Coffee Break read – Katie Scarlett

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.
“Daddy’s apartment.”
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.

From Sam Nero and the Case of the Disappearing Daddy.  You can find it and other Sam Nero stories in Sam Nero PI by Jane Jago


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