(Thanks for the story title, you know who!!!)
Story begins at Louie's bar "The Brew and Stew" After Moonchild incident in the Tex Murphy game "Under A Killing Moon". Chelsee and Tex are seated, watching the TV behind the bar blare...
--when disaster struck yesterday. No official comment has been released, but it is believed that as many as 5000 people were aboard. Indications are that the satellite resort experienced a major power failure. Initial reports state that there were no survivors. If so, this would qualify as the greatest off planet disaster in history. In other news….”
Chelsee shook her head. “That’s horrible. All those people.”
I set down my drink and drew in on my Lucky Strike. Louie’s was alive with the clinking of glasses, snippets of conversation, laughter. It was a beautiful sound. I drained the last of my scotch and set the glass on the counter. Louie asked me if I wanted another. I shook my head and smiled, then laid 3 large bills on the bar. I could tell Louie was about to protest, and I cut him off. ”Thanks for the drink. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
I slung my trench coat over my shoulder, set the matching fedora on my head and walked to the door. I’d gotten halfway across the room when I noticed a stunning brunette in a black dress sitting alone in the booth next to the door. She was a dame. The kind of dame that could make a bishop kick out a stained glass window. As I approached, she looked up at me. “Are you Tex Murphy?”
Feeling pleasantly confused, I doffed my hat. “Have we met?”
The woman looked at me with large hazel eyes. “No. I have something to show you.”
She motioned for me to sit down, then opened up her purse and handed me a photograph.
The bemused fog that clouded my mind a moment before slammed out of my solar plexus like a guy with a sledgehammer trying to hit the 10 dollar prize at the carnival.
The beret was unmistakable along with the devilish red smile that hinted out from below it. The beautiful blonde woman that had her sultry arm wrapped around a distinguished looking silver haired playboy was none other than Sylvia.
The brunette’s eyes never left me. “So I am talking to the right person. You look like warmed over cottage cheese. You know that woman.”
My jaw clenched into a tight knot and I could feel my nails digging into my now sweaty palms. “Yeah, I know her all right.”
Her cool eyes appraised me once again. “She doesn’t seem to be wearing a wedding ring in this photograph. You… on the other hand… do.”
I could feel my temper starting to bubble beneath the surface. I didn’t want to snarl at her, but my patience and liquid cheer had just run out. “Is there something I can help you with, or do you get a sadistic thrill shattering other peoples lives?
A thought sprung to mind.
“Hey, you’re not a private detective are you?” The idea was intriguing, a private eye team, all we needed now was a wickedly smart Jack Russell terrier and we’d be in business. But like everything else in my life, I was shot out of the sky right away.
“Oh heaven’s no Mr. Murphy.” She waved her hands like the idea was absurd.
“Or may I call you Tex? There is something that connects the two of us, you know. The man you see in the photograph is my former husband.”
The plot thickened. I fished out the pack of smokes from the inner pocket of my trench coat and gave her my best “tell me more” look.
“So what’s your story? And your name, by the way. Tex is fine.”
I grabbed the ashtray, struck up a Lucky and settled in.
“I always keep on a first name basis with all my future ex-girlfriends.”
“Lauren Owen.” She watched and waited till I finished lighting up.
“Very droll, by the way. Are you familiar with India at all Mr. Murphy? Tex?”
“Not much I’m afraid, except for what I read in the papers. Didn’t they regress back to a communist state about 5 yrs ago?”
“Yes, unfortunately. My family lived there for 3 generations. We had plantations in both Ahmadabad and Delhi. After the war the radiation ruined our crops for several years. Just as we had learned to adapt around the fallout, we were driven out of country. My father remained against the family’s wishes, and we received several pieces of him as a reminder not to return.”
“Wow, tough crowd. Remind me not to pedal Field and Stream magazine subscriptions around there.”
“My husband had invested heavily in the family business, and when we were driven out, our fortune took a turn for the worst. He and I have both kept up appearances, as of now we still barely manage to. Sylvia thinks she’s met a future sugar Daddy, and my ex-husband is after the remainder of her father’s inheritance. Neither one knows that they both are on the edge of bankruptcy.”
“So what do you need me for? It sounds like they’re on the right track to implode together. Did you come here to gloat? Or share in good fortune?” I stubbed out the Lucky, half-smoked and leaned in, eager to hear the rest.
“I’m afraid I have very little of that left. But I do have something I could use your help with. I’d like to discuss it in a little more private setting. I know its well after business hours, but may we continue our conversation your office?”
