Manhattan Murder

A Psychological Thriller
By N.B. Wilde

Marcus ordered a Whiskey-Whiskey then had to teach the barkeep how to mix it.
“It’s a Manhattan. Jack Daniels and vermouth. Dry vermouth, not sweet. Rocks on the side. Please serve it in a classic rocks glass, not one of those sissy stem glasses.”
He was working on a solution while he waited for Michelle. A solution to his ongoing search for stable romance. But as in most matters, he played this one close to the vest.
Out of the corner of his eye, he glimpsed a flip of blonde and a flash of leg saunter toward him. He kissed Michelle on the cheek when she sat beside him. “When did you start drinking the hard stuff and ditch the wine?” She asked him.
Michelle insidiously viewed Marcus’ appearance as she sat on the stool next to him. He was a looker, she gave him that despite all of their ups and downs.
“I drank Manhattans back in the day. I think I’m going back to them.” Replied Marcus.
“Alex, Chardonnay for the lady, please.” Marcus and the barkeep maintained a tight friendship.
Michelle searched the bottom of her purse scavenging through chocolate chip cookie crumbs for a vape. She found the last vape flavor among the torn cellophane wrappers draping it all in a messy display on the rich wooden bar. Marcus never understood how anyone could eat cookies and drink wine, but Michelle was a mystery.
She held the vape between her fingers and took a long drag while sipping the white elixir.
Drinks, serious libations, were necessary after the news they were handed in a meeting by Detective Horrigan, the precinct commanding officer. The city had been stricken by a series of gruesome murders involving single people living alone. Their efforts at solving the case were failing. Finally, no-nonsense, Horrigan wanted Michelle’s proven track record and her expertise in the field paired up with Marcus’ hound dog nose for the scent of criminals. Together, he knew they would crack the case.
Marcus readily agreed. Michelle hesitated, but with the financial and vacation incentive offered by Horrigan, she acquiesced.
Now at the bar, Michelle ordered an appetizer of shrimp cocktail. Marcus fidgeted on the bartop with the loose cellophane.
“Stop, please.” Said Michelle. Placing her hand gently over his. We have to work together. You know it and you know we’ll be dynamite. We’ll work this case and come out looking like heroes.”
Marcus peered into her eyes. “Let’s order dinner.”
The only thing he knew for sure was that they were in over their heads. He wasn’t sure he could go through with it after all.
Michelle looked back at Marcus and wished the mid-February chill gone. And just like that, she felt it melt away.

“Marcus,” whispered Michelle, “This case is going to be murder.”

Edited 7.29.2021

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