Sunday 27 March 2016

Mr Marlowe - Homage (3)


Homage part 2
Homage part 1

My office isn’t much.

There is a small anti room, where clients can sit and wait and read my certification that hangs in a gilt frame on one wall; or they can choose one of the magazines from the table that is the only other furniture, except the three chairs on which they can sit. I’ve never had three clients in there at the same time so I don’t know what would happen if I did. There’s a water cooler in the corner if you are feeling thirsty.

Mabel was thirsty, I heard the bubbles break on the surface and I gave her enough time to quench her thirst before I walked in through the connecting door from my office.

“Mrs Peters, it’s quite a surprise, please come in”, I gestured through the open door into my office.
She walked past me as if I didn’t exist and left me looking dumb as I struggled not to drown in the trail of perfume that followed her.

She would have been about five foot tall in her stocking feet but she was wearing a pair of heels that would have made a stilt walker jealous. She had a matching skirt and jacket that looked like it was painted on her and she carried a small red purse in her left hand. Her shoes were red too, I liked them a whole lot more than her husband’s.

Once she was comfortable I walked around to my side of the desk and looked at her.

She was about twenty-six as far as I could tell but her face told me that she was a lot wiser. Her dark hair was held together at the back with a clip that had probably been stolen from the circus and her eyes were green. She looked like trouble.

“How can I help you?” I tried not to growl.

“I’m not one to beat about the bush Mr Marlowe so I’ll speak frankly. My husband came here to ask you to find me and I don’t want to be found. I’m willing to pay you twice what he paid you to ensure this.” I could see why they were a couple, if they still were.

I leaned back in my chair and smiled. There was no need to say anything.

“How much did he pay you?”
“What makes you so sure he paid me anything?”

She laughed. Her teeth showed a little and I could see that that they were pointed.

“Let’s not play games Mr Marlowe, if you want me to pay you twice of nothing so be it, just leave me alone and tell my husband that you are unable to work for him.”

“Why don’t you tell him? Here, you can use my phone.” I offered her the receiver.

Her green eyes widened and stared back at me. They looked like two pools inviting me to dive in. Probably many had, I wouldn’t be the first and no one would blame me if I did, but there was something else lurking in those depths and it didn’t look like seaweed.

“Have it your way”, I said, trying to sound in control.

“Mr Marlowe, it’s very simple,” she opened her red purse and took out a 500 dollar bill, placing it on the table between us. “You are unable to find me”.

Then she closed the purse, stood up and walked out of my office leaving a trail of perfume, intrigue and more money than I had made in a month. I hoped never to see her again.

What did I know?


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