining person in the car, a petite blonde who ignored him with studied unconcern, got out with a coy smile at the 25th floor. As the doors closed, he pressed the button for the 29th floor.