I threw the phone down, sighing. I lowered myself onto the seat, looking down at the table. I drew another line through the napkin; another name off of my list. I had tried to get in contact with a few people from my past and a couple of others for something big.
I had come up with the idea when I was still inside and knew exactly who would be able to help me. I had spent my time planning it out, at least as much as I could have done with the limited details that I had. The moment I had got out, I put my plan in action as I hobbled into a succession of people and took what I needed.
It didn't take me long to set myself up and get a place to live that I actually liked. A couple of months after getting out, I was ready to make the calls. I found myself in Harvey's bar, talking into my phone. I waved for another drink, dialling another number.
"Clarence. Long time." I muttered. "Still in the area?"
"What do you want Art?" he replied gruffly.
"I'm just calling to see if the group is still together." I smiled as I took the drink and sipped it, blinking slowly.
"Not any more." Clarence replied. "Other things came up."
"So you aren't interested in one last game?" I reached into my pocket, pulling out a deck of cards and placing them on the table beside the drink.
"No Art." I picked up the top card, turning it over.
"Why not Clarence?" I continued to turn over the cards, looking for the Joker.
"Because I am dying." He hung up abruptly and I slowly lowered the phone. I hadn't been away for long but everything had changed so much. I had been at the top; now I was at the bottom and it had been one hell of a long fall. I was looking up at how far I had to climb when I came back to the real world and finished my drink.
A few drinks later, a number I didn't know since the glasses had been taken away, someone entered the bar. I smiled widely, standing up and opening my arms as Lara walked in. "Good to see you. Drink?" I offered. "It's on me."
It wasn't long before the rest of my partners arrived and, when accompanied by a beverage, they all sat down, listening intently.
"Now I'm sure you're all intrigued as to why I invited you here." I smiled. "Well I want your help. Actually, I need it."