Elena left through the back door just on the odd chance someone was watching her house. The quiet of the streets had gone from strange to eerie, my mind basking in the adrenaline of the recent panic and the nerves of the upcoming murder. I made my way to the Babel through narrow streets, trying to lose the tail I'd noticed as soon as I walked out of Elena's. This was going to end poorly.
Stepping into the bar felt like realizing you'd stepped in a hornet's nest. The air was thick with the smell of trap. As I sat at the bar Irv passed me a drink on a coaster. The coaster had one word written on it in Irv's cramped hand.
I could only shrug and sip at the terrible vodka Irv still thought I drank. A hand landed on my shoulder and gripped in a way not at all reassuring.
"Mr. Shift". That's me, no saving it now. I looked to Irv who just kept scrubbing glasses. He shrugged. I kept my breath as regular as I could so as not to alert my new friend and moved, slipping just slightly in my coat and sliding off the bar stool. My hips rolled and I was behind the poor goon. A sweep of my foot and a hard, downward push caved the big man's skull on the bar. I'd owe for that. Knife out and facing the room everything was still.