She had thought her sugar daddy, Lionel Tucker, was on the slow train to La-La Land, checked in with a ticket bought by a jealous wife. On the face of it the truth seemed a lot simpler: Lionel had got tired of his jelly on the side, decided to change up the dish.
That was the looks of it anyway, from where I sat at the bar of the Havana Boom! Lionel was attacking a slab of steak pretty heartily for a dead man. He was trim, long and thin and everything looking drawn by a sharp pencil, down to the slick black patch of hair, to the pencil moustache below his sharp nose. His suit was a neat grey pinstripe and the white napkin was tucked in the collar like a cravat.
The girl sitting opposite him was no Delilah Ambrosia. Probably some mid-west bumpkin freshly arrived in the city judging by the plump pink features, the country flowered dress and the pudgy fingers. Seemed to me Lionel was trading down, but then there were always other sides to the story.
Either way, that wasn’t his wife and Lionel was indulging appetites that were definitely reserved for the living.
It hadn’t been hard to track him down either. The Havana Boom! was his club. A couple discreet questions and, for all intents and purposes, the case seemed pretty neatly sewn up.
Still I sat a little longer, sipping at a whiskey and enjoying the pleasures an expense account brings, when in walked Dominic Hutchinson. Hutchinson was a good man, the kind that success hadn’t spoiled; tall, good-looking ex-quarterback type, he had lucked out with an early investment in some oil enterprise and was living the high life since. Any other night I would have been happy to see him, happy to accept his generosity, but tonight I had an expense account and his success annoyed me like it would any good friend. I knew I was just being sore though.
“Hey, Jack!” Dom smiled. His teeth were whiter than Chin’s rice. Lionel looked up and over at us with beady eyes, but I didn’t care, the case was closed. “You working?” Dom asked genially and he slipped onto the stool beside me.
“Depends on your definition of the word,” I smiled. “But let’s say I am, so I can charge this drink.”
Dom looked me over and I felt he wanted to scrub me like his pet Alsatian. I could swear Dom shaved every time he visited the men’s room.
“You’re looking a little rough around the edges,” he said.
“I’m actually rougher the further in you go.”
He smiled but his mind quickly switched to something else. He leaned a white jacket elbow against the bar and tilted towards me. “Listen,” he said in a hush and it got my attention. Secrets weren’t in Dominic Hutchinson’s nature. “Maybe we can help each other out,” he said. I glanced at Lionel and it seemed to me he’d been watching us, but he was back to his meal, ignoring the side dish. Dom breathed conspiracy, “I may have something for you.”