Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Waterfront Job, Pt 1

When you’re on fresh turf for the first time, you’re there to case the joint. Get the feel of the place. The lay of the land. You do not, repeat, not, go for the big prize on the first day.

I know this. Any pro knows this. Only the greenest kid gets greedy fingers his first time out. You can get burned, bad. Stumble sideways into all the worst sorts of games, snag your limbs in nasty traps, get your face on the wall in all the wrong ways.

Best to lay low, stay a shadow, make ‘em think your only interest is your bottle. Wait till you’ve got the info you need, so when you do see goods worth going for, you move in like a champ, no mysteries. No surprises. Clean and neat, in like you're Batman and dazzle everyone so they don't even think of resistance. But until then, you Bruce Wayne your way out the far side of anyone's memory.

I know this. Any pro knows this. Which is why I was biding my time, nursing my whiskey, keeping the bar stool warm and the bar wench happy. Just some dumpy watering hole anyway, a quick shelter from the foggy evening, nothing to see of any consequence, just some baboons and their painted harpy dames, chattering away with their daily drivel. It was going to be a long and quiet night.

And then she walked in. Long red dress, loose and tight in all the worst places. Dresden in low heels. The kind of haul a man sweats for.

The hyenas were circling before she even made it down to the main floor. Fools. Popped-collar kids fresh from Mamma’s teat. They didn’t stand a chance, somewhere in the back of their mind knew it, but thought strength in numbers would pull them through. The native tramps were trying to kill her off with snotty resentful stares, but their daggers bounced off as if unnoticed. Must’ve been her first time there, too, else they’d have thrown up fortifications in advance. This was going to get ugly fast.

She’d made it to the bar, the first drink was on the way, something by name, and in a pointy glass. Touch of class, this one. The first hyena moved in, and with a glance she had him cut in half at the waist, legs thrashing at the stools while his upper half still gasped for some witty comeback. As his buddies laughingly dragged off his leftovers, another one plopped himself down on her other side and proceeded to swallow air in an effort to appear larger. She had him charred to cinders in seconds, the ashes sifting off the chair and filthying up the floor. This time, no one bothered to come over and sweep him up.

This was going to end up a bloodbath. The indigent goons were licking their wounds, but it was only a matter of time before yet another douchebag wound himself up and went in. This gal could see them coming eight miles away, but they didn’t care. To them she had "Come hither" written all over her in eighteen different dialects of body language. So what the hell was she doing in this shithole? It was like Venus emerging from her half shell in the middle of the bayou. Unlike ome common succubus, she didn’t look to be gaining glee from any of this. Just sat there, sipping the martini and looking lonely. Doll, you could’ve shook that thing up in the comfort of your flat and saved everyone the agony.

I could've sat there all night, watching the chumps jump the trench and get cut down. Could've sat all night, enjoyed the booze, and the next day I'd have been none the worse off for it. But something was wrong with this scene, and it was up to me to get to the bottom of it. Or so I told myself.

Do not, repeat, not, go for the big prize on the first time. And yet, here I was, staring down the goddamned Hope diamond with the case wide open and the security guards out taking a leak. This way leads to destruction.

Fuck it. I went for it.
(to be continued)


roissy said...

haha, nice work sam spade!

but where was the maltese falconette?

Katie said...

Why haven't you ever finished this tale? :(