My head is pounding, but I haven’t been punched or tied to a chair in a couple of days. So it must be the latest hangover. I knock back a couple of aspirin with my morning one-two of bourbon and black coffee.
What are you my, my doctor?
This is what real men do. It’s what detecting men do. Puts hair on the beanbag and miles on the clock.
I stare at the envelope of money waiting on my desk like it’s an angelic blonde catching my eye from across a smoky bar. And my stomach lurches. I remember how my latest client cut my fee last night. Sure, I took the first few snaps with the lens cap still on, and some of my photos were shakier than Mount Vesuvius, but a few of the shots were as hot as Pompeii. I caught his cheating gal stroking the hand of a handsome paramour in a quiet cafe. And it was clearly more than friendship. You can just about make out the sultry expression on her captivating peepers. But Mr. Eames didn’t share my sincerity. The fact I’d pissed my trousers and crashed into her car went against me too. But the way I saw it, they were my problems, not his.
There’s just no pleasing some people.
I’d like to think he was just being emotional over my cast iron proof that his pretty young dame is stealing the hearts of more than one fella across town. I peer through the Venetian blinds of my office, the drunk-rousting sun slicing my room into shadowy salami. That made me hungry, but I’d prefer to drink than eat right now.
I glanced at the clock on the wall. Time to fetch my pants from Huang, the salty-tongued firecracker who ran the dry cleaners across the street. The trouble was, I still hadn’t gotten around to replacing my second pair of pants. The ones I tore the crotch out of trying to scale a fence. It used to be easy when I was five years younger, and ten pounds lighter. What can I say. Gravity doesn’t like ageing dicks. I fasten the belt on my trench coat, hoping nobody gets an eyeful of my hairy gams, or worse, my jockey shorts.
Well, not much use in standing around here all day.
Huang was his usually pleasant self. Giving me the dead eye the second I walked through the door. Suppose I can’t blame him. I have asked a lot of him over the years. Meaning I’ve been a loyal customer. Sadly, some things don’t wash out. Whatever, it’s one of those rough with the smooth things. And a pissed pair of pants is mild by historical standards.
We trade the borderline hostile pleasantries, and I pay the man. Hearing the typical grunts and moans from him about how I need to drop some clams on a new pair of pants. Or maybe lay off the hooch. Good luck with that one. I have a reputation as a hard boiled dick to preserve. And they’re all broody functional alcoholics. It’s on brand.
Speaking of, I’m already out the door when I realize I didn’t bother to pull my pants on inside the dry cleaners. Maybe I was in a rush to escape Huang’s haranguing. Maybe I’m still a bit tipsy and antsy from my breakfast blend of Knob Creek and black coffee. What I do know is that the disgusted woman curling her lip at my wind-swept undies does nothing for my self-esteem.
But hey, what do I care? That’s why I drink.
Back in the office and in fresh pants, I have a glass or two and stare at the phone. Business has been a little dry lately, so I decide to do something either very smart or very dumb. I pick up the phone and dial Mr. Eames. He may not be a fan of my shutterbugging, but I have other strings to my bow. Maybe his gal pal’s new lover needs a little persuasion to sniff a different heinie. And if the money’s right…
It goes to voicemail, but I decide not to push things. It immediately rings back. I pick it up hesitantly. The voice on the end isn’t Eames. He is also isn’t any cheerier to hear from me. No chit-chat.
Turns out Eames had a mishap of the heart stopping variety. Not long after I left his home last night. Well, darn it. That’s a complication I don’t need. Seems like a good enough excuse to pour myself another drink.