"What can I get ya?" The Bartender asks as Ben walks up.

"Got any specials? Times are tough."

"Right now we're offering two dollars off long island ice tea's," he says. "Five a pop."

"Alright. Hit me up."

The bartender nods and pours him a glass.

"You here for work or play?" The bartender asks as he sets Ben's drink on the bar.

"Work. I'm actually here to see if anyone recognizes a woman who goes by the name of Triage," Ben sets a five dollar bill on the counter and seventy five cents as a tip.

"Well, I dunno. I mean, I know people like to come to these places for info but I can't get a reputation for giving out info on customers."

Ben puts down another five dollars on the bar. The bartender looks at it and smiles.

"Well, I think I heard the name before. The other night I think I heard her say her name to an older gentlemen," the bartender went on.


"That's all I recall, sir."

Ben puts yet another five down.

"I think she was wearing some pretty questionable clothing. Either she works the corner or she attends one of the theaters nearby in acting classes. Hard to tell. But, that's all I know." The bartender grins and rubs his fingers and thumb together.

Ben pulls out his badge and puts that on the bar.

"Oh, well uh... See I think she was five foot six, blonde, very cute face. White. Uh, nice size breasts. Seems too nice to be a gold digger but hey I've been fooled before. But, honestly sir, that's the rest of it. First time I ever saw her was a few nights ago."

"Alright. If you're sure that's all. I don't want to have to come back," Ben smiles and glares.

"Yeah. Yeah, that's all. Thanks for the tip," The bartender squirms. 

"No, thank you. Got any food?"


"Give me a dozen."

"You know what? On the house!"

"Mighty kind of ya, sir." 

The bartender walks to the back room to tell the chef to make Ben's order. Another man sits up at the bar right next to Benjamin and he stares at him like he's got something to say, however, reluctant and withdrawn. 

"Do I know you?" Ben asks.

"No. No. I don't think so. But, do you know Carlton?"

"Decker?" Ben asks.

"Yeah. That's the guy. That's the guy. Listen, uh, how well do you know him? He's a buddy of mine," the man was a little tipsy. Most likely he is on his third drink.

"Well enough to know he is dead."

"What? What!? I hope you're kidding. That's the worst fucking joke to tell someone on Christmas. What's your problem, kid?"

Ben drinks some of his tea. "I don't have a problem other than I'm trying to figure out why he is dead so I can get paid. I'm a detective."

"Christ all mighty...  I was with him that night. I've been hanging around here since because no one could get a hold of him and I was hoping he'd show up here or something. I had no idea where to look."

"You sound like a good friend."

"Yeah were were close. But, we were also business partners."

"What kinda business?"

"Uh... Trade... Stock trading. And, computer repair."

"Strange mix," Ben replies.

"Yeah. But, times are tough. Gotta use what ya know, man."

The bartender, Joe, sets down the plate of wings Ben ordered. "Anything else, sir?"

"No, I'm good."

"So, hey. Hey. How'd Decker end up dead? What happened? Couldn't have been another heart attack. Should have been pumping like a twenty year old after he got a new one!"

"That's none of my business to share. Finding info is my job, not sharing it. What do you remember from that night?" Ben retorts.

"A lot of drinking. We bothered a few young hotties. Decker actually reeled one in though. She was fine, I tell ya. I don't know how he did it but if I would have went home with her I'd probably be the dead one!" The man laughs some and then realizes Ben is glaring at him with some wing sauce on his lips.

"Uh. The wings are good, yeah?" The man says nervously.

"Yep. So, did you catch the girl's name?"

"Yeah, Triage. I doubt it was her real name. She was dressed in a fake nurse outfit, old fifties style. It was blue and had a glittery skirt that matched the top. She even had a red cross hat and a stethoscope around her neck. Weird as hell; too late for Halloween."

"Triage is french. Just like Melange. Triage means to receive healing or treatment," The bartender adds.

"Good to know," Ben says.

Ben finishes his wings and thanks the gentlemen for the information. He leaves his contact info with the Bartender and leaves the bar with the new clues for tracking down Triage.

The End

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