Coke with a Twist (A Mercy Watts short)

Coke with a Twist (A Mercy Watts short) by A.W. Hartoin Page A

Book: Coke with a Twist (A Mercy Watts short) by A.W. Hartoin Read Free Book Online
Authors: A.W. Hartoin
dusty martini glass.  
    I cocked an eyebrow at him. “Really?   A vodka gimlet.”
    “I don’t have any Dom Perignon ’53.”
    “Are you serious?”
    “Come on,” said Tom with a sheepish grin. “I just want to see you drink it.”
    “My dad would smack you in the mouth and you wouldn’t be the first.”
    “With a wife like that, who can blame him?” A blush bloomed across Tom’s red-veined cheeks. “Sorry. I didn’t mean anything by it.”
    “You’ve seen my mother, I take it.”
    “She dropped off your paperwork. She’s something, ain’t she?”    
    “That’s one way to put it,” I said.
    “She looks as much like Marilyn Monroe as you do. I guess you get that a lot,” said Tom.
    “You know it.” I tried to be nice, but I was irritated. One of these days, someone would notice a difference between me and Marilyn, but I wasn’t holding my breath. I look like my mother, who’s the spitting image of Marilyn. Together, we look like two versions of the same famous person. I’m Marilyn in Bus Stop and Mom’s Marilyn singing “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” to JFK. I’ve tried to fight it, but there it is.
    I sighed and sipped the gimlet. Tom looked so happy, I batted my eyelashes for him and gave him my best surprised look.
    “Holy crap,” he said. “That’s kind of freaky.”
    “I know and please don’t