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Sure, now I remembered. She was the girl singer at the Hotel Taft Grill. A woman of some talent but you knew that, for some reason, she would never make it. She saw too much, knew even more, and got so very little in return from the men she went out with. I was no exception.

My head was pounding while my brain was trying to convince the rest of my body that sitting up would be a good idea. The girl started to move, tilted her head a little, and then faced me. She let out a soft sigh and then licked those luscious red lips. Her eyelashes fluttered briefly as she gradually opened her eyes.

“Morning,” she said softly, only half awake.

She smiled while slowly pulling up the sheets against her ample breasts.

“Morning,” I replied. This was always an awkward moment between men and women. After all, there usually wasn’t much you could say that wouldn’t sound sappy or insincere.

She stretched out her hand and laid it carefully against my chest. She rubbed it gently, just teasing me, acting like a playful kitten that wanted some immediate attention. Yes, she was up, but I still had a long way to go.

Suddenly, the phone next to the bed rang. The loud, shrill, ringing noise pierced my head like a nail. Damn. Who could be calling me at the ungodly hour of 11:00 a.m.?

I reached out and fumbled with the receiver. I knew who it was as soon as she started talking.

“Hello, Nick?” The Chief wants to see you right away. It’s urgent. Come on, lover boy, get dressed and get your tail downtown in a hurry. He really wants to see you NOW.”

It was Grace Thomas, my boss’ personal secretary. If Grace was hunting me down on a Saturday morning, it had to be important.

“Uh-huh,” was all I could manage. My head needed about 50 aspirins, but I wasn’t complaining.

“What’s the old man want?” I asked in a low, barely audible, growl.

“Just get down here. He told me to tell you to get your pants back on, drop the dish, and get your ass into his office right now.”

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