The beer is stale. I haven’t bothered to turn on the lights in the small flophouse room that will be my home tonight. I’m sitting in what once passed as an armchair, drinking the stale beer because it was in the mini fridge, and staring at nothing. Not the neon pitifully flashing in its death throes trying to convince me that the little bar under it will make my evening; not the 40 watt bulb that heralds the bathroom’s location only because I couldn’t find the switch earlier, when I bothered; nothing and everything fill my sight. I know about the spider working its way up the curtain. I know the room is too hot, the beer is stale and exactly what the kids in the adjoining room are doing. I just don’t care.
I give myself a few more minutes of sulking before pulling myself out of the chair and starting for the bath. Lately, I find myself doing that more – thinking about the past while staring at nothing. It’s a bad habit and a bad sign. I have work to do, a paid job, the first in a couple weeks. I freelance when not holding down my own office. I could take more jobs – should take more jobs – but lately, I’m not interested.
My secretary, Sonia, is interested. I have a choice now of actually bringing in revenue or having my backside kicked by a middle aged Russian Jew whose own kids are still in therapy years after fleeing the nest. That’s not fair, I know. I’m taking a colder shower than I’d like and in an already foul mood. Without Sonia, I’d probably sit in some flophouse armchair somewhere until I starved. She’s good for my business, good for me and only one of her thirty kids ever had therapy anyway. I get out of the shower and stop moping about working when I don’t want to.
Dressing, I start to sharpen up. The still mostly full can of beer quenched my thirst but not my senses – that I was doing by myself. I remind myself to grab a six pack of diet soda on the way back. I hate beer, stale or otherwise.
I’m getting back into my own skin in a way. I feel most like myself – the self I want to be anyway – when I’m working. I grab the tablet and run over the files Sonia sent earlier. Secretaries might be a thing of the past, but Sonia is worth her weight in gold in my business.
Tablet locked away in the briefcase, which is now chained to the bed, I slip the phone off the charger and into my jacket pocket. The .45 is in the holster as I swing the jacket over it. Anyone that knows what to look for can see that I’m carrying – which is fine by me. I don’t want surprise – I want intimidation.
Time to go. I step out the door and lock it. I check out the parking lot from the balcony walkway. I look down and see the bags of trash tossed out by the young acrobats in the next room.
For a moment, I’m six again. I’m sitting outside my mother’s rundown apartment on the bags of trash where my ‘uncle’ left me. I’m discarded – just like the trash.
But only for a moment. Sulking over the past is over for tonight. Time to go to work – find Mr. and Mrs. Allen’s runaway little girl and do what’s needed to get the stupid brat home.
Time to go find Miss Camily Aurora Allen. I’m Robert David Hund and I’ve got a job to do.