Black Widow

Free Black Widow by Isadora Bryan

Book: Black Widow by Isadora Bryan Read Free Book Online
Authors: Isadora Bryan
sanctimonious old witch. Those little girls – of course it was sad. But the public had a right to expect that journalists would perform their duties to the limit of their abilities, however gruesome the case. And if the girl who’d escaped the killer had afterwards gone a little mad, well that was hardly his fault. Debre’s parents had been with her when he’d asked the questions. They’d been happy to take the money. If there was any blame to be apportioned, it didn’t lie with him.
    Uh-oh. A woman was drawing near, her hand tracing the line of a velvet cushion, a wall hanging, and now the bar. So, she was either blind, or else she was in that tactile mode that women tended to employ when drunk or horny. They were like kids, when their juices were flowing; they had to touch.
    Gus understood, now: the place was some sort of brothel, only in reverse.
    Which kind of made him a prostitute. A weird feeling, but not altogether an unfamiliar one.
    ‘My name is Sophia,’ the woman breathed. ‘I own this place.’
    ‘Gus,’ he grunted. He didn’t bother with pseudonyms, generally; he always tended to get them muddled up.
    ‘You’re new here, Gus.’
    ‘Hmmn!’ He turned to the bartender and ordered a drink. ‘Chivas Regal,’ he grunted out of habit, not for one moment expecting that the place would stock anything so prestigious. Or expensive. ‘Double.’ The whisky had been the favourite drink of Hunter S Thompson. Gus was quite devoted to it, at least in public.
    ‘We have a twelve year vintage, or an eighteen,’ the barman said. ‘Alas, I’m afraid we’re just out of the twenty-five.’
    Shit. Gus winced, aware that he was here on his own imitative, without the safety net of an expenses form. ‘I’ll go for the twelve,’ he said. ‘I prefer that mellow taste.’
    ‘Ah,’ said Sophia, ‘but the eighteen is far more sophisticated. Things get better with age, Gus, don’t you think?’
    ‘I’ll take your word for it,’ Gus said. He hesitated a moment, then gestured at the barman. ‘And one for the lady!’ he added.
    Sophia inclined her head graciously. ‘Thank you. I’ll have a small glass of Rioja.’
    Sophia moved closer, lowering herself onto the barstool beside him. Gus reached into his jacket, ostensibly to remove a packet of cigarettes, but in reality to switch on his dictaphone.
    Well, that was what the uninitiated might term it. More accurately, it was a professional grade digital voice-recorder with 24-bit pulse code modulation recording capability. Which meant that it could pick up a mouse’s fart at a range of a hundred metres. Gus liked his gadgets.
    ‘So how did you hear about us?’ Sophia asked. ‘We don’t exactly advertise.’
    ‘Oh, I’ve got contacts!’
    ‘That’s a bit secretive, isn’t it?’
    ‘Maybe,’ Gus answered, grinning his lopsided grin. He was gratified that Sophia responded with a more measured smile of her own.
    She looked at him in quizzical fashion, then briefly brushed her fingers to his arm. It was clearly a test of some sort. Gus concentrated on seeming to enjoy her touch. But it was hard. Whatever the nature of her business, the idea that she might have a chance with him was clearly outrageous. He would no more sleep with a geriatric than a wolf would feast on rotten meat.
    He tapped his fingers on the dark mahogany of the bar. Maybe it was just the weed in his system, but it occurred to him that he’d felt the same way about sushi, until he’d tried it.
    ‘So how’s your day been?’ he asked.
    She scowled. ‘Oh, difficult.’
    Gus took a deeper drag on his Gitanes, before belatedly offering her the packet. She shook her head.
    ‘How so?’ he enquired.
    ‘It doesn’t matter.’
    ‘Hey, now who’s being secretive?’
    Sophia fixed him with a strange look. ‘You really want to know?’
    ‘I’m a good listener, Sophia.’
    Sophia leant closer. ‘You know, Gus, it might be good to talk to someone about it. But not here.’

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