The Glass exploded above our heads. crystalized mist rained down on everyone seated in the place.
“What the Hell?”
It took a minute to realize what had happened.
We looked up to where the glass had come from. at the top right corner of the pubs massive front window was a small circular hole about the size of a quarter.
I turned back to the Redhead. who was covered in it. “Are you OK?” she nodded and winced “I think so?”
Grabbing a towel off the long wooden bar on the far wall. I dabbed it in my water-glass. gently touching her back and shoulders.
The bar had gone silent, Walter the bartender yelled out? “Is Everyone Alright?”
A table of five pointed to the back wall of the place where a curious hole near the ceiling was.
A young man about 25 years old was telling his table mates,
“I heard it! buzzed right over my head. 10 feet lower and you’d be calling an ambulance right now.”
Someone had just fired a shot from outside into Gingers Ale House.
But who and why?
I had met The Redhead about 3 hours earlier. she was standing at the side of the stage all alone. wearing a short green dress and swaying to the music. She was just a itty bitty little thing. Cute as a button.
I caught her smiling at me.
Perhaps? it was the silly grin on my face. I don’t know? dancing back and forth to Terrance Simien and the Mallet Playboys all by myself.
I had a groove going. enjoying the live music in front of me, free from the emotional torture of the past year. my divorce had been a life sucking kick in the balls. tonight, I put the wreckage of it behind me.
I was now…finally…looking forward to the future.
“You need to get out man.” friends kept encouraging me. they were right of course. sitting home in front of the television had grown old.
I’d decided to stop by North Center Street Fest after work to see a band I liked.
I told her, “I can tell the type of person someone is by a little quiet conversation.”
She suggested, “Gingers Ale House?”
Hailing a cab. I held the door for her.
As we entered, she grabbed my arm, cooing “Ooh a Gentlemen.”
Ginger’s wasn’t crowded that Friday night. It was still a little early for the regulars.
We took a table at the front of the room next to the window.
“So what brought you out tonight?”
I told her, “To hear the band, didn’t feel like staying home.”
“You can’t stay home on a Friday? that’s no fun.”
Our conversation flowed, she was easy to talk to. seemingly interested in what I had to say. I learned she was an actress in town. Theater, Commercials and Industrial Films mostly.
I asked her “Have I seen you in anything?
“Not yet.” she replied, “Just some small store front theater, few commercials. nothing national. I’m changing agents right now, taking some classes. I’m going to get some new Headshots taken next week.”
Moments later, we were covered in a glass mist.
I leapt into action.
Walter the bartender refreshed everyone’s drink after making sure his patrons were all ok.
Red excused herself to use the bathroom. I watched her walk away. her hips moving ever so….
Like a big old walleye, she had me, mesmerized. I had inhaled the bait.
When she sat back down she asked me what I did?
I told her, “I was a double naught spy.”
“Really?” she said.
Starring deep into my into my eyes, she asked teasingly. “Do you work under cover?”
I sat up straight, pulling my chair closer, leaning across the table telling her, “That’s the best kind of double naught work. All you need is a good bottle of Champagne and The lights of the city to make the opposition talk.”
“Pity, we don’t have a good bottle of Champagne?” she pouted.
Mustering up my best Scottish accent.
“But we do Moneypenny, Dom Perignon 96 back at headquarters, interested?”
I paid the tab and we left.
The cab pulled up to my building at 655 West Irving Park Road.
We drifted through the lobby, Our Doorman Steve an off duty Chicago Police officer was working that night.
Discretion was Steve’s thing. he’d chat you up normally, though if you were with a lady? he would say good evening, open the door and most importantly not slow your roll.
A Pro if there ever was one that Steve.
I pressed the number 41 in the elevator. she leaned against me, looked into my eyes. I put my hands on her waist pulled her in, kissing her. the elevator stopped and we got off.
I opened the door. the full expanse of the downtown skyline was the first thing you see when you enter.
At night with the city lights twinkling in the background? it grabs your attention pretty quickly.
The place was no bigger than a hotel suite. one large room, full of windows that face south down Lake Shore Drive to the City. there is a small kitchen off the hall and a bathroom. once you see that view? mee-o my-o.
I moved into the kitchen to put the Dom on Ice.
Martin Denny drifted out of the speakers.
“Would you like to dance?”
Red nodded, then held up her hand for me to wait. taking her shoes off. standing before me in her bare feet. I took her hand in mine, placing my other around her waist gently twirling her so she could she the lights twinkling outside.
Slowly, swaying in each others arms.
After a couple of glasses of Dom, she headed to the bathroom, looking over her shoulder as she went, teasing she’d be right back. I leaned on the register cover on the windowsill looking out at the city.
The door to the bathroom opened, she glided over. the back of her dress was undone. looking up, Red battered her eyelashes. “What about that interrogation you promised? ” her dress slid to the floor.
“I don’t think that’s going to be necessary Miss Moneypenny.”
Lifting her onto the register. she wrapped her legs around my waist.
At last, all was right in the world. it had been a long time since I had a woman in my bed.
For a while now, I had been looking for someone like this. call me crazy I think she was too, something in her eyes said so. that and the fact her dress and panties were on the floor in front of me tipped me off.
I pressed her hips and back against the window.
Behind her, the window suddenly spider-cracked. it began to break into pieces.
Grabbing me around the shoulders and neck. She screamed.
Broken glass dropped onto to her back and down to the street below.
Thankfully I had a good hold of her.
I wouldn’t have liked to explain to the police or her family as to how she fell 41 stories with no clothes on.
Or what exactly was she doing up on that windowsill? I spun her away from the broken window onto the bed. nervous laughter erupted.
“Are you ok?” she nodded yes.
“Don’t move.” I ran and got a damp towel, dabbing lightly on her back…..once again.
Leaning forward Red started to laugh hysterically. I thought at first she might be crying until she lifted her head.
I held her face in my hands and kissed her.
I found out a few days later.
The phone rang, it was Red. she needed to see me right away…..
“Of course you do baby. I understand.”
Turns out? I didn’t. She was married. that would be a problem. shame too, it was all going so well. I had hoped it would last a little longer.
Did I miss the signs?
She wasn’t wearing a ring? I never heard her mention her husband once?
To be fair, I never asked. Didn’t think I had to? She sure wasn’t acting married the past three nights.
I told her the truth. if I had known she was married? nothing would have happened.
Suddenly, I was the other man.
Wasn’t that long ago where someone else was the other man. now? I was?
I knew all too well how that felt. looking at it from a different perspective doesn’t make you feel any better. lovely as she was? it would end badly.
Leaving my building a few days later, Steve was at the front desk on the phone. he waved and nodded at me as I passed him.
I stepped out into the night, the punch caught me flush on the jaw. I staggered back through the window of our building.
The glass shattered, the guy who hit me jumped into a car and sped off. Steve called the police along with an ambulance. he was able to give them a detailed account of what happened.
Good man that Steve.
They would arrest Red’s husband the next day at home.
I woke up in the hospital. with a Concussion and a Broken Jaw.
“Good Boy meets Bad Girl….Damage estimated at Twenty Thousand Dollars……”
She came to see me in the hospital to apologize.
I couldn’t talk through the wired jaw. turns out her husband had been following her all along. he was the one who had fired the gun through the window at Ginger’s.
According to Red, he wasn’t aiming at us? she hoped I would be alright. that when I got better?
“Maybe we could get together for lunch?”
I would be taking my lunch through a straw for a while.
Redheads…..The Devils Children.