Friday, September 30, 2011

A Twist Of Noir 688 - Patricia Abbott


The only convenient— no, make that the only possible time—for them to have sex was before eight A.M. And to top it off, they had to do it on a narrow cot in the boss’s office. It took Carla back to her high school days when she made love on her mother’s double bed when Mom was at the Chrysler Plant on Jefferson. Travis kept the cot for similar purposes if that was Vera Wang perfume in the fiber. If their wages were any indication, Travis was too cheap to spring for a room.

Travis Gallagher, former ballplayer and now businessman, never came in much before nine, and most days didn’t show up at all. He was about to run for City Council or so the Metro paper said. He never confided in his bartender and cook. Sometimes she worried the scent of their mornings would seep into the room and trip them up, but at some point in the past, it’d become part of it.

The two of them were supposed to come in before nine to set things up. The bar attracted an early lunch crowd—people from downtown offices, the courts, or the stadiums if there was a game. The waitresses and dish-washer started work at ten when things picked up, giving the lovers a nice chunk of time. Carla and Willis finished their shift at six and went home to their spouses. But there was this first—this magic—and almost every day.

It was not a love affair exactly or if it was she was kidding herself. It felt more two lonely horny people taking comfort in each other. Too bad it had to be at this hour, though at some point, it began to seem right. When one of them took a vacation or got sick, the other one grew antsy. Making love with her sixty-year old husband at night twice a month—that’s what seemed odd now. That’s what seemed cheesy or stale.

“You’re going to invite Sweetie in here while I’m gone, aren’t you?” Carla asked, curled up in Willis’ arms. Sweetie was a waitress who’d just turned 22. Willis laughed. They were dressed now but couldn’t quite say goodbye. They had a few minutes. She was going to Lapeer for a few days to help her daughter out with her new baby. It’d be her first grandchild if the kid ever got itself born. Trixie was a week late and showing no signs of an imminent birth and going bonkers waiting. Of course, there was no husband on the scene to calm her down. The lunatic father had hit the road long ago.

Willis was about to say something funny—she could tell from the smile that was beginning to form on his lips—when the door to the office swung open and two men wearing masks pushed into the room, obviously startled to find the two of them. Carla started to scream but then thought better of it. The larger man shrugged and without saying a word, yanked the cord from a lamp, motioned for them to get up, and herded them toward the cold storage unit down the hallway. They could hear the other man rifling the safe as they moved in single file down the hallway. Once inside the storage room, the man inadvertently rubbed up against Willis and his mask slipped down. They saw it was Travis and glanced at each other in shock.

“Too bad,” he said. Just those two words. Looking indecisive for a second or two, he shrugged, pulled a knife from his pocket, and quickly stabbed Willis in the chest and stomach. Willis slid to the floor as blood spurted. His eyes went blank in seconds.

“Travis,” Carla started to say. “You don’t...” She could see terror in his eyes, but also heartlessness. The coldness shut her mouth.

“Money for a campaign’s hard to come by.”

His arm rose over his head as it came down hard into her breast. His ballplayer days were behind him, she thought as she died, but he still had some power in those arms.

BIO: Patricia Abbott has published more than fifty stories in literary and crime fiction outlets. Check out more from Patti at Pattinase.


Paul D. Brazill said...

A hard bit of luck.Tightly packed story.

Sean Patrick Reardon said...

Liked that very much. The writing was so smooth and the characters really came to life as I read it.

Anonymous said...

Love the matter of fact tone. Each player knew his/her life so well that even the blade was logical and understood when it went in.

Chris Rhatigan said...

How sad. Always enjoy your writing, Patti.

Charles Gramlich said...

Wrong place at the wrong time, doing the wrong thing!

Laurie Powers said...

Holy cow. Beautifully written and an ending I didn't expect at all. Love it.

Kevin Michaels said...

Excellent - great, tight narrative and enjoyable story from beginning to end. Well done.