Hair of the Dog

It's one of the pitfalls of the shakedown....

No matter how hard you shake, there's always some dirt you missed. Especially when you are dealing in the Gutter.

Hair of the Dog by Tabitha Wilson

In that white bikini, her body wasn’t moving in slow motion, but it sure as hell seemed like it. With shaky hands, I moved the drink into my lap in order to cool down. Chill out, man. Hung over or not, you’ve got a deal to work out.

“Hi’ya, P,” she said throatily, leaning one long, lean arm on my chair. “Daddy said he’d be out in a couple minutes.”

Her skin was deeply tanned from spending long days on the boat. I brought the sweaty glass of bourbon to my lips and eyeballed her form. She was built a lot like that hot blonde from last night. Skinny but stacked. To say Sophie didn’t resemble her father didn’t really capture it.

“My man P!”

A man the size of Colorado stomped my way, threatening to capsize the yacht. A man that large, he must eat entire towns for breakfast. I took another swig of bourbon, set it down on the table and woozily stood up.

“Congressman Gano, it’s good to see you again,” I said and offered my hand.

We shook hands, his massive paw engulfing mine. His jowls jiggled as he pumped his arm. He let go, slapped me on the back and said, “Have a seat! Got some lunch on the way. Caprese sandwiches and farro salad.”

“Sounds delicious,” I said, even though I had no idea what I would be shoveling into my mouth. If it was something fishy, I was definitely going to hurl.

A prissy steward in a crisp uniform came out with fresh drinks and table settings. Gano tilted his head toward the sweltering sun and whistled an upbeat tune as the table was set. Sophie was now sunning herself in a nearby chaise, listening to music on pink headphones that contrasted against her dark hair.

The steward left and Gano swallowed his drink in one gulp. He leaned forward on his elbows and extended his hands outward.

“So what do you got for me?”

I swallowed bile and cleared my throat. I needed to sound convincing. This wasn’t my dream job, but for an out-of-work newspaper photographer it was an easy paycheck. This was the third time the girls and I had pulled this: drug slimy politicians and businessmen and let them think they’d raped the two by staging compromising photos. It was time to play my role.

“Well, here is what I know. The two women arrived at LAX yesterday morning and checked into The Standard. That’s on Sunset.”

“Go on,” he said, keeping his piercing eyes trained on mine.

“One woman took off for a modeling gig and the other stayed in the room. When the first one returned later, they went up to the roof and had drinks. Ended up back in their room around 4:30 this morning.”

“Partying bimbos. And now?”

“No movement so far. My guy is to contact me if they leave.”

The steward came back with our lunch. Small squares of stale-looking bread bookended tomatoes and cheese and were tucked neatly around a bowl of healthy-looking goop.

“Doc has me on a diet,” Gano said as he prodded the goop with a fork.

That was probably a good move for Gano but I would have loved a greasy cheeseburger to nurse this hangover. Hair of the dog was not cutting it today.

I took a bite of my sandwich. The dry bread took months to slide down my throat.

Gano inhaled his lunch and signaled for the steward. To me he asked, “No little prick with them? Even up on the roof?”

“Not that my guy saw.” I’d never considered myself little and I sure as hell wasn’t a prick. “They mingled, but stuck together like glue. Went back to the room that way, too.”

He grunted. The steward brought another round of drinks and cleared the plates.

“Here’s the thing,” I said. “You say the man who called is asking for a hundred thousand delivered to the hotel concierge tonight or the girls are going to squeal to the press?”

“Maybe I should just have those two taken care of,” he grumbled.

“I don’t think that’s a good idea.” My third drink was finally hitting the sweet spot and I could feel the hangover easing. “You don’t really want to add murder to rape. Think of your constituents.”

“I didn’t rape anyone!” he shouted and slammed a fist on the table. The steward, who was bringing out dessert pirouetted on his toe and sashayed back to the kitchen. The red on Gano’s flushed face was as deep as any L.A. sunset in August. “They wanted it! They asked for it! They showed up on my boat after I attended that silly charity fashion show.”

“I’m not arguing with you, Mr. Gano. I believe you,” I said. I needed him to think rationally. “This is just what the blogs will say if they publish those photos. Of course, this is your decision. But we only have a few hours left.”

He sighed and looked out over the water. I had him now. The girls and I were just hours away from a hundred grand. I took another sip of my drink. They were both probably out window-shopping. I chuckled into my glass.

“Move and I blow your head off.”

Something hard and cold was pressing on the back of my skull, threatening to bring back the hangover. I lamely put my hands up.

“Is this a joke?” I managed.

Sophie moved around my head with the pistol holding steady. She tossed her black hair over her shoulder and laughed deeply.

“You didn’t notice the smoking hot blonde hanging by the pool last night? She only had eyes for you. And your two bimbos. You really picked the wrong family to fuck with,” she said and stared at me with the same piercing gaze as her father. “We’ve killed people for far less, you two-bit wannabe.”

Gano was sitting back with his meaty arms crossed across his chest, beaming. A father couldn’t be prouder.

Sophie leaned and whispered breathily into my ear. “Your whores? My little brother, Hal, is probably just finishing up with them. He likes it rough, you know.” She laughed and cocked her weapon.

Tabitha Wilson is a writer and graphic designer, owns a snarky greeting card company and creates subversive products for Fred and Friends. She has flash fiction stories on Shotgun Honey and Yellow Mama.