A Writer’s Book of Days – 5 June 2016

Write About a Black Dress

The band played peppy, 80s Jazz while she waited for him at the end of the bar. Her frizzy hair was pulled up tight and she wore a black dress that clung to her curves like moss on a tree. She stirred a pale martini with the tip of her finger, occasionally taking it out to taste the liquor.

He strode down to the length of the bar, catching the eye of the bartender as he stopped about a foot away from her. “I’ll have the same as her,” he said. “And close out both our tabs.”

The bartender glanced toward her for confirmation, or at the very least the lack of a denial, before running the card and mixing the second martini.

When his drink arrived, he stirred it with the tip of his finger and tasted it.

Dry. But not unpleasant.

“Are you trying to be insufferable?” She said. “Or is this your way of trying to flatter me?”

He didn’t smile, though he wanted to. Professional concerns dictated that he not enjoy himself.

Instead, he leaned onto the bar so that he tilted just slightly toward her. They could read each others’ expressions, but no one glancing their way would assume they were together.

“To be honest,” he said, lifting up his drink for a proper taste. Again, dry. But fuller. “Both come naturally to me.”

“I wouldn’t have guessed,” she said, mimicking his taste of the martini, but only taking the smallest of sips.

“Do you not like it?”

“Not my first choose.”

And that wasn’t an answer. But he couldn’t continue to banter if they were going to get their job done. So he let it drop.

“You brought it?” She said.

He nodded, taking a sip of his martini with one hand while the other reached into his coat pocket and placed its contents on the bar between them.

She was not so subtle. As soon as his hand came away, hers closed over the package, hurriedly ferreting it away inside…

Well, he didn’t rightly know where she had stashed it. And he had a feeling he didn’t want to.

It might force him to think about what else she could have hidden away.

“What can you tell me?” He said, lifting his drink up for another sip.

“Target is seated upstage left. Black bow tie. You’ve seen the dossier?”

He nodded. “Of course.” Turning about as though he were listening to the Jazz, he glanced around the room for the target.

“Other side,” she said.

He turned toward her. “But, you said-”

Stage left. Means the left side from the stage’s perspective. Over there.” She inclined her head toward the right side of the room, then made as if it were an effort to get closer to her drink and took another sip.

As if that wouldn’t draw attention.

He looked for the target in the indicated part of the room. Sure enough, there she was. Mayor Bascome. Seated at a table that was just the same as all the other guests. No fanfare or fanciness to draw attention to her presence. Even her outfit seemed designed to blend in. Black suit, black bow tie, her hair cropped short.

Sure, it helped that she always looked that way, so no one would think anything amiss. But that inconspicuality allowed her to slip away from her bodyguards and into the crowds of any well-off gala without much trouble.

Which made it difficult for them to do their jobs.

“Nice work,” he said, unceremoniously downing the rest of the martini.

“Took us longer than usual to track her down this time,” she said. “Think she’s starting to figure us out?”

“One of these days she’s going to learn that we’re here for her protection.” He held out his arm for her and led the way across the hall.

“Great,” she said. “Then we won’t have to worry about her and we can go on to worrying about all of the other people trying to kill her.”

“One step at a time,” he said.

“Fine. Let’s go meet the mayor.”

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