A Noir thriller series; part 1 – Introducing Eli
Little beach California: somewhere on the coast – I’m laid down horizontal outside our trailer trash apartment; the waves lash against rocks nearby. I snap back the ring pull on a cold one and take a drink. Home from home. Face like a hot stone in the pale sand, my legs whiter than a Klansman’s hood. Its a long way from New York City.
Crimson paints the horizon as the Sun begins another game of hide and seek.
A picture perfect moment as the hole in my soul packs up and leaves. God damn she is so fucking beautiful; skin gleaming as the ocean drips from her body.
“Hey sugar tits, one of them for me?” She says, walking towards me. “Sure is darling.” I smile “Why don’t you sit your pretty ass next to mine, the sand’ still warm here.”
She stops mid track, “Eli, you hear that?” Her head turns sideways. “I thought you promised no telephone today! Jeez mister when ya gonna quit and give me due attention?”
I hear nothing except waves crashing the rocks. “Not a phone or any other thing for miles baby. Come on over, lets fool around.”
“Fuck you Cryl.” She gives me the bird.
Then I hear it! The shrill of the telephone, louder, it rises louder inside my skull.
The Sunset, the waves, sand and Marcie all dissolve…
My head screams! Sparks fire rapidly into my brain. My ears buzz and the skin on my face starts to boil.
Sweaty hands grab at the nightstand as I knock the phone sideways. The volume reaches critical. Fingers scramble the floor, clipping it, sending it further out of reach. In a semi-conscious stupor I half sit up. The couch bellies under my weight. “Christ sake already you better be fucking serious.”
Surroundings become familiar; a shithole of an office, apartment, drunk tank, mortuary, rocking the high life up on 125th. Harlem. I’m home!
I get a grip on the instrument of torture and punch the accept button.
“Whats up Dan?” the words echo through my head.
“Cryl you gotta guest. Shall I send her up?” he replies a little too loud.
“Her?” surely not Marcie! “Give me a moment bro I’m not decent.”
“You’re the most indecent mother fucker I ever had the misfortune to be acquainted with.” I like Dan! “Hurry it up Eli this ones bad for business.”
I mull over that statement and struggle from the couch. Jim Beam, half empty bottle, stares across the room. I draw hard on the whiskey and open the blinds instantly wishing I hadn’t. Razor sharp daylight floods in. What time is it; what day is it? I haven’t the fucking slightest idea!
A vortex of shit surrounds me. An ashtray in need of emptying sits on the old bureau desk and spills its guts. Yesterday’s shirt hangs over the computer screen. Beer cans, trousers, and socks cover the rug. Twenty square yards of me, my couch and I. No sign of shoes!
I take another hit from the bottle and dial back down. The phone rings three times. I hang up. A door slams, stairs creak, footsteps approach. I pull on the pants, don the shirt and try to impersonate somebody not resembling a total fucking jerk!
“Mr Cryl I presume.” She stands silhouetted in the doorway, legs long, tits high, looks like a million.
She lights a smoke “May I?”
Don’t mind me lady I just live here. “Of course Miss, why don’t you come in Miss… Miss?”
“Mrs actually! Mrs Louise Wishbourne.” She interrupts my stutterfuck!
“Those in my service call me Miss Lou.” She breathes hard from the cigarette.
And I cant help but think they do: This stranger, this broad, leaning against the door jam, short skirt, fitted jacket, appearing every inch like Ingrid Bergman! Bad for business, wasn’t that what Afghan Dan said?
I reply “Eli Cryl at your service. Why don’t ya step inside Miss Lou.” I feel seriously underdressed, “Tell me, to what do I owe this pleasure?” Don’t see many of her type in this neighbourhood. Eyes on mine as she says “The pleasure Mr Cryl, I assure you, is all mine!”
“Ok Ma’am, so how can we help?” My head thumps! “In what way can the EC Fugitive Recovery Service be of assistance?”
