Zach Marlowe: Privyet Eye Part 1

From the Story Arc: Lovers and Heroes

Previous Story in the Arc: I'm ready for my close-up... by Bestial Boy (Tuesday, September 20, 2005)

Next Story in the Arc: Zach Marlowe: Privyet Eye Part 2 by Bestial Boy (Saturday, October 22, 2005)

(posted Wednesday, October 19, 2005)

"You're really going to have to actually move into that place upstairs," Bella teased, as she handed Zach the Chicken Vindaloo and other goodies she had picked up from the Indian Carry-out on the way home. "You spend so much time on my sofa when you're not in Washington it's beginning to get the shape of your buns instead of mine."

One of the things that had surprised her a little about Commissar Bestial Boy, and pleased her quite a bit, was that he had quite an exotic taste in food. She hadn't guessed that from the way he raved about Misses Dalles---and now Thea's---fried chicken and other deep-fried foods. But when he started spending most of his time at her place (as much as he could without ever actually moving in) and she had hesitantly suggested Szechuan carry-out, he had been quick to agree and order some things she wouldn't have anticipated.

The only thing she wouldn't pick up was Italian. The Italian eateries, at least on the way to and from the King's Row HQ, were reputed to have ties to the Family, and she was reluctant to give them her patronage. Fortunately, Italian was the one cuisine she could cook, and cook well.

"I suppose," he said, with a grin. "But first you're gonna have to light a fire under the management to get me my keys."

She rolled her eyes. "All right. I'll tell Vickie." Victoria Victrix was the unofficial sorter-of-all-problems for the heroes who rented or bought here at Coldwater Apartments. The building was slowly going condo, but the address wasn't prestigious, and there were still more rental units than owned. Rumor had it that she had some unspecified blackmail item to hold over the Super's head.

"So what are we watching?" he asked, as she settled onto the couch beside him.

"Tonight is my Humphrey Bogart Film Festival, provided you like it," she replied. "The Maltese Falcon followed by Casablanca, but only if you like them. Otherwise I also borrowed Run Silent, Run Deep, which I know you'll like. It's a war movie. They blow shit up."

"Black and white?" he said dubiously, as the credits began to roll.

"Just watch ten minutes worth," she said coaxingly. "And if you don't like it, we'll do explosions."

Ten minutes became fifteen, then twenty…then Casablanca. And when the second film was over, Zach said, "So what else was Bogart in?" and Bella smiled. Zach winked at her, and tried to imitate Bogie as he said, "Here's looking at you kid", then picked her up and carried her into the bedroom.

It was the dead of night in the city where crime never sleeps, Zach's voice said, coming from everywhere and nowhere, as he looked up from the newspaper in his hands. And neither do I. Trouble knocks on my door any time of day or night, and I like to be there to meet it. I've been in and out of trouble so long its like rolling out of bed to me. But like I said, I don't sleep much, so what do I know about rolling out of bed. I'm Zach Marlowe. Privyet Eye.

Zach sat a a worn beaten up wooden desk, surrounded by over-stuffed file cabinets. He was in his office in the HQ, but---but not exactly his office. The furniture was all right out of the 30s, and there weren't enough lights outside the window -- except for the blinking neon sign of the "gentlemans' club" downstairs . The door to his office had a frosted glass panel in it, and he could make out words painted on it. His name. "Private Investigator."

He blinked, and blinked again, to see the silhouette of a woman against the glass. The door opened and she stepped inside.

"Zachary Marlowe?" she breathed in a husky voice as she stepped into the light from the single lamp on his desk.

A bird in a sharp-looking skirt walked in, hips swaying like a baby's rocker. Zach wouldn't have minded letting her baby him a bit, that's for sure. Her hair was done up in the style that professional-type dames seemed to like nowadays, tighly bound, but promising some fun if you just get her to let her hair down, all topped off with a little blue hat cocked over one eye. Her clothes completed the package, a suit in matching blue cut tightly to her figure with a frilly blouse showing at the cleavage. The voice-over voice started again.

Oh, she was trouble, all right. Baby blue eyes, big and scared, and the rest of her was baby-blue to match. A figure with more curves than Mullholland Drive and legs that went up to there, and there was where any man with blood instead of ice-water in his veins would want to be--

"My name is Bella," she breathed, looking at him with both her hands clutched on a pocketbook in front of her. "Bella Dawn Parker. And I need your help, Mister Marlowe."