Wednesday, February 25, 2009
The Grapes of Macgrath (A Duckfirth Story)
Wine and me go together like whipped cream and lime pickle. Make mine whiskey, so big it’s whiskey double. But, wine is what brought me here and so wine is what I’ve got, mostly because the flask in my coat just went dry, and so did my mouth. I roll into one of those wine bars with a quaint, rustic sounding name like Oxtail, or Smokewood lounge. The girl behind the bar is more like a lady in upscale clothes that don’t fit right, she’s no peach but circumstances being what they are I start with the chit chat.
“One wine please.”
“And what kind of wine would you like sir?”
She’s feisty, “Strongest one you’ve got.”
“Well this is our Shiraz, it’s a blend of three different kinds of grape aged in a..”
“I don’t care about the schematics sweet heart, I’m just looking for a drink.” She looks offended, “and an ear, if you got one.”
“I’ve got two.”
“Well then you’ll do just fine gorgeous.” It’s obvious that no one’s called her that in a long while. She likes it.
“What’s your name stranger?”
“Well Mr. Much-mirth, what brings you to this neck of the vineyards?" She says in long drawn out words, relaxed, flirty. I think I like it. "Is there a jacket and tie convention in town?” Her phony coat comes off and she doesn’t look half bad in the t-shirt she had on underneath. Maybe I was wrong about her, maybe she’s a dame in snobs clothing.
“Yeah I’m a private dick. Someone went missing up here a couple of days ago and they want me to find him.”
“Oh you must mean the Macgrath boy.”
“Boy huh? From what I understand there wasn’t too much boyish about him.”
She liked that one, she laughed, “Yeah. He had one way with trouble I guess.”
“Yeah, a freeway, with no speed limit.”
As she made her way from around the bar I learned that she was a slinker. She sat next to me and I could tell her innocence was just a play in three acts. I didn’t mind, in fact I kinda liked it. I drank the wine. “Not bad. If you like drinking rose petals. What do you call this thing?”
“Boring. Why not let’s you and me go out and get a real drink? I know just the place. It’s cozy and they serve something right up your alley.”
“Oh yeah? What’s this place called and what do they serve?”
“It’s called my place, and they serve me.”
She planted a kiss on me that was both soft and merciless at the same time. I thought about struggling but then a voice entered my head saying, “Aw what the hell?” I like that voice, it always tells me what I want to hear. I kissed back and that was the last good feeling I would have all night, because the next thing I know, something blunt and made of metal made it’s acquaintance with my skull and everything went all blurry like. The last thing I remember was hoping that I turned off the stove in my apartment because it was going to be a long time before I ever got back there again.