FROM ‘Murder and More’
Hanging onto his left arm, much like being escorted to a prom dance was a woman whose appearance I can only describe as breathtaking. Three inches taller, and young enough to be the man’s daughter, she was dressed in a strapless, low cut, electric blue evening dress that clung to her body like paint – leaving little for the viewer’s imagination. Medium length auburn hair dangled near her shoulders without encumbrance, allowing it to bounce across her beautiful face when she walked. But, most noticeable about this beauty were her large lips, which were painted with a bright red lipstick that seemed to almost offer its own light source into the dark room.
She turned when the door automatically closed behind them, then leaned across the gentleman while whispering something in his ear – offering the viewer another interesting angle. The back of her electric blue evening dress was cut almost six inches below a slim waist, exposing the top of firm buttocks and suggesting the exposure of much more.
Almost ignoring his companion, the gentleman’s small, piercing eyes scanned the room before finally fixing themselves on me. Arm in arm they slowly walked in my direction; he casually removed his hat before speaking.
“Mr. Reno?” the gentleman questioned while extending his hand.
Their entrance had silenced an otherwise noisy bar. While most comings and goings went unnoticed, this pair had captured the attention of everyone in the Down Under Bar – including my friend Andy. He was already positioned behind the counter, eyes fixed on the lady and anxiously waiting to serve.
“Yes,” I answered, taking my eyes off her and looking at him. “You are Mr. Wolfe, I assume.”
“Byron, if you don’t mind,” he said, laying his hat and umbrella on the bar. “May we join you?”
“Please,” I motioned to two empty stools to my left before nodding at the umbrella. “Have I missed something with the weather? I didn’t recall rain in the forecast.”
“Oh no,” he chuckled lightly. “I’m afraid the umbrella is just a habit, or maybe I use it as a crutch. But, regardless of the weather, I seem to feel lost without it.”
Now, that was an odd statement which I chose to ignore. “May I buy you a drink?” I asked them both.
“Scotch and water,” the beauty answered while sliding onto the far barstool, much like sliding between bed sheets.
“Same for me,” Byron Wolfe replied after sitting down on the stool next to me.
“Coming up,” I heard from Andy, who was standing as close as he could get while staying on his side of the counter. “And welcome to the Down Under Bar.”
“Thank you for seeing me Mr. Reno,” Byron ignored Andy and turned on his stool to face me. “I’m sure you want to know what this is all about.”
“Yes, but please call me Carson. And what should I call the lovely lady? Is she your driver?” I’m not sure why I asked that.
“Oh no, no,” he smiled. “This is…this is…Sylvia. Let’s just leave it at Sylvia for now. Can we do that?”
Andy rushed up with their Scotch and water before I could reply, so I turned and spoke to him. “Put their drinks on my tab. Hopefully that will be okay with my guests.”
“Sure,” Byron responded quietly, before taking a sip of his fresh drink.
Sylvia had not looked directly at anyone other than Byron since entering the bar, at least if she did I hadn’t noticed. She also wasn’t carrying a purse, which I found odd – considering my extensive knowledge of women! She also hadn’t released his arm, except for the few moments while sliding onto her bar stool. Evidently they were close, or she found some real comfort in having him close, because he was certainly getting all her attention.
Without testing her drink, she reached into Byron’s inside coat pocket and retrieved a pack of Tareyton cigarettes and lighter. Handing him the lighter, she put one between those big lips and he quickly lit it. Apparently now comfortable with her surroundings, she finally sampled her drink before blowing a mouthful of blue smoke out into the room. Sylvia was definitely an interesting, if not strange, woman.