Off Night

March 24, 2009

Last song of the night closes with a bare smattering of applause and Suzy exits in a bit of a huff. Me? I tuck the lid closed on my piano and make my way for the bar to weasle one last free drink before everyone is tossed out for the night.

A whiskey sour in my gut and a handful of tips in my pocket, I need some fun before I need some sleep. Even at this hour, Carson Street has plenty of action. The first girl in my price range (cheap, for the record) takes me to the local pay-by-the-hour joint.

We both leave feeling unsatisfied with the transaction.

The last couple of dollars go for a new pack of smokes on the way home. I’m tucking the third to last cigerette from the back between my lips when I round last corner before my building. I pause at the steps and dig out my lighter and try to coax one last bit of flame from the cheap piece of plastic.

A couple dozen sprays of spark and I finally toss it off into the street and pull out keys and head inside, cigerette still tucked in my mouth, waiting for the book of matches upstairs. The apartment door itself is unlocked, which seems wrong, but I was running late so I don’t concern myself much.

But three steps in, a few things click. Suzy is framed in the neon glow creeping in my window, smoking. I can’t see her expression in the backlight, but I can see she isn’t wearing much. I close the door quickly and clear my throat.

“So. Been a long time since you stopped by,” I say.

“Do you really want to waste my time with talk?” she asks.

I don’t. I cross the room toward her, tossing aside my jacket and start unbuttoning my pants when the whole world seems to lurch sideways and I find myself on the ground. I try and say something, but my mouth doesn’t seem to work right. In fact, my whole body suddenly feels cold and numb.

Then I see the boot stepping over me and a vague dark figure leaning over me. His voice is rough and not one I recognize. “Tub filled?”

“Just like you asked,” she says.

He grunts a bit and my view tumbles as  I’m suddenly flung up onto his shoulder. I want to plead and beg and try to understand. The best I manage is a slight gurgling noise.

Suzy follows and pats my cheek once in the bathroom door before turning away. “Bye, Larry. Your music is shit.”

And I’m in the tub, my head under water. I can’t thrash or scream. I can’t even blink as the wavy figure of a man lifts tosses something toward me. I see him turning to leave before my muscles jerk back to life with one last searing jolt of pain.



  1. That was gritty and tragic. You really rock the noir.

  2. Why thank you.

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