Back in the day, Felix used to hang out with a chick who called herself Mouse. She was a skinny girl; hardly had any tits or hips to speak of. Looked a lot like Kate Moss at the height of the ‘heroin chic’ wave. Felix and I had grown up together on East 3rd. His ma and my ma used to play bridge together on Saturday nights. He used to be just Felix, but now he’d begun to think of himself as a … I don’t know … maybe he’d have called himself a high roller. Perhaps he thought he was about to hit the big time.
I remember I ran into them both one night about a week before Christmas at the 24 karat klub on Ashland Street. They were sitting in one of those velvet booths, up high where they could see the dance floor. Mouse was wearing one of those gold metallic gown things with a loose low neckline. Eye candy for sure, but her downside was an overpowering reliance on cocaine. She said it made her feel happy. She said it made her feel horny. She liked it a lot. I hadn’t seen them when I’d come in, but it hadn’t taken long to notice them once inside. I caught Felix’ eye and, he motioned for me to join him and Mouse and a bunch of other people I didn’t recognize. There looked to be a favourable ratio of women to men, so I stopped a nurse, pointed to the booth where Felix sat, and asked if she could bring me a single-malt to that table. I made my way up to join the party.
I had recently done some work for Felix and, he’d been happy with the results, so I was in his good graces. At the table, he stood. He clapped me on the back with his right hand as he wrapped his left around my shoulder, giving me one of those funny man hugs that homophobes seem to do in public. Mouse stood and leaned over to kiss me on the cheek. I stared straight down her top at what looked just like two fried eggs on a plate. Then I took a seat at the end of the table, next to Felix. He smiled and motioned down the table. A girl came over and sat next to me. That night the air was thick with a perfumed nostalgia, a smoky intimacy that slowed everything down, impeding thoughts and motion.
The nurse brought my whisky; I stared at Mouse’s chest and watched her snort coke off the tabletop next to Felix. I talked to that other girl whose name I never caught, but she didn’t seem to have anything interesting to say. Eventually, I tuned it all out and watched the couples on the dance floor. My head began to spin from the run together sultry voices of all the people with whom Felix, Mouse and I shared a table. I still didn’t know who any of them were. It wasn’t long before I could take it no longer and decided to leave.
I took a cab home and made my way up the walk. I fumbled with the key until I opened the front door. A buttery yellow light glowed from the kitchen, and the clink of cutlery caused me to slink down the short passageway and peek around the corner. It was that girl, the one from the 24 karat who never told me her name. She sat at the tile bar separating the kitchen from the dining area. I had a thousand questions. How had she gotten here so fast? What was she doing here? Why was she standing in the kitchen? Who the fuck was that guy she was with? On the other side of the bar was a man with a bald head, short red hair around the sides and back, freckles on the top. I didn’t recognize him at all. He was feeding her with his fingers, white cake with white frosting. They laughed. She looked up at me.
“Mr Cardona,” she welcomed me in my own home, “come on in. We’ve been waiting for you. This is Mr Smith.” She gestured towards the bald guy with red fringe hair. “I didn’t get much chance to speak with you at the club so we thought it best to come meet you here.” She raised her eyebrows and waited.
“I don’t know you,” I said, “I don’t know your name. I’ve never even seen this guy.” It was my turn to gesture at her companion.
“Oh, sorry; my bad,” she said, and then she looked into her purse, she fished around a bit before pulling out a black leather wallet. Opening it, she showed me a badge. “Special Agent McKitrick, FBI. This is Agent Smith.”
“How did you guys get here so fast?”
She grinned, “That’s not important now, is it? We need to ask you some questions about your friends Felix and Mouse.”
This week’s prompt:
You walk into your home and find two people you don’t know eating cake. What happens next?