Detective O’Connor didn’t look much like your typical Irish cop, mostly because of the way her suit clung to her figure as she walked through the door of the interrogation room. She set her mug on the battered metal table and lowered herself into the chair across from me. “That’s quite a mess over there at the Judge.”
“You’re telling me, Detective.” Her perfume smelled like roses and the seashore, a welcome break from the odors of burnt coffee and nervous sweat.
“And you’re going to tell me that you’re not a pusher, right?”
“Neither of women nor of drugs, Detective.”
“Wow, I don’t hear a lot of neither-nor in here. Especially this time of night.” O’Connor leaned back in her chair, her lapis-lazuli eyes giving me a once over. She’d tucked her thick, red hair behind her unpierced ears, making her seem young and vulnerable despite the nine millimeter and two spare clips she carried on her belt. A slight frown creased her forehead. No doubt she was trying to reconcile my tailored white linen suit and light-gold shirt with my long hair and full beard. She took a thoughtful sip of tea. “You say you’re not a dealer. Don’t tell me you’re a writer.”
I shrugged and ran a hand through my hair. “Guilty as charged.”
O’Connor sighed. “So when I ask you what happened, it’s going to take you a long time to answer?”
“You might want more tea. I’d get us both some, but apparently I’m to remain seated until told otherwise.”
Not even close to a smile. “Don’t move. I’ll get some on its way while you tell me what happened earlier tonight.” She waved at the video camera hanging in the corner and pointed to her mug. Then she pointed at me.
I started talking.
The polished wood and brass of the Winking Judge’s bar shone under lights designed to mimic old-fashioned gas lamps. Groups of friends chatted around wooden tables, and a gas fireplace flickered in one corner.
Dina’s hand rested between my shoulder blades. Her knees slightly open, she swiveled her barstool and dropped her hand to the small of my back. A tugging, then her hand inside my shirt, her flesh on mine. She looked at me and smiled, a small slice of pink tongue visible behind white teeth. Her eyes were all the colors of leaves in fall and they flicked from mine to her wine glass. “When do we go?”
“Tonight. Yahweh said seven days.”
Her hand was still inside my shirt. Her thumb on one side of my spine, her fingers on the other, she moved her hand up and down slowly. A warm glow spread across my back like olive oil poured into a dish. I wasn’t acting when I arced my back and moaned with pleasure.
“You like that, don’t you?” She knew I did.
“Angels don’t feel touch as humans do, so its pleasure is new to me. The same with food and drink, the feel of clothing, of wind. Of skin on skin. The warmth in this room.” I made a vague gesture to rest of the bar.
Dina smiled. I’d delivered the line well.
Dina’s skin was the color of honey in a shaded jar. The soft scent of eucalyptus and crushed almonds rolled toward me each time her chest rose and fell. Her eyes roamed my face, watching my expressions as she rubbed my back. Then her eyes locked on mine. “What will happen?”
“The tent flap will open, we will step into it, and we will be there.”
“I will become the Mother.”
“That’s not yet certain.”
“But the other, she was taken.”
Part 2 coming next week…