Sunday, 9 December 2007

Case Number 1: Snowball

“Mister Fitcher. Someone to see you.”



I awoke from my peaceful slumber with a start. Eyes quickly darting around, I took in the room. My office. Okay. My desk. My coat on the back of the door. My papers that I’d fallen asleep on and were now worryingly damp. I decided that I must cry in my sleep. That way I could retain some order of self-respect.
Yep. I think I might just be respectable.
“Okay Cali, send them in.”
Checked my watch. Quarter past two on a Friday. I glanced at the mirror facing the door. Hair was a mess, beard gone from cool unshaved to hobo. My eyes were sunken and dull due to having finished a gruelling investigation the previous night where I was able to show Mrs Hanslow that her husband wasn’t being fed on by a vampire cult but was simply enjoying the stubbly lovebites of Keith their plumber. The idea of ‘at least he isn’t cattle for the undead hordes’ hadn’t stopped her throwing things at me.
Quickly, I tugged at my T-shirt. Clean enough. Did I have morning breath? BO? Socks?
But there was no time to worry as the door opened and my first client of the day walked in. He was around fifty, about 5’7” and graced with wild grey hair. He stopped and read the plate of glass in my doorway.
“Jack Hatchet, Autonomy Fixer?” he said in his Dorset accent, tinged with mockery.
I winced. I had to change the glass.
“Good morning Mr Masterson,” I said as civilly as I could manage.
“Good day, Mr Fitcher. How are your parents?”
“Well. Your family?”
He gave me a ‘Look’. I shut up. I seemed to rescue Karin Masterson and her fellow police people on a monthly basis from some evil force just to have to be rescued myself. You see she’s a member of the same police force who hid under the tables and pretended not to be home every time I came to visit. The same police force that claimed the chain of people being burnt up in unholy fire was due to faulty MP3 players. That being said she does have the cutest nose of all the people who have ever smashed my head into a brickwall. And there have been a few!

I gestured to the chair in front of my desk.
“Please have a seat.”
As he sat down, I decided to play host.
“Can I offer you a drink?”
I looked around the piles of papers.
“I have a kettle somewhere.”
I lifted a file. Not there.
“It’s probably filed under K for Kettle. Or TM for Tea Making. Or WB for Water Boiling.”
Masterson put up a strong hand.
“I’ll pass.”
We sat in silence for a while until Masterson broke it.
“Charming girl you have on the desk.”
This I could do.
“Cali. She is very good with the filing and answering the phone, although she does listen in at the door. Don’t you Cal?”
“Good girl.”
Another pause.
“Why was she wearing sunglasses indoors?”
“Was she?”
“And a scarf wrapped round her whole head?”
I sighed and shook my head “Kids these days with their hippty-hop and Ugly boots. Who can keep up with fashion?”
Masterson leaned forward, glaring.
“Are you mocking me Mr Fitcher?”
“Of course not. Would I? I am a consummate professional.”
“If I’m going to hire you, I need to know what I’m getting myself into.”
“Sure. You want my first girlfriend’s dental records while we’re at it?”
Okay I might have lied about being consummate. Masterson decided to ignore this slight slight and continue being nosy.
“Could you tell me what’s wrong with her?”
I looked as shocked as I could.
“Wrong? There’s nothing wrong with her! She’s a perfectly functioning member of modern day society.”
Another ‘Look’.
“Although looking her in the face will turn you to stone.”
Masterson’s eyes bulged and he pulled his chair closer to the desk.
“You hired a…a Medusa?” he hissed.
I lifted a finger
“Half Medusa. I owed her Dad a favour.”
There was a small bump from the door. A bump with menace in its heart. Menacing menace!
“But she’s proved to be better then I could ever have hoped,” I quickly called out. I did NOT want her in a sulk
“I’ll go make the tea shall I?” she called through the door.
I tried to save face with a polite smile.
“It does appear that my wonderful secretary has the kettle.”
Elbows on table, fingers arched, look into eyes, strong smile.
“Now let us get down to brass tacks. How may I help you Mr Masterson?”

