Two empty bottles grace the table between the two men sitting in silence. Sam does not want to leave his boss alone, but is not sure he can take a third. The papers Harrison brought out from the back room have been cleared away. One had very obviously been the letter from Decedereful. The others, Sam was not so sure of. He suspects they are scrolls of transit, useful in getting people out of Ramkahen. How his employer and friend came into possession of such papers is a mystery. Surely he had not killed the Schnottz's officers. That was not Harrison's style.
"Harrison, I have to talk to you."
The voice is soft and feminine, slightly tinny. It comes from behind them. Sam turns to regard Decedereful with bleary eyes. She is still wearing the clingy dress that she'd had on earlier. Much earlier. Without speaking, the pianist vacates his seat and moves a short, respectful distance away. He tries not to listen, but there is no longer any noise in the club to obscure the conversation.
"Uh-huh. I shaved my firsht drink to have with you. Here... hic!" Harrison slides the bottle across the table.
Decedereful frowns at it, but sits. "No. No, Harrison, not tonight."
"Please..." Decedereful begs.
Harrison retrieves the bottle and takes a healthy swing. "Why did you have to come to Ramkahen? There are other zonesh."
"I wouldn't have come if I'd know that you were here. Believe me, Harrison. It's true that I didn't know..." she replies.
"It'sh funny about your voice, how it hashn't changed. I can shtill hear it. 'Harrishon, dear, I'll go with you anyplace. We're get on a train together and never stop... hic!'"
"Don't, Harrison! I can understand how you feel." She raises a hand as if the gesture can halt the oncoming train.
Harrison snorts. "You undershtand how I feel? How long wash it we had, honey?"
"I didn't count the days."
The bottle hits the table hard. "Well, I did. Every one of 'em. Moshtly I remember the lasht one. The wild finish. A guy shtanding on a shand dune with a comical look on hish face because hish inshides have been kicked out."
Decedereful's are cast down. "Can I tell you a story, Harrison?"
"Hash it got a wild finish?" He takes another drink.
"I don't know the finish yet."
Harrison waves a hand. "Well, go on. Tell it - maybe one will come to you ash you go along... hic!"
She raises her eyes. "It's about a girl who had just found her place in life. She traveled out to the Lost City on a quest and met a man about whom she'd heard her whole life. A very great and courageous man. He opened up for her a whole beautiful world full of knowledge and discovery and history. Everything she knew or ever became was influenced by him. And she looked up to him and worshiped him... with a feeling she supposed was love."
Harrison frowned down at the half empty bottle. "Yesh, it'sh very pretty. I heard a shtory once. As a matter of fact, I've hear a lot of shtoriesh in my time. They went along with the shound of a tinny piano playing in the parlor downshtairsh. 'Mishter, I met a man once when I wash a kid," it alwaysh began." He laughs bitterly.
Decedereful stares back sadly. She seems on the verge of tears... if Death Knights can produce tears. Sam can't say that he knows the answer to that.
"Well, I guessh neither one of our shtories ish very funny." Harrison takes another swig. "Tell me, who wash it you left me for? Wash it Valentish, or were there othersh in between or... aren't you the kind that tellsh?"
Without another word, Decedereful stands and walks out. Harrison's head bumps softly against the table, one hand gripping the bottle before him, the other at his eyes. After a while, Sam isn't entirely sure if his friend is still conscious.
"Of all the gin jointsh, in all the townsh, in all the world, she walksh into mine," Harrison says finally. He raises his head to look over at Sam. "You know what I want to hear."
"No, I don't." It is a lie.
"You played it for her, you can play it for me."
Sam shakes his head. "Well, I don't think I can remember..."
"If she can shtand it, I can... hic! Play it!"
Sam opens the piano and sadly begins to pluck out the tune.
1 week ago