Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Bourbon on the Rocks

Coyote Mike's story had me pick up an idea I'd had a while ago for a story. Now be nice it's a very rough draft and somewhat of a cheesy plot. But it's been fun to write.

As he watched a chain of smoke waft through the air Sam took another pull from his bourbon on the rocks. It had been a long day at the office and the mixture of cigarettes and the sweet sting of the bourbon were heavenly. He looked around the club and noticed he was the only one there except for Jake the bartender and Eddie the happy hour piano player.

Sam chuckled as he listened to the tinkle of the ivory keys. Eddie was an old timer that had played quite the ragtime in his day. But now his mind was going and along with that many of his songs. Sam knew when Eddie had forgotten how to play something because he would always lapse into Camptown Races.

Just then the front door swung open letting in a gust of wind and rain. In ran Simone. She was the clubs biggest star attraction and it was easy to see why. Sam smiled as he watched her smooth her long dress. Simone was a rare beauty for this old town. She stood nearly as tall as he and walked with a steady grace. Her hair flowed down her back like the muddy river itself and those green eyes shown like two piercing emeralds from her porcelain face. She looked like she hadn’t seen the sun in all her life but the white ethereal glow of her skin was very becoming. Aside from her looks she had the voice of a siren that could enchant and tame the coldest of men.

She sauntered over to the bar where Jake already had her usual warm up waiting for her. One shot of blackberry brandy. She took the drink down and handed the glass back to Jake.

“Thanks sugar, I needed that.” She purred

“Want another?” Jake said with wink and sly grin.

Everyone knew that would be the only drink she’d have for the rest of the night. No one ever quite knew why and she never would explain it.

Simone smiled coyly and dashed back to her dressing room to finish preparing for the nights show.

“She’s a woman after my own heart” Jake said longingly as he watched the spot where she disappeared.

“She’s a woman after every man’s heart” Sam chided back

Everyone loved Simone, even the other girls that worked there. She was a rare find and Sam had always wondered why a girl like that didn’t have herself a good guy. He’d asked her once after a few too many but she hadn’t answered him or at least he didn’t remember the answer.

A loud clap of thunder punched through his memory and he looked up at the door again. Immediately his senses were abuzz. In strolled Louis Mancina with his group of well dressed goons. Mancina was the town’s biggest business man. He owned most of downtown and funded the biggest law firm in the state. He was also the biggest crook Sam knew of. He had made most of his money during prohibition and even had ties to Capone at one time. Sam had been hot on Mancina’s trail for months trying to catch him slipping up. The department had been trying to get Mancina for years and the feds wanted him taken out of business. Sam had recently been investigating a string of murders around the area that he knew had to be linked to Mancina, he just had to find out how.

“Wonder what he’s doing here?” Asked Jake through gritted teeth his beefy hands clinching into tight fists.

Mancina owned his fair share of nightclubs but this wasn’t one of them. He had tried for years to get the owner Tommy to sign the place over to him but Tommy refused sell out. Since then a group of Mancina’s thugs did a monthly shake down of the till and Jake was usually on the receiving end of whatever they dished out.

Sam wondered himself what Mancina was doing there. He figured he’d be over at the Velvet Glove, his swankiest nightclub that also coupled as an illegal casino in the back for the who’s who of the wealthy and powerful.

Soon it became very clear why Mancina was there…Simone. He found the best table front and center to the stage. Sam’s jaw set. Mancina better leave her alone or so help him he would not be responsible for his own actions. Most of the murders that he thought were tied to Mancina were of typical thugs and a couple of bigger fish that had double crossed Mancina. But recently a couple of girls from the other clubs had come up missing or dead. The department wasn’t completely sure that those had anything to do with Mancina but Sam had a bad feeling about it.

The rest of the club filled in quickly in the next half hour. It was Friday night and everyone was out on the town. Everybody knew the best entertainment would be at the Ragtime Rocks where Simone sang. Jake got busy with drink orders so Sam took up position a few tables back from Mancina to keep an eye on things.

