At 11pm and then 12

Malice in Manhattan

The waiter walks past me in a hurry so I click my heels under the table and sigh loudly. He notices and he stops in his tracks. It annoys me a little that he hasn’t yet noticed my almost empty drink. When I first walked in here he couldn’t keep his eyes off me.

“Another one, ma’am?” he asks and I nod, yes. I still have my second drink and I swirl it around in my glass as the waiter leans over and takes my first one. His sleeve pulls back a bit as he stretches over the table, and his Rolex watch glints at me. I notice it’s 11pm, and I don’t have to be anywhere until 12. But I don’t mind wasting my time in a bar like this. It’s fancy but I notice a few cracks in the paint, some dodgy craftsmanship on the woodwork on the bar. There’s a door slightly ajar behind the stage, and there’s a man with glasses going over paperwork. There’s a frown on his face and a pen behind his ear.

Apart from the little irregularities, I will admit that this bar has charm. The chairs are all red velvet. They match the piano player’s fedora. I’m surprised the piano fit through the wooden front door. Perhaps the piano has always been here? Maybe this place has always been a type of jazz bar. It’s situated down a side alley off a main street that’s lined with sleeping households. This is the only place open in this suburb, and the kind of place to bring people of all sorts in at 11pm.

There are a few well dressed men sitting at a round table, each on their 5th scotch or whisky. A man and a woman sit opposite each other at a small table with a bottle of wine between them. I’ve been watching them for a while, and I’ve deduced that it’s a first date as they don’t really look each other in the eyes, and the girl has a very nervous laugh.

There’s a few more men sitting around the tables and at the bar. I don’t believe tonight is this Bar’s busiest, so a blonde woman wearing a red dress, alone at 11pm, really stands out.

The waiter brings me over another glass.

“Thank you.” I say and smile.

“Is there anything else I can do for you?” he says, leaning on my table.

“Yes actually there is,” I say leaning forward, “Could you tell me what the time is?”

The waiter stands up suddenly, “Oh, sure of course.” He pulls his left sleeve. “It’s 11.05.”

“Thank you.” I say, leaning back into my chair and taking a sip of my drink. The waiter walks back to the bar.

From the corner of my eye I notice someone staring at me. I subtly look to my side and see one man from the circle table hunched over his drink. He’s probably too drunk to realise how much he is staring at me, but hopefully sober enough to remember me, especially as I subtly lean down to scratch my knee. While doing this my dress pulls up and reveals the 6-inch revolver tucked neatly into my garter belt. I don’t look back at the man. I stare into the fireplace in front of me. The man doesn’t get up or move, but he will remember.

The waiter walks behind me again. I grab his left arm.

“Another drink, please?” I say, not breaking eye contact.

“Of course, ma’am,” he says with a cute smile. “I’ll bring it right over.”

My wig starts to itch and I think this will be my last drink. My plan was to arrive here at 11pm, and leave at 12. An hour would be enough time to make an impression on the staff and hopefully some locals. They would notice an out-of-towner anyway, but I added the get-up to cover myself. And have a little fun as well, of course.

Soon I’ll get up and leave, smile a thank you to the waiter and walk out into the cold night. It’ll be dark at the end of the street where a street lamp is broken, and the number 8 is faded into the front door. His window is open. I was told it would be, anyway. Climbing into his bedroom will be the easy part. Finding a place to carefully hide my heels so that they can still be discovered by the detectives will be a little more tricky. But my main aim is to be as swift as possible as I twist the silencer on my gun. From experience, I know silencers aren’t extremely quiet, but that’s the scene I’m aiming for. Someone next door will notice. Perhaps they will notice a blonde with a red dress walking briskly down the empty street, alone at 12pm.

It will be a quick, clean shot to the head, and a quick, clean exit out the rear door. A train to the next city with my outfit trashed in the bathroom bin. My money will be waiting for me back home. Quick. Clean. Easy.

After a few more drinks the time ticks over to 11:45. I gulp down my glass and get up to leave. Putting on my coat I lean down to write a fake number on a napkin for the waiter, just another red herring for the night. I look up to see if he notices me leaving. His eyes again aren’t on me but instead on the bar and around the floor. I quickly leave before the he realises I’ve stolen his watch.

 

Ashlee Poeppmann

 

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