Masterson shifted in his chair. Usual macho posturing.
“I need to hire you.”
“Excellent. Might I ask what you need me to do?”
“I want you to take my Jessica to her school dance.”
What? You what? You have another daughter? Do I have to wear a tie?
I chose to cough gently
“Please continue.”
“You see it’s her final dance at her old school. So she wants to go even though she has no date. But there have been some…happenings. Ghostly screams. Blood pouring from the walls. Last week the ground staff found a cat that had been crucified.
I blinked at this. Mice I heard of but cats?
He continued.
“Yet the school wants to continue with the dance. So I don’t want her going alone and I want someone who can keep an eye on her without getting in over their heads.”
I was charmed he thought so highly of me.
“You’ve also got the sexual charisma of a duck so I know she’s safe from you.”
Less charmed now, I looked up as Cali brought in the tray. She even had biscuits. The good ones too, those iced ones you’re sure were withdrawn some time in the nineties but sometimes surprise you by turning up like this. She is VERY good. And yes, I realise I’m judging a young lady on making the tea and filing. She’s also a good archer and drives motorbikes- who can’t allow anyone to face her directly. See she’s a well-rounded individual with flaws and everything!
“Can I have my break now?” she asked.
I nodded.
“I believe I heard a noise in the basement,” I called after her.
She raised a hand in acknowledgement.
Masterson watched her leave then glanced back at me.
“She’s part snake,” I said and took a swallow of tea watching as Mr Masterson choked on his. Enough foolery.
“I’ll take the case.”
Masterson smiled politely.
“You know my rates?” I asked.
He pulled out my card. It was pink purely because that was all the card the store had that day. Honestly!
“Forty five pounds an hour or something off your Amazon wishlist.”
“Plus expenses.”
“Of course.”
We got up to shake hands.
“It’s tomorrow. I’ll pick you up from your office at six.”
“’kay. Just need to sort out the paperwork.”

I ducked under my desk to get the folders. I could see Masterson and his sensible shoes on the other side. While I was down there I began to gather the pens and elastic bands that had slipped down. I also noticed four furry black feet scuttle across the floor from my small bathroom, heading towards my client.
“Cliché. Leave the nice man alone.”
I tried to make a grab for him but he kept going.
I poked my head back over the desk.
“Ignore the dog. He’s going through a stage of sniffing everyone.”
Masterson’s face broke into a genuine smile, the first this meeting.
“You have a dog? What type?”
Masterson began to reach down to pet it as he bent to have a look. As he saw what he was about to touch, he froze. He quickly pulled his hand back to avoid contact with my dog. Cliché stared back, tongues lolling out of his mouths.
I decided to quickly cover basic Cerberus history as I tried pushing my dog back with my toes.
“You know the idea that Cerberus dogs are stupid and vicious comes from the fact most owners only feed the middle head which makes the other two hungry and more likely to fight.”
Neither man or dog moved.
“Don’t worry he’s very friendly.”
“You couldn’t have a Labrador could you?” Masterson said quietly.
I clicked my tongue and wiggled my fingers. Cliché looked at me with his right head. I kept clicking until all three were looking. He waddled over so I could pick him up and put him in a basket I had on a spare chair.
“Stay.” I told him
“Woof” “Woof” “Yap!” he said.
“I’ve signed,” Masterson said, his voice having taken on a sense of anger.
“Good. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
I made to shake again but he turned and threw open the door. Cali was sitting at her desk. She quickly swallowed what she was eating with a bony crunch and pulled the bottom of the scarf over her mouth.
“Jesus CHRIST!” Masterson yelled throwing his arms into the air and storming down the stairs.
Cali watched him leave before looking at me.
“What a strange man!”
“Hush now Calinansis,” I said as I slowly worked over Cliché’s heads in his morning pet and stroke.
“Yes Boss,” she smirked.

I didn’t have any more clients on the books at the time so I decided to spend the next three hours trying to tidy. Well I’d most likely manage twenty minutes then Cali and I would dance to the radio for the afternoon. Or maybe I’d have another nap. The choices were unlimited.
But first I went into the bathroom to wash.
“I’m taking off the scarf and shades!” Cali called.
“Bmaop!” I said around the toothbrush. As I brushed I thought about what I needed for tomorrow. Suit. Carnation. I probably needed to find some weapon I could get past security.
I stopped. I realised I didn’t even know where I was going or how old the girl was. I really should ask more questions. I spat into the sink and brushed my hair.
Clean, I returned to my chair and swivelled it so I could look at the mirror behind my desk.
Via the placement of such mirrors I could look at my hallway and my lovely secretary without becoming an ornament.
Now this is the sad thing. Young Calinansis (her father’s choice. I believe the mother liked Sally) doesn’t have a head of snakes or anything too frightening. Yes, she has green slit eyes but they’re not so noticeable. In fact she’s a normal young woman. It’s just the whole evil ancestry means you can never look at her directly. How much of her head was cursed? She shows her mouth for example. Was it the eyes? The forehead? Why did mirrors allow me to look at her directly? I should have asked her father when we met last year but he was holding me over a gorge at the time and as soon as I promised to take her on, he had thrown me in anyway. I could just come out and ask her but as you can guess she’s a mite touchy about it. All I know is that I always have a box of phoenix feathers in my coat pocket, just in case.
She saw me looking and waved. I waved back.
“Do you want to go for lunch Cali? I don’t think we’re getting anymore today.”
“You slept through lunch. But we could get a muffin.”
“Muffins it is.”

