RED RIGHT HAND 40 12 00 20 16 02 16 52 02 50 44 46 30 32 20 00 46 38 16 42

*He is not a secret agent. Not at all.



Dig it? Hate it? Leave a comment.

She can afford to wear five-hundred-dollar Jimmy Choo heels, but only at the expense of having to build the bulk of her professional wardrobe from the collections named for, if not designed by, television stars. Today she’s wearing Jacklyn Smith. She doesn’t have a big problem with that. Jacklyn Smith was something of a role model to her. Additionally, she’s expecting a big pay bump in the near future and upgrading her look is something she’s very much looking forward to.

It’s those heels that are going to make Sarah McQueen late. She’s not about to break a heel on the patchy sidewalks between her office and Downing’s down on the corner because she's in a hurry. If she’d known she was going to hook up with Mark in the VC department for drinks, she might have brought some sneakers with her.

Catching a glimpse of herself in a reflection in a window, she disregards what the late evening winds rushing through the corridor of downtown has done to her long brown hair. Most of her days she classifies as bad hair days and today the windblown look is probably an improvement. Enough of an improvement that she has to make sure a spring doesn’t get in her step for more than the distance of one slab of sidewalk concrete. Her ringing cell phone will either make it worse, speeding her up in twitchy anger, or bring her to a complete stop in some sort of stupefaction that would, at least, solve the springiness problem. In all her life, she has never received good news on her cell phone.

“Hello,” she answers automatically.

“I want my dog.” The electronically reconstituted voice was firm, angry and Jack’s.

“He’s not your dog.” Sarah can do this on autopilot, it has happened often enough. She’d have changed her number, but Jack’s in the FBI. He’ll find it. He has. Every time.

“He’s still my—“ Jack was cut short by Sarah’s snapping her phone shut. She came to a complete stop in order to take a deep breath and start walking again at less than the increased pace that developed during the 12 words that constituted that entire conversation. One step, then another and a reasonable pace designed to keep a cobbler out of work is once again attained until her phone rings again, which is exactly what happens on step six. This time, she knows better than to even speak when she answers.

“He is my dog and I don’t give a rat’s ass what you, your shyster lawyer or some stuck-up judge says!” Jack’s voice clipped at least three times as he strained the capabilities of the speaker in Sarah’s phone.

Sarah rolls her eyes. “You have reached the number of someone who wants you to die by way of a fatal nut-kicking. Please leave your name, number and charity to contribute to in lieu of flowers at the sound of my scream.” At that instant she decided that were enough people on the street with her that screaming into her phone would be sufficiently embarrassing. “Good-bye, Jack!”

“What? Got a hot date or something.”

She almost had the phone closed when she caught that and it was too good and too true to pass up. So good, she hadn't noticed her stepped up pace.

“As a matter of fact, I do.”

Nothing came though the line. It would very shortly, but Sarah didn’t have the patience to wait for it or the desire to argue about it, so while Jack tried vainly to think of enough words to make a sentence, Sarah snapped off the back plate of her phone and dumped it’s battery into her handbag.

Then her heel broke.

“You look like you need a drink.”

Sarah looked up to find Mark waiting outside the door to Downing’s. Mark from the VC department. Mark with the hair and the teeth.

“We’re not even inside yet and you’re trying to liquor me up.”

“Really, I’m not.”

“If that’s true, then this date isn’t going very well already,” said as she blazed a path through the door. Mark tried not to smile too big as he followed her in.
©2024 Michael Patrick Sullivan
<< Home