This story is an old story of mine that recently resurfaced. I am looking for feedback and corrections on it.
A dream lingers in the mind like taste on the tongue. It is Pungent at first before mellowing down to fragments of vivid details and lasting thoughts. Slowly it awakens, burning red hot; glowing warm orange; simmering to deep crimson.
Time was thinning and so was money. It trickled in like the sand in a sieve. Steve hadn’t been by for more than a few days. I wondered if he had been caught in the brawl up on Forty-second Street. At his best he was a shady character, that belonged in one of those dark New York alleys. I wasn’t really any better, but at least I had a job. It wasn’t much, I admit. The one room apartment I could afford had a habit of leaky faucets, rusty pipes, broken windows and a mouse infestation. Its location wasn’t any better. The train barreling outside rattling the walls. Faulty lighting was a result. As I clanked away writing on an antique typewriter that was missing various keys, I wondered if I would still be here a month from now. Work had been slowing down and was almost at a standstill. Since I was a freelance writer, jobs arose and died away. I was currently covering the obituaries for the local newspaper, when a knock came on my door. It was pounding and urgent.
Steve fell through the doorway. He looked worse than ever. A worn and ragged suit hung from his unshaven dirty fame. The sly scent of liquor hard and dangerous twirled through his words when he spoke. “ Where ya been you filthy bastard?” He swaggered at me. “Here” I answered. Showing him a chair with the sweep of a hand. Finding it, he sat down and was out cold. The way he’d stay until morning.
As the sun edged between the drawn blinds I catapulted my thoughts from the hazy dream of perfection, to the heap of a man passed out by the table. The last time he had been here, was about six months ago. Since then he’d be wandering the streets avoiding the real world. I watched as he gained consciousness. Turning to face me, he said, “Fuck you, you rotten shit peel.” The words seemed to roll off his tongue effortlessly. I wasn’t sure if he was still drunk or just playing the part. I replied “You’re the only fucker here, my friend.” As he crawled out of the chair and stepped towards me, he gave his classic sly smile that spread across his lips and ended with a half laugh. “It’s been awhile” he said. I poured him a cup of coffee and asked “Ya, want a little jack with that.” He explained his situation. Slowly it all began to make sense. He had been working under cover, found some action on the street, tried to bust it, got depressed took to drinking and had come to the only safe place he knew, my door step. His appearance and the encounter of the previous night seemed to match up with his tale. He had sobered up enough to take a shower, shave and change into one of my old suits. This was the man I remembered.
Steve would stay with me for the next couple days. He was keeping out of trouble which was good. I on the other hand, I just seemed to keep getting into it. It started with a phone call. The news left me standing mouth agape with the phone still in my hand. Steve looked me in the eye, “ I knew they’d find you” he said.
It had been about two years since I had been assigned a case, I wasn’t prepared for what I was asked to do. Steve had warned me about getting involved, but this was different. Placing the phone on the receiver, I sat down and slowly drank my coffee. I wondered how they could have found me. After management had changed hands and I had gone underground if was a miracle I even knew who I was.
Steve and I headed into town and to clear our minds. We both needed a break. Steve walked in to the five and dime. I found my way to the sleazy diner, that was one of my old haunts. Standing tall behind the counter was a man I hadn’t seen in years. He had faded from my view when I quit the force. I was shocked to find the corner table, number six empty, with a newspaper three days old splayed open. That was my usual trademark. I sat down and glanced at it. I couldn’t believe it was midway through the month of December already.
Then, I saw her. She was thin and fair with hair a light auburn red. Her dress was tight, clinging to all the right places, and short. I glanced at the greasy menu. Sheri the waitress took my order, Black coffee with an egg over medium and a side of Tabascoed hash-browns. The woman approached my table. “I hope I’m not intruding” she said in a accent no doubt laced with mixture of Irish and French. “My name is Irgetta, I have a case for you”. I invited her to sit, but she said she had to run. She slipped me a piece of paper scrawled with an address and phone number. I wondered how she knew who I was, and that I was free enough to take her case. I was still pondering this when breakfast came.
When I returned to my office. I gave the phone number a try, to my surprise Irgetta answered. I found out her name was Irgetta Livingston and that she urgently needed my help in a case unlike any other. As we progressed through the conversation, I found a number of peculiarly details. The first was that she was had married once in late teenage years, and had a divorce. She hadn’t married again. The next bit news that sparked my interest was that when she was nineteen, her then husband, had been murdered. She was now, I guessed in her mid to late twenty’s. The second part of information is what sparked her need for me.
Irgetta explained that she had always suspected that her husband had committed suicide. She then said that because of the depression he had been tight for money. As a result, first came arguments, then came the suicide. By the end of our conversation she was in tears. I could tell from the sobs that this was painful and intriguing all at the same time. As we ended the conversation, I wondered if there was more to this and to us then just a case.
The next day, I began research. It would be a long and treacherous road to diagnose a suicide thought murder. Steve knew that something was occupying my time. He mainly kept to himself and worked his way through the town. He came across some old friends but almost everyone had moved on. Most of the people that he knew were only acquaintances and for the wrong reason. I had met him now once again on his path of corrections. Hopefully, he wouldn’t end up back in his old ways of the streets.
Ten years after the suicide of Henry Livingston, Irgetta Livingston had strolled into my life desperate for answers and help. At the moment I could not offer either. I kept remembering the way she looked at me with the those clear blue green eyes. There was no mistaking the wanting of something more.
As beautiful as she was, she was my client and I owed that to her. Every time she waltzed into my office, I had a choice to make and I knew that I always made the right one even though it felt like the wrong one. Over the next few weeks we pursued the case. The only evidence I found had been snippets of information, and it just wasn’t enough. The following day, Irgetta flounced her way into my office. I was just about to explain my situation, and then I felt something about the way she had been. When she would come into my office modesty fell away. She was a tease and I had fallen right into her trap.