TITLE: Set 'Em Up, Joe
Just me, a bottle of Oban, and Pamela the bartender. Hard to tell which was smoother. I’d just had Pamela, so I reached for the scotch. I poured a double, leaned back in my barstool and watched as she started to close down the place.
Kooper’s Tavern was my kind of bar—it served booze. The patrons were, for the most part, young, and when I tapped into their collective pulse I felt alive. Human, almost. The last of the crowd had trickled out an hour ago, but some of their energy lingered on. Not much, but enough to keep my exhaustion in check. Course, Pamela’s blood had also helped.
I raised my drink and took a sip; the hint of smoke and sea salt teased my tongue. I took a few more, letting the booze work to settle my senses.
My life, by necessity, takes many turns. The latest was to this place—Baltimore. I’d been engaged in a bit of—let’s call it freelancing—in the D.C. area, when I’d received a distress call from an old acquaintance of mine. A body had been found along the Inner Harbor. Murders are cheap to come by in a town this size, so there’s nothing newsworthy in another one. Unless the victim happens to be missing all its major organs, devoid of over ninety percent of its blood, and sans fingerprints or any identifying markers. That kind of mess always makes the headlines. It also calls for my involvement.