“En Flagrante” by AG Bluvier – Part 2
16 hours and 59 minutes later
This time I was ready for her when she walked in. I wasn’t going to get caught off guard, stammering like an idiotic schoolboy again.
17 hours and 8 minutes later
I had rearranged the paper clips on my desk so many times, they were starting to protest. This dame sure knew how to make a guy sweat.
17 hours and 19 minutes later
I looked at my watch for the hundredth time. Maybe she wouldn’t show, maybe it was just some kind of sick joke pulled by one of my pals from the war.
And then I heard that unmistakeable clicking coming down the hall. The kind that can only be made by 4 inch red stiletto heels.
Her perfume arrived in the room before she did. It made me weak in the knees, but I was determined to get some answers. I battled back the dizzy feeling of intoxication that swept over me.
My god, her eyes were violet. I shook my head to clear it. “I don’t know who you think you are lady, but I want some answers.”
“I’ll tell you anything.” she whispered breathlessly.
“How did you get that picture?” I demanded.
A tear welled up and spilled over onto her left cheek. “You don’t want to know” There was something in the way she said it, that made me believe her. But I’m a detective, it’s my job to get answers, even when they’re not pretty.
“Tell me anyway.”
“That’s my sister.” she replied.
“Gee, that’s a real tough break, but we’ve all got problems.”
“He needs to be dead by Thursday at Midnight.”
I threw up my hands, ‘Whoa lady. I told you, that’s not my gig. And you still haven’t answered me”
She dropped her purse on my desk, and out slid a stack of cash, all crisp $100’s. It was like putting a steak in front of a starving man.
“That’s enough to cover what you owe your bookie.” she said. “Both of them.” I’ll double it when it’s done.” She turned tail to leave. But not before I caught her arm. I could feel her breath on my cheek.
“How about an answer.”
“Answers lie.” She said through her teeth.
“Of all the gum shoes in this hot dog stand, why me, lady?”
“Call me Orchid. And you’ve got no choice, unless of course, you want to wind up feeding the crocodiles. I know who you owe.”
Yeah, sure I had some bad habits. I admit it, and they’d dragged me down. She was right though, I was desperate. These guys I owed money to, didn’t take no for an answer. “You’ve done your homework, I’ll give you that.”
“I needed someone as desperate as I am.” Suddenly she looked like a lost little girl. For a minute all I wanted to do was sweep her into my arms and run away together, leave it all behind. For a minute I almost forgot what she was asking me to do.
“I could always leave town.” I said.
“No you can’t.” She said, and she was right. The Garbunko crowd would see that from a mile away. They had control over every port in and out of this Coke-a-Cola can. My life was swirling around the drain, about to descend, and she was offering me the only way out.