by Boudreau Freret

I was having the dream again, the one with the two semi-matronly Mexican prostitutes. They had just begun the singing


and, accompanied by other members of the staff (at no extra charge),


were dancing an Agnes de Mille/Rodgers and Hammerstein inspired number,


And were starting to present the traditional trays of finger sandwiches and hors d'oeuvres-



“Can you get blood off a dress?”

“Who is this?”

Who the fuck do you think it is?

I propped up on one elbow, opened an eye, and checked the time. Wouldn't be dark for another hour or so.

“What am I, Mr. fucking Wolfe?”


“Never mind. How long has the blood been on it?”

“Just a few minutes.”

“No, you can't.”

Then why the fuck did you just ask me how long?

“Forget it, just burn the fucking thing.”


“Listen, don't ask me something then bitch when I tell you. You could've bitched alone without-”

My eyes finally noticed the man on the ceiling. I squinted to focus. The whole ceiling was one big-ass mirror, and I looked okay for looking like shit. A quick glance around the room confirmed I had no fucking idea where I was.

“Fuck you. Are you still there?”

Something in the reflection caught my eye, golden and shiny, next to me. Actually, several somethings. From the smell of perfume, I thought maybe some jewelry had exploded — a necklace, maybe —but when I turned to look,



I sat up, counting them to myself. Four. Six. I leaned over the far edge of the bed, where the perfume was stronger. Nine. Ten. Twelve.

I turned back, lit a Red, and took a deep drag.

“What the fuck is it?”

“Shell casings.”

“So what?”

“They're fifties.”

“So fucking wha- wait. You don't have a fifty, do you?”

I took another drag, and fell back into the pillow.

“Nope. I think you're starting to get the point.”

“Who is she?”

“No idea. But that's not the best part. I stopped counting at twelve. Could be more.”

“Twelve!” The phone went silent for a minute while he slowly connected the dots with Crayon. “But the mag only holds what, seven?”

“Yeah.” Deep drag, slow exhale, grin widening, then he finally got it.


“Looks like it.”

“Jesus.” He paused a beat. “Hey, we're still on for tonight, right?”


 I hung up and wondered if I was in love.