Wade Hackette lets the rain fall inside his black convertible as he lights a smoke. Lightning ignites a purple spider web above the rusted city, illuminating hollow towers of cement. Wade exhales a gray specter while raindrops fall off the edge of a brown brimmed hat. He parks the black convertible next to Jade Dragon—a greasy restaurant that can be smelled (and tasted) from a block away. Wade pulls down a fire escape ladder and climbs to the top floor.
Something is wrong.
The little lamp on Wade’s desk is on. Wade never leaves the light on.
Wade Hackette places a calloused hand inside of his long trench coat and wraps bandaged fingers around Sinorita. He takes her out of his pocket and places a wide back against a soggy brick wall. Wade peaks around the corner and looks inside the window.
He wiggles the window open, and then sticks a big dripping boat inside his office — raindrops drizzle over documents and photographs sprawled all over his desk.
“Damn it…” Wade whispers.
Wade straddles over his desk while Sinorita’s glossy barrel sways from side to side. He plants both boots on the carpet and spins around. A shaded figure creeps from the darkness and stabs something into Wade’s back.
He turns around and points Sinorita at a woman’s pale face. Blue eyes and blood red lipstick, she keeps her pointer finger aimed as he rests her head against Sinorita’s barrel.
“You wouldn’t want to pull the trigger on me, now would you?”
Wade’s finger glides against Sinorita’s trigger.
“You shouldn’t break into another man’s office. You may get hurt.”
She prowls around his desk, and then lounges across a vacant corner.
“You look like a really busy person…you must be who I’m looking for.”
Rain drips from Wade’s brown brimmed hat.
“Forgive me! My name is Sammie Redding.”
Wade closes his eyes.
“Now…let’s not let a little thing like a name get in between us.”
Wade Hackette places Sinorita back inside his trench coat pocket.
Sammie opens a desk drawer and takes out a pack of smokes. She strikes a match, and then walks toward a nearby window.
“…This rain…it will never stop.”
She places the lit smoke on the edge of a glass ashtray — silver smoke entwines into an orgy of twisting strands.
“I’m looking for information…and someone needs to die.”
Wade’s brown brimmed hat eclipses his face.
“A man of few words! Perhaps we’ll get along just fine. Take a look at this photograph I took.” Sammie says.
“I need you to steal a piece of paper from someone. Don’t worry about what’s written on it. Go to Hellmouth Lounge. A man named Dirty Desmond will be there tomorrow night—7:30pm. He will be dressed in a red suit and flanked by bodyguards. Dirty Desmond is going to exchange this piece of paper with a woman dressed in black. You can’t let this happen, understand?”
Wade picks up the smoldering smoke and takes in a long drag. The orange ember eats through the filter.
“You want him dead?”
“No!…I want the woman in black to be dead by 8: 00 pm tomorrow night.”
She takes the smoldering smoke from Wade’s fingers, and then snuffs it into a pile of ash.
“I’ll return in a few days. We’ll discuss payment.”
Sammie drags a jeweled fingertip down Wade’s chest, and then shuts the door behind her. Wade lights another smoke while pulling back the edge of a curtain.
Sammie Redding crosses Grime Avenue and stands underneath a dying streetlamp. A silver car rolls to a stop. She opens the door, slides inside, and then the silver car cruises out of sight.
Wade sits in a chair behind his desk. He had never been inside Hellmouth Lounge, but the stories he heard make him feel like he goes to Hell every weekend. Located on the north end of Grime Avenue, the entrance lights can be seen from blocks away, attracting all types of inebriated assholes.
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