He shoves his hands deeper into his pockets, feels like ducking his head, but knows cowering is never smart. Even more so down this street than others. Read the city news feed on the subway and saw something about a murder. Stabbing or shooting? Something unpleasant. Whole fucking city is unpleasant. He’s been here two weeks, searching, and hasn’t gotten anywhere. Feels like he’s going in circles. Pulls his shoulders back, stands tall. Fuck you, city.
Across the street, a giant neon cowboy waves his hat. Under an awning a valet is talking to a line of people. Explaining something, he shakes his head. No sorry, can’t be done. Waggles his cane. A valet with a cane? Huh.
On this side of the road, walking towards him, a woman in a white dress. She holds her head high, confidence stamped into the sidewalk with each step. What’s she doing in this rotten neighborhood? he wonders. Oh, right, must have minders. He’s heard about this sort of thing. Send a pretty lady into a rough area with a few watchers. Anyone tries anything and the next thing they know a gun is being held to their head and they’re the one getting robbed. But officer, I was robbed, the would-be mugger says. Yeah? The cop asks, And how’d that’d happen? Well you see I, uh…Never mind.
An old trick updated. Go ahead and draw first, sucker, I’ll end you.
A light rain starts, more of a heavy mist than real rain. Drops hit the neons and sizzle. Came here for one job, find one person, report back, then I can return to the country—home. But finding someone that doesn’t want to be found is never easy.