Sunday, November 7, 2010
excerpt from my book The screw that refused to tighten by Jason L. Brown , part 2 , part 3 coming next month
There was a sudden crash and with a jolt I woke , almost falling from my chair . It was nearly an hour after nightfall and it was still over 90 , and quiet , eerily quiet. The only sounds were the rattle of the small fan on my desk and the buzz of a moth trying to escape out of the window. Feeling something damp on my leg I looked down ."I must've knocked over my whiskey ." I said out loud , mostly just to break the silence . I had sent my secretary home almost three hours ago. A decision I now regretted , I could have used the company. Looking out the window I had never seen the city so empty . "Apparently the rest of the city has had the good sense to find somewhere with air conditioning , well I might as well join them ." I said , Again out loud. Standing up I retrieved my gun off the desk and holstered it . then instinctively I reached for my coat,catching myself I grabbed my hat instead. I was closing the door behind me and digging my keys from my pocket when I heard a noise to my left. " Oh its just you Mr. Grambo, Getting a late start to the day I see." Mr. Grambo was the accountant that worked across the hall from me. I had known him for years , He was a nice enough guy if not a little dull. "I was hoping to wait out the heat ." he said . "But I have to much to get done to wait any longer. Are you off for the day?"he asked. "Yes I think so . Sweating in my office doesn't seem to be bringing me any work , so I thought I'd find some place cool to have a bite and a drink before I called it a day ." I replied . Formalities completed I left him to his work and headed out to find a cab. Seeing that the street was still deserted I decided that the only thing worse than walking in this heat was waiting for a hack that may never come . So I started off in the direction of my favorite speakeasy . Knowing that there was a fine line between getting to my destination as quick as possible and over exerting myself,I kept a slow but steady pace. Stopping only twice , once to give an old drummerer some change and once to gawk at a teenage boy taking advantage of the dark and empty streets to get fresh with his girl. "I remember those days ."I thought enviously. "Only things that mattered were fun and dames." Before I knew it I was stepping through the door of the seedy little hole known as Mac Kenny's. All the usual punks and yaps where there and a thick blue haze permeated every corner of the dimly lit establishment . Overhead two massive rattan fans did their part to make sure the smoke was properly circulated. I seated myself at the far end of the bar under a white square patch of wall outlining where the owner's picture used to hang. Last week there was a drunken brawl in which the picture was broken exposing what was probably the only patch of wall not permanently stained by cigar smoke. "Good day to ya Jonzey ." said the man behind the bar. "Seen ya in here an awful lot lately, misses kick ya out again?" Now Mr. Mac Kenny and I had that kind of friendship that was held together by insults and trying to outdo each other. He wasn't the best looking bird . He almost always was seen wearing a grease stained under shirt that didn't fully cover his more than adequate belly . He had curly red hair that was cut short on the sides but to long on top and in an effort to keep that hair under control he slicked it back with what looked to be old bacon fat. His sparsely grown side burns where only made to look more pitiful by his enormous mustache. So as you can imagine getting the upper hand on him wasn't difficult. "Now Byron you know I don't have no moll , none will have me due to the smell of stale smoke I have from hanging out here." I retorted. "Business bad then?" he asked. "Virtually nonexistent , all this heats keeping the criminals off the street and in this hash house of yours ." With a bellow of a laugh he said ." I've always wondered what keeps a mutt like you come'n back to a place like this and you a shamus ta boot." "Well you Mick's might smell like cabbage and onions but everyone knows you have the best beer." "Eh that be true enough ye-sir that be true ." He snickered then asked " So what'll be tonight then ? Beer and a steak ?" " How's the corned beef hash tonight ?" I asked . " the best in weeks." came the answer. " Ok I'll take that and the beer of course."