Monday, March 19

Red Wine

Today, I wait.

I tidy the office. I look at my watch. I fill out the paperwork on Baltam. I look at the clock. I stare out of the window, and wait.

Eventually, darkness falls over the world like a gloved fist closing around around a candleflame, suffocating and drowning the light. Midnight approaches, and finally I can head out to the Bridge.

It's located at the edge of town. It's a place only the locals know about. There are so many fights and killings there, I'm surprised they still have any locals. I find the bar and order a whiskey.

I notice the perfume first. Like a faint mist teasing through the air, it strikes me for its subtlety and power. I can barely notice the fragile scent, but it sends my head reeling. I'm suddenly glad for the whiskey.

She takes a seat next to me, orders a red wine. The barman is flustered, says their out. She lights a cigerette - it mingles with her perfume intoxicatingly - and asks again for a glass of wine. The barman hurries away into the cellar. I'm not too proud to reach over the bar and top up my whiskey.

When she speaks, I finally recognise her. K was one of Thornton's secretaries. She had been one of the kinder ones as I was ushered out of the building. There was no sign of that sweet smile now though. She was a stilletto knife, finely honed and glinting in the candlelight.

K tells me about Thompson. He is one of Thornton's pen pushers, responsible for tidying up the off-record business interesting. From his plush, leather cushioned oaken throne, Thornton controls half of the prostitution, drug distribution and human trafficking across the city. Thompson just checks the figures, sees to the authorities. Seems I helped uncover one of Thornton's pimps about a year ago. A crazy bastard by the name of Whitby, I remember him all too clearly. Thompson was responsibly for closing me down quietley.

But Thompson screwed up. He went too far and showed me too much. Thornton has cut his chain and disavowed all knowledge. That sounds like good news to me. It means that when I find the little weasel, he'll have no bigger brother to come knocking on my door.

K promises to be in touch, and rises to leave. The barman comes running from the cellar, dusty bottle and glass in hand. Smiling nervously, he pours out a glass and offers it to K. She puts out her cigeratte on the bar, takes the glass, and drinks it down in one great swig. She drops a couple of coins on the table, and walks out.

No comments: