} It was a foggy night in 'frisco, that is to say, a
} foggier night than most, when she walked into my office.
} I'd given my secretary, Lisa the night off, so
} there was no warning. The door just opened, and there
} she was.
} I could tell she was a classy dame from the moment
} I pried my face off of my desk and got a good look at her.
} Much too good for this joe. The only reason an uptown girl
} like her would be in my digs would be strictly buisness.
} She didn't sit. She just spoke, "I need the black
} bottle. I'm able to pay well to get it."
} I was right, this skirt didn't waste any time in
} My head was swimming from the night before. To go
} on caffine benders like that, I'd need more cash. "Allright,"
} I said, "I'll take your money, sister." I'd like to tell
} her I'd prefer to see her grovel, but my face wasn't itching
} to get slapped this early in the a.m. "Tell me about the
} She smiled, "If you're as good as they say, then I
} won't need to, Mr. Oracle." She had me pegged alright. "I'll
} be back." Then she turned on those long gams of hers and
} was out the door. It was a moving experience.
} I went down to grab the paper. As I left the
} office, I felt the gun dig into the small of my back.
} I smiled. This was going to be fun.
} "Move a muscle, Mr. Oracle and ... hehheh!"
} "Not this time, Z!" I said, deftly disarming him
} and slapping him in one smooth move. Like taking candy from
} a baby.
} The little man whimpered, "Don't hurt me!."
} I grabbed him by the collar. "Talk!" I snarled.
} But I didn't have time to beat it out of him. I
} saw the large lumbering shadow pass over the doorstep.
} It was followed by a gigantic man. He waved a placating
} hand, "Please, Mr. Oracle, no violence."
} "Sidney Dark-greenmage." I recognized him at once.
} "To what do I owe the honor of a visit from you and
} your toadie pal, here?"
} "The black bottle, Mr. Oracle. I want it. You're
} going to get it for me," he wheezed.
} "In your dreams," I quipped.
} He grinned. I didn't like it. "Oh you'll get it
} alright..... or the girl will come to, shall we say,
} a little damage?"
} So he had her. That poor mixed-up kid. I had to
} try and save her. Who says chivalry's dead? Only most
} of the practictioners.
} "Sure, sure. You got it, pal. Meet me at this
} warehouse. Midnight, sharp." I handed him a slip of
} paper. He nodded. Z was still on the floor, rubbing his
} nose. "I'll have your bottle."
} Dark-greenmage nodded. Then he was gone,
} followed by the slinking Z.
} Midnight. The dock warehouse. The fog was
} thicker than ever. I'd cased the joint. Dark-greenmage
} was there, with Z and the girl. I walked in.
} "Hello, beautiful," I addressed the girl.
} "Nevermind. have you brought the bottle?"
} snapped Dark-greenmage.
} "First, release the Girl." I demanded.
} "The bottle, first."
} "Sure. Here..... catch!" I tossed it at him.
} He missed it, but Z faded back and caught it.
} I dashed in and wheeled the girl's chair to safety,
} cutting her from the chair quickly. She stood and
} began rubbing her wrists. I steadied her as the two
} goons began to fight over the bottle, and murmmered
} into that lovely ear, "Let's get outta here."
} She nodded and we slipped out and into my car
} and high-tailed it back to the office. She was all
} frowns, "You lost the bottle, you class-A chump!"
} I grinned, "I lost /a/ bottle. Not /the/
} bottle. When they open it, all they'll find in it
} is a maltese falcon."
} I loved to see her lovely jaw drop in suprise.
} I laughed, "It's simple, really. That warehouse
} was loaded with nothing but maltese falcons. Not a drop
} of cola in the place."
} Her eyes narrowed, "I paid a lot for that
} shipment! Now you tell me it's all falcons! YOU! You
} pulled the switch!"
} "And you've just implicated yourself, lovely."
} With that, the cops came in and Lt. Noe stepped
} out of the closet. "Good work, Oracle." he nodded
} "Come on, Miss Fungaroli, You and me have a date, downtown."
} She fumed, then gave me a pout, "Maybe, someday,
} Oracle, we'll meet again."
} "Don't count on it being soon, Sister." I leaned
} in to light her cigarette. She blew the soft bluish smoke
} back into my face, as Lt. Noe took her away.
} Suddenly, Lisa was in my arms, "Orrie! I was so
} worried about you. I couldn't shake the feeling you
} were in danger."
} I smiled. Good secretary, that Lisa. "Wanna split
} the last Dr.Pepper in town with me?" I brought the
} precious black bottle out from the desk drawer.
} "You bet your last bottleopener, Mister," Lisa
} That's what I like to see, a dame who can hold
} her caffeine.