It was a night that war fever ran high in the US Airforce Base ‘Incirlik.’ We sat restless on the Iraqi border with the battle for Kuwait over. Ole Saddam’s boys had scuttled off back to Bagdad while we all waited for something a little different to hit the menu. It turned out to be the Brits! A running pitch battle with those crazy fuckers. They took the base by storm just for the hell of it. We had drank together, went into war together, and on this night would batter each other, for no other reason than there was nobody else left to fight. The MP’s had other ideas – Dogs! One of the snarling bastards locked onto my face as a truncheon put my lights out. My war was over; the scar a permanent reminder!
Landing back Stateside I had dreams of leadership. Hadn’t the boys praised me as cool under fire, best section commander in the battalion? My talents would take me to the top. I was sure of it!
I took a law course and obtained employment as an Investigator for an insurance company. The drive to the top was on. I’d prove to the world I was important. An early warning showed up regarding drink. I almost failed the law exam; too drunk to write or think!
Somehow I scraped through and the firm sent me to Los Angeles. Big investigations equalled big bucks. For the next few years fortune threw money and applause my way. We parked the Winnebago on a small secluded beach; me and Marcie. We were happy…for a while!
Drink took an exciting, important centre stage. I found plenty bar buddies before it all got too serious. The morning drink continued right through the day and into the night. Remaining faithful to Marcie due to love or been too drunk to fuck, who knows! Plenty chances came my way with the ladies but many rows accompanied. They viewed me as a pest: A bomb and a barfly. Fuck em, who needs em!
I became a lone wolf and for short periods drank less. Then I would explode with a bang. Violence would erupt on a shoestring. A fight with a taxi driver made the press. Let go in disgrace we headed home to Brooklyn and moved in with Marcie’s parents. I hardly drew a sober breath in the years that followed. Liquor became a necessity. Things got worse and I would kid myself; fantasising about control till I could take no more. I woke up. It had to stop. I made promises to Marcie. Surely I could do it for her? The girl who gave me the look; the one that was the one! And so I could for a while. The goose hung high and dry for a time till…
An old army buddy sought me out. We met up over a few drinks. I listened to his proposal. It netted me 100,000 dollars on a drug deal. More importantly I was back on the sauce. It felt good for a while, til my brain again raced uncontrollably. The morning madness returned. Marcie prayed for my sanity as the DT’s put me in dark terror.
Admitted to Belmont Detox Facility off Central Park; I returned to find Marcie gone. She left without a note or goodbye. I’ve never seen or heard from her since!
Fear sobered me for a while. But I was back in Detox within a few short weeks. Chance introduced me to a good doctor. Shortly afterwards he sent a guy to my house; a real decent fella!
Sat at the kitchen table drinking, I listened as he shared his story with me. He knew his stuff about the liquor problem. What he said made sense. I still see him. We meet up regularly. Me, him and many others. Ive done ok in patches; some periods of sobriety. Still those periods of drunkenness, but I keep at it, maybe one day.
I have this little business of my own up in Harlem. Only white guy in the Neighbourhood. Me and Afghan Dan. One up one down. The work focuses my mind. One sickness replaces another. Still, I think I will keep meeting up with the Kitchen Table Guy, see how it plays out.
And just how is that working out today?
Well just for today she is stood in the doorway, her legs long, tits high, looking a million.
She holds my gaze and lights a smoke.
Don’t mind me lady I just live here.
I notice her head turn as she scans the room. “Lets get down to business shall we?”
Im not sure I like the look of disdain on her face. “What is it you need Lady?”
“I need you to find somebody.” I thought she would say that, educated guess!
“This somebody have a name?” I reach for the cigarette packet next to the whiskey, pausing a second, I decide to wait till she leaves.
“Yes indeed he does. A gentleman by the name of…”
To be continued…
Disclaimer: Its obvious a certain section of this ongoing story has took inspiration from another (as in writing, recovery, and life).
Reminder: This is a ‘Just for Fun’ & ‘Not for Profit’ creative exercise (as is writing, recovery, and life).
Till next time…
D&O in Fresno