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Two women seated next to each other on stools at the bar were approached at the same time and completely blindsided. Neither had an opportunity to look at the other in order to convey a superficial suspicion they were being set up.
Which is exactly what was happening.
“Hiya, baby. How’s the air up there?” The voice came from her left, but when the girl turned toward the sound she found no one.
“Down here baby doll.”
At her hip a head covered in a white fedora, face upturned.
“That’s right deary. How about putting me in your lap and letting me fondle your tits?”
The brazen little man stood four foot zero. He reached up with a drink in his hand saying, “Bought you another gin and tonic since that’s what you been drinking. I’m hoping to get you drunk, y’see, cuz I wanna take advantage of you.”
Before she could respond — although she really had no response, she was so astonished — her attention was drawn to her right where a somewhat smoother pitch was being delivered to her seatmate.
“Hello my pretty pretty. Tequila sunrise is your drink, right?” A hand waved at the bartender, index finger and thumb cocked like a gun pointed at a nearly empty glass on the counter and mock fired. “Lady’d like another. My treat.”
The bartender was not going to move until he made eye contact with the prospective recipient. A slight head nod, she seemed willing to accept the offer. He began the three colored pour as a good natured laugh rose from the other girl. By now a vacant bar stool had been pushed over next to hers and the small man with the big attitude was standing on it waving his arms as he told a story about how his name was Colin and he hated being called colon, “Which is the lower end of the alimentary canal if you care to follow me there, sweetyface.”
“Colin and me, we’re in business together,” Kurt interjected before either girl asked. “Partners. My name’s Kurt. You are . . .?”
“Maggie. I’m Margaret. Maggie,” said the sunrise drinker. She volunteered her friend’s name who looked as if she might not do so on her own: “’At’s Shirley.”
The look between the ladies said they knew these boys simply wanted to get laid. Let’s get a few free drinks out of them before we give them the brush off.
Kurt had approached Maggie with a slight limp and a grin that was all teeth, big as the ivories in Matt Dillon’s mouth in “There’s Something About Mary,” only real. It was an endearing if somewhat devilish smile and Maggie was not put off by it.
“And what sort of business is that exactly?” Shirley’s voice dripped sarcasm. “Pimping?”
“We’re private dicks,” came Colin’s blithe reply.
“That’s just disgusting,” Margaret said hitting the bar none to softly with her glass.
“No, s’true,” Kurt said putting an arm around Maggie’s shoulders to keep her from any further demonstration of contempt. She did not shrink from his attentions; always a good sign. “We’re investigators. In business for ourselves.” Nodding toward his purported partner, he added, “Appearances can be deceiving. His nickname among the ladies is ‘The Little Giant’ or does it have to snow for you to get my drift?”
Colin was dressed in a brown double breasted wide-lapel suit with a black shirt and white tie. Standing on the chair seat, his feet proclaimed attention: Highly polished shiny black shoes with two-tone nine button pearl adorned spats. The white fedora added to his gangster image.
“Who’re you investigating in this place? Certainly not us.” Shirley sounded confident.
“Why not?” Colin shot back. “You got a jealous husband or boyfriend you’re not telling me about?”
By now the bartender’s attention was directed to several guys at the far end who were waving money. He took their order, began pulling beers from separate taps with a nonchalant ease. The foam was an inch thick on top when he slapped the drinks down in front of the patrons who did not seem to mind the fact they had each been cheated out of at least two ounces.
Colin kept up his patter. but his eyes were glued on the bartender who was ringing up the transaction. “You ever watch PBS? Like, Nature? Well, they had this piece on the Kalahari Desert. Showed this frog dig his way out of the ground where he’s been hibernating for a year, maybe two, but he’s big as a dinner plate and the announcer says — and this is where I come in because I got the same unbiased perspective – this frog he comes out of the mud and the announcer says he has two objectives in life: to feed and to breed.”
As the bartender returned to the beer drinking patrons with their change, Colin nodded toward Kurt whose eyes blinked in agreement.
Suddenly silent, Colin scrambled down the side of his bar stool, hand over hand mountain climbing backwards as if on metal pitons. When he hit the floor he marched to the end of the foot rail where he slipped under the hinged overhead door without ducking.
The bartender had moved to the far end, but spotted Colin immediately. “You can’t be back here, buddy,” the man said approaching menacingly toward Colin.
“I certainly can and I am and we’re going to have a little chat, you and me.”
The man closed the distance rapidly. His concern showed on his face although he still had the tough guy attitude. “Yah, well not with you I won’t be havin’ no talk until you get back the other side where customers belong.”
“You’re cheating the till,” Colin said calmly. He stood his ground, hands on hips, in front of the bartender who now towered over him. “They bought three beers. You rang up two in the till, gave them the correct change for three and at the end of your shift you’ll pocket all those missed drink charges. Your boss hired us to catch you in the act is what I’m doing here. You’re fired.”