The Dame

Weeks later, after all the dust had settled, I still had one question. One question that I doubt I’ll get an answer to now. At the time it didn’t seem to matter. At the time my fourth whiskey was reduced to a glass of ice and the bartender was too busy chatting up some lawyer at the other end of the bar to care, so when the dame walked through the door, took one look around the room, and came straight to the seat next to mine, I didn’t ask her why. I didn’t even ask myself why. Maybe I was just thankful that she’d turned the bartender’s head long enough to get her a Long Island and me my fifth whiskey.

She lit a long, thin cigarette and proceeded to tell me her troubles. I didn’t want to hear her troubles. Not then. I wasn’t five whiskeys deep because I had no troubles of my own. When my wallet proved too bare to buy a sixth I had a change of heart and told her what I did for a living. She wasn’t surprised. I fished a slightly dog-eared business card from my wallet and slid it to her.
“Fisher Private Investigations, 9-5 Mon-Sat,” it read.
I eyed the row of glasses in front of me on the bar, then took a pencil from my pocket, leaned over, and changed the nine to a ten.
“The address is on the back,” I said, standing up and turning to leave. I took a few unsteady steps, then looked back over my shoulder. “Better make that ten-thirty.”

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