I need a drink. Cases like these, they make you take a long, hard look into your soul, and you don’t always like what you find. Old keys, used gum, a hotel lotion bottle that exploded in there and left everything all sticky. A soul can get dirty real fast in this messed up, intoxicating city.
I go to the nearest bar I can find and take a seat. It’s the kind of place with wood paneling that smells like mahogany and a row of pretty little liquor bottles lined up on the shelf, each one more broken than the next. The kinda place with shattered glass all over the floor and no doors or windows and big signs plastered to the soggy walls that say, “Quarantined: Virus Present.” The kinda place where the barkeep will let you drink on credit so long as he likes the look of your face and he isn’t dead. Though this one seems to have died weeks ago.
“I’ll take a milkshake,” I tell him. His impassive face gives away nothing. Probably to tell me that he’s the kind of man who can keep a secret, but also because of the rigor mortis.
“Because let me tell you,” I continue, “I’ve had a helluva week. I can see you have, too.”
It all started seven days earlier. I was sitting in my office working on a big case, power ranking fast food milkshakes, when my secretary interrupted me. She’s this dame with soulful, brown eyes and a sweet, boyish face. She’s got broad shoulders for days, wear slacks, and always says spunky, no-nonsense things like, “Can you stop calling me toots? It makes me uncomfortable,” and “I’m not a woman. I’m a man. Come on, you know that. My name is Jake,” and “Seriously, I am a biological male. I identify as male. Jesus, it’s 2018. Just because I’m your receptionist doesn’t mean…”
Ha! That’s Jake for you: A whole lotta sass mixed with moxie. Women! Can’t live with ’em, can’t live without ’em.
As I was taking a sip of my milkshake, shaken not stirred, cold and vanilla (like I like my sex!), Jake opened the door. And in her deep, sultry voice said: “There’s a woman here to see you,”
“Is she a knockout?” I asked. She sighed… seductively.
“Once again, I’m not going to answer that about every client before letting them into the room,” she said.