So there we were in the teashop letting the world pass us by when who should pull up for her daily caffeine shot but my dear friend PC Karin Masterson. She looked at me and snorted. I wasn’t having that.
“Karin, do please join us,” I said, indicating the empty chair across from us.
She replied in a way that made a little old lady sitting on the sofa faint.
“Karin is in a bad mood and we should leave her alone” I said sagely to Cali, who was wearing a floral scarf burka-style and her small Lennon glasses.
Karin now looked at her.
“And I see you have dragged another woman into your sordid company.”
“Karin Masterson this is Calinansis Mendoza. Cali, Karin,” I said ignoring her.
“I’ve heard about you,” Cali said politely.
Most people would say ‘All good I hope’ and chuckled.
Karin said “Your friend is a menace.”
Cali shrugged at this.
“He’s paying me enough not to care.”

Karin’s eyes opened wide and she began to look me up and down.
“I knew he was desperate for companionship but I didn’t think he would buy a hook-”
“She’s my secretary slash bouncer” I butted in.
“I’m legit! Got a guard dog and everything.”
“Since when did you have a business?”
“Just after Halloween. I thought I needed some legitimacy in my life. Now I’m in the Yellow Pages people might take this whole thing seriously.”

Karin sat down at the table and glared at me.
“The Pages? Where?”
“Three places,” I said holding up the correct number of fingers.
“Private Detectives, Supernatural and…somewhere else.”
Cali snorted and I shot her a glance.
“What other?” Karin asked. She was clearly interested in my embarrassment.
“They misread my advert.”
“Where did they put you?” Her eyes were glittering, a smirk on her face. Times like this I think she doesn’t mind me so much. That said, I’ve been made a fool of and she’s just gathering information to mock me with.
“Escort service.”
The two women roared with laughter. Even my BadgerLookingTeaShopGirl chortled, which hurt most of all. Karin thinks I’m mad, Cali knows me too well but the TeaShopGirls should hold me in respect and want to be like me when they grew into TeaShopWomen!
“I’m getting that one fixed,” I tried to add over the noise.

Well time to get down to it.
I cleared my throat.
“Karin, I hate to ruin such a lovely afternoon but I need to know where Jessica goes to school.”
The laughter stopped instantly.
“Why do you need to know?”
I tried to look as inoffensive and lovable as I could. Which wasn’t very but the trying is what matters.
“Well, since your dad’s hired me to be her escort I need to do some research. Do I need garlic or salt? That sort of thing.”
There was a clatter of a chair.
“Supposedly you recommended me?” I called after her quickly retreating back.
Teach him to be rude to my puppy.
Cali leaned in so she could whisper in my ear.
“I see why you like her.”
“Doesn’t she have a cute nose?” I murmured to myself as her car whizzed away.
I stood before the mirror adjusting my tie. I turned around to my critic.
“What do you think?”
I got two barks and a whine.
“Now Lefty, wasn’t wrong with it?”
“You just don’t like ties?”
“Cali, add a note to Lefty’s file. He doesn’t like ties.”
“Add it yourself!” echoed the voice from down the hallway.
“I’m getting dressed.”
“You’re talking to your puppy!”
I shook my head sadly.
“She doesn’t understand our deep fashion connection, Cliché. Come on”

We walked through my study into the hallway, to the door with “Private” on it. Pushing it open we entered Cali’s flat. I know what you’re all thinking. How can I afford such a luxurious workspace?
After I managed to pull myself out of that gorge, Papa Mendoza sent through a contract that said I could have the top floor of one of his “houses” as long as his daughter worked and lived there. It also told me to ignore anything that went on beneath us. I still marvel at the audacity of running safe houses beneath a detective agency. Especially one with such a bad reputation with the local law enforcers. But that’s Mendoza for you.
So it was that through that door Cali had her own bedroom, kitchen and living room. All this and within walking distance of the train station AND Focus!

