In a surprise twist, Part 2 of this story has been written by Nick. I hope to get a third outsider to write part 3. If you fancy giving it a go, then either drop me an e-mail or leave me a comment on this post. In exchange for Nick writing part 2 of this, I will be writing a post for Nick’s Stranded Cinema which should hopefully be appearing today and tomorrow, I’ll post the link in the comments here. But for now, on with the story.
‘Oh, your father trusted me, Miss Trousers. But that’s exactly why he never hired me. If you trust someone, it makes you vulnerable.’
Snakebite could see he now held the upper-hand, although neither of them were playing cards. She didn’t know the true nature of his relationship with her father, the old bastard. Perhaps it would be better to keep that to himself. After all, where had she come from? Trouser had never mentioned her to Snakebite before, only that she went to school ‘out of town’, and there were rumours she wasn’t even his daughter.
‘Even so, Mr McMuffin, he never hired you. But I want to. Will you take the case?’
He paused, and reached towards the draw where he knew his bottle was waiting for him. But no, that could wait. He needed a clear head. And besides, if he had a drop, he’d have to offer her one. His stuff was too hard to get hold of to go dishing it out to some dame, even if she was heir to the Trouser millions.
‘What does the case involve?’
She frowned and shook her head, taking her gloves off and sitting seductively on the corner of the desk in front of him.
‘Now, detective, I read on your door the motto of this agency: No questions. Only answers.’
‘With so much money involved, someone’s gonna ask questions. It might as well be me. If I so much as smell a suit, I’m not interested.’
‘Trust me, there’ll be no lawyers involved. Now, will you take it?’
She reached her hand out across the desk to be shook, confirming the deal. Snakebite let her hang it there for as long as possible. He looked her in the eyes. Damn she had pretty eyes, just like her mother. He turned away and stared at the clock on the wall. It had stopped ticking a long time ago, almost three years now. The glass was cracked. The small hand was on 5 and the long hand rested just after 8. Her hand was starting to waver, somewhere between 3 and 4. He took it in his gently.
‘I’m not interested.’
She withdrew her hand sharply.
‘Now I’d heard you were eccentric, Mr McMuffin. But this case, I don’t need to remind you, could help you pay off a lot of your debts.’
‘I don’t have money problems’ he said, smiling to himself ‘just a lot of friends who always make me buy the drinks’.
‘Then perhaps I can interest you in something else.’ She leant over the desk, arching her back, and whispered sensually in his ear: ‘Something your friends can’t give you.’
A bead of sweat ran down his forehead and into his eyes. He blinked, but remained still. It was hot. He really should get the air-conditioning fixed in his office. ‘What air-conditioning?’ his secretary had asked on her first day there. ‘The windows’ he replied.
‘I’m still not interested. The stakes are too high, and I don’t have a ladder.’
She frowned and moved away, slowly stood up, straightened her skirt and turned her back to him.
‘Very well, detective. I hoped it wouldn’t come to this.’
Snakebite knew what was coming. He slowly reached his hand out to the draw on the other side of his desk and began pulling it open.
‘I thought you’d be more intelligent’ she said, opening her handbag and taking something slowly out of it. ‘I’m disappointed in you.’ She turned back suddenly, and Snakebite found himself staring at the barrel of a gun. ‘Now, will you take my case?’ she asked. ‘Or will you take a bullet?’
Snakebite took a deep breath. He had his draw fully open by now but didn’t want to make any sudden moves and startle her. Out of the corner of his eye he saw the shadow of a large man outside his door. He heard a car pull up on the street below. He looked her up and down. She had a great figure, and her clothes accentuated it perfectly.
He said, slowly, staring her in the eyes: ‘That’s a nice skirt, Miss Trousers.’
[What will Snakebite do? Will she shoot him? What’s he got in his desk? Who’s outside his door? And can he fix the air-conditioning in his office?]