It had been a hard day, and a long night, the icy rain cut sharply onto the streets and collected into gently frosting puddles and created sodium yellow ripples that sparkled and disappeared as quickly as everything else in this town. I waited on the corner of the street, I was in plain sight, not how I usually play it, but hell, it’s not like tonight was going according to anyone’s plan but fates. Fate, what a bitch!
A trash can crashes to the floor further down the block, spewing its guts into the gutter and I turn to see a drunk staggering down the street, closing time had been called in every bar in town hours ago, the sun would be rising soon. It had obviously been a good night for him, I was hoping it wouldn’t end in a bad night, or at least a worse night, for me. He smiled as he neared me and asked me for a light, my hand moved automatically to the Colt in my coat pocket as I shook my head; I wasn’t going to risk pulling anything out for this creep except my trusty steed. The drunk shrugged and moved on, can’t say I wasn’t grateful, the Colt had bucked too much tonight anyway, and every cop in the city was on red alert after the mess Louis made of that theatre. A quick job he said, in and out, no-one will even notice us, he said. Yeah, right, five minutes in and there was enough lead in the walls to bring down a small army. Never mind the amount left inside the patrons.
I heard the rumble of a distant engine, and I looked down the street, and could see the oncoming headlights of a cherry-red Buick, her, cherry-red Buick. I felt that stirring in my belly as the car pulled up just a few houses down from where I was standing, the feeling you got just before your first roller coaster ride as a kid, that mix of excitement, fear and nausea. The headlights blinded me for a second and suddenly the world was a tunnel of brilliant white as she stepped out of the car, then she took the keys from the ignition and once again the world turned orange-grey. She walked over to me and I watched the way her waist swayed gently from side to side like the back and forth of the tides. She was wearing the red dress she wore when I first met her, and a hat pulled low to break the relentless onslaught of the rain, which also served to cover half her face in shadow, she always had a thing for the dramatic. I was glad I couldn’t see her eyes though; I never like what I see in them. She said something like “Where have you been?”
I shrugged and that’s when she slapped me.
“I’ve missed you too Baby.” I said as I allowed the cold rain to numb the sting, she always had venom in her swing, and always found ways to release it on me.
“Here’s your Goddamn money you jack ass!”
She thrust a paper bag my way, I could see her eyes from under the veil, only for a moment, those eyes that had seen too much, green eyes like the jealous rage of a jilted lover. As soon as I had caught a glimpse, she hid them away readjusting her hat which released a few strands of her chestnut hair that drifted across her face. I reached up to brush them aside, she allowed me to do it, and for a second it seemed just like the old days, then she turned away, just like she did before.
“How’s your new husband?” I asked.
She replied with another smack to the face, like a firecracker, short, sharp and full of sparks.
“I deserve that.”
“You’re Goddamn right you deserve that! I haven’t heard form you in three years and now you show your face again, asking for money. What’s it for this time? You knocked up some broad? Got mixed up with sharks again? What is it this time huh?”
“It’s nothing like that, it’s, business.”
“Business, yeah, I know all about your business”
“Hey, you know what I do, I never lied about that, and I didn’t hear you complaining when little Scotty was out of the picture, thanks to me!”
“Thanks to you! You nearly got me killed that night!”
“But I didn’t did I! No, I saved your scrawny ass yet again, and you repay me by running off with him!”
She raised her hand again, I wasn’t going to take another hit from her, and I grabbed her arm before she could make contact.
“You get your hand off me!” She said, as she yanked and pulled herself free, “You don’t have the right anymore.”
The strands of hair danced across her face again, and I reached up to move them, she didn’t move, didn’t even flinch. I miss those days.
“Why d’you do it baby?” I asked.
“I didn’t have much of a choice.”
“We always have a choice.” I said as I pulled her close, the ominous rain lashed down in sheets, it cooled the heat but we both knew where this was going, it was the same place it always went. It had been too long since I had felt those lips press against mine and the feeling of her waist as I slid my arm around its slender curves; it was like the first kiss of spring breaking the winter’s frost. It had been too long, three years of blood and sweat and grime, but it was all leading to this moment. As if it could of lead anywhere else, she was always dumb enough to come looking for me eventually, and I was always drunk and stupid enough to wind up at her door. I kissed her again.
“It was always you baby,” I whispered to her “always you.”