Sadie Carmichael brushed her once carefully arranged hair out of her eyes for the eighth time and wondered if the driver of the cab she was in knew anything about driving. So far he had seemed determined to kill her by racing through the perpetually jammed and grimy New York streets and cutting his overtaking of giant trucks a tad too close. After wishing she hadn't told him to hurry, she considered taking his name and number, but as with all cab drivers these days, his name was some bizarre construction of 'y's and 'x's and she really couldn't be bothered trying to pronounce it. It didn't matter to her whether or not she was on time for her meeting, anyway. One of the perks of being vice president of a corporation was being able to be fashionably late for such meetings, and God knew those perks were few enough.

After stepping out of the taxi in front the phenomenonally expensive piece of real estate on Sixty-First and Sixth that was the executive office of Bell Publishing Company, she thanked whoever was watching over her this morning, and decided she didn't like the new stone facade that was being erected. Well, that would give her something to mention in the meeting, at least. She flipped through the boring bits of paper that were always handed out prior to meetings and realized it was going to be yet another two hours with a herd of dinosaurs spouting figures at each other and mumbling something about gross versus net profits. What did it matter as long as there were profits, she thought irritably in the elevator on the way up to the hallowed floor. All they cared about was getting their kids, or grandkids, through college and perhaps having enough left over for a dream house on Cape Cod, or Bermuda, or wherever it was that retired people went. God, she was glad she never had children, or even bothered to get married. That way she could spend her share of the profits on herself, after all, she's the one who earned it.

She stopped outside the doors to the main boardroom and tried to summon up the courage to face the unfaceable while flirting with one of the multitude of secretaries and sycophants that inhabited the floor, hoping that Sadie or someone like her would pick them up and pull them out of their dreary little world. Sadie didn't find the courage she required, so she settled for a state of unspeakable egotism to keep herself sane. She rather melodramatically steeled herself, made sure she had changed from her hundred dollar sneakers into her fifty dollar shoes and walked into the board room with an expression that she hoped mixed confidence and screaming arrogance into an aesthetically pleasing combination.

"Good morning." she announced icily. "I'm sorry I'm late." she continued, obviously not meaning a word of it. The five other members of the elite glanced up, made murmurs of disapproval and went back to poring over spreadsheets. Much to Sadie's horror, they were discussing profits and other numerical atrocities that were beyond her comprehension. What the hell am I doing here, she thought, I'm in charge of acquisitions. "Acquisitions" put simply, meant the recruitment of new authors that would hopefully earn them millions. Lucky for her, the market was thick with struggling authors, and some of them even had talent.

She had just sat down at the table and stoically resigned herself to her fate when a wonderful excuse to get out of the room leapt to mind. She leaned lazily back in her chair and stapled a look of pure rapture on her face. Then she 'idly' glanced at the clock and tried to appear horrorstruck.

"Oh my God! It's eleven thirty!" she exclaimed in a mumble shattering voice. "I'm supposed to be having lunch with Penly Smith at L'Americain at twelve." Oh please don't let these dolts realize that Penly Smith is signed up to Bantam Books, she thought.

"Isn't this a little abrupt?" harrumphed the VP of sales, an anonymous gray suited man.

"Is it?" Sadie packed all the hauteur she could muster into her voice. "Would you rather I missed lunch with such an important writer?"

"It doesn't strike me as all that important." he replied with equal coolness. "Seeing as how he isn't even with our company." Damn, thought Sadie, time to think very quickly. Inspiration struck.

"But don't you know? His contract expires in three months." That much was true. "I think I ought to do whatever I can to persuade him to join 'our little family'." The sales VP frowned, disapproval radiating from every wrinkle. He suddenly reminded Sadie of a rather grumpy tortoise and she had to repress a disrespectful giggle.

"Humph. Alright, go then. But I hardly think it reflects well on your division when you only show up for fifteen minutes of a meeting."

"Oh, be honest." Sadie snapped. "This is primarily a sales meeting, it doesn't concern me. The only thing that concerns me is snaring victims so that you continue to have sales to discuss. And if I don't get Smith, I think you and your accounting cohorts are going to be very disappointed." There was no reply from the defeated VP. "Thank you." Sadie's voice was honeyed. "It's so nice to have such accommodating and forgiving co-workers." she continued. After smiling ingratiatingly at the group for a moment, she fled.

"Hey, Ms. Carmichael, how did the meeting go?" asked the secretary she was flirting with earlier.

"Fortunately, I wasn't in there long enough to get the full effect. God, what a bunch of bores."

