Dekker: Just Another Night

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"Another one, Phil." Dekker says wearily as she pushes the empty tumbler across the bar. He stands there polishing a glass and looking at her dubiously. He always seems to be polishing a glass, like his only purpose in life is to stand there and polish glasses. Even when she asks him for a drink she never really catches him pouring it. He's a magician that conjures sweet bourbon out of thin air while always polishing those damn glasses. Once she saw him wipe down the bar and the shock nearly killed her, like a wino that decides to quit cold turkey and dies the next day because his body just can't handle it.

"I think you've had enough, Dekker."

Her eyes narrow, "And I think you'd look real keen if your nose were flat instead of all normal lookin', like it is now."

Phil cocks an eyebrow and stops his polishing and just stares at her, having suddenly adopted the qualities of a statue. His gaze impassive and dead, yet....threatening. Dekker starts to sweat a little, "Sorry Phil...bad day is all. May I have another drink, PLEASE?" She says the "please" in a way that drips mock sincerity, as if she had read about manners in a book but didn't quite understand how to use them properly.


He says flatly and puts the shiny glass down and picks up a new one to polish. She sighs and growls a little, "Fine, I'll use my wily feminine charms to persuade one of these gentlemen to buy it for me." Phil chortles, "Dekker, you ain't got no feminine charms, let alone wily ones." She sits up straight and throws him the ol' stink eye, "Watch me" she says and she shoves herself off the stool.

There aren't exactly a lot of marks to choose from but she zooms in on one and begins to pick her way drunkenly across the room, trying her best to saunter, and failing miserably. No one seems to notice though, half of the patrons are face down in sticky piles of spilled beer and to the other half she's floating gracefully on gossamer wings. As she draws near she leans against the bar and props her head in her hand and flicks a few red tresses over her shoulder. Phil watches their little exchange dubiously. Dekker tosses her head back and laughs artificially loud and runs her finger down the man's arm, letting her hand slip below the bar. The look on his face falters a little and he seems to grow increasingly flustered. He raps the bar a few times and Phil walks over.

"Two drinks, please" he says shakily, "A bourbon for my lady friend here." Phil doesn't say anything, he pours Dekker her drink and walks away without saying a word. She grabs it and slides back down to the end of the bar and blows the nervous man a kiss.

"How'd you pull that off?" Phil inquires flatly.

Dekker grins stupidly and tucks a pistol back into its holster under her dark blue cloak, on which is stamped the word "Charm". Phil catches a glimpse of a matching pistol and holster on her other side that reads "Grace".

"I told you, with my feminine Charm. He decided he liked all of his man bits to remain in their present condition, which is to say, intact." She laughs drunkenly and tips back her drink. Through the ice and bourbon Phil's blurry form moves thoughtfully behind the bar and then her whole world goes black.

                                                                                            * * *


Dekker slowly cracks an eye open and is greeted by the disapproving gaze of a bitter old man. He stares at her dolefully from his position on the wall above the soft purple couch she's laying on. "Shove it Horrace, don't gimme that look" she croaks. Soft music plays from a small Resonance crystal that's perched on a dark walnut bookshelf filled with expensive tomes and fine liqueurs. No matter how many times she wakes up in Phil's office she always needs a moment to come to grips with the idea that this place is in the same building, and owned by the same man, as the shit-hole dive out front.

Phil sits at a modest, unassuming desk. It's the kind of modest, unassuming desk that only the truly wealthy can afford. He's tallying up the night's takings and writing them down carefully in a ledger in neat, tight handwriting. Next to him is a drink and a blackjack. He turns slowly in his chair as she pushes herself up on the couch and cradles her pained head, tenderly rubbing her temples. "That-" she says tentatively and waits for the throbbing to pass, "was unnecessary."

He closes the ledger and stands up, carrying the drink across the room and handing it to her. "You stuck a gun in a customer's crotch and threatened to turn him into a woman if he didn't buy you a drink. I feel my actions were completely warranted."

She takes it and tosses it back quickly, it helps a little. "How long was I out?" she inquires as she stands slowly, waiting for the room to stop spinning. "A while, it's 5am...get the hell outta here" he grumbles.

She grabs her fedora and punches it back into shape and places it in such way as to cover up the massive lump on her forehead., "Cya tomorrow night, Phil."

He grunts an affirmative to her as she walks out of the office and through the bar. The last vestiges of occupation still cling here and there; an empty glass, an ashtray full of crooked butts and spent lucifers. There's something profoundly sad about an empty bar, it's unsettling in a way that's hard to explain. No matter, she shakes it off and moves out into the quiet, predawn streets of Hammett.

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