Soon the lights dimmed and the spotlight hit Simone. Not long after she started to sing she had the crowd eating out of her hands. Even Sam had almost forgotten that he should be watching Mancina. He looked at the span of people that had flocked around Mancina. His thugs had been drinking single malt whiskey all night and were starting to get rowdy. Nattie one of the best serving girls was their waitress for the night. Sam was glad to see that. Nattie was a cute little red head that had grown up in the Bronx and knew how to handle buffoons like them. He grinned as he watched her give one of their hands a hard smack when its owner tried to grab where he shouldn’t.

Sam checked his watch and saw that Simone’s act should be getting over soon. He figured Mancina and his crowd would head out shortly after that. As soon as her last number was over Simone quickly retreated to her dressing room. Sam could tell she’d had enough ogling and cat calls from Mancina’s men. After she left the stage Sam noticed Mancina speaking harshly to a couple of his men. He was not pleased with how they were acting. As the band started playing the group headed towards the door, but without Mancina and his two main men. Sam eyed the crowd trying to find them. Finally he saw them slipping backstage to the dressing room. Sam didn’t like this at all and neither did Jake.

Jake was making a beeline for the dressing room and Sam cut him off.

“They’re not supposed to be back there.” Jake said tensely

“I know they’re not, but it will cause a bigger problem if you go tell them that” Said Sam

“You go back to the bar and I will handle them.”

Jake slunk back to the bar like a scolded puppy as Sam slipped through to the back. He got out his spare key to the closet next to Simones dressing room. Tommy had put a peep hole in the closet to keep an eye on the girls a few years back after someone roughed up one of the dancers. The girls all knew the peep hole was there and trusted Tommy not spy on them while they dressed.

Once inside the closet he removed a shelf from the wall and opened the peep hole. It looked like he was too late to see what Mancina had been there for. Simone was already sending him politely packing out the door. He heard Mancina slam the door as he left. He watched Simone for a moment longer. She stood facing the door for a moment then after she was certain they were gone she walked over and locked it. Once back at her dressing table she took a bottle from her bag and poured a very deep, thick red liquid into a cup sitting next to her.

Well that explained why she never drank out in the bar. She was getting lit up backstage this whole time. Sam just shook his head and grinned. He watched as she took a drink. There was something different about that liquor in her glass. He hadn’t ever seen a drink that was thick like this and it stained her pretty lips a deep crimson. She closed her eyes as she swallowed and he marveled at how color immediately leaked into her white complexion. He had never seen her look more beautiful. At that moment Simones eyes snapped open and fixed upon his. Though this time instead of green her eyes shown almost as red as the liquid she drank. Startled he slammed the peep hole shut and headed out of the closet.

When he got back to the bar he ordered bourbon and sat down.

“You okay?” Asked Jake “Mancina’s men didn’t give you any trouble did they?”

“What?” Said Sam distractedly “Oh no, they were fine. Did they head out?”

“Yep. Just shortly after you went back there. “You sure know how to handle them thugs don’t you copper.” Grinned Jake

Sam couldn’t shake the image of Simone’s eyes. He fumbled with a cigarette as he replayed her actions in his mind. He was looking for a light when a flame was held up to by a pale graceful hand. He lit the cigarette and looked up into the face of Simone. He looked hard at her eyes but they were as green as ever, even her face was its normal alabaster color.

She smiled gently and blew the match out.

“Thanks for looking out for me Sam” She said in a low voice

Sam noticed the pleading look in her eyes and nodded at her. Whatever he saw back there he would keep between the two of them. He knew something was going on with her but he also trusted her. He wouldn’t tell and she seemed to understand that.

She turned away and headed to get her coat. As she walked he watched the way she moved, gracefully but with precise purpose. He noticed for the first time the strong definition of her muscles, he couldn’t believe he hadn’t noticed that before. She had always captivated him but now after what he saw the trance was stronger. She was a mystery.


At 9:59 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok, since you asked for criticism, you get the real thing.

First, this is a good idea for a story. But there are some problems. For one thing, you have too many characters doing too many things all at the same time. I had to keep going back and forth to see who was who, and why they were acting the way they were. And second, the writing is just a little rough. I've read some of your other stuff, and given time I know you can smooth it out.

But I did like the story :D

At 8:10 PM , Blogger Steph said...

Enjoyed it. You're a good storyteller.


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