"So how did you escape their clutches?"

"I lied through my teeth." she admitted. "And now I'm going to make a few phone calls and have a nice leisurely lunch at L'Americain and hope that no-one notices that it's not Penly Smith I'm dining with." With this she left the jealous secretary sitting at his desk and headed for her office.

Once she had installed herself in her needlessly huge office and made sure the cleaners hadn't stolen anything, she picked up the phone and dialed the number of her best friend, Vanessa Cartwright.

"Hi, Vanessa? It's Sadie." Sadie held the phone away as Vanessa squealed delightedly at the other end. "Yeah, I'm glad to see you too. I was wondering if you wanted to be my partner in crime and meet me at L'Americain for lunch. My treat of course, seeing as how you're dirt poor." she paused and listened to Vanessa's heated reply. "Alright, relatively dirt poor. Still, my treat." Vanessa reluctantly agreed. "Great, see you there at twelve. No I don't care if that's not enough time for you to dress, I'm supposedly lunching with an author and they all look shabby these days." Sadie cut Vanessa off if yet another retort. "I'll see you there." she said firmly. "Bye." Sadie left her office and the building a damn sight more quickly than she had entered it and headed for L'Americain, two blocks away.

 

L'Americain was the current favorite watering hole for the members of the New York business world who weren't quite rich enough to be seen at The Russian Tearoom (or wherever the ultra rich were being seen this week). It had the usual combination of low end antiques, waiters who were almost polite, and meals that were almost, but not quite, the same as the non-sustaining works of art that were served at the restaurants on the next step up the ladder. Sadie waited for Vanessa at her table and regarded what might possibly be the most expensive glass of seltzer water in the state. Oh well, she thought, I can always write it off as a business expense.

It was twelve fifteen and Sadie was now amusing herself with thoughts of how to murder the rest of the board of VP's at Bell Publishing and replace them with young men similar to the one she had talked to earlier. It would certainly make the meetings more interesting and give the phrase "working out a compromise" a whole new connotation. Her musings were rudely shattered when she heard a familiar voice arguing with the maitre d', a terribly arrogant man at the best of times.

"I look unsuitable because I can afford to." Vanessa said loud enough for the gossip columnist from The New York Post in the back to hear. "And I'm also rich enough not to give a rat's ass about your dress code. Where's Sadie Carmichael, I'm here to have lunch with her." The maitre d', who was acutely aware of the gossip columnist, decided that discretion was the better part of valour and directed Vanessa to Sadie's table. Walking away, he wished he hadn't accepted the fifty dollars Sadie had slipped to him in return for a favorable table, for then he could have hidden them by the kitchen doors.

"My, that was an inspired piece of fiction." Sadie commented once Vanessa had sat down. Sadie regarded Vanessa's faded and artfully patched jeans and the designer sweater that could have been bought in K-Mart for a tenth of the price and frowned. "Didn't you know that being rich and looking poor is out these days?"

"How about being poor and looking it?" Vanessa grumbled.

"Hmm. I don't know. As a rule being poor is terribly passe. Are you really that poor, Vanessa?" Sadie asked sarcastically.

"Oh, of course I'm not, but all those big checks I wrote last month just went through and I only have a smidgen until payday."

"And how much is a smidgen? Two thousand?"

"About that." Vanessa replied without a trace of humility.

"And how much are you getting on payday?"

"Not half of what I'm worth. Whatever possessed me to into advertising? I mean, Madison Avenue is so dingy these days. Did you ever-"

"Come on, how much are you getting?"

"Per month?"

"Per month."

"Well, eleven thousand after taxes." Sadie nearly choked.

"Just how big were those checks you wrote?"

"Well..." Vanessa became rather reluctant. "A girl's got to have her fun, you know."

"Oh." said Sadie, understanding

"Oh, by the way," Vanessa had decided to change the subject. "Brett called me this morning."

"What! I'm agog, Brett hardly ever calls anyone. He's too scared that the police might have a tap on the line."

"What, on the phone of reputed business woman S. Carmichael? Come on. Maybe that's why he moved into your apartment in the first place."

"It better be more than that." Sadie said coolly

"Oh, I'm sure he loves you. Or whatever he thinks is love. What came over you to make you fall for a drug dealer anyway?" A nearby waiter of sensitive disposition nearly dropped his heavily laden tray.

"He makes me laugh." Sadie replied, deadpan. "And besides, if you hadn't thrown that party back in March, I wouldn't have even met the man."

