Friday, July 29, 2011

Hair of the Dog

The Ramkahen dawn is little more than subtle bloody tinge on the horizon before the sun blasts into the sky and begins baking the fields of sand.  One moment you may be shivering beneath the stars, and the next you're sweating in the furnace.  Fortunately for Harrison Jones, he is still inside of his club.

Even so, spears of light lance through the windows to fall in square patterns on the floor.  One such rectangle of light falls across the sleeping man's face where he'd left it on the table the night before.  A small pool of drool glistens, shimmering as air pulls in and pushes out.

Harrison's face scrunches up.  "Who turned on the lights?" he growls.

No one answers.  Sam left him at the table long ago.

Squinting, Harrison's bloodshot eyes take in the empty room.  He sits up and a hand immediately goes to his head.  He groans.  The room is still a mess from the night before.  Several empty bottles lay on the table in front of him.  Harrison picks them up and then totters over to the bar.  They make a loud clink  when he tosses them into the bin behind the counter.  Harrison winces.

He spends several hours tottering back and forth between tables and the bar, cleaning up.  It was work that should have been done last night, but he'd sent everyone home.  He had wanted to be alone, though it seemed that life cared little for his wants.

It was in the midst of cleaning that the doors to the club crack open.  A blast of hot air forces its way in, bathing Harrison with a wave of nausea.  He squints toward the light and recognizes Captain Renault only when the policeman closes the door.

"Getting a late start?" Renault asks as he crosses the room.

"What time is it?" Harrison wants to know.

Renault shrugs.  "Afternoon."  He removes his hat.

Harrison shakes his head.  "Had a rough night."

Harrison fills two drinks at the bar.  Renault takes a seat nearby, and then Harrison joins him.  He slides a drink in front of the policeman before sipping his own. 

"I'll say," Renault says.  He turns the glass but does not lift it.  "And it doesn't look like today is going to be much smoother."

Harrison cocks an eyebrow over his glass.

"Where are the papers, Harrison?" Renault asks.

Harrison slowly sets down his drink.  "What papers?"

"Do not play with me," Renault says sharply.  "We are friends, I think, and that is why I am here.  Strasser has uncovered that the Rogue gave them to a local before he was killed.  All signs point to you.  Now, I have been attempting to feed the Schnottzy disinformation, especially until I was able to approach you, but we both know there are only a handful of people that could move those papers."

"Where is the Major now?" Harrison asks.

Renault waves a hand, "Over at Rick's.  I figured the Blood Elf could keep him busy for a while."

Harrison chuckles, then immediately regrets the effort.  It seemed even laughing hurts.  He takes a sip to steady himself.

"Give me the papers, Harrison," Renault says.  "I can miraculously 'discover' them among the Rogue's things, and then Strasser will be back on a gryphon south.  Tonight.  Nothing need become... unpleasant."

"Are you in a position to buy them, then?" Harrison asks.

It was Renault's turn to chuckle.  "Don't be silly.  You should be paying me to take them off your hands."

"I'd love to, but I don't have them," Harrison replies.  "I'm sorry."

Renault frowns.  "This is a dangerous game, Harrison."

"Danger is my middle name," Harrison replies with a crooked smile.

"I thought it was Henry."

Harrison casts a sharp look at the Captain.  "Don't you have some police work to do?"

Renault shoves his hat back on his head.  "You are going to regret this decision."

"Put it on my tab."

The Captain walks out, his drink untouched.

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