A Shot of Death, No Chaser

I’ve been working on longer forms of writing outside of my usual blog post and poetry. To create an audience I’ve moved to other sites and publications to find readers. With that being said, my own personal site will always be a hub for everything I’m doing. Below is the first chapter of a murder mystery I’m writing on Medium. If you are moved by this in any way please share, comment, and like. If you want to read more I will attach a link to the series on Medium and you can read the rest of the story. Keep fighting, keep writing.

Chapter One

She always told me red was my color, and now, as I cradled her body, I was covered in it. The gruesome scene laid out before me was such opposition to her usual glory. I could always count on her to come to the bar smelling like Chanel number five and balancing on pumps that cost more than my rent. She was high society and never smiled with her eyes; my Gin and Tonic.

The hole in the wall bar I worked at didn’t normally cater to people of her status. Our patrons were more likely to wear Forever 21 rompers and not Haute Couture. The name of the bar was No Chaser and it lived up to that in every way. My nights were normally spent making drinks and ordering Ubers. Not holding the cold lifeless body of my best customer and most thrilling lover.

Gin was very particular on how she liked her drink. I watched her come in, order a gin and tonic, take one sip, leave cash, and walk out without a second thought. When she came to me though I was prepared. Thursday nights at seven she walked in like clockwork. On this particular night, I chilled her glass an hour prior to her arrival, maybe that’s cheating but I didn’t care. She always paid cash, she didn’t fraternize with the other bar-goers, she was no bullshit. When she perched upon my barstool I had already rinsed the frozen glass with vermouth. I noticed she was in an all-white dress, tight, but still classy. Gold bangles clung to her wrist with rubies patterned around them. A gold ruby neckless the size of a small tennis ball rested between her voluminous breast. Her golden hair was up like a crown and exposed her long and delicate neck. How could you not try to get this woman to stay past one drink, she was a vision. The other bartenders here in Los Angeles tend to be generally lazy. They just try to throw the most expensive liquor at a customer they consider wealthy and pompous. Nevertheless, I took pride in bartending and knowing the quality of a bottle instead of just the price. I filled the glass with 2/3 Treaty Oak Waterloo Gin, a hometown Texas favorite of mine. Her eyes cut through me as she waited for the drink she knew I was preparing her without it being requested. I cut a twist of lemon, squeezed it on the top of the drink, then danced it around the rim. In some of her past arrivals, I had seen a bartender put ice in her drink and couldn’t help but cringe. This woman didn’t want ice in her way, wasting her time, and watering down her solace.

Back then, she grabbed the drink off the counter with a light grip. Now she lay limp in my lap as I grip her close. On that night she pressed her red lips against the glass with a smirk. Today her lips are busted, bruised, and blue. I remember her crystal eyes cutting through me as she took her first sip. Now one of her eyes is caved in, the other, blank as she stares off into nothing. I could tell she enjoyed the drink though she never said so. Then her thick blonde hair was shining in the flashing light. Now as I gently caressed her head I could feel huge patches ripped out and the gold was bloodstained. On that night, she took another sip as her off-hand toyed with her ruby necklace. Now in its place were several deep dragging slashes through the base of her neck all the way along her breast. The red of her blood darker than the ruby necklace I recall. That Thursday was particularly busy so I had to leave Gin and tonic for some time. When things finally cleared up she was gone, but her glass was empty, and underneath it amoungst the cash was a note. I unfolded the note after putting the excessive cash away and clearing the glass. She wrote in cursive and the consistency of the letters almost seemed typed. Like the women herself, the note was straightforward and confidant.

“Meet me in the back alley no later than 12:45, Gin.”

I checked my watch, an old Patek that had been in my family for generations, and it read 12:40. I informed the other bartenders I was taking a smoke break now that the rush had calmed down. No one realized that they’d never seen me smoke before. I rushed from behind the bar and attempted to navigate a crowded dance floor. Several drunk flailing bodies bumped up against me, and at one point I had to actually catch a young woman who had stumbled. Eventually, I pushed through the back door beside the DJ booth on the opposite end of the bar. I was out of breath but there she was, the only light amongst the back alley shined on her and all her radiance. She didn’t want to stay in the light though, her strides closed the distance between us and I noticed she was quite tall for a woman. She had cheekbones of a supermodel and I smoothed my thumb across them as she pressed her lips against mine. She tasted of my favorite gin and pride swelled knowing my skills pleased her in now more ways than one. She kissed be chaotically, almost as if she couldn’t breathe. Her hands were clawing at me as if she couldn’t get close enough. My eyes were sealed shut to wake from this dream-like experience. My body was still as stone so to not make the wrong move and send her running. I wasn’t sure if she wanted to lose control with me or wanted to control me. The kiss seemed to be a dance between both temptations and I was fine with either. I wasn’t sure if we had been making out for ten seconds or ten lifetimes but nevertheless, it came to an end. Maybe if she had stayed around for a second drink we would have had more fun, but Gin didn’t seem like the type to stay anywhere too long.

As quickly as she ignited this flame, she swiftly dowsed it and removed her lips from mine. Gin turned on her heels and glided out of the cramp dark back alley right to the main road. There a black Lincoln town car pulled up just as she hit the sidewalk and a man came around to open her door. She gracefully got inside and the car sped off before I could even get my barrings. I stood there and touched my lips, then smeared with red lipstick, and tried to wrap my mind around what had just happened. The only thought that came to my mind was that the weight of my hand seemed different. My family heirloom, the Patek watch, was no longer on my wrist. Maybe rushing through the crowded dance floor a thief grabbed it right off of me. As a matter of fact, after that night I never saw the watch again. That was until tonight when I noticed my watch on the wrist of the dead women, whose blood I was covered in, and whose corpse I was cradling in that same back alley.

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View at Medium.com

View at Medium.com

View at Medium.com

The rest of the story can be found on Medium

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