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Juan Valdez

Like Candy From a Baby

It was an awful night. I sat in my room, nursing the bottle, waiting for the rain to stop. It never seemed to stop raining, not in this town. The long, glistening tendrils of the sky seemed to reach down, blanketing the earth with a slimy, otherworldly taint.

Another case ruined.

The crook had gotten away, and all I had gotten for my trouble was a couple of ouchies. I took what little comfort the half-empty bottle offered. The liquid inside was warm, fouling what little appetite I had. The bits of rubbish scattered did little to add to the appeal of décor. I was a bachelor, and that was-

Knock knock knock.

How could I let myself slip like this? I didn't just sleep here; I worked out of this space. The slovenly sight of my office-slash-room wasn't going to impress anyone.

"Are you awake in there?" said the feminine voice.

I rushed towards the doors, managing to knock some knick-knacks underneath my bed on the way. This couldn't get any worse. Throwing a pair of pants over my diaper, I scramble for the-


"HENRY BOGART, if you're awake in there, OPEN UP!"

I managed to reach the door. Gathering my strength, I slick back my small cropping of hair. Preparing a smile, I pushed myself - unsteadily - to my feet. I flicked the lock open. Stumbling back from the rapidly opening door, I get a good look at her.

She gave me a look; one that would have a dragon rapidly retreating into its cave. I noticed the tears in her eyes. There is a cliché about women looking beautiful when they cry. Some crap about it making them seem more innocent. Maybe it was true; maybe most broads can make a guy start to get certain thoughts when they tear up.

This one didn't.

Long dirty-blonde hair spilled down her back. She wore a natty old bathrobe. The tears spilling from her crow's feet matched the liquid depression outside. She screeched at me, "What are you doing awake! I told you to go to sleep!"

I mumbled, "How can I help you lady?" She didn't seem to hear a word of it. Older people never do. You speak to them in plain English, but for some reason, not a one hears you.

"I'm putting you back in bed," she growled. I yelped a protest. "Who do you think-?" I managed to gurgle before she whisked me off my feet.

"That's right, Momma isn't feeling well, and she needs you extra quiet tonight. If I hear a peep out of you, you're in big trouble mister!" Her angry façade slipped. She choked a on a sob. I knew it was in my best interest to keep quiet. She was gearing up for a soapbox, trying to weasel me into feeling sorry for her. Setting me down in my bed, she folded up the bars on either side of the tiny mattress.

"Momma and James are fighting, and I need you to be quiet tonight." She covered me up, and then walked towards the door. "Goodnight," she whispered.

Ah, James. That jerk was muscling in on my turf, and I was, quite frankly, tired of his shit. But I could get in big trouble for this. Lose my license, my place, and worst of all, the blonde might tell her friends, and her friends would tell their friends. That was bad for business.

I deliberated.

Screw it. I was going to put an end to this, once and for all. The blonde needed my help, even if she didn't know it.

I managed to crawl out of the cage, across the room, and to the door. Flicking the lock open, and jumping to turn the latch, I opened the door to the hallway outside my office. Making my way down the corridor, I reached the place James and the Blonde were shacking up. Barely managing to reach and turn the knob, I entered as softly as possible. Making my way to the dresser, I started rummaging through the sock drawer. I found what I was looking for. The idiots always kept it in the sock drawer.

Shouts came from the hallway. The blonde entered the room in a huff. She saw me, her eyes widening in surprise. Blondie moved to pick me up, but then she noticed what I was holding;

A pair of lacy under things several sizes too small for her.

I smiled. Case closed.


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