When Buck was again awake, he rose calmly and concentrated on a simple order of daily morning rituals, the morning news, light exercise then a coffee, shower and shave, a little work on his kitchen table. Dreams and their gaudiness were enjoyable, so long as they remained below the covers, it didn't do to have his pleasure at a rich dark hot cup of morning coffee penetrated by monkey chatter from an alien ocean; the coffee was instant and Buck was not a coffinista; it didn't trouble him, everyone has a snobbery, Buck was no exception, only coffee wasn't it; when it came to coffee, Buck was a grand egalitarian, refusing neither instant nor espresso, 1, 3, 7 or 13 millibars were not important, Bialleti and Mr. Bunn were both his friends. Coffee sweet, black or creamy, fit every mood, suited every occassion.
It didn't do to have it interrupted.
My name is Buck, my nickname is Buck. It's now the weekend and I'm sitting in a quiet corner at the back of the darkest, smallest coffee place in the city. I'm sitting with new friends, the conversation turns to family and history. Moe works the desk across from mine, he's just told me he was named after his Grandfather.
My parents called me Buck after my Grandfather too. He was old a long time before he died. I was told I knew my great-grandfather when I was a baby. I've forgotten him now. I haven't forgotten my Grandfather. He owned two WW I era motorcycles, bought new, sold before I was old enough to ride them. One day he had a minor accident with a car and put them up for sale the very next day.
Moe feels a drink coming on, I agree, we excuse ourselves from the rest, I wish Susan and Janice a good night, wave to Mickey and Frank and Betty at the bar and Moe and I go gently into that good night.
Years later, I would remember the hanging icicles by the broken air conditioner working madly to cool the already cold night air, bothering to tell someone seemed a waste of time, the stars winked naughty love poetry and Moe was drinking smoke and breathing single malt by the time we hid behind the dumpsters while the beat officers did their rounds.
Tumbling down the stairs to our maddest basement Jazz bar, The Angry Diamond, where an unaccompanied Pianst was hammering the keys to ecstasy beyond pain and his tip jar was spilling and the stink of girls and spunk and sawdust ate the walls and Moe and I lost sight of each other and while the music rapped our minds we paid no notice to anything else. The lights dimmed further and the pianist made it so furious the music ate the colour and shape of the world and I felt it assume total command, the magic in the music was the music in me; only there was no me.
Waking up. where was I? Afraid to open my eyes yet, under my breath, I shaped the words again in my mind and on my lips; where was I? It didn't feel like my bed, there was somebody beside me, I felt certain. My body ached, hangovers always began with the body, eyelids were allowed to open, a ceiling fan which certainly wasn't mine spun lazy circles on the ceiling, I looked beside me, expecting Moe.
It wasn't Moe, it was the Pianist from last night, someone had shot a neat hole straight through his forehead then turned his lifeless eyes to face me on the bed.
I shuddered, no point looking for the pistol with my fingerprints left, no doubt, under the bed.
Had my cell phone been taken? Yes of course it had, I realized I would have to get out of bed, climbing over the foot of the bed and hopping as far as I could away from it, taking the least likely path the crooks could have taken hoping some uncontaminated evidence remained. No telephones had been left in what was now obviously some mungy hotel room. I draped the door handle with toilet paper (thankfully there was some) and having checked the peephole, I eased it open and stood with only my head around the frame and hollered. "Police, hey, somebody call the cops."
A cleaner heard me and I convinced him to call the Police before he heard my story. Now it was a matter of standing in the doorway and having my P.I. investigator number ready. Since the crooks had taken my wallet, I'd have to rely on memory for the 9 digit code.
I sighed. What a weekend.