Greg’s challenge this week: write like a tough guy.
It had been a hell of a day, the sorta day that seemed to last all week. I’d been dealing with clients for the last twelve hours straight, and now the only company I wanted was my good friend Johnny Walker and the Cuban. I sighed and settled into my old leather chair, and listened to the wind beat itself senseless against the windows. This was the way to spend the evening, doing nothing at all for as long as possible.
But she had other ideas.
Her name was Macy, and I could hear her walking down the hall, each footstep a challenge to my plans of a quiet night. She threw the door open, dropped the book on the table and gave me one of her looks. She liked to play the innocent, but that didn’t fool me: she was craftier than a cat getting into a room full of mice. She knew what she wanted, and how to get it.
Truth was I’d being trying to shake her for the last year and a half, but there were two things stopping me. First, she had a pair of the biggest, brownest eyes and she knew how to use them. I’d seen eyes like that once before, twenty years ago, and they’d almost been the end of me. I’d sworn then that I’d never make the mistake a second time and yet here I was, staring into them brown eyes all over again. God help me. If that wasn’t enough, she was also part of the Family. She was a Made girl: she may not have put in the time like the others but she knew the Matriarch personally, and that meant you crossed her at your peril.
When she had first come to me I’d taken the job on because it seemed like easy money. Finding the guy had been simple. The hard part had been getting her to see sense about him. He was famous for being trouble. The cat was bad. Real, real bad, and he knew it. He’d made a life out of conning vulnerable kids like Macy, but she had fallen for him big time and no matter what I told her, no matter how many dirty little secrets I found out about him, she refused to believe it. Only thing that was saving her so far was the fact that he didn’t even know she existed. But if that ever changed...
Sometimes there’s no getting through to a dame, and when that happens all you can do is hang on tight and hope that when the ride is over, you come out alive.
She sat on the couch next to me. I looked at her through the haze of cigar smoke. “What do you want this time, toots?” She indicated the book. She didn’t need to speak; she didn’t have to. We’d been dancing this particular dance for a year and a half now, and we both knew every step. I sighed, “Again? You know it ain’t gonna change, sweetheart.”
She just looked at me.
I flicked through the book. It contained everything we knew about the guy, everything he’d done so far in his worthless life. Every time she brought that goddamn book to me she hoped that I would see something different in there, something that confirmed he was the one for her. But this time I’d had enough. I’d tried to be reasonable, but there was no reasoning with her. The only thing left was a short, sharp shock, a slap to the face to make her see the world for what it was.
I slammed the book down on the table. “No dice honey.” I said, cigar smoke blowing into her face. “The guy is a bum. I’ve told you before and I’ll tell you again.”
Those big brown eyes widened and started to glisten with tears. I wanted to stop, but there was no turning back now. Just get it over with, I told myself. It’s just like pulling off a plaster: it’ll hurt like hell, but it’s for the best. “There’s nothing new in here doll! Understand? And you’re a damn fool for thinking otherwise!” I shoved the book off the table and sent it spinning over the floor. “Grow up, goddamn it! You have your whole life ahead of you. Get over it and move on. I’m not doing this anymore. Just take your goddamn book and get the hell outta here!”
She picked up the book and ran from the room. I hoped that that would be the end of it, but I was wrong.
She was, after all, a Made girl.
In no time at all the Matriarch stormed into the room like the four horsemen of the apocalypse. “For pity’s sake Pat!” she screeched at me like some kind of harpie, “It’s just The Cat in the bloody Hat! What the hell is wrong with you that you can’t even read a bloody bed time story!”
I sighed and sank deeper into the couch. May as well get comfortable, I figured. Looked like I’d be spending the night there anyway.
Dames. Can’t live with ‘em... yeah. That was pretty much it.