I left a 20 on the table to cover her drink and we walked over to the Ritz. I was thrilled that I had paid up on my rent, so we could use the front door. I gallantly opened the front door to a blessedly empty lobby. Thankfully, Nilo was passed out somewhere in the back office, this months Playbub well broken in by now.
I waved my hand over to the vending machine.
“Skittles? Maybe a bag of chips?”
“No thank you, I’ve had dinner.”
As I escorted her down the hallway and into my office, I realized how alluring Lauren smelled. Louie’s atmosphere of lamb chili and cigarette smoke masked the sweetness coming out from her skin. I was feeling quite warm and a little snug in my clothing. Again, she was onto me.
“Jasmine, is what you sense. My family grew a special strain of it on our farm. 60,000 flowers gave their petals up for 20 precious drops of what you smell right now. It was one of our prized, and more public offerings. Jasmine is the middle note, but there are other things beneath it, base notes recognized only from deep in the limbic system.”
I knew I was way out of my league on this conversation, so I turned on the overhead light, gestured for her to take a seat and skirted the issue. Skirt….
My eyes were constantly drawn away from the task at hand. I couldn’t stop watching the hemline of her dress expose more and more of her shapely thigh as she rested back in the chair across from my desk. Focus, Murphy, focus. My judgment was feeling a bit fuzzy, so I let her talk, trying to get the reason why she needed my services. Thankfully, she wasn’t one to dance around her point.
“I don’t have a lot of money left. My husband took most of what of little assets remained from our marriage and the business. His lawyer was quite brutal, I’m afraid. But there are certain favors that I can call in to help improve my situation. He’s attempted to keep an eye on me, but I can handle him by playing the innocent. It’s worked for many years.
I can do it quite well.”
As she leaned over my desk, a hint of cleavage poked out from the bodice of her dress. Her voice, already low and sultry, dropped another octave. “I need to know what kind of person you are Tex.”
The invitation in her voice was unmistakable. And at any other time I would follow the first rule of a PI, and keep a solid distance, but I had just narrowly avoided death, and received a resoundingly solid rejection from the girl of my dreams. I wasn’t sure I wanted to turn this offer down. Keep composed, Murphy.
“Well, I’m as honest as you can find in this field. I’m reliable, and affordable.” I felt myself fidget in the chair, and willed my inner being to exude charm, sophistication and intelligence.
“What I need from you is fairly straightforward and not very dangerous. My life is forfeit if I go back to India, but there is something there I desperately need. We didn’t only grow plants and exotic herbs in India. That was a large chunk of our business yes, but Delhi is the center of a very private, hidden chemical industry. What I need is located in the depths of an ancient Buddhist monastery. A place where modern conviences have yet to touch, even in this day and age. At least not since the last time I was there.”
She paused for a moment.
“I will give you the name of the person to contact and a letter for him. I have a large circle of acquaintances; discretion needs to be of the utmost importance. Your name came up in certain circles as someone trustworthy, and oddly effective.”
Her eyes fixed unwaveringly on me.
“Can you help me? I don’t have the money to pay for your ticket and expenses to India, but the price on the substance is very lucrative. There is already a small circle of buyers for the item. And if the stories about PI’s are true, you’ll like this last part. There is quite the black market for cigars there.”
She hit me right in the tender spot. Cigars, I could feel my lungs start to shudder in anticipation. How long had it been since I had enjoyed something besides Lucky Strikes, Llamas and those damned to hell crappy cigarillos? I thought about the eight thousand dollars left of the Chameleon reward money and contemplated the deal. A trip on this planet, without the threat of a high speed chase or imminent death, sounded like fun. My passport had a couple of years left on it, and I wasn’t getting any younger.
It wasn’t too hard of a decision. It took about a second and a half.
“I’ll take your case. 700 dollars a day plus expenses. I can’t imagine it taking more than a week, provided your information pans out.”
She smiled for the first time tonight. “Thank you Tex. I think we’ll all get what we want out of this arrangement.” She got up silently, smoothing the lines of her tight black dress, and walked around the desk, her high heels clicking mutedly on the floor.