"Whoa, you're not having problems already, are you?"

"No. Did I say I was?"

"Indeed not. I was just curious."

"It doesn't matter. So what did Brett want?"

"Nothing of any substance. He wanted to know if I was going to have another party."

"Probably looking for another hapless exec to hook." Sadie muttered.

"My God, do you like this guy or not?"

"I wonder sometimes." Sadie admitted. "But I prefer not to. Without him I'm out in the cold."

"That and you'll lose your discount."

"What discount?" the ice had returned to Sadie's voice.

"Oh, I thought that because you...I mean maybe he...Oh never mind what I thought."

"You thought that because I'm living with my supplier, I'll get a cheap rate. Gee, thanks." Sadie wasn't as offended as she appeared to be, but believed in maintaining a front. Even with friends like Vanessa. Especially with friends like Vanessa.

"I think that perhaps I better start discussing something completely unrelated." Vanessa said after a moment's silence. "So, how about those Mets, eh?"

"They got knocked out of the playoffs last week, Vanessa." Sadie said with an extreme lack of enthusiasm. She felt very tired suddenly.

"The Yankees?"

"Two weeks ago."

"Good." Vanessa said with forced gaiety. "I detest the Yankees."

"Doesn't everyone?" Sadie replied dully.

"I think perhaps you better write this day off and go back to bed." Vanessa suggested. "Take a long weekend."

"It's Tuesday."

"Take a really long weekend then. Hell with it, quit and become a moonie or something. I hear it's quite relaxing."

"I think there's some sort of no drug rule."

"Probably so they can fill you full of their own."

"Maybe."

"That's it, I'm getting you a cab. You're too miserable to have lunch with. Has Brett been cutting the coke with Nytol again?"

"I don't know. Yeah, get the cab. You're right, today's a waste."

Half an hour later, Vanessa was opening the door of a dirty yellow cab for Sadie when she leaned over suddenly.

"I suggest that you get Brett to give you something to pep you up when you get home. Either that- or get a doctor. It ain't natural to be exhausted at one in the afternoon." she whispered.

"Yeah, sure." Sadie muttered, and fell, rather than climbed, into the cab.

 

 

Somehow, Sadie found the strength to get out the cab once it arrived at her apartment building on Fiftieth Street and to haul herself into the elevator. She leaned heavily against the wall until it reached her floor. Once she had arrived, she unlocked the door and let herself in.

"Hi, Brett." she called out tiredly into the spacious living room. "Don't shoot, it's Sadie and I don't have any DEA agents behind me or anything." Brett appeared from the master bathroom half dressed, a towel around his shoulders and holding a damp toothbrush. "You know," she said as she fell on the sofa. "for a drug dealer sometimes you look positively ordinary."

"Would you rather I looked like the types you see on 'Miami Vice'?" his voice was rough from smoking too much too long.

"Some of them are quite sexy." Sadie countered.

"And I'm

"Darling, you're divine."

"Glad to hear it. What are you doing home so early? You must have spent a whole two hours at work."

"Fifteen minutes, actually. I spent the rest of the time at lunch with Vanessa."

"Cartwright?"

"Yes."

"Oh. I called her earlier."

"I heard. And it wasn't even for anything important either, fancy that."

"How would you know?" he asked sharply. Oh terrific, Sadie thought.

"She told me, alright?! Of her own free will, no less."

"You still haven't told me why you're back so early."

"I'm damn tired, that's why. Vanessa suggested you had been cutting the coke with Nytol."

"I haven't done that for years." Brett had wandered back into the bathroom to get rid of his toothbrush and towel.

"Fine. It's just that I haven't felt this tired since I had a lunch date in Singapore and a dinner appointment in London the same day."

"Poor baby." Brett had returned. He placed a yellow gelatin coated capsule on" the black coffee table that Sadie had her feet on. "There, that'll cheer you up."

"How much?" Sadie asked suspiciously.

"Too much for you to want to go back to work." Brett told her.

"Great." Sadie picked up the pill. "Get me some coffee or something to take this with."

"Your wish is my command." Brett went into the kitchen and got her a glass of water.

"That'll be a first." Brett returned with the water and Sadie swallowed the anonymous capsule. "So, why am I so goddamn tired, Brett?"

"How would I! know?" Brett shrugged.

"Just that that remark of Vanessa's got me thinking."

"Don't strain yourself."

"Shut up. And I figured that it was probably something to do with my morning pick-me-up."

"You're probably building up a resistance to the stuff."

