I came to in a hotel room with the stench of a dead body stand in for smelling salts.
Three times the size of my walk-up in the “Heights”, sophistication and refinement written all over it, this was no rent by the hour room; I needed a cigarette and reached for the inside of my jacket only I wasn’t wearing my jacket, it lay neatly folded over the back of the loveseat facing a massive window high above the sidewalk with a view of the… the ocean? A little unsteady and a lot pissed off, I moved towards couch and cigarettes; as I passed the mahogany writing desk, it’s chair neatly pushed in, the hotel’s letterhead caught my eye: “Welcome to the Claridge, Where Everyone’s Treated like a Star“, Atlantic City, New Jersey – the Claridge was easy 20 miles from the Starfish Lounge.
I grabbed a cigarette ignoring the dead guy on the floor, knife deep in his chest, took a drag deeper than the Hudson River Canyon and re-ran the footage from last night at the Starfish. We both drank a lot, me whiskey, her, gin martinis; I remember it was around 2 a.m. because I’d looked at my watch figuring I better leave to make the drop to Jimmy’s; no sooner had I looked up she was leaning over me, softly whispering in my ear, cleavage teasing just as quietly, daring me to pull her closer – next thing I know we’re hailing a cab; after that it was lights out, bubba.
Now I’m standing in a high dollar room at the Claridge Hotel in Atlantic City with a case of amnesia, a dead body, a missing woman and a missing envelope of cash… I needed to improvise a plan and fast.