Sam Nero PI is the creation of Jane Jago and a denizen of The Last City. A place where the past and the future come face to face as a prohibition-style private eye walks the mean streets of a dying world
Katie Scarlett took a sip and inhaled the icy vapour.
“Sam,” she said and her voice was kinda soft and appealing, “am I ugly?”
I looked at her assessingly allowing my eyes to caress her creamy skin, and I was rewarded by a rosy blush that spread up her long throat and mantled her cheeks.
“No,” I said, “and you know you aren’t. But that’s not the question is it?”
She met my eyes bravely. “It isn’t. You know what the question is.”
“I do. But I promised your daddy that I wouldn’t explain.”
We finished our drinks in silence, and I looked at my watch. I was just beginning to think I would have to ask for a few more moments when the cellphone in my pocket bleeped. I pulled it out and the readout was what I was waiting for. I stood up and offered Katie Scarlett my arm.
She looked puzzled for a second then put one red nailed hand on my sleeve. I signalled Myk and Zig to follow us and we made our way to the private elevator.
“Where to?” I could feel the waves of puzzlement coming from her rigid figure.
“Your daddy’s apartment.”
“Okay, but we won’t be able to get in.”
I lifted one eyebrow and Katie gave a small moue of defeat. She put one slim hand to a palm plate.
The elevator moved with a silky smoothness that spoke volumes of money and maintenance. The doors hissed open and the four of us stepped out into a white painted foyer with a thickly carpeted floor. Opposite us was a set of double doors, painted to look like wood, but if I’d have been a betting man I’d have put the farm on them being plasteel.
I took the card out of my pocket and applied it to the almost invisible plate beside the doors. Katie Scarlett opened her mouth, but I forestalled her with a finger across those delicious red lips. It almost went without saying that the door which slid open wasn’t even in the same wall as the imposing looking ‘entrance’. I chuckled inwardly as I shepherded Katie and the twins inside, the door closed behind us and we found ourselves in another elevator. It was a quick trip, I guessed one floor only.
This time the door opened into a big room, with floor-to-ceiling windows and a view over the rooftops of Level 39 to where trees and grass grew in the only municipal park in this level.
“That you, Nero?” a voice called from what I guess was the kitchen.
Katie Scarlett swayed like a leaf in the wind and I braced her with my hands around her slender waist.
“Yes it’s me. And I have your daughter with me.”
O’Halleran barrelled out of a door to our left and grasped Katie Scarlett in his brawny arms. I signed to Myk and Zig and the three of us went to enjoy the view. The low-voiced conversation behind us went on for some time, and it seemed to me that Mister Aitch was having some small difficulty pacifying his little girl.