"Oh terrific. My bank account is going to start looking like Vanessa's."

"Vanessa's a stupid girl, she doesn't know what she wants."

"And that is?"

"Many things."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"Anything you please."

"Fine." Sadie tilted her head back and regarded the ceiling for a minute and then giggled suddenly.

"What's so funny?" Brett asked, already knowing the answer.

"I think the ceiling is moving. Are we in San Francisco or something?"

"No."

"Oh, it's that yellow thing. That was fast. What the hell is it?" Sadie was now looking through her pocketbook and giggling at certain things in it.

"Magic."®¯"Oh, alright. But I thought- oh never mind what I thought, I'm high."

"Uh-huh. That's the point of it."

"Hmm." Sadie stretched out on the sofa and closed her eyes. "Brett?" she said suddenly.

"Yeah?"

"Are you going out today?"

"Well, I was thinking about it." Sadie whined childishly for a moment. "But I'll stay in if you want."

"Yeah, that's what I want. I want you to stay here and look after me." she said dreamily. "Look after little Sadie."

"Yeah, I'll look after you, babe." Brett said quietly, taking her hand. "I'll always be here to look after you."

 

 

¯Sadie continued using cocaine for the next two months, gradually needing more for her 'morning pick-me-up." and depending on Brett's pep pills when she crashed too hard. She was aware of the fact that her slipping into the bathroom, or some other private area, every two hours at the office was noticeable, and that some people were drawing the correct conclusions. But she had never cared about what her underlings thought or knew before, and tried not to now. Brett had kept his promise to look after her very well.

 

 

Sadie lounged on her sofa, staring at some inane game show on the TV and enjoying a particularly fine batch of coke. Yep, the Colombians did know how to do their stuff. Her languor was shot when Brett entered the apartment, slammed the door after him, and started to swear vehemently.

"What's wrong?" she asked, trying to keep the panic out of her voice.

"This goddamnned rookie I took on last month, that's what!"

"Yeah, you mentioned that you got someone new. What's wrong with him?"

"Too many things." Brett had attempted to calm down, but it didn't make him sound any less frightening. "First of all, he's been overcharging the customers and pocketing the)' excess himself-"

"Why?"

"I guess he doesn't think I pay him enough, damn him. Find me another business where you can make twenty thousand a week."

"That's all? No wonder you moved in."

"Please don't do whatever it is you're trying to do, I'm not in the mood to appreciate it." he said darkly.

"Sorry." Sadie was too high to get offended at his rough tone.

"And then I discover that he's been telling that asshole, Pasade, who my best customers are and where to find them."

"Who's Pasade? A narc?"

"No, it's not quite that bad. He's one of my many competitors. God, I don't need to enter a bargaining war."

"But why would he, I mean the upstart, do that?"

"He's a greedy little son of a bitch, that's why."

"Aha."

"Yeah, capitalism strikes again. Thing is, the boy has got to be taught a lesson, and I'm not sure how."

"I'm sure you'll think of something."

"You bet your ass I will. And he isn't going to forget it, either."

 

 

¯The Barrel Bar on Twenty Second Street was a dark dive and not famous for it's bright and witty clientele, especially during happy hour. Sadie felt irritable and was currently taking it out on a coaster. She tried, and succeeded somewhat, to ignore the conversation being yelled over the Red Sox game that was being shown on the fuzzy wide screen television in the rear of the bar. Thick smoke clung to the air, taking the edge off the many loud raucous voices.

"Oh yeah? Well, let me tell you my friend..."

"And she had the biggest-" Laughter.

"Five on the Sox, my man."

She brushed her hair out of her eyes and regarded her glass of what appeared to be grape juice, but the barman had the nerve to call white wine, with a slightly aggravated expression. She was considering ordering something a trifle harder, like vodka, gasoline and tequila, when an unfamiliar voice from behind interrupted her thoughts of alcoholic suicide.

"Good evening." he said. "Sadie. I presume?" She turned around to see a man in his early twenties with short dark curly hair and a mustache. He wore a much abused rock shirt and jeans in a similar state.

"Uh-huh." she said, once she had appraised him. "What do you want?" she asked roughly.

"It's not what I want that matters." Sadie frowned. "Brett sends his apologies," he continued. "he couldn't make it. I'm Dave."

"Alright." Sadie ignored his proffered hand. "Let's talk somewhere a little more private. Or at least, quieter." Sadie grabbed her purse, left a tip she thought would be suitably insulting and headed for the door, Dave in tow.

"Ok." she said once they got outside. "Where's Brett?"

