“Its obviously code, like I said,” said Joakim, referring to the small journal in DaRose’s hand. “But my gut tells me that Mr. Rip would have left something in there that he knew we would figure out.”
“If he was planning on getting murdered,” DaRose thoughtfully countered.
Joakim half-shrugged, “With the cruel way God put the man together, Mr. Rip had to know his time was limited.”
The two men stewed over the book some more. After a bunch of silence and no epiphanies, DaRose spoke up in his typical half-mumble, “Maybe we should focus on what we do know.”
They sat there in more silence.
“Funk this,” Noah said. “I am going to have a cocktail. Are you interested?”
Rose reached out and grabbed a handful of Skittles from a bowl on his desk. “Nah, I am fine, thanks.”
Joakim left behind his man-in-arms and found himself instinctively making the correct turns to get to the lounge. His mind was elsewhere – zeroed in on a red zero. He felt the weight of the nothing digit. His stomach was nauseous. His mind was plagued. His mouth was thirsty. His legs were possessed. He entered the lounge.
It felt like a dream. The room was lit in red and largely full of patrons. Joakim took up a table in the back corner. Upon sitting down, he was able to command a view of the activity folding out before him. There were couples gathered for a cocktail, small groups trying to look comfortable while downing booze, and strangers talking among one another with even less grace. The five-piece band played hypnotic jazz from the opposite corner where Joakim sat. It was easy and not overwhelming, yet Joakim felt slightly disturbed.
A young, cute waitress moved her way to Joakim’s table. Her strides were robot-perfect. Her smile was glowing and very focused on Joakim. She laid down a cocktail napkin and set a drink on top of it. “Sheep milk white russian, equal parts,” she said in confirmation of a question that was never asked.
Joakim’s face was the picture of bewilderment. “Thanks,” he may of said. His hand went for the drink, half-afraid of it. Hand clenched around the harmless glass, Joakim brought it to his lips, and felt his right leg jerk as he tasted the concoction. His foot hit something solid. He reached a big paw beneath the table and felt a wet, cool wooden box. His mind felt like a scrambled mess.