"Well, well. If it isn't the goddess divine herself." Jessica sat herself down on the worn red leather of the furthest barstool, swivelling to cross one slender leg over the other, tossing her hair over her shoulder. The thick bodied tender peered down at her with a fatherly grin, sliding across a tumbler of whiskey with no ice. She caught it, her dark gaze trained on the corner booth.

"Who's he?" She asked between sips.

"New face, he won't know what hit him, sweetheart."

She grinned in a distracted manner. "You're damn right he won't."

Gazing out through the bottom of the glass, the moonshine had long since pulled the veil down over the detective’s eyes. With a half drunken sway to his movement, Jack Harvey turned what struggling bit of his attention that hadn’t already be stolen away by the booze to the dame in red. Her swaying hips, mile long legs, ruby lips and those dark trusses, like the dark highway of night upon her shoulders; she was a beautiful lie.

Her half-lidded eyes, the eager flick of her tongue against her lips, all of it screamed of empty promises. She was the false reality they all put on for show during the day, the prim and proper, the carefree and the show offing.

He, he was the truth of it, he was this city; with his dusted coat, his once white shirt turned yellow from the smoke of too many stale cigars, his face marred with stubble. The sucker of it was- he didn’t even know he was staring like some schoolboy gawking slack-jawed at his first look at a real woman.

The glass was slung back, the moonshine burning down his throat like a purifying flame. Burning away his doubts, regrets, the days pain and the nights solitude, all washed away in cold liquid fire. His cigarette rested forgotten between his fingers, the ashen top growing out like a jagged hag’s claw.

The claw came down, cutting through the non-existent wind as the ash left the red tip. His eyes were torn from the beauty, down to the falling ash. When the white stuff hit the table, scattering about in a new mess, he couldn’t help but wonder if that’s what they all were. Just falling ash waiting to be swept aside by those who stood atop the world.

The lights were dimmed even more, casting what would have been a depressing glow upon the bar- Jessica wondered idly if that's why they did it, to keep the hopeless stuck forever in their stools, staring into their cheap glasses of booze as if it had all the answers; and it was their job to say: "Sure, kid. You'll find what you're looking for here.."

The End

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