This is an exercise I'm doing to help me find my narrator's voice. This is a supernatural fanfic project.
He took a determined step closer to the long cherrywood bar, lifted his chin, and asked for a double bourbon. Oh, kid. And I, from the lofty age of twenty-four knew in that second that he’d never had a taste of the sauce in his life. Unfortunately every chickenhawk in the joint was just quivering to get closer to the new blood, and someone had to step in.
None of them were close enough to get a peek at the title of the little book he clutched to the lapel of his Sunday best suit. He lifted the short glass in his hand, and a splash trickled over his knuckles as he startled to my voice. I spoke e.e. cummings right into his ear and he stood perfectly still, listening as I recited when my love comes to see me it’s just a little like music, and when I finished, he kissed me.
There was no art to it. He pressed his mouth on mine and held onto my shoulders. I wiped the lipstick off his cheeks with a handkerchief and a little soda. He stood still and let me do it, but for his dignity he tossed back a mouthful of bourbon and clutched his chest as it burned down to his belly.
His name was Jimmy Novak and he’d booked a room nearby and would I care to join him for a drink? I would, but he didn’t need any more after that double and he had to slow it down so we walked all through the Loop, shoulder to shoulder and our steps in time while he talked to me about reading.
He loved pulp detective tales out of Black Mask and when I told him what i did to feed myself, the look on his face made me embarrassed, the way you feel when someone pays you a compliment you don’t really deserve. I told him that most of the time it was dull, sordid work, and he trained those summer-blue eyes on me and asked me about the rest of the time.
I was flush off a haunting in the Gold Coast. I still had graveyard dirt under my nails and the stink of kerosene in my hair. The rest of the time, I said, you’re fighting for your life over something justice should have taken care of years ago.
Because that’s how it is with a haunting. Ghosts don’t die in bed unless that’s where they were strangled. Every time I do a haunt job in the big white houses up north secrets bubble up with them, horror that money could only lid until a tortured spirit made them face it.
And they give me that money to shut me up. Enough money to pay the back rent and send me off to the Wink for a good time, to walk the streets with a man who’s decided to get the thoughts in his head about other men a chance to become real. We could walk around the block a hundred times. What came next was inevitable and a little like music.
So was his pronouncement when the sun rose high enough to touch the windows as we lay twined together in a bed not quite wide enough for us both–I love you, he said, quiet and serious. Please don’t tell me that I don’t.
I didn’t. I kissed the this and that of him, and Jimmy Novak became home.