Too Much Has Already Been Stolen
The smoke ventured out. It searched for any tucked away haven that hadn’t been tainted by its yellow stench. Once all the new worlds had been found, it hung in the air like a stalker without a beautiful woman to spy.
A sweet memory of a song frolicked like a child, across the polished marble floors, around the crystal highballs and into the patrons lecherous and vicious ears. There were no such thing as speakers or amplifiers around, yet the notes had a hint of electricity to them. The piano played with the spirit of a powerful and primal muse: tips.
Rhys hid behind the twirling flappers and pretty strings of pearls, pulled right out of old films and posters. It was all so forced. He grew nauseous thinking of all the disgustingly posh who chose this life. They called it homage. It was too selfish for that. Rhys knew it could only be called theft. He wondered if he was actually doing any good putting away the crooked souls he did. These fools were the real poison. How could they bring themselves to enjoy life, when they had to have known it wasn’t never meant for them to live.
At least that’s what he thought when he walked in. When did he walk in? No, he still felt that way. Possibly.
He did his best to choke down the amber concoction those thieves thought brandy was. No matter how many revolutions the liquid took as Rhys agitated the glass, it refused to improve. He quickly surrendered to drastic measures and gulped it down just eager to see an empty glass.
She appeared like any other late comer: disruptive, magnetic and shameless. She pushed through the cold attempts at living like a warm front through December. There was no mystery hovering about her. She could only be there for one reason and she wasn’t the type to hold her cards to her chest. The daggers on her feet were aimed at Rhys and were going to carry her absinthe eyes to him no matter what.
“You finally made it.” She purred.
“That’s a funny thing to say for someone who just walked in.”
“Don’t play with me. I know who you are. Is he with you?”
“I think you may have heard wrong about me. I don’t keep much company.”
“What’s your name?”
“I thought you said you knew me. But regardless, a doll usually buys me a drink before she gets so cozy.”
She rubbed the bridge of her nose, as if it was the only way to stop the crushing weight of revelation.
“Please, just tell me and don’t be wrong about this, what’s your name?” She asked again.
“Well aren’t you stubborn. Rhys, Rhys Trudeau, private investigator.”
“Okay, one last thing. Where were you last night?”
“Didn’t I just say I was the private eye? I’m usually the one asking the questions. So here’s one. Why are you so concerned?”
“Please, just tell me where you were last night.”
Rhys hadn’t had enough to drink to disregard his penchant for pretty women. He felt it swell in his chest, cheap and clichéd. He wanted to answer her. Hell, he’d tell her anything if it meant he wouldn’t have to suffer the steady march of night alone.
He just couldn’t find the words though, the memories were there, but they didn’t make sense. They had to be dreams, so vivid they were able to pass as actual events. Yet that was all Rhys could reach. Everything else, a lifetime of little victories and defeats were there just beyond the fantasy.
“To be completely honest sweetheart, I can’t remember. But once again, why does it matter. You need my help or not?”
She stabbed the floor with a gentle stiletto and turned away.
The air in front of her crackled like a lackluster firework before the ghost of a face appeared.
“Hope you have a better idea. The detective didn’t make the transfer. We’re getting a little short with the minutes.” She said.
No one acknowledged the woman anymore. Not even a passing glance. Suddenly whatever was in front of them became too engaging to pry their fleeting attention spans away. Rhys included.
The brandy was tasteful and clearly from a vineyard that put value in craftsmanship. The softly sweet flavor cradled his tongue and cheeks with smoky arms. It kissed his throat with oaken lips and a tenderness found only in the finest of grapes. He had to know where it came from, he didn’t care the price, he needed to stock his office.
“What brand is this barkeep?” Rhys asked.
She moved away from the bar and Rhys. She shook her head and prepared for her instructions.
“Head for The Point of Decision. Make sure he meets you. They can no longer be saved.”
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