‘The last days of decadence’ (a short story) Part 1

‘The last days of decadence’ (a short story) Part 1

 |  by Mark  |  Published in Past Events

‘Another sleazy joint’ thought Mack as he rang the bell. He looked at his watch. Two in the goddamn morning. He dropped his cigarette on the floor and crushed it with the heel of his boot.

The door opened slowly. A fiery, peppery perfume filled his nostrils.

‘Homicide. What’s your name sweet cheeks?’ said Mack holding up his badge.

‘Shiraz’ replied the blonde. ‘Come on through Detective.’

As he walked through the door his eyes adjusted to the light. He was wrong. This was not sleazy.

‘One helluva party’ he thought looking at the empty bottles on a table towards the back.

‘Who’s the bombshell?’ he said pointing to the corner where three men and a broad sat quietly.

‘Charlie Rinks. Singer’ said Shiraz.

‘Jazz and liquor’ he said shaking his head. ‘Why don’t people learn? OK so where’s the stiff?’

‘Behind here’ said Shiraz gesturing to a thick red curtain adorned with a black feather boa.


‘Magnum. Like this one.’

Châteaux de Lamarque 2001 in magnum’ he thought as he looked at Shiraz. ‘Hot and got good taste.’ Suddenly he wasn’t quite so tired. He picked up the empty oversized Bordeaux bottle.

‘Buddy of mine Floyd used to say “too much for one and not enough for two.” Good stuff?’

‘Sure’ said Shiraz. ‘Great legs, doesn’t show its age at all.’

Mack leaned on the bar and opened his notebook.

‘Can I get you a drink Detective?’

‘Who are you?’

‘Viognier’ said the firecracker. Mack looked her up and down as he breathed in her apricot and honeysuckle perfume. He liked what he saw.

‘Sure baby doll. What have you got?’

‘Try this’ she said and poured him a glass.

More Bordeaux. Château Capet-Guillier 2005. ‘Knock-out vintage from a knock-out region’ he thought as he tasted.

‘What do you think honey?’ said Viognier.

‘Great body, baby doll. Great body.’

‘Will this take long?’ said Shiraz draping herself on a bar stool as she reached for a bottle. Mack shot a glance at the label. Klein Gustrouw, 2005. Bordeaux blend from one of the coolest cellars in South Africa. She drank down her glass and fixed him with a long hard stare.

‘That depends’ he said. ‘Nobody leaves until I’m done. How’s your wine.’

‘Firm and meaty. Great length. Just the way I like it, Detective.’

His eyes scanned the room as he thumbed through his notebook. He’d heard about this crowd. They moved around the city from one place to the next, any joint where the livin’ is easy. He could tell they knew their stuff. They liked their reds and they liked them big. He picked up a bottle from the table. The Lane, Shiraz Viognier, 2007.

‘Reminds me of a case I had in Adelaide Hills a few years back. Great combination. Intense colour and lots of fruit. My kind of blend’ he thought glancing back at the chicks at the bar. Shiraz and Viognier blew him a kiss.

‘I want to talk to the bombshell’ he said.

‘You and everyone else gorgeous’ said Viognier. ‘Here, take this to the sax player.’ She handed him a glass. ‘Achaval Ferrer, 2007. Tell him it’s from the girl in the black dress. He’ll love it.’

‘The wine or the girl?’

‘Everything Mendoza should be. In your face Malbec aroma with a kick that means you can taste the tango. I’ll let you decide if that’s the wine or the girl’ she said almost purring.

He sized up the punters. Cool, good looking, well dressed, well connected. They worked hard and played harder. They were big spenders. He stopped at a table and picked up another bottle. 7 Deadly Zins, 2007. California dreaming. He read from the label.

‘”Cinnamon toast evokes the senses of carefree youthful nights”. Sums this crowd up’ he thought as he looked longingly at the bar.

‘This is for you.’ He handed the glass of Malbec to the sax player. ‘From the girl in the black dress.’

‘What’s a pretty young thing like you doin’ in a joint like this?’ he said to the bombshell as he sat down opposite her.

‘All the way from the other side of the room and that’s the best line you’ve got for me baby?’ She pouted, leaned forward and poured herself a glass from the bottle on the table. Mack read aloud

‘”Earthquake, Zinfandel, 2006. Juicier plum, spicier clove and fuller in body than ever before”. Amen to that gorgeous.’

Shiraz and Viognier sat down at the table on either side of the bombshell.

‘We’ve got a real treat for you Mr Detective’ said Viognier with a whisper.

Mack stared back at the three of them and emptied his glass.

‘What’s that baby doll?’

‘This. It will rock your world.’ She poured him a glass and handed over the bottle, Cheval des Andes, Mendoza, 2005.

‘Let me guess, from the girl in the black dress?’

‘No sir. This is our treat to you.’

He closed his eyes and drank. ‘God that’s good’ he thought. ‘Tastes like velvet.’

He glanced at his watch. He was back on duty in 3 hours.

‘I think we’re ready to see the stiff, Detective’ said Viognier. Shiraz nodded and pulled back the red curtain. The feather boa fell to the floor.

Mack’s eyes widened as he looked at the dead man’s face.

‘Do you have any idea who this is?’ This is Big Red’ he said his hands shaking.

‘You look like you’ve seen a ghost’ said Viognier. ‘Are you alright?’

‘I need a drink. Get me a whisky.’

‘Comin’ right up gorgeous. Comin’ right up.’


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