"I told you already. He couldn't make it. Busy, he said."

"Fine. I need coke, about a quarter kilo."

"Throwing a party?" He grinned.

"Uh-huh, and you're not invited. Hand it over."

"Brett only gave me two grams."

"And how in hell am I going to spin that out, may I ask?"

"I don't know. I just brought what he gave me. He made some joke a/-bout "moving you up" tonight."

"Oh really?" she said icily. "To what?"

"I don't know. Heroin?" he suggested in what he hoped to be a joking voice.

"Oh Brett's being a comic tonight. A real fucking comic." she paused, waiting for some people who had just left the bar to stagger across the trash blown street. "Fine, give me what you've got."

"Cash and carry, lady." Dave said harshly. Sadie rose an eyebrow at the sudden change.

"Hmm, it seems we actually have a brain in our head." Sadie said sarcastically.

"I do." he replied curtly. "I don't know about you." Sadie smiled coldly, reached into her purse and brought out a much abused wallet.

"You're a little nervous." she observed. "You just gave me the worst look. What's the matter? Did you think I was looking for something other than my money?"

"No." Dave lied and Sadie saw straight through him. Suppressing a grin, she handed him a wad of bills, mostly tens, and waited while Dave roughly checked the amount. "Alright." he finally said. "Here you go." he handed her a small envelope which she quickly thrust into her purse.

"I'm glad that's over with." Sadie sighed, relaxing. "I always find drug deals so seedy."

"They are."

"I suppose so, but still, do we have to be so stereotypical? I mean, I've rejected too many books with scenes like this."

"Truth is stranger than fiction." Sadie smiled broadly, no longer irritated or ill at ease.

"Isn't that the truth." She stopped for a moment, obviously thinking, and then gave Dave an appraising look, more intense than the one she gave him at the beginning of their meeting.

"What's with the once over?" he asked defensively.

"I'm sizing you up for meat cuts." she replied absently. Dave's laughter was brittle. Sadie stopped her appraisal as quickly as she had begun it. She glanced at the street behind her.

"It's a little late to be looking out for observers. I suppose." she said.

"Hmm? Yeah, sure."

Sadie looked around again. "I was just wondering..."

"Go on."

"About that party you're not invited to."

"Uh-huh."

"Well, that's not until tomorrow night, and me being such a sociable person..." Dave nodded, guessing what was coming. "Oh hell, forget delicacy. Wanna come back to my place?" Dave almost laughed.

"I've nothing against sociability," he began. "but no thanks. It's not very ethical to mix business with pleasure, so to speak."

"It's hardly an ethical business." Sadie snapped, annoyed at Dave's refusal.

"It's more than that as well, I'm afraid us lowly types have been warned about you."

"Warned about me." Sadie said with deceptive calm. "Really? By whom?"

"Brett."

"Ah, I see. Well, I must have a word or two with him the next time we get together." Dave winced at her sudden coldness

"Yeah, well, too bad. I've gotta go, alright?" Sadie nodded. "Fine. See you around." Dave turned away and started walking towards Twenty First Street.

"Oh, hang on!" Sadie yelled after Dave was only a few yards away. "I can't wait, could you give Brett a message for me, if I write it down?" She was now rummaging through her purse.

"I suppose so." Dave grudingly admitted.

"Oh, terrific. Here we go." Sadie had found what she was looking for. Dave had turned around, expecting to see her removing a pen and paper from her purse. The shock that ran up her arm as she first fired the Glock 17 at Dave was nothing compared to the the shock that Dave received when the unexpected bullets tore his body apart. The gun was nearly jarred out of her hand, but her grip remained firm until she had emptied the nine shot clip.

Not even glancing at the rather bloody work she had done, Sadie put the gun away and walked away from the corpse until she found a phone box on Twenty Fifth Street. She dialed her own phone number and waited until she heard the answering machine pick up.

"Hi, Brett, I know you're there and you're just too paranoid to pick up the phone. You don't have to worry about your upstart employee anymore. I'll give you the gory details when I get there, see you soon." she blew a kiss down the phone and hung up.

Leaving the phone booth, she looked at the amorphous lump that lay three blocks away, and tutted. "There has to be a neater way of killing people." she muttered to herself as she hailed a passing taxi.

 

Sadie strolled into her apartment and threw her purse on the sofa.

"Brett, you can come out now." she called out. "What the hell am I supposed to do with this gun?" Brett appeared from the kitchen.

"Don't worry about it, I'll get rid of it."

