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The Angel Sleeps~ A Serial Short Story Part #1
Miguel Espinoza was in Trenton for the weekend visiting his girlfriend Alice May. He was presently on a case as an undercover cop at a tenement in Camden, playing a drug addict to infiltrate the area’s prime dealer of crack cocaine. It was a Saturday evening in mid July, and he was sitting at the bar of the Hampton Hotel, which sat beside the Mirror River. The windows of the small lounge, which overlooked the Mirror River, were opened, and the cool moist air blew gently into the bar of the hotel. A jazz quintet played a mellow improvisational piece in the key of G off in the corner twenty feet away.
Miguel’s girlfriend Alice had gone up to their room for a moment to powder her nose. Miguel sat drinking a Seagram’s Seven whiskey and Seven Up. He flagged down the middle-aged blond waiter at the end of the bar, who listened to the rise and fall of the soprano saxophone notes. He walked the length of the bar to Miguel.
“What can I get for you?”
“Pack of Marlboro lights, soft pack.”
“Six dollars, please.”
The waiter reached below the bar and grabbed a pack of cigarettes. He tapped them hard on the bar top three times, unwrapped the cellophane, removed the foil, and pulled a cigarette half out of the pack for Miguel.
“Thank you.” Miguel took the cigarette, and the waiter took a Sterling silver lighter from his breast pocket and extended to light it. The smoke whirled and spiraled slowly through the room from the river breeze. The waiter poured two shots of whiskey into Miguel’s tumbler and splashed in some Seven Up. He took a ten-dollar bill from the bar in front of Miguel.
“Nice night to be out on the veranda, you know?” The waiter nodded his head to the double doors, which led out to the deck overlooking the Mirror River. “Enjoy it while it lasts though. We’re expecting some wild winds, and maybe some lightning after midnight.” The waiter walked away.
Miguel’s head sagged. He stared at the ribbon of smoke, which curled above his fingers, and then diffused into the current of the room. He looked at the line of various liquors. In the corner of his eye was the television, which aired various snippets of information about that war on the other side of the world.
Seventeen Dead at Fallujah.
He took another long drag of his Light and extinguished it, only half-smoked. Alice May approached from behind. Tight and worn dark blue jeans; close hugging light blue polyester top; medium heel black, matte boots. She pulled herself up to the stool beside Miguel.
“Hi Honey.” She smiled at Miguel. “What did I miss?” Miguel glanced at her.
“How is the band?”
“Pretty good.” His eyes stayed attached to the television.
The waiter approached. On his way over he touched the dimmer dial near the liquor bottles, brightening the light bulbs which hung above the patrons.
“Can I get something for you, madam?”
“Yeah, I’ll just have a Clearly Canadian.”
“Strawberry or blackberry?”
“I’ll go with the blackberry.” Alice reached into her black sequined handbag for a twenty-dollar bill. Alice zipped her bag shut and placed the crisp twenty on the bar.
“Two dollars.” The waiter removed the metal cap of the colorful bottle of soda water. As the waiter filled a tumbler with ice for her drink, he studied Alice with a cursory glance. Thirty five, silky straight brown hair, curled around the ears. Skinny, elegant neck. Slightly oversized hazel eyes. Average cheekbones, pointy chin.