Turning right we went into the kitchen. Cali was sitting at the table eating cereal and doing the crossword. I opened the cupboards and began to rummage.
“Now what do we want for dinner? Tinned Pears? Evaporated Milk? Mushy Peas? Ah-ha! Spaghetti.”
“You’re not giving the dog spaghetti”
I held up the can above my head so she could see.
“It’s got little sausages in it!”
“I haven’t got time to cook him steak,” I said to the cupboard.
“He’s your dog! You should have fed him earlier.”
“And he’s got three pairs of longing eyes. All shiny and sad.”
“Damn you. I’m done for the day.”
“Can you do it as a friend rather then my employee?”
“And landlord.”
“And landlord. Please?”
She pushed past me to grab the frying pan.
“Thanks.” I lean forward to kiss her head but freeze. Cali isn’t that touchy feely. Also I think it might be harassment. I decided to pet my dog instead.
The main doorbell rang.
“When you going to be back?” Cali said pouring oil into the pan.
“Who knows where the night might take me? I-”
The pan was clattered louder then needs be.
“If I haven’t contacted you by midnight, call me or come get the pumpkin!”
The smell of cooking meat filled the room.
“And you’ll come get your dog?”
“You love him really!”
She snorted but she was smiling.
“Look after her, Boy!”
Cliché sneezed. From all three heads. Great.
As I opened the door Masterson looked me up and down.
“Who dressed you?”
“My dog.” I said truthfully.

“You got a gun?”
Jessica Masterson rolled her eyes.
“Then how you supposed to protect me?”
“Quick wits and what I have in my pockets.”
“And that is?”
“Polos, mobile, notebook, pens, wallet, salt and pepper shakers, a spoon.”
I also had a blast rod and an engraved silver bracelet but she didn’t need to know that. Better she thought I was mad then dangerous.
I glanced out of the window. Dark countryside. Whee.
“You know we’ve met before.”
Masterson almost drove off the road at this one.
“We have?” I asked. I mean I recognized her as a fifteen year old Karin with longer hair.
Jessica nodded, bored.
“It was in February. You brought my sister home. She was trying to kiss you. You made me go get her coffee.”
February?…OH! February. The Erosmancer! Of course. But Jessica? Lets see. Me dragging Karin into her house. She telling me about how lonely the job is and that she had access to handcuffs. Dropping her on the sofa. Then-
“Yes, I remember you now.”
“Get off my sister!”
“I’m not on her! Go make some coffee. AND GET TISSUES!”
“Go! Karin. KARIN!”
“You have such blue eyes.”
“Shut up and listen.”
“Kiss me.”
“Karin! I’m gay and thus could never love you!”

She had let go in shock and I had fled. Cowardly I know but there was a man calling himself the “Prince of Luv” trying to make a harem in the highstreet. The police statement was that too much sugar and increased pollen counts had caused individuals to take temporary leave of their senses. I better broach the subject gently.
“How was she?”
“She cried, called you a wanker then ate a lot of ice cream. Then she suddenly remembered she doesn’t like pistachio nut ice-cream. Then she called you a wanker again and ran out the door.”
“Not one of her best moments.”
Another silence.
“She talks about you, you know.”
“She thinks I’m a public menace who wants to break the law at every chance.”
A snort.
“Nah. She says you are the-”
“Jess” muttered her father.
She shut up quickly and looked out of the window. God, the whole idea was so stupid. We’re all nervous. I might as well be polite.
“You look lovely.”
We sat in silence until we reached the hall. I clambered out of the back and watched my ward totter away on her heels to talk to her friends.
I looked around. Masterson was glaring at me from the driver’s seat.
“If you tell Karin my business again, you’ll regret it.
I smiled and leaned into the car, my body blocking us from the hall. I held my hand near the window as I focused on the bracelet.
“Flame On!” I said quietly as I clicked my fingers. A small flame engulfed my left hand.
“Understood, Mr Masterson.” I smiled before clicking again. The flame went out as I allowed myself an inner cheer. Last time I had tried this trick in a suit, I had set my sleeve on fire.
The car nearly hit me as he pulled away.
“You a wizard then?”
I took a swallow of my orange juice.
“Not really.”
“You do magic?”
“A little.”
The boy sat down as his lackeys laughed.
“Do a trick then.”
“Will you leave me alone?”
“Yeah” he said. We both knew he was lying.
He sat on the stool next to me.
“Got a pound?”
He placed one on the bar.
I picked it up in my right hand, closed it in a fist, focused, tapped my fist on the bar then placed the pound on the bar.
“Couldn’t do it. Have your pound back.”
My audience booed and jostled me. The pound’s owner turned to his buddies.
“Told you he was lying.”
As I slipped off the stool, he tried to pick the coin up.
“Hey, it’s stuck.”