I could already feel my heart starting to pound as she got closer to me. Beads of sweat popped out from under the brim of the fedora, but I felt pinned to where I sat, unable to move, a deer in the headlights. I watched one of the spaghetti straps fall off the smooth pale skin on her shoulder, mesmerized. Before I could stop her, she straddled me on the chair, and sitting on my lap, took my face in her hands and kissed me long and deeply. My arms, hanging limp at my sides forgotten a second ago, tightened around her. What little resolve I had left was gone. The feeling of her body pressed firmly against me left me totally overwhelmed. There was no way I was letting this slip away. She seemed to notice that I wasn’t complaining and her tiny, delicate hand gently pulled the fedora off my head and sailed it across the room, a secret smile on her face.
“Nice arc you got there. You must play a wicked Frisbee.”
She smiled as her head turned back, looking down at me. “That is ever so much better.”
She repositioned and leaned over again, shushing me with her mouth, and placed my hands around her waist. My paralysis seemed to break and all I could think about was getting us out of the chair and onto something with a bit more room. Her slender form felt like it weighed almost nothing at all as I eagerly lifted her up during the middle of our kiss. I nudged up against the hollow of her throat and felt her gasp and grab on even harder. I felt dizzy, intoxicated as I stood, like my body couldn’t think about anything more than what was wrapped around it.
It turns out we didn’t make it all the way to the bedroom. Her long hair smelled like flowers and felt like warm silk, and I couldn’t keep my hands out of it. Moments later, I was somewhere even warmer, with buttons missing off my good shirt and a new scratch on the wallpaper.
Delhi, India 72 hrs later
The bright light and the heat were the first things that hit me about the place. The trench coat was draped over one arm, and my poorly chosen long sleeved white oxford stuck to me like the most disgustingly flabby wet t-shirt contest ever. I vowed to get on a Stair master after getting back home.
The next thing was the flies. It looks like the radiation had only helped them along. They reached ungodly sizes and their blue-black buzzing bodies gave me the creeps. A constant droning in my ears kept my hands flapping, brushing away imaginary or all too real insects.
Lastly, was the stench of god knows what. I guess there wasn’t a curb your camel law, as several times I barely avoided drowning my shiny white sneakers in a fragrant pile of warm animal dung. The difference between the two cultures was a wake up call. I was dismayed back home because I had a second rate speeder. There wasn’t a motor to be seen all along this stretch of road, be it air car, or gasoline.
I stuck out like a sore thumb amidst all the brown skinned folks, being fishbelly white and almost a full foot taller than everyone around me. They spoke quickly in an unknown language, hands flying to illustrate some unknown to me point. I guess I looked like an easy mark. In broken pidgin English I was offered in the space of two dozen footsteps shelter for the night by three different people, and a ride in a ramshackle rickshaw that offered a measly 6 inches of shade pulled by a 600 year old man with two and a half teeth left and probably weighed no more than eighty pounds soaking wet. Other offerings were the newest version of Microsoft Windows and an herbal concoction that smelled vaguely like goat urine and promised to keep me going all night long. The last one sounded intriguing, but I didn’t know if my poor ticker could take it, and thought the smell might clash with my aftershave.
Fortunately, after maneuvering my way through the throng of people, I managed to decipher the directions on the tattered piece of paper, and I found the monastery right outside of town. Unfortunately it was on top of a rock that rivaled the size of Mt. Everest to my uneducated eyes. The thought of my last bit of exercise brought a quick smile as I contemplated the task of trudging up what looked like at least a mile and a half of steep and twisty trail.
“Well, the only way to do it, is just to do it.”
There was a fleeting thought of venturing back into town to find the guy with the rickshaw, but decided not to spend the karma on it. Not only would the old geezer be able to trot me up there without breaking a sweat, he would probably keep up a feisty stream of conversation the whole way. My ego couldn’t have taken the humiliation. So I grudgingly started the climb.
The fedora became an object for fanning the heat and dust around my face. I thought about ditching my shirt just to cool down a bit, and then decided that the 2nd degree burn I was sure to get wasn’t worth it. My poor legs wobbled and protested under the strain, and I promised them if they’d see me up there, I’d put off my vow of the Stair climber. Not only were my lungs burning, but the muscles in my calves ached with every step. The monastery didn’t look like it was any closer after what felt like a full day of walking.
I stopped and sat on a large rock beside the road for a few minutes to catch my breath, and the idea of water mercilessly hounded me. A drink now, and a big case of mud butt was sure to follow for a good four days after kept my thoughts at bay, and it forced me to plod back up and on.
