“Put a bounty on my head, tell my parents that I’m dead and hope to Hell I’m never found…”

10♥

 

 

 

 

 

If you’re one of many folks that liked or commented on my open letter posted months ago:

 

Thank you.

 

Truly and deeply.

 

You’re the men that keep me writing.

 

 

 

Since I’m technically behind this year and – given circumstances in the world, at the moment – I thought I’d give you all something to read to express my humble gratitude for your loyalty.

 

 

 

The back-story:

 

Years ago, I met a female private-eye on Twitter.

 

We’ve had a cordial internet acquaintanceship for years, so when she asked me to help her return to writing (a hobby she used to enjoy a while back) I was happy to help.

 

Not only because she’s been friendly (and indulgent given my sexist work), but because I enjoyed receiving the opportunity to stretch my creative muscles.

 

So I posited a story in which we met (we’ve never actually met in person, to this very day) and began a professional relationship.

 

She showed me hers; I showed her mine.

 

I can’t share hers, simply because it’s not mine to share.

 

But I offer mine in hopes you’ll have as much fun reading it as I did writing it.

 

My best to you all,

 

A♠

 

Lavender & Brimstone

I tell her, “You know, a woman in a man’s profession winds up there because she feels she has something to prove.”

I say it like I was reciting a weather report that called for rain in Seattle. Both are time-proven, well-worn facts to me.

She’s shooting whiskey so cheap I can smell it from across the table and she’s chasing it with a beer your uncle that’s quit drinking four times now would likely pass up. What is it with women and self-abuse? Regardless, I’m kinda shocked at her reply to my incendiary statement. She’s neither laughing nor pouting – not that I expected a laugh, mind you. Instead, she just stares at me over the rim of her glasses for a heartbeat or two. Her furrowed brow and flashing eyes show me she’s a bit peeved, though. Good. Now I’m on her radar.

“You’re probably right about that”, she replies.

Her words reveal her anger even less than her eyes do. She’s used to dealing with people. Jerks like me, definitely. This confirms my instincts; I chose the right one but I push just an inch more to see if she takes the bait.

I toss “I know I am” out there, keeping it perfectly neutral; in tune with the opener that started all of this.

Actually, I push an inch more because she doesn’t make any sense. No, she’s not speaking in tongues or jabbering in some psychotic fugue state. I mean she doesn’t belong here. And I don’t mean “here” as in this bar, necessarily.
Yeah, the bar is awful. Back when I made serious coin I ate at restaurants with more appealing dumpsters than this joint; what with its cracked, wooden paneling and booths upholstered with pleather slightly less clean than a bus floor. Worse still, the place was old. Not “charmingly antiquated” or “classic”; hobo living on a steam vent old. The basement this bar infests must predate the city that’s forced to admit it surrounds both. I’m sure its wiring was done by H.R. Giger; exposed sockets, fixtures and wires gave it all a ghastly, retro-techno-horror vibe. I suspect someone’s been bribing or blowing the inspections personnel. The funniest part of it all is that an owner somewhere in its sordid history seemed to try to spruce the place up; figurines, framed pictures and posters line the walls. Sadly, they only made the place even more depressing, like looking at a high school yearbook and remembering how svelte you were then or how much more hair you had. However, as I said, I didn’t mean the bar. I meant she didn’t make sense because she was a pretty girl in an ugly world.
Her skin was clear and light; looking as soft as my favorite pillow and as smooth as saxophone solo, not that I’d touched it. She didn’t come to places like this without knowing how to handle grabby hands, I’m dead sure. Her eyes were a blend of light and shade; windows to a soul that couldn’t decide if it belonged north or south of this dismal purgatory in which we found ourselves. Her lips seemed to be the type that, if they smiled, would be like the sun breaking through the clouds above a Saint’s head in a religious painting. Maybe that’s just the Roman Catholic kid in me. Most of all it was the way she carried herself; as if she’s trying to forget she’s a woman yet remains steadfastly determined to fail in the attempt. Senseless.

“So are you here to blow my mind with your insights or was there something else you wanted to discuss?” she asks with a bit feistiness. But just a bit.

“We don’t have to talk for me to blow your mind”, I retort.

I keep it deadpan; let her take it the wrong way. It’ll make the reaction that’s due in a minute that much sweeter. I smirk at the thought.

“Yeah, okay. I think you mentioned you need help finding someone. Still looking?”

The beleaguered tone in that “yeah, okay” tells me she took it exactly the wrong way. Perfect.
I reach under the table, grab the paper shopping bag I brought with me then put it on the table. I make sure to pick my whiskey up, first, of course and sip it; nodding towards the bag. I make sure to push it damn near under her chin, fully across the table. I don’t want her thinking I’m going to paw at her.
For the first time since we met, she seems genuinely intrigued. I can read folks just as well as she can. Plus, I knew this would draw the curious cat out of this particular investigative kitten.

“Open it”, I tell her. More like a spouse giving a gift than an officer barking orders. “You know you want to. Or are you afraid curiosity will kill the cat?”

“I hate cats”, she firmly states. “I like birds.”

I told you this chick made no sense.

Expecting some lascivious take on her revelation – I imagine – she immediately adds “Parrots, specifically.”

“Just open the bag.”, I order with a hint of exasperation.

She does. Her eyes widen damn near the size of the lenses in her glasses. I’m unsure if the cause is the $15,000 in cash or the pistol. Maybe it’s both. Regardless, the reaction is everything I’d hoped it would be.

“I told you we don’t have to talk for me to blow your mind. Now, about my missing friend…”

 

10♥

3 Responses to ““Put a bounty on my head, tell my parents that I’m dead and hope to Hell I’m never found…””

  1. Excellent story…I want more.

    Great to have you back.

    Wald

  2. A♠,

    It’s interesting because it’s usually told from the PI’s POV.
    If it turns out she has a white parrot named Fred it’d be perfect.😎👌

    By all means pursue this further, it’s great.

    JD

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