DaRose was sitting discontentedly in his room, listening to the waves clamor aside the vessel. It had been three days since the disappearance of Joakim. DaRose decided to sit this one out for a few days, letting the chips fall into place. Now he was thinking that his plan may have been flawed. The chips did not comply. They did not fall. All was quiet on the ship. It was time to make a move.
DaRose emerged from his cabin to greet a gloomy day. He figured it must be close to dusk. In reality it was ticks after noon. The clouds and thick air did not bring out many people on DaRose’s deck, save for a crumpled floppy-haired man some thirty yards down. DaRose started in that direction. As he came closer, DaRose realized he knew the man. His name was Kyle. He was a gambler, a derelict, and a loser. DaRose pitied him. DaRose stopped in front of the wasted wad of a man. He appeared to be out cold. DaRsoe nudged his shoulder with his shoe. Kyle spun onto to his back with his legs and arms in front of him in a sort of defensive position. He yelled out, “Who are ya talking about?!” Then slowly gathered his bearings. He let down his guard and tried to shift himself upright. “DaRose, how are you doing, sir?” he asked.
“Fine. What kind of mess are you in now?” he said to the broken man.
Kyle pulled an empty bottle of Thunderbird out from under him and turned it upside-down to confirm its lack of liquid. He pitched the bottle over the railing he was using for support and dropped his head into his hands. “No mess,” he mumbled, “This is where I sleep now when I cannot find a friendly room.”
DaRose correctly guessed that most nights there was not a friendly room available for the vagrant. He pulled a flask from his inner jacket pocket and offered it to the defeated bum. “Here ya are. Take a nip.”
Kyle looked up from his hands. His eyes locked on the flask. He was a kid on Christmas. Snatching the flask, he turned to his mouth and took down a healthy portion.
“Jeez, I said a nip, you sleeze,” DaRose protested.
Kyle took the flask from his lips and sheepishly offered it back to DaRose. DaRose wiped the opening of the flask off with his handkerchief and took a nip himself. He looked back down at the bum and asked, “Say, when’s is the last time you saw Joakim?”
Klyle responded with a shrug of his shoulders and then his eyes focused back on the flask. DaRose rolled his eyes and handed the scumbag his nectar. Kyle took another generous dose and began speaking, “You know, I recall seeing that hairball about four days ago. He stepped over me right after that no-good wench, Gertrude, threw me down a flight of stairs.” Then to himself, he asked, “Where was that?” He took another sip of the juice, as if it had the answer to his question. “Oh yeah, it was in T-Section. Taj’s territory.”
DaRose felt a bit of energy from the prospect of the lead. He grabbed his flask back from Kyle’s hands when something caught his eye. Down the deck he saw what looked to be a tall and slim Swedish pirate dressed in modern, flamboyant clothing. He was leaning against a wall, smoking a cigarette in a long cigarette holder. After catching DaRose’s eye, the Swede held his gaze for a moment, let out a cackle, and then vanished around the corner.