Iridescent damselflies flitted across the scum green pond’s surface. Rafe thought of visiting his abuela in the Keys during summer vacations, days by the water, falling asleep in the sun. Images of Carmine floated up from the pond, his crooked smile. Rafe wiped at his eyes and aimed his rented boat towards the dock.Iridescent damselflies flitted across the scum green pond’s surface.
Rafe thought of visiting his abuela in the Keys during summer vacations, days by the water, falling asleep in the sun. Images of Carmine floated up from the pond, his crooked smile. Rafe wiped at his eyes and aimed his rented boat towards the dock.The boat rental guy said follow the path and you can’t miss the cabin. The rental guy also said Rafe was a fool to come out all this way because she don’t talk to nobody. The rental guy said it serves him right if he gets his head blown clean off his shoulders. Rafe pulled alongside the dock marked private no trespassers. On the dock, Rafe stood on shaking legs and steeled himself.
Throwing back his shoulders Rafe walked into the woods. He belonged in a forest as much as he belonged on the moon. Rafe was a city kid who grew into an unapologetic hipster. With a good face and a better body, Rafe learned a few bottle tricks, honed his sexy banter, and transformed in a successful bartender. That is how he wound up working for the Spider. The money and the partying were too good to ask questions The money and the partying were too good to give up even for Carmine. Rafe told himself Carmine would come back and then he told himself things would turn out okay in the future. Rafe now knew he was wrong on both counts.
“I know you,” a voice said.
The distinctive sound of a pump shotgun being racked broke the green stillness. Arms raised, Rafe froze. Seconds ticked away.
“Call me Ace. I was a mixologist at all the big venues, the Troc and Club Ciro—“
“Ace, that’s not what your mama named you.” Her words sliced through him.
“I- I- Rafe, I’m Rafe.”
A figure stepped out the darkness. “I remember you. You were behind the bar at Dahlia’s that night.” She measured him. “Put your arms down.”
Rafe looked at the tall, lean woman with a scar on her forehead and eyes that bored into your soul. She was a legend. She was certain death if you crossed her. She was Tru. And Tru was a private detective. Rafe’s mouth went dry as ash. Massaging his hands, Rafe eyed her still raised shotgun.
Reading his mind, Tru motioned towards her shotgun and said, “This is the price I’ve paid for peace of mind. It call her Wilma.”
“I know you’re retired but I have money and I want to hire you.”
“Rafe, that’s an old English name isn’t it? It means, let me think, wolf’s counsel. Am I your wolf?”
Tru placed Wilma on her shoulder and strolled away up the path. “The yellow pages are full of PIs, counselor. Go find yourself a dick.”
Rafe was suddenly drowning, fighting to stay upright under waves of fear. “Wait, wait, I’ve come all this way. I can pay. Name your price.”
Tru continued walking away, waving bye bye over her shoulder.
“He needs you.” Rafe floundered, sputtering. “I need you. Rafael, mamá called me Rafael. She told me it meant God has healed. She named me for an angel. I’m no angel. I’m just confetti after the party is over. The angel of my life I threw away and now he’s missing. Carmine started hanging with some new friends and—and I don’t know,” Rafe wrenched his fingers through his hair. “No calls, no texts, no online, and no one has seen him in weeks. Even if he’s not mine. I need to make sure he’s safe.”
Tru sighed. She stopped and looked up to clear still sky. “Come on, you’ve found your wolf.”