Thursday, October 24, 2013

Nachos Grande Contest Entry -OR- A Much More Clever Title

Chris over at Nachos Grande is running a contest in which a bunch of us numbskulls are to blather our typical nonsense in an atypical direction: a card of his choosing. The following is my stab at the prelim round.

Disclaimer: I'm a lunatic.

Go Reds.

(To set the mood of today's adventure, allow this music to play in the background)

We join today's drama in a seedy tavern in a forgotten Texas town. A lone trumpeter plays the blues in the corner. Everyone in the bar is staring down at their sweaty drinks, craving a moment's solace that only two fingers of brandy can give. Our wandering hero, Detective Lee, sips a highball, the only pleasure left in his world since Sandra disappeared. 

Lee has been a private detective since the late nineties. He and his partner, a money-hungry, dishonest bastard that goes by Rodriguez, have been cracking 20 cases a year for over a decade. But then came Sandra. She had a smile that would make a dove sing and the devil cry. And legs that went all the way to heaven. And, as dames tend to do, she drove a wedge between Lee and Rodriguez. To her, it was innocent fun. To our man, it would all end in tears.

Lee fell in love. He needed her like the deserts need the rain; like the birds need the sky; like this god-forsaken town needs a savior. They were set to get married on a warm, spring day in Philadelphia. The night before the wedding, Sandra and Rodriguez were nowhere to be found. They vanished into the ether as if steam from the vents that line the lonely streets of his hometown. Lee was a shattered man.

His experience and grit would need be paramount this day, if he wished to reclaim his love. His clue-chasing had led him to this Texas outpost. Halfway between No-where and No-how. This is where he found them. Shacked up, and happier than he had ever seen either of them before. Shall he confront them? Murder them? Murder himself? No. None of these would do. Lee has seen how terrible men can be. When you work the criminal underbelly of cases even the cops won't touch, you know how precious happiness truly is. He made no hint of himself to either of them. He calmly strode away to the closest tavern he could find, hoping to silently commiserate with the other wretches the world has chewed up and spit out. And dammit, hopefully to recoup some joy in the form of a highball resting on his lips.

He finishes off the drink and orders another. A double. The barkeep, who felt Lee's pain radiating like the July sun the instant he melted through the doorway, had been serving him on the house. Lee, never one to embrace pity, feels as low as the scum he spies on for a living. Nothing, no matter how grand or trivial, could now upset him further. As long as he had his free highballs, he could recover, travel home, and start over. With a new case. And a new dame. 

But alas, poor Lee, Happy Hour is over. Love is no longer in the cards. The drinks are no longer free. The doubles have been cut in half. With one draw of his breath, the barman extinguishes the last flame of joy in our Detective's night; a line emblazoned on the card above...

"Charge the 'ball. Doubles are singles instead."

The End.