Monday, April 4, 2016

Noir thingy

A clear, moon-lit sky draped the bustling metropolis. It seemed God had planned to give His creations an open window to the gleaming stars along with a cool breeze to alleviate the swelter of a typical July evening. The grand spatial luster shone over the passerby going about their normal business. 

Ol’ Charlie, an infamous local hobo, continued to pleasure himself furiously within the confines of his favorite tarnished alleyway, and a couple of blocks away Lance Barrister was on the verge of reliving the intimate moment his face had once shared with the cold concrete ground outside of O’Connor’s Alehouse.

“Ya best not come back here until you’re willing to pay your overdue tab, or else this’ll be a stern talkin’ to compared to what I’ll do to ya next time ‘round,” the proud pub-owner proclaimed after he “escorted” the lowly gumshoe from the premises. “And Jaysus you had the balls to show up here plastered and penniless.”

“Come on, Gerry,” Barrister slurred as he struggled to get back up. “You know I’m good for it.”

“You’re a good-for-nothing loser gobshite,” O’Connor retorted. “What makes it sadder is you could actually be good for it had you put the effort. Clean up your act, will ya. In the meantime, stay away from my bar.”

The hulking Irishman walked back inside to serve his paying customers. He had a soft spot for Barrister and wished him all the best, but at that moment he felt a little tough love was in order.

Back on his feet with an aching back to the brick wall, Barrister produced a pack of red Marlboros from the breast pocket of his black trench coat, a choice of dress that struck people as queer, given how hot and humid it was, and attempted to light a cigarette. The insatiable thirst for liquor was only overshadowed by his voracious smoking habit.

“Those things will kill you, you know,” said a voice from afar, noticing the pathetic sparks emanating from a faulty, expensive lighter.

Barrister glanced at the general direction of the sound.

“They haven’t yet,” he replied, raising his voice impatiently. ”You’d better come out of the shadows and help me out with a light.

She emerged toward him with a graceful stride, and he couldn’t help but notice how her gentle facial features contrasted with his rugged, mangled looks.

“Let’s have it then,” he pressed her. “I’m dead serious.”

With a shrug, she pulled out a small pistol from her purse, pointed it directly at his mouth and pulled the trigger.

He did an about face.

A tiny flame hissed from the end where bullets usually come out.

“Point reluctantly taken,” he said while he tried to hide the unexpected pump of adrenaline coursing through his veins, and reunited the cancer-stick with its peers.

“What can I do for you?” he asked. “I’m certain you’re not just a faux-weapon wielding angel of death and cigarettes who just shows up whenever a lighter is busted.”

“You’re the only detective in town who isn’t a belligerent boozehound,” she said, “Which is ironic given your current state of dubious sobriety, but it’s the ‘belligerent’ part that matters to me.”

“Isn’t it sixty years too late for the whole ‘dame to-die-for walks into my life looming-hooded-figure’ to still be a thing?” he struck back with all the sarcasm he can muster.

“I’m not hooded, and It’ll never cease to be a thing when there’s always a ‘dame’ in trouble,” she replied. “And don’t ever call me or anyone a 'dame,' a 'broad' or a 'floozy.' I’m a fucking black belt, and I use it well. Keep that in mind.

“Use that belt any way you want if that’s the sort of thing you’re into,” he said as he focused his eyes on hers as best as he can. “It’s judgement-free zone with me.”

“Your defense mechanisms are cute,” she said, visibly annoyed this time. “But I’m not that one who needs help. I need you as an equal partner in a case I’m working on.”

“Look, I’m retired,” he blurted out harshly. “You did your homework so you knew that already.”

“Everyone else is an incompetent asshole, and you’re the only one with good street-cred,” she sharpened her tone. “Even Ol’ Charlie tells me how good you are to him with the change and scraps of food you didn’t want to throw up after a night of binge-drinking.”

“He told me that right before he went back to touching himself!” she said haughtily as she poked his shoulder several times.

Barrister just stood there defeated when she turned away from him and took a few steps.

“I’m familiar with your sordid past,” she confessed, “and with the Limeville murders.”

He looked up at her in bewilderment enhanced with a fresh injection of anxiety-inducing chemicals.

“I know they’ve been haunting you, and you can’t be blamed for all the screw-ups,” she turned to face him again. The raven-haired beauty had his number.

“Work with me and I can vindicate you,” she offered.

“For all I know you could be blowing smoke up my ass,” he said. “That used to happen in those movies, too. Femme Fatales, they called them.”

“I’ve given you too much time and courtesy as it is,” she said as she looked at her phone, "and all you can do is trust me; trust that a little boy is close to meeting his maker if we don’t crack this case wide open. That should be incentive enough for you, Hero. Sober up.”
To be continued. Maybe.


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