The first figure on whom mine eyes landed was a closed, dingy man, studded in stubble, staring a hole into his glass of poison by the barkeep. In a corner booth sat a man darkly, peering over the neck-edge of a trenchcoat. A gregarious talker and laugher in a white singlet and epaulets of body-hair sat across from his best friend, a receding parasite of a yes-man, both lost in spires of tobacco smoke.
‘Twas past the witchin’ hour and I’d wandered into an unfamiliar bar on the outer skirt of the city. I’d sauntered in with pretensions of a long soiree of colloquies, fingers of esoteria ruffling through a maiden’s mind. A venus of inky hair, dark eyes and deep thoughts. A siren’s voice, a swan’s neck and a chest of soft moss. But ‘tweren’t to be.
I had begun sipping my ashen whisky in the most respectable corner I could find, when she stilletoed in to the greet of turning heads and soused lips. The eager eyes, the rubied lips and feathery bounce told me she was no Platonic muse. But she had youth and tight clothes on her side. I had booze and money on mine.
I awoke to behold the skeletal fire escape above me. I twisted my body and reached my hand round to find my kidney but only felt a sticky wetness and a caterpillar of thread stitching into my flesh. My pocket held the only answer to the questions percolating the folds of my brain. The scrap of paper it coughed up read “The next time you talk smack about the Boss, we’ll take your heart.”