After what seemed like hours of trekking what I thought might be my last steps on earth, I finally approached the building. I tried to kick most of the dust off me, and wiped the sweat off my face, doing my best to look presentable. Chickens scattered around my feet as I approached the large wooden door. The knocker was large and was made of aged brass. I didn’t expect to be greeted right away, but moments later, I entered the eerie coolness of the large white monastery. It looks like it had once been just a simple three story building, but little boxes of extra rooms popped up all around it, giving it an expansive, but ramshackle look from the outside. Inside, it was solemn and exquisite.
I was escorted by what looked like a happy to be there ten year old with a bald head wearing an oversized orange robe. I was shuttled into a fairly modern library, although it seemed to be without electricity. No vid-phone, computer or fax could be seen. The desk was large and made of a heavy, dark wood, and there were shelves and shelves of books, maps, parchments, globes, and exotic plants everywhere. A large window opened to a breathtaking view of the horizon. A manuscript in an unintelligible language lay perched in front of me faded and yellow, it looked about 1000 years old. An ancient magnifying glass lay on top of it. I took in the surroundings, and sat down in a wide leather chair, my bones creaking and my legs thanking me profusely. My breathing rate returned to normal, and I was feeling much like my old self again. I decided to forgo the celebratory smoke.
“Ah, welcome!” A booming but very clipped British voice echoed from behind me. He was a burly, dark skinned man, about 6’8, carrying quite a gut, but a very broad grin. He gestured to me.
“No please, don’t get up. The climb is tiring on even the heartiest of us.”
He paused as he looked over at what was surely a strange visitor. He took a few moments, sizing me up without speaking.
“Captain.” He bowed.
“Can’t say I’ve ever been on a ship, unless you count canoeing as a Webelo scout.”
I tried to shake off this feeling that he was looking not only at me, but inside me.
“My name’s Tex Murphy, I’m a private investigator. I brought a letter in about an item that I was sent to retrieve.”
He still continued to look at me strangely, as if he was having deja vu, but he shook my hand readily enough. His grip was strong, but not overpowering, and coarse, wiry hair poked out from the top of his wrists.
“Yes.” He said slowly, scratching the black stubble on his chin. “Your benefactors have been most generous to us over the last 70 years, and I will grant the request… but it troubles me. I would not expect you to be coming to get this now.”
He looked like he might say more, and thought better of it. He hesitated again, and then spoke with all seriousness.
“Tell me, what do you know of Nicholas the II?”
Lauren hadn’t briefed me for any of this, so at first I thought to wing it, but decided just to be honest and play dumb. “I’m sorry, I wish I knew what you were talking about, but I don’t”. Whatever I said or didn’t say, it seemed to confirm his suspicions.
He walked away from the desk and over to a row of bookshelves. He pulled on one navy leather bound book with gold gilding, and a small panel opened to reveal a wall safe. He made no attempt to disguise any of it from me. After fiddling with the dial for a moment, the solid metal door swung open and he looked at several little brown bottles, putting them aside, until he found the one he was looking for, even though they were all unmarked from the outside. He moved a stack of bills out of the way and re-closed the door, spinning the dial, and then replacing the panel.
“I dug this out several years ago. For some reason, I knew one day it would be put to use. My hope is that it’s used wisely.”
He carefully reached over and handed me the vial. He searched my eyes again.
“Nothing? You do not know me at all?”
All I could do was sadly shake my head, standing slowly upright.
He let the moment pass and brought the smile back to his face.
“That’s all right. It was good to see you, and we will meet again.” He clapped me robustly on the shoulder, knocking me off balance.
“Would you like to stay for dinner? Or rest for the night? I can offer you refreshments, one’s that will go easy on your digestion.”
“That sure sounds like a good offer, but I’d like to get back on my way. I want to get to the airport and back home as soon as possible. As you know, there’s only 1 flight out per night. I don’t want to miss it.”
He bowed his head.
“I completely understand. Please allow me to offer you a guide and a ride down the mountain. The journey down is just as difficult as the one up. Tell me, have you ridden an ass before?”
My quick cutting comment stayed safely behind my teeth, and I graciously accepted a bottle of clean water and a ride back down to town. He gave me a big bear hug as he escorted me out, and the ten year old that walked me in brought a donkey on a rope. He walked and I rode down in silence, watching the sun start to set, deep reds fading into blue and the upcoming night. I knew this was something I’d never see again, so I tried to remember everything I encountered on the way down.
