A week ago there was blood all over my kitchen floor. Now, there's not much left, but I didn't clean it up. I just walked across it. Gotta be on my feet, and on my shoes. I've noticed my feet are sticking to the floor, just a little. ..

Bachelor living. Would be pretty good evidence for a crime lab if it wasn't my own blood.

And I'm not dead yet.
Not enough to be worried about, but, you know, it's the principle of the thing.

There's still some of my blood on the door jamb where I threw that bastard out. He didn't bleed in my house this time, but there are no guarantees if he comes back here again.

I won't be blindsided.

He won't like what happens, but, you know what, neither will I.

And in the meantime there's a bar across the lake which has vodka, gin, bourbon . . and Glenlivet. Nix the gin. Cops don't seem to like juniper berries. Five nights in jail was enough. But it was just another rite of passage.

And having had my attention focused as it often is; not on the ladies in the bar. But on the one that I miss.

So I'm sitting there looking at a fucking maraschino cherry in my glass of tonic. At least it's not an umbrella. What are they thinking? Do I look so pallid they think I need some more red dye #3? Or is it just to prove that I'm a pansy, or that they can't be accused of serving alcohol to someone underage? I haven't been underage since 1967. And I got away with it before that.

I was working up a pretty good head of steam. Haven't done that there for a while so I figured I might have some latitude. So I shoved the tonic to the rail and yelled out, "Doctor!" That's what I call all the bartenders; they seem to like it.

And I said, "This glass is broken! . . . Just look, it's got a hole in the top. I want another one, and this time a single malt."

He was quick to comply since a much more expensive drink might well improve his tip.

I looked lovingly at my Glenlivet, and wondered how many it would take to improve my mood. And then suddenly I found myself in a Bogart movie. Of all the gin joints in all the cities of the world, why did she have to walk into mine? Somehow I don't think it was an accident.

I didn't see her right away, but her scent was all that I needed. Her aura permeated the room, and my heart stopped . . . I think for about half an hour. And then I looked, and, if possible, she was even more beautiful than before. Yeah, we had a history.

Actually, until that moment, I was history. She was always front page news.

Do you ever find yourself spiraling down the drain with nothing left to think about other than, "Why is it counterclockwise?

Do you ever tell yourself, "This is really a Bad idea . . . and then do it anyway?"

When you're the tough guy you don't get rescued; you mostly just get used. I know that, and yet I do what I know perfectly well that I should not.

"Hello Irise. I wish I could say that I'm glad, or even suprised, to see you. But Geoff was by the other day, and the circumstances were less than pleasant. It became clear that this little remote corner of the world no longer makes me invisible."

"Rick, I need your help," she said.

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