Friday, September 3, 2010

A Twist Of Noir 568 - CP Towers


Tragedy and pain leave such a bitter aftertaste in the mouth.

For too long had my diet consisted of coffee and Sherlock Holmes novels. With a morning cigarette lingering in the air, I’d be buried deep into whichever adventure I had decided to re-read. Never could get enough. Had altogether too much, as it turns out. My appetite for excitement has finally caught up with me.

The gentle, rhythmic pitter-patter of the rain beating down on my brow is soothing, relaxing. On a normal day, it’d irritate the hell out of me. Now, however, it feels nice. Regular. Familiar. Somewhere in the far distance a car horn is blaring. Someone needs to go somewhere fast; people are always in such a hurry. I have nowhere left to go. For me, this place is all I need, all I have left.

I guess I should go back a bit. Memories are already fading rapidly, such tenuous things they are. Like a flickering candle, they dance and taunt me, the beginning of my ill-gotten life to this moment, twisting in my head like a moth taunting the dying embers of a soon-snuffed flame. I grasp the real ones, the relevant ones. I remember a face, nothing a mother would ever care to admit she’d born and raised. Scarred, ugly and with eyes that could melt even the most stubborn of morning frost clinging desperately to a car windshield. I remember that face - it belongs to me.

That car horn is still blaring. If it wasn’t so far away, I’d do something about it myself. Make him stop, give us all some peace.

My thoughts are dancing as erratically as my memories. Hard to concentrate, yet I’m not even sure why. I remember gunfire. Recent, yes. My work as a private investigator can have... unforeseen consequences. Well, unforeseen for the foolish, like me. Rule number one is never confront a dangerous target, even if you suspect they are unarmed. But what do I know? A diet of coffee and Sherlock Holmes can lead to ideas of bravado, of noble intention.

Noble intention? When did I ever really think that? I never saw myself as noble, as a virtuous knight in pissing armor. Still, rules are made to be broken, and I had to protect my client. Pride is a sin, and I have plenty of sin washing into the gutter along with this gentle rain.

Tragedy and pain leave such a bitter aftertaste in the mouth.

The moon is up there, but has long faded for an eternity now. I always used to glance it. My flat, for all its contemporary aversion to any real space to rest in, at least had a good view of the city. On a bright, moonlit night I could almost convince myself it all looked clean, even pretty. From the floor, it looks as dirty as it always has been.

The car horn is getting quieter. Some peace, finally.

Never confront a target. Watch, listen, learn and record. Never confront. Especially if the person has even the slightest potential of violence in him or her. What was I thinking? A hand on the shoulder and a stern voice would reward me with a handshake?

I got a hand alright. Holding a gun. Held by a desperate man. Never corner a desperate man who has a piece. Good advice, wish someone could of pointed that out to me sometime. I wouldn’t of listened, though. Sherlock wouldn’t. He’d of known not to get in this situation. I got a fool’s reward for my reckless bravery. No, not a fool. Hero. This is what happens to heroes in the big city.

The rain is stopping. I can feel it getting ever lighter, ever more gentle. So peaceful.

Everything is blank now, except for my mouth. Must of bit my tongue, or my cheek. All I can taste is the blood swirling around, clogging my mouth and gums. Such a bitter aftertaste. This is what coffee and Sherlock Holmes really tastes like?

Nescafe and Arthur Conan Doyle have a lot to answer for.

BIO: CP Towers is a 25 year-old with aspirations of one day writing a world astounding novel. In the meantime, CP dabbles in different genres of short stories and poetry.


Anonymous said...

The light dies out slowly. One by one it's all slipping away. Only time marking a passage and a final peace. Some lessons are hard learned too late. You do create a mood CP you truly do that.

Anonymous said...

A hazardous career and a bad diet never mix. Nice build to the end.

Michael Solender said...

lyrical, very philosophical and tragic, yet deadly. Nice piece.

Jim Harrington said...

A well-crafted, dark story, CP. Thanks for sharing.