Once we reached town I thanked my guide, and he slipped away, laughing. Not only did my legs ache, but I was going to have some serious saddle sore going on. My waddle must have been what amused him.
I was glad that the experience went off without a hitch. I had a little brown bottle of murky fluid in a vial, and $3000 less in my pocket. I took one last look around the market, and made it back to the helipad just in time with the goods and a big box of hastily bought cigars.
The Office- 36 hours later
I was beat and was surprised to be glad at the sight of the Ritz. Home sweet home. I took a long shower to clean up, shave, and brush the moss from my teeth. I grabbed a few hours of shut eye, to get back to normal. After waking, and a shot or two of the good stuff, I called Lauren on the vid-phone.
Her face popped up on the screen and secretly I hoped she would want to see me right away. I had been thinking about her quite a bit on the long flight, and during the lay-over delays on the way back. I had no idea what the future would bring, but she was smiling, which rated high in my book. I wiggled the vial in front of the screen. “One Murphy surprise, coming up!”
Her hair was wet and tousled over her shoulder, spilling onto her white satin robe. “Fantastic! I’m thrilled it went well. You are amazing! How about we go out to Enrico’s to celebrate?”
She pulled out a palm pad, and checked a couple of screens. “How about 8:00? Take a nap, and get rested, because I’m thinking it will be a long night.” She winked and signed off.
I had to grab another shower, this one even longer and as cold as I could get it. I savored a couple of cigars in front of the Victrola and killed all the time I needed until 7:30 and braved the last bit of rush hour traffic. Enrico’s was a pretty swank place so I was glad I put on my wingtips and nice tie instead of my usual sneakers. The warm black leather booth in the back had just the perfect amount of mood lighting, and I’d hoped that my quick stop by the exotic flower shop might have been the right move.
“Officinale grandflorum kobuski, absolutely beautiful, thank you Tex!” a friendly and familiar voice spoke from behind me and slid in the booth across from my side of the table.
“They’re really all that? That’s funny; the guy on the corner just called them $14.95.”
“You’re such a flirt.” But she seemed honestly glad to see me. This was a rare occurrence in my experience with women, so I decided to just accept it, and let it sink in. The lighting fixtures recessed in the walls were very flattering to her skin, so was the tight, form fitting red silk dress she wore. Her lipstick matched, making me feel silly about noticing things like that. She looked absolutely beautiful, and she had done it especially for me.
The waiter came by, well dressed but un-snooty. Lauren surprised me again. “Glenlevit 18 yr if you have it. Two glasses. And bring the bottle.”
“I think this could be love.” The fedora went in the corner, the flowers on the far side of the table, and her hand in mine. Her arms were incredibly slender and a joy to look at. The small talk flowed smoothly, and so did the scotch.
“Tex, you are in rare form tonight.” she laughed after I had relayed a particularly amusing story about myself and an ass. “Do you have it here with you?”
I felt like Sir Perceval with the Holy Grail as I dug the vial out my trench coat pocket. Her face lit up even further. She absolutely glowed. “Bingo. Tex, thank you so much. This is my ticket back in the game.”
“What is it anyway?” I asked as I refilled her drink, the bottle clinking ever so slightly. “It’s not going to win you a Nobel Prize or destroy the world I hope? Cause I just finished saving it and it was one hell of an ordeal.”
Lauren laughed, as I thought she might and drained the glass in one gulp. I knew no one would ever believe my story, but I just had to get a dig in there anyway.
“No, it’s not going to end the world as we know it.” She was chuckling as she set the glass down on the heavy walnut table, and from behind me I heard another laugh, one that stopped me dead in my tracks. Across the room, walking to a table far to the right of us was Sylvia and her very familiar date. She had a new white fur stole that draped across her shoulders, and was wearing the same dress I’d seen on her the day she walked out on me after stomping my heart into dust. My mouth went dry.
Lauren didn’t seem to be too phased about what had just happened, but I could feel my leg start to jimmy under the table. Surprise was the very least of my feelings. Somehow, I couldn’t stop stealing glances over at them. Sylvia was laughing, flirting with the oversize menu. My stomach was in knots. While my eyes were darting over to their table, Lauren filled up her glass with what was left of the bottle. She gestured to the waiter.
“Tex honey, I’ve got to make a phone call. Will you excuse me for a few minutes?” The well dressed help came up to the table. She turned her charm on him. And he glowed like a fresh neon sign.