"Good." Sadie sat down on the nearest chair. "Do you want the gory details like I promised?"

"If you want to recount them, sure." Sadie wrinkled her nose fastidiously.

"Not particularly. It was all rather sudden, really. Bang and that was it. Well, rather, nine bangs and that was it, no more Dave to worry Brett."

"At least I don't have to bother with the bi-monthly 'watch your step speech to the others." Brett said.

"What are the police going to think?"

"They'll find the money on him and just say 'yet another drug deal gone bad' leaving us in the clear. Isn't New York wonderful?"

"Terrific. Thinking of wonderful things, I'm feeling a tad bit guilty about killing someone..." she trailed off and looked at Brett hopefully.

"Want something to take your mind off it?" he asked. She nodded. "No problem, hang on." Brett disappeared into the bathroom.

"I mean, I don't feel all that bad." Sadie said, hiding her true feelings. "But I do owe you something for all you've done for me."

"Hey, you've always paid me on time, what more could I want?" Brett said from the bathroom.

"I suppose so. But you didn't exactly try the soft sell on this idea, either."

"Honey, I needed someone that stood no chance of being recognized in that area. You were the first to leap to mind."

"I suppose I should feel honored." she sighed.

"Of course not. It was a nasty deed. But necessary" Brett handed her two of the now familiar yellow pills. Sadie frowned.

"What's with this? Why can't I have my coke?"

"You said the coke's been giving you nosebleeds. I don't want to mar your pretty face." he explained. "That and you are building up a resistance to the stuff. I can't have you snort me out of business."

"You just pointed out that I always pay you on time." Sadie replied sullenly.

"You know what I mean." Brett said. "Go on, take those instead. You like those too."

"Yeah, I do." Sadie reached for the water that Brett had also brought out with him and took the uppers. "But why two?"

"I figured that pretty soon, the shock's gonna hit you, so I decided to stop it now."

"Mighty thoughtful of you." she leaned back and waited for them to take effect. Ten minutes later, she noted a distinct lack of euphoria.

"Brett, I think this batch is dud or something."

"No they're not." he said firmly.

"How would you know?"

"I know." was ?=all he would say.

Ten minutes after that, Sadie knew something was wrong. Instead of the usual mind distortion, she felt sluggish and depressed.

"Brett," she said thickly. "there's something wrong with these uppers. I'm sure of it."

"Probably because there is something wrong with them." Brett had sat down on the coffee table, across from her. Panic flew into Sadie's mind.

"What do you mean?"

"My dear, you just took five hundred milligrams of valium."

"What?" Sadie's mind was screaming, but her body had long since taken it's own course.

"Ah, well, how shall I put this tactfully?" he thought for a moment and then shrugged. "No, this is a time to be blunt. I've had enough of you." he announced.

"So you're going to kill me? A little radical isn't it?" Sadie, despite her heavily drugged state, realized there wasn't anything she could do now, and viewed her fate with detachment.

"I suppose it is. I wouldn't do it if I hadn't had you kill Dave, but as it I can't run the risk of having a jealous ex-love?r with the guilts running to the police about me."

"Were you planning to..." Sadie was having an increasingly difficult time voicing her rapidly fading thoughts.

"Dump you already? Yes, actually. I could only see this going for a few months before I got bored and when this Dave thing blew up, I saw the best way to kill two birds with one stone, or bullet, or pill."

"I see."

"Indeed you do?"

"Future?" she asked dully.

"You? None whatsoever. But as for me, well remember I said a while ago that Vanessa doesn't know what she wants?" Sadie nodded. "Well, she finally made a decision, a special occasion indeed, and I'm moving out of here to her place. Once I've reported the untimely suicide of my girlfriend, that is."

"Murder."

"No, darling, suicide. Everyone knows what a stressful job you have and the strain has been showing recently. Finally, in an attempt to escape, you overdosed on the tranquilizers you bought to help you cope with your migraines."

"You'll kill Vanessa." Sadie said in a sudden lucid moment.

"No, I don't think so. The police may get suspicious then. She might get attacked in Central Park, maybe. I'll see how the next few months progress." Brett examined Sadie's eyes. "You're going fast. Perhaps I overdid it a tad. Not that it really matters."

"You bastard."

"I've been called worse by better people." Brett said roughly. "Well I'm going out for a late night drink now, and when I return, I'll have to start playing the part of a grief stricken man."

Brett got up and took his coat out of the closet near the door. "Good night, darling." he blew Sadie a kiss, turned out the lights, and left.