Noir: Dropout

Traffic growls and hisses from the darkness outside. Inside, a telephone dial zips and purrs a few times. A woman’s voice says, “You said I could call any time, right? Well, guess what?” The elevator motor comes on. Vincenzo comes in the room.

Painfully, I sit up in the love seat. “Vincenzo, I have a favor to ask.”

“What, Emilio?” He sounds annoyed. I gather that things up here have changed since the suitcase incident.

“I need to buy some medicine, and it isn’t cheap. Would you please give me an advance?”

“Let me count the money, and we’ll see.”

He sets the moneybag on his desk by the cash box, and goes next-door. “What did he say, dear?” comes a woman’s voice. They’re drunk and not real interested in me. I can’t wait much longer. I go to the double doors, open one, and push the button over the latch. I’ll pace off my jitters in the corridor while they decide.

I take three steps. The corridor disappears; I’m outdoors in a cold fog. The inner pockets of my jacket are stuffed with wads of paper.

View this story's 4 comments.