The stub of the cigar I was smoking was acrid as it burned against my lips. I could taste it through my teeth as they clenched down to stop it from falling to my lap. The cards in my hands acted as though possessed, they moved at a quasi-indeterminate speed nearly as lazy as the look attempted in my eyes. I shuffled, but I didn’t intend to play. A habit I acquired at a young age I guess. Some call it compulsion. Gotta keep busy, you know?
Funny, I think I’m the only person who narrates herself. Something about that seems more than a little neurotic. I think it’s at about this moment I realise that I’m just thinking to keep my mind busy, to keep my head out of what ever the hell it is that’s going on around me. I finally notice the sweat on my brow, and I chuckle. I’m nervous. After all that’s happened one little meeting is making me sweat. And it’s not like I can get into anything worse than I already have.
The door opens, and the guard stands there looking at me. She’s got her hair pulled back so tight you can actually see where it’s pulling at her crow’s feet. Stern is too casual a term. In walks miss prim and proper, she’s wearing her two piece suit, carrying one of those dark non-descript brief cases. Her Prada sunglasses gleam in the florescent light, glinting almost comically. So I smirk. Something seems to be too dramatic here, and I realise that it has nothing to do with reality and it’s only my mind filling the moment with mood… or something.
Leaning back in my chair with my feet on my table, she settles herself in. Takes off the suit jacket, hangs it on the chair, sits down, opens the brief case and lastly takes off her sunglasses. For some reason I note that mentally. Seemed like an attempt to appear menacing. I don’t like power players. She just sits there, with her hands folded and leaning forward on the table, staring. I’m not sure if she’s honestly just curious, or if she’s trying to look tough. A grunt of laughter escapes and I lean back on my chair, folding my arms behind my head.
“You know, I’ve got all day…” I say. I don’t know why I always try to be a smartass, usually it doesn’t work.
“Charlotte Collins.” She says my name like I should react or something. Sure, I haven’t gone by Charlotte for years, but it’s still my name. I wait, she continues. “Well… where does the story start?”
I laugh. It’s like she’s playing to something I can’t even identify, but I feel like I have to tell her something, anything, and why not keep it true? It’s not like she’s going to believe even half of it anyway. Who could? So I start where it begins, when I was still just a kid.
“I guess it started,” I say as I lean forward to put out my cigar, “when my dad was murdered.”