Lenny Bruce was still balling Josephine Baker in the cloakroom, so Monk had to string out his first set. I didn’t mind. Patience is the only virtue a bounty hunter like me needs. Che, the bartender, leaned over and poured another double laudanum, waving off my green. “Venceramos, baby,” he smiled, “…on the house.” It had turned out to be a long run on an uncertain contract, but the light at the end of the tube had finally brightened. Chiseling bullshit down to sugar for as long as I have, you get ulcers on your soul. Painful. Now the word had led me to The Threshold, nastiest dive in Sodom City, but a sure bet for a money shot.
Showtime! I spotted Miles Davis checking in with the hostess by the foyer. I knew he only came down here to see his boss… and I also knew that it was his boss, Don John Pauly Dos, who could lead me to my boy. As the consigliere passed through the room, I made like Quasimodo and studied my knees. Miles and I had never quite met, eye to eye… Miles never meets anyone eye to eye. Still, at this late stage I was taking no chances.
As he approached them, the maroon velvet drapes to the back room opened like magic. Miles melted into the black beyond. I figured that the curtains had been drawn from behind by the infamous Lon Chaneys, always present, never seen. The only magic involved was how fast this father and son combo could make anyone disappear. If I were going to collect my “ticket”, I’d have to get to Don Uno. To get to him, I’d have to go through the Chaneys. I wasn’t sweating it. I’ve retired more goons than Pompeii has pebbles.
Monk segued into “Tunisia” as Bird returned from Nodland, sliding into his seat on The Night Train Express. I got up from the bar, leaving a pair of Howards for Che, and made a Moses through the sea of smoke. If God was dead, I’d find Him… and bring Him back… and then”¦
Scurvy Bastard is a frequent writer/poet for Mystery Island Publications and Black Shark Press. For an upcoming collection he has been selected as one of the 13 Knights Of The Apocalypse.