“So when did you figure it out?” Coras asked, drying a chunky whiskey glass with horrible squeaking noises.
“Figure what out?” I tried not to look if there was even one clean square inch on the gray rag she was using as a towel. Probably a good thing that whatever she served here could dub as a first grade degreaser.
As if on cue, she set the glass down and poured me another one. I knew something was up when she didn’t look me in the eye. “You know,” she said to the dirty dishwater. “The gay thing.”
Low Side liquor might hide many sins and kill even more germs, but it was also meant to go down fast and without thinking and not come back up your nose.
“Fuck, Coras,” I wheezed, eyes watering. “Who paid you off? You trying to kill me?”
Coras held up her bony hands. Then poured me a double, because we both knew I knew better than to ask for anything that came from a tap here. “Just asking. Small talk, you know. Should give it a try sometime.”
I pushed the glass away. “And you’re thinking that’s the kind of thing I’d want to chit-chat about? What in the Seven Hells makes you think that’d even make a good story anyway?” I shook my head. Somewhere Marten and Ish were probably laughing hard enough to piss themselves. If corpses could do either of those things, that was. Okay, there was a thought that needed glossing over.
Coras shrugged and went back to squeaky-torturing unsuspecting glasses. Good thing, too, that way she missed the goose bumps crawling up my arms.
“Just seemed like the thing to ask.”
“Right.” I eyed the vaguely brownish-colored drink in my glass. “So when did you figure out you were straight, huh, Coras?”
She gave me a blank look. “Well that’s not the s--”
“If you’re about to say ‘it’s not the same’, I swear to the Gods, Coras, I am going to forget about our little truce and I will punch you. It’s exactly the same, ‘s what it is.”
Except for when it isn’t, of course. But this wasn’t the time to drudge up pasts, drag skeletons out of closets—pun fucking intended—and talk about shit that’d probably make one hell of a story or at least for a damn colorful psych file.
“I’d tell you not to quit your day job, Coras, but I guess small talk’s what earns you the bigger tips. So let’s just say keep your labels for your whiskey bottles. They don’t really stick to people all that well.”
For the next few minutes silence fell, only interrupted by the sloshing of dishwater and some seriously furious squeaking. The light that reached through the cracked front shutters of the place cut through the smoke that hung thick enough to hide a body in. Speaking of.
I slapped down a tenner on the cracked countertop and pushed back my chair. “Anyway. It’s been fun as always, but you know how it goes: places to be, people to shoot. Which reminds me, there’s this guy once came out to me right in the middle of dumping a body. Freaking out about how shit, he was gay and his psychiatrist can’t fix him. Maybe I should’ve sent him your way.”
Coras looked up. “He got a better story than you?”
“Don’t know. I mean, I would’ve loved to listen, but hell, we were getting rid of evidence. Seriously. Priorities.”