Story Go Round 11/29/2009, #13

Holy Rollers

When the dame walked in my office, I was caught by surprise. I flapped my bat wings to clear out the cigar smoke and looked her up and down.

“Good day, lady,” I said. “What brings you here, if I might ask?”

The dame, her posture stiff, looked down her nose at me, not immediately replying. I got the distinct impression I should already know the reason for her arrival.

“You should already know that,” she said crisply. “If you're as good as your reputation makes you out to be.”

Okay then. I peered at her intently to see what I could make of her. I could play that game, too.

Her clothes spoke of money but she had no wings. She'd taken the elevator, not the stairs, which was a common mistake among the newly shorn. So, born to the ground, but not stuck there. A merchant? But of what? No hint of sulfur in her scent, which must mean she was hanging with the holy rollers.

“So,” I took along pull of the cigar, it lit the room like the antechamber of Hell, or that crap neon light Nick needed to replace behind the bar, “You know my rates.”

“I can pay you,” she sneered. “But not until you get the job done.” Then she smiled sweetly and added. “You're going to like this job, bub. You may do it for free.”

It was then that my best bud and partner in my little venture, Sam, whispered to me, “You do realize that this dame had a sex change operation.”

I backed up, wings waving frantically. “No way! This is a guy?”

Sam smacked me. “Shh! Not so loud. It'll hear you.”

“Who are you calling an it?” the dame/dude/it thingy snarled. “Anyways, I want you to kill — I mean, uh, cause an unfortunate accident to happen to — the nastiest monster on this land — BOB.”

Sam and I gasped dramatically. “No! Not Bob?!?!”

I can't tell you how much I hate it when the good Lady dame who comes into my office with a problem and big brown eyes but no wings, but later turns out to be a guy named Bob. Give me a dime and I shoot the sucker and get back to my cigarette and cheap scotch.

“Wait a sec,” I said. “You want me to kill Bob, and you are Bob?”

“I guess you're not as good as your reputation,” she said, waving at the fresh waves of cigar smoke. “I'm not Bob. That Boob you're sitting next to is Bob.”

“You mean Sam?” I asked.

“Bob?” I turned to my sidekick.

Sam — Bob — shook his head. “She's — he's — not Bob. I'm not Bob. You must be Bob.”

If there's one thing I'm pretty sure of in this big, wide, underworld, it's that I'm pretty sure I'm not Bob. But I did have a case on my hands: which Bob should I kill first?

It was time to consider my priorities. “Okay,” I said. “The first person to pay in cold, hard cash gets to decide who Bob is.”

The two characters in my office stared at me flatly. Neither appeared willing to make a move to end this conflict. Just then, there was a kock on the door.

In walked Bob.

“It's going to be a long day,” I sighed and poured myself a drink.