With the release of The Troubleshooter: New Haven Blues, I thought I'd share a short story featuring the protagonist Mick Trubble...
I heard the staccato of her heels down the hall…
Smoggy days, rainy nights. The windshield weeps under the glow of tacky neon lights.
The good thing about being depressed in New Haven is that you can always take a field trip out to a joint where you can feel even worse. In this case it was the Gaiden, a high pillow Downtown nightclub that was celebrating its reopening. Course, the irony of me being there was I was the one who burned it down in the first place. In a roundabout way, of course. Kinda the story of my life.
Everything I touch goes up in smoke.
I was on a case back then. Along the way I’d gotten into a heap of trouble, but by the end I was out of a heap of debt. I still didn’t know if the exchange was worth the cost. ‘Course if I had to do it again, I don’t guess I’d change anything. It’s not as if me and trouble haven’t been acquaintances for the longest. In this town I’m known as the Troubleshooter. The name strongly implies what it is I do.
I'd been nursing a shot so long at the bar so long that Ed the barkeep threatened to charge me rent. For a synthetic humanoid, Ed was a real wise guy. Synoids must be getting sarcasm upgrades these days.
I tapped a few buttons on my holopad and mumbled something far less eloquent in reply. Dibs exchanged, and another whiskey floated to my spot, making Ed and me friends again.
The joint was set just right for my state of mind. Dim lights where gasper smoke created a haze that made it easy to fade into the background. Quiet, private booths where cool cats and smooth dames made coy exchanges between martini sips. On stage Fats the Jazzman wept into his sax while this skinny dame in red poured her soul into the microphone, crooning of lost love and broken spirits.
The only thing missing was a complimentary handgun to blow your own brains out.
But that was ok. Me and depression are old friends. Can’t remember a time when he wasn’t around to sucker punch me in the gut.
She walked in around the time when sane people sleep and ghosts wake up yawning. I saw her silhouette in the grainy light and recognized her instantly. The recollection sliced through the alcoholic fog like a razor through wrists, bleeding memories on the floor.
“Do you think it will always be like this?”
What a fool I was.