I woke up, feeling like something had crawled into my mouth and died sometime during the night. It was no relief to find out it was tongue. Did I say night? Early morning looked more plausible, the light seemed to be coming from all directions, giving me a splitting headache.
Worse, this wasn't even my flat. My heart sunk as I realized I had spent another booze-induced sleep session at the office. Clearing the sleep from my eyes, I managed to sit up straight, feeling the stiffness in my back. I put the lid on the cheap scotch from last night – Glenmorangie – and finished the half empty glass.
It burned as it went down, but I was feeling more alert, more alive. I rocked back on my chair, and looked out the window. Another soulless day, the too bright sun shining off the reflective, all too familiar buildings.
Oh how I hated it here.
I put my feet up on the desk, pulled my fedora over my eyes, and made myself at home with the silence. It was relaxing, and peaceful. In my office with no work to do, no pressing engagements and half a bottle of low quality single malt to get me through the afternoon.
And then she walked in. Rolling off the streets like some primeval force, a whirlwind of passion and destruction.
“I'm sorry”, I said, “I think you have the wrong room. The drag queen's make up class is three doors down.” It was, too. This was a cheap neighbourhood, and you took office space where you could afford it.
“I'm NOT a drag queen! And anyone who says otherwise, or edits my Wikipedia to say so is nothing more than a filthy and childish liar!”
An American. And either in hysterics or denial, possibly both. This wasn't going to end well, I could tell.
“I'm sorry....ma'am” I answered, cautiously. This met with no outburst, so I continued on, “what can I do for you this, uh, fine day?”
“Are you Cain?” she asked.
I looked around discreetly for any recording devices or other listeners. I saw none.
“Yes”, I replied, in a bored, drawn out yawn. “What's it to you?”
“I hear you're a dick. I need someone to be a dick for me.”
I thought about this momentarily. Her jaw looked like it could crack open a man's skull, and there was something disconcerting about that Adam's Apple...
“I assume you mean a Private Detective, of course. Then you have come to the right place. What exactly can I do for you? In a professional capacity, of course.”
She withdrew a sheet from her handbag, and placed it on my desk. Swinging my legs down, I grabbed the paper and had a look. It was a printout, of a Wikipedia edit history page. Some numbers were circled, and highlighted with a marker pen.
“My name is Amy Alkon, Cain”, she said, “and I need you to find a man for me. I need you track down and bring me Gary Ruppert.”