The street was silent except for the sound of his feet beating the pavement in off time. It was a crisp overcast November night and he walked hurriedly with his hands stuck firmly in his jacket. Stopping between two streetlights he lit a cigarette. A woman walked out of the bar, finely dressed, she continued up the street unaccompanied. He waited a second then began following carefully behind. It was the girl in the picture he could tell. He watched her hips sway along her center of gravity. The cigarette burnt his finger and he flicked it toward the street. She wore a fine fur coat and Mac struggled to keep warm in his beat up wool jacket. Removing a flask from his breast pocket he took a good hit. The syrupy liquid slip down his throat and he felt it warm his belly. She turned at the next corner and Mac followed slowly behind but when he turned, she was gone. The only buildings were stores and they were closed for the night. Looking around, quite confused, Mac took another hit and lit a small pipe. “When times is tough, smoke some stuff.” is what Mac'd always say.
Lighting up a cig he phoned his man.
“Hey is your girl a ghost or what?” Mac said as soon as someone picked up.
“What the **** are you talking about?” snapped a gruff voice on the other end.
“Nuthin nuthin, I just lost her that's all. I'll call you when I find something.”
“You better dry off boy I ain't payin' you to get sloshed.”
“I'm the best in the business, don't worry.”
The next day Mac woke up around noon to a knock on the door. He threw on some clothes and as soon as he opened it in burst a man. It was another client. A large rough man who spit when he spoke.
“What The Holy ****! I'm paying you good money and here you are sleeping off a hangover. What have you found out you ****ing ****?”
“Well Mr. Hutchins I've been very busy on other cases and that's why I've been unable to contact you. You're wife is most likely having an affair. Cigarette?” Mac said coolly.
“Get to the ****ing point!”
“While everyday at ten P.M she arrives at motel. Same motel every time, The Blue Dolphin. Fifteen minutes later, every time a man comes in. He doesn't pay for a room he just signs in. Usually an hour or two later he leaves first, followed by her shortly after. I have a plan to get the picture proof you need. Just give me a few more days.”
“I'll give you two you goddamned weasel. I should have never trusted you. You're probably banging my wife too.”
The man left slamming the door behind him. Mac lit up a joint. Hungry he hit up a Chinese place. The food was good, he payed and went to visit a friend. He lived on the top floor of a ten story apartment house. The elevator read OUT OF ORDER and he had to walk up. He knocked. Ed was there and seemed pretty hungover. A fine looking long legged blonde was sitting on the couch in a blue kimono moderately open in the middle. He stared intently at her thighs and breasts she smiled a contemptuous smile.
“Hey listen Ed, I'm really backed up right now. Can you do me a favor and go down to this motel around ten tonight and get some pictures on this camera here. I'll pay you a buck.”
“You sound desperate. Make it a buck fifty.”
“It's worth it.”
“Sure. I'll see you guys tonight. Make sure you're back here after twelve with those photos.”
The midnight moon cast a preternatural light on the street. Mac was standing between the same two streetlights, smoking a different cigarette this time. A woman walked out of the bar with the same elegant stride he remembered from the night before. What legs he thought. He followed her round the same corner, closer this time. When he turned she was gone again. Not even the sound of footsteps on the silent street. He walked on looking for any places she could hide but found none. He phoned the client again.
“Your girls real slick man, she just disappears into the ****ing night like a damned ghost.”
“You better find her our I'll **** you up.” and the line was dead.
He wasn't to worried about the guy, he could handle himself but he thought of the girl. She was a very attractive young girl. Abigail Stuart married a rich older man from Texas, for his money and beat him for a small fortune. Since than there was hardly a sight of her. He wondered how she lost him so effortlessly every night. Did she know he was tailing her? He decided to go to the bar and ask around. At first the barkeep played dumb but Mac slipped him a twenty and he said he thought she was staying at the Hotel Grand Royal. He hit up Ed's place got the pictures and went home and crashed.
He'd planned to go scope out the spot early in the morning and see if he could catch her leaving. Instead once again he was awoken by a knock on the door. Outside the window the street was quiet and the sky was a pale blue lacking of energy. It was 4 A.M. He opened the door and in walked an attractive young woman. She had long black hair and a kind of mean smile.
“My louse of an ex-husband hired you to follow me. I want to hire you instead.”
“Easy there bright eyes, I can tell you don't play any games but how do I know you again?”
“I know the pot probably fried your brain but I know you're not that dumb.”
“I'm not following you?” Mac was laying it on. He recognized her as Abigail Stuart the mysterious woman who managed to evade him every night.
“Listen baby,' she said rubbing his chest with her hands and leaning against him with her forearms 'I think we can help each other here.”
“So, what can I help you with?”
“You're going to help me set up my ex-husband. The only way to get him off my back is if he thinks I'm dead. Better yet if the cops thought he was the one who killed me.
“Listen lady I don't give a **** about your domestic business. You want to castrate your man with a rusty butter knife, go for it. Where do I come in on this? What gives you the slightest hint I want to be involved?”
“Well if he finds me he'll kill me... and you too probably for holdin' out on him.”
“Fine, says I don't solve that problem and tell him where you're at?”
“Oh you wouldn't do that would you handsome.' she walked over and kissed him and spoke with her lips nearly touching his. 'Plus you'll be rewarded.”
“What do you need from me?”
“We'll discuss it tomorrow. Come to my place around ten. Here's my address. Don't leave me waiting.”
“I have a feeling you're more dangerous than you let on.”
“The best girls always are.”