I watched out my office window down to the wet street. Mish and his client stepped into sight under the lamp on the corner.
She certainly didn’t look like one of the “little people” he tells me about. Fairies, werewolves, whatever.
She was almost a head taller than him and a lot slimmer, but then again most people are. Long coat, I could tell heels, she walked like she spent her childhood balancing a book on her head.
He glanced up at my window as they approached the doorway, her face following his instinctively. But as they stepped out of the pool of light glaring against the glass I couldn’t really make hers out.
Mish was a round little accountant, his eyes owlish and worried behind thick glasses, one of those guys who wear the finest tailored suits but still look uncomfortable in them. Back during the Big Fix we had both worked for a rum runner up in the 1,000 Islands, at both ends of the operation. One night I had saved his life, as he put it – the third guy they’d kidnapped was found in a sack the next morning – and he never let me forget it. He had plenty of cush clients now, so I didn’t mind.
He kept telling stories though, the kind that made you turn away and touch your finger to the side of your nose, or belt a couple of quick shots. Secret clients of his, with “powers”. Sworn to secrecy but dying to spill, like a guy who’d just nooked his boss’s wife.
So tonight he was bringing me this new client. All he told me was her family had come over because of the German troubles, she needed to keep everything under the doormat, and she was flush. And she insisted on meeting at night.
A burst of hacking shook me like a damn marionette, stripping my throat, I hoped she wasn’t watching. I put out my cigarette and stepped out of my office, down the stairs to meet them.
Brushing my hair flat, pressing my fedora back on, putting on my bread and butter smile.
“Ready to make some cabbage…”