Thank You For Your Business

Littered with dark coffee rings and cigarette burns and the remains of an old tuna fish hoagie, Tiger Malone’s desk was the cleanest thing in the tiny cramped office. Empty soda cans huddled in the dark corners. Dust encrusted stacks of papers teetered on mismatched file cabinets. I drew my cardigan closer to my sides away from the chair. I coughed on the dank boozy air. Grinning Theresa “Tiger” Malone sat in the middle of the chaos like a regal toad.
“How May I help you love? My girl said you were unhappy,” Tiger said. “Malone Confidentials strives to please.”
Her voice sent ripples down my spine. I opened my mouth to speak. With nicotine fingers, Tiger rifled through some sticky notes on her desk. She read one and pursed her lips.
“So you hired one of our operatives, one of our most experienced private detectives, to plant a tracker in your ex husband’s vehicle, house, and office. Standard package. Report completed and delivered. Full payment pending. That’s right, love, isn’t it.” Tiger leaned back in her leather office chair settling comfortably into her crumpled raincoat. She laced her fingers behind her head and offered me a malevolent smile.
I stammered, “but the price-the report.”
“Malone Confidentials can’t help if you have trust issues. Your ex seems a nice enough fella and a decent father according to the report. Malone Confidentials can’t help if you spent $2000 to find out something you already knew. Now the additional $8000 fee ensues your ex never finds out about your illegal search and you can at least get visitation with your son.” I watched her eyes hollow black tunnels ringed in a cheerless pale blue.
My mouth clapped shut. I held back tears. A door opened behind me. Tiger lit a cigarette with a match, waved it and then flicked it in my direction. I leapt up from the chair.
“Thank you. Be sure to leave us a five star rating. The girl will show you out.”

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