“Hello. A very good friend of mine was seated a moment ago, and I was wondering if you could deliver this drink to him. We share a love of good scotch, I think he’ll be pleasantly surprised.” She pointed at the table they shared.
“My pleasure ma’am.” He whisked the drink onto a small mirrored serving tray and backed graciously away from the table.
Lauren was not smiling anymore, for the first time she looked nervous, almost frightened. They say some animals could smell fear, I didn’t know if that what is was, but something was wrong. She grinned, trying to brush off her anxiety, but the smile didn’t reach her eyes.
“Thank you Tex. It’s been a wonderful night. You can’t know how much.” And with that she took her clutch and disappeared towards the direction of the ladies room. I was starting to panic. How was I going to deal with this situation? Each scenario that ran through my head came out worse than the one before it. I watched the waiter bring the glass to their table, and made a sweeping gesture towards our side of the room. Sylvia’s eyes narrowed into slits as she saw me. Several minutes went by and I grew more and more impatient. I wondered how I was going to handle this when the barkeep stopped by my table with a post it note hastily stuck to a smooth pink envelope.
The little piece of paper read, Get out of the restaurant, NOW!
I tend to take threats fairly seriously, and decided by the look of the envelope, I knew who the warning was from. Not knowing how much time I had left, I went right to Sylvia’s table and coaxed her up, fumbling excuses a mile a minute.
I pulled her hastily out into the street, and we walked quickly into the night. Surprisingly, she remained quiet for about a block and a half. About then I guess she’d had enough. She stopped, yanked her hand out of mine and stared angrily at me. “Do you mind telling me what in the hell that was for? It’s a little late for jealousy isn’t it Tex?”
“I wouldn’t have done anything if I thought you weren’t in danger. If you hadn’t noticed it's cold and raining out, and I’m not really here for a romantic chat or tearful reconciliation.”
She continued to glare at me. “I don’t know what the hell your problem is, but the place hasn’t blown up, so I’m going back.”
“Where do you know that man from?” I demanded.
“It’s none of your damned business. The agency called me a couple of weeks ago. They told me to get acquainted with him. They’re paying handsomely, provided I keep quiet. He’s a charming man.”
“I’ve got a really bad feeling about this. I don’t think you should go back.”
“Well, sweetie, what you say doesn’t matter at all to me anymore.” She turned her back to me and stalked away, heels clicking out at me, warning me to back off. I stayed several paces behind, wondering what had come over me. Red flashing lights and sirens came wailing down the street, and pulled up to the restaurant. Medics in dark blue uniforms rushed in.
By the time she reached Enrico’s, a gurney was coming out from the front doors, with a shrouded figure covered completely by a pale white sheet. Sylvia ran over to him, but the EMT’s had masks over their faces and were keeping everybody back and away. All I could see was one hand that had fallen out from under the sheet, and it was engorged, almost black with blood.
“Stay back, everybody, and get back into the restaurant. We’ve got the CDC on its way. Just stay calm and sit down.”
My PI instincts told me now was a good time to get lost, so I slipped back into the night. I walked along the grey sidewalk kicking at trash with a deep foreboding in my gut.
I put off looking at the envelope until I found a wooden park bench under a pale yellow street light. It looked like Kilroy had been here and Josh and Amy were together forever. But it was still raining, and the ink started to run under my hands.
Even now I can’t tell you the whole story about what is going on. A few pieces might be revealed through the press in the next few days, but there is too much that more powerful influences will keep secret. Just trust me when I say that there were reasons for everything that happened. I know it doesn’t seem like it, but what I did was for a greater good. Please believe that. I’m going off to a lonely place, and won’t be seeing you again.
Try not to think of me too harshly. There are some things I didn’t deceive you about.
I crumbled up the letter in my fist with disgust and threw it as far away as I could. For a PI, I was getting played for the sucker over and over again. Was our night together simply a way to keep me from asking too many questions that she didn’t want to answer? I felt like a puppy being lead around by his nose, or worse. I realized that I wasn’t even ahead of the game. I was out over a third of my reward money and the cops were sure to be paying me a visit sometime soon. I didn’t even know if she had given me her real name. I knew what my name was…Mr. Chump. I ditched the speeder, and decided to wander out for awhile, hoping to clear my head. Several blocks later, tired of the wind whipping around my head while I walked, I came across a 24 hour liquor store and changed my plans.
Sitting on another park bench covered in bird crap, I sat with the open bottle and wondered if I could stay conscious long enough to finish it.
I almost made it.