Back in the office I headed straight for the filing drawer behind the desk and poured myself a stiff one. I lit a cigarette too and tried hard to get the stink of sewer out of my mouth and the image of dead men sitting out of my mind. The cigarette helped and the drink helped some more. I was probably on my third when I heard the click of the reception room door. Someone trying to be discreet.
It was hardly likely that Molly had come in for some late night filing, so I drew my .45 from the drawer next to the bottle, eased my shoes off and slid out of my seat.
I could imagine the two of us, me and my intruder, doing a shadow dance on opposite sides of the door, both with careful slow movements so as not to tip off the other. The difference was, I was content to stay on my side of the door, while my intruder was more ambitious about advancement. I watched the handle slide down slowly and then in one quick movement the door swung open and the hand and sleek revolver dropped through.
I grabbed the thin wrist just as the gun kicked. The shot exploded and smashed some cheap diploma on the wall above my desk and I brought my gun hand down sharp on top of the revolver, yanking hard at the wrist with my other hand. The gun made a dull thud on the carpet in the doorway and the intruder was hurled into the room, quickly stopped short and hard by my desk. I scooped the revolver up and levelled the .45, found the light switch and looked with disappointment at Delilah Ambrosia.
“You have a concern about the expense account charges?” I asked.
She looked more startled than I was, striking a pose like on some cheap horror flick poster. Then her face seemed to try on every emotion imaginable all at once. She collapsed into a chair and began blubbering into her hands. “Oh, Mr. Murphy!” I caught, as she popped up for air now and then. “It’s not what you think!”
I hoped not, because just then I was thinking she was trying to kill me.
I slipped her rod into my jacket pocket, came around the desk and poured two drinks. I did it all one handed, letting the .45 take a good look at her. I didn’t think she’d try anything, still it seemed she was more civil when she knew I had it.
“It was just to scare you,” she continued. The shot was pretty high but, if I’d been standing there, she still might owe me a new hat. “You have no idea the fix I’m in.”
I slid a drink over towards her, “Why don’t you tell me about it.”