As they all tried to pick it up my date appeared from the throngs.
“How did you do that?”
“Magic,” I said, giving her a small flourish with some Jazzhands thrown in for good measure.
“Fake coin. One side heats when warmed in the hand and then you stick it to the bar where it hardens.”
“You’ve ruined the bar,” Jess said with a snort.
“Nah. They just need to crush it in the palms and heat it up again.”
We pushed our way over to an empty table. I took the chair facing the dancing throng. To my surprise Jessica pulled a chair around so she could sit next to me.
“Can you really do magic?”
“That would be telling.”
“So if we DO get attacked, you’re going to do coin tricks?”
“I left my cards at home.”
We laughed at this and watched the throng as the music changed to “Don’t Stop Believing”.
Jessica sighed at this.
“I love this song.”
She tilted her head at me.
“Want to dance?”
I raised an eyebrow.
“You asking?”
“I’m asking.”
I gave her a hand.
“I’m dancing.”

Her eyes are as blue as her sister’s.
The song is “Come on Eileen”. I’m laughing. Jess asks why and I told her I once out danced a demon to this song while bleeding to death. This makes me laugh even more.
I applauded as she manages to do the Flashdance dance in high heels. I think about pouring water on her but resist.
She’s pressing into my body. Close. I can feel her heart. I’m enjoying this too much. The lyrics of “Don’t Stand so Close” whirl through my head. She’s looking up at me and she’s- Oh God she wants to kiss me.
Suddenly the lights go out. “Thank God!”
There is a confused murmuring.
“I meant, oh no the lights have gone!”

As if broadcasted over a tannoy, a voice boomed around the room.
“FoOlS. dAnCe AwAy ThE eVeNiNg. It WoN’t SaVe YoU fRoM mY wRaTh.”
The lights flickered back on. There was a girl hovering inches off the ground. Yep. Long black hair, worryingly pale skin. That’d be the spookie then.

“Who is that?” I whispered to Jess.
Her eyes were wide but she appeared to be managing unlike other pupils who were preparing to riot.
“Carrie Wilson. I didn’t think she was coming. She’s not a big party person.”
I closed my eyes and sighed.
“There was a unpopular girl called Carrie and you didn’t think to mention it?”
“I didn’t think about it.”
“Things are clichéd for a reason.”
I opened my eyes and looked around the students.
“Anyone called Damien?”
One boy raised his hand.
“Go sit over there,” I yelled. The boy sulked in the corner.

Carrie noticed this action and floated over to me.
“’Fraid not. I’m your everyday Ghostbuster,” I said with my most cocksure smile.
The ghost passed her arm across the crowd.
“ThEsE aRe MiNe.”
“Why did you kill the cat? And why make the walls bleed?” Good a place to start as any.
“mY MaStEr CoMmAnDs!”
“Who is your master?”
“NoNe Of YoUr BuSiNeSs.”
I blinked.
“nOnE oF yOuR bUsInEsS!”
“Is this normal?” Jess mumbled.
Poor ol’ Carrie was getting bored.
“WhAt SaY yOu PrIeSt?”
“I’m taking you down?”
I don’t know what I was expecting. Not her to projectile vomit at me.
I did the first thing that came to mind. Throwing up my left hand, I threw out a hobbled together Shield. The bracelet shot off my wrist and a blue glimmer enveloped the pupils and me. I blinked and spat as I felt the energy being sucked into the bracelet. I should have had some of the steak before I left.
I drew out my blast rod. Normally fist sized, it’s the tool for the modern day magic user. Smaller than a wizard’s staff, stronger then a wand and easier to focus with than using your bare hands. Buy now!
I turned to Jess.
“Stay here.”
I charged towards the spirit through the shield, levelling the rod at her belly. I was at least fifteen feet away when I screamed at the top of my voice.
The rod extended to four feet and a fireball shot from the end.

The logic that most miss is that magic requires power and concentration. Just like how you can jog gently and be fine, you start sprinting non-stop and your body is going to hurt. So a simple fire trick is something I can keep doing. I was trying to shield thirty odd people and myself while driving back a screaming girl who’s shooting lighting out of her eyes. I would consider that pretty hard running.

