43. Be Stiff
At least I wasn’t cuffed, although I thought that might be the case later, if The Major got her way. She poured two fingers of whisky for me and a whole hand for herself, but she didn’t drink it, just put it down on the desk and disappeared behind the chinese screen. Did I mention that?
‘I’ll just slip into something less comfortable,’ she said, over her shoulder.
Her ass did the boom-she-boom all the way across the room and I took one of the whisky fingers at one gulp. Before too long, the skirt was draped over a dragon’s head and the blouse joined it alongside, hiding a pagoda not quite as big as Fu-ts'ang-Lung.
‘Not getting bored there, are yuh?’
‘I’m never bored,’ I said, hoping that was something J-Rod might say.
‘Put the music on, Sugar.’
The bar had a compact system. I’d expected a turntable and some shellac, but it had all the digital doodads. I pressed USB and play. Glenn Miller’s In the Mood spilled into the room, I whistled along, remembering J-Rod had hummed ‘Chatanooga Choo Choo’ up on the bluff. Maybe he’d known more about Mr D’s plan than I had from the off. I sure hoped I wouldn’t have to slug Houlihan to get out of any hanky-panky.
By the time Houlihan finally came out from behind the screen, wearing more than I expected, an instrumental version of ‘Put the Blame on Mame’ was playing in digital lo-fi. The Major’s hair was down and redder that way. Her long green dress had a dangerous split down the front and her matching gloves reached up above her elbow, at least the one she wasn’t peeling off did. Maybe she had watched some black-and-white movies after all. The song ended and she sat on the chaise, patting the space beside her, ‘Come on over, Sugar. I won’t bite… hard.’
I guess I’d have coped better if she’d started the Hollywood wrestle straight away. Instead, she lit up a cigarette in a holder about a foot long. It must have been hidden in the chaise’s upholstery, because there was no hiding place in her dress. She crossed her legs, a diamante-d mule dangled from her toes. After a particularly deep draw, she blew the smoke into my face. I was in J-Rod’s normal attire, which was a flying suit so baggy and dirty it looked like a mechanic’s overalls. It could have been uncomfortable if it had fit closer. I downed the other finger,
‘Like another drink, Major?’
She downed all four fingers in one and held the glass out, ‘Sure, why not?’
I took my time pouring both drinks and asked if she wanted some ice.
‘You think I should cool off?’ She blew the smoke upwards toward the strip-lighting that hadn’t done a thing to make her look any less attractive.
‘What is it you do?’ I stalled, staying behind the bar.
‘Not small talk.’ She crossed her legs the other way to give me a change of scenery and I spilled my drink.
She’d begun to look more and more familiar, ever since she’d sashayed out from behind the screen. I remembered something about a bar, and a musician. Oh yeah, and a business card. I realised I really had sent Sam Sara on a wild goose chase, just before the office door smashed open and two jarheads were pointing machine pistols at both of us.