Chapter 3, page 5

I didn’t like how I treated her, but I couldn’t afford to make exceptions at least not with the staff. I finished my martini and started to examine the people more closely. I could spot the professionals in an instant. They were the ones drinking as little as possible and what they were drinking was either soda or water. They also blatantly didn’t care what the elite thought of them. In fact the only thing they did care about was collecting the money from the rich patsies. I could tell that a few of them were lumping me into that category, so I made no effort to dissuade them of the misconception. As far as I was concerned it would just make it easier for me to take them out of the game.

The room was just large enough that people would feel they had ample room, even when it was fully packed. That feeling would encourage everyone, or most everyone to spread out, which in turn would keep me from getting a reliable read on them. Fortunately, I was a jack-of-all-trades, I always knew something about most everything, especially if it had the potential to be useful. But just before I could start another trick the waitress returned with my fresh martini. Taking it I touched the surface of the drink in order to collect a taste. Though that was just for show, scrubbing the intoxicants out of the drink was just too important to forget.

I thanked her for her diligence with a fifty-dollar bill. It is amazing how easily cash can buy forgiveness, she departed with a smile. With my drink in hand I reached into my pocket and withdrew the monocle I kept there. As I poured a little bit of my body heat through a mental image and then into the glass I heard one of the chairs beside being pulled out. While I began to move my head to examine the intruder, I finished the slight transformation.

As far as intruders go I could have done much worse. The woman standing above me was quite striking. She was looking down at me with a very warm smile and before I could say anything she spoke with a silken voice and that contained just a splash of sweetness. “Would you mind some company?”

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