I was winning. Blood was pouring out of my ears and I could no longer comprehend the colour blue but I was still winning. I ducked as a chair whizzed past.
“YoUr MoThEr SaYs HeLlO!” Carrie shrieked as she prepared to toss a table at me.
“I know. I talked to her this morning.”
She stopped, table still hovering in front of her.
“YoU dId?”
I stood up, rod in hand. (Tee-hee.)
“We were planning to go for a swim later in the week.”
A pause. We both eyed each other.
“ThAt’S nIcE.”
“It’s important children do things with their mothers.”
I started to level the rod.
“Sorry about this but…”
She moved but I was quicker.
The flameball struck the table which flew back, knocking Carrie into the wall.

I slipped a pentacle out of my coat pocket and held it up.
Normally when dealing with a possession you’d use the emblem of your belief so your faith is broadcast through it which drives back evil. I once knew a Mammon who used his wallet to drive back a banshee. So being rather faithless, I simply used the emblem of magic I had…borrowed off a headless Wiccan. That and my belief that I was real.

So as I held this necklace up I yelled in my best “Get thee behind me, Satan” voice.
“Returneth to wence thoust camest daemon!”
A strong white light shone from the pentacle, striking the possessed girl. In the glare, I could see both demon and girl, twisted togther. I gave the spell another boost.
“I compel thee.”
She wasn’t trying to fight the demon. This could be even harder then I hoped.
She was ripping out her hair at the roots.
“Returneth to wence thou comest daemon!”
The light grew even stronger. I heard Carrie scream as the demon dragged her in closer. She tried to beat it off but it held on.
It was then she exploded, showering the room in gore.
The room was silent enough to hear the bracelet clatter to the ground behind me.
There was a nervous pause.
“I might have said that wrong.”
The room collapsed into a riot.
I limped back into my office. All the lights were off. I wandered into the flat. In the sitting room Cali and Cliché were asleep in front of the midnight news. As I went to switch off the TV Cali stirred and opened her eyes. I ripped my head to the side but she just caught me. Light exploded behind my eyes and I felt my teeth grind. My back was stiffening and I couldn’t breathe. I stuffed my hand into my pocket and crushed a feather into dust. The pain suddenly ceased.
Eyes. Definitely the eyes.
“Are you-?”
“I’m fine,” I growled, dropping the dust onto the carpet.
“I’m sorry.”
Another pause. Goddamn I was getting sick of these pauses.
“What happened at the Ball?”
“We had a Carrie.”
“Everyone okay?”
I mumbled.
“She blew up. The demon wouldn’t let me have her.”
Cali winced.
“You want some toast?”
I nodded.
“How’s your head?” She placed her hand on my shoulder.
I shrugged it off and headed towards the door.
“Pounding. I’m going to change and shower.”
“Sam, I-”
“Later,” I said as I walked out of the room.

When I got into the hall, Jess was sitting on a bench reading a Hello magazine. She had a bit of skin dangling from her hair. When she saw me, she got to her feet.
“Jess,” I said still walking.
“Mister Fitcher.”
I’m almost to my door.
“If you need any help, I’m supposed to be earning some money before I go to college.”
Trapped with my hand on the handle.
“What would your father say?
“He doesn’t like you but I can explain what you did today. When you threw that girl across the hall with your mind, I thought-”
“And your sister?” I interrupted.
Jess looked surprised. “What about her?”
I turned to look at her.
“She’ll be pissed you’re dallying with a blacklisted man.”
She was pouting for heaven’s sake.
“You’re too hard on her.”
I shrugged noncommittally.
“She’s the one who tries to break my jaw.”
“But you do like her.”
Not a question, a statement.
“I’ll set up an interview.”
“Thank you,” she murmured.
“No problem,” I snorted and turned back to my door.
“I meant for tonight. You saved me.”
“It was part of the contract that’s all.”
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the pain flash across her face. Sighing I turned around and tried to smile.
“Look it’s been a long day. Go home. Get some sleep. If you still want to work with me, call me.”
She got to her feet and pushed something into my hand before walking out. Well-played Fitcher. Really well done. Is there anyone who you haven’t hurt today? Cliché? You tried to feed him tinned spaghetti.
Exhaling noisily I looked down at my hand. The Queen on my fake pound coin stared back. Smiling I flicked it into the air. It stuck on the ceiling. Let it stay there. It’d be something to look at while people waited.
People waiting for my services. That’d be nice.
But first, I need to replace that name glass. My name in big letters.
I snorted. Maybe I needed to sleep on it. Stretching, I went to wash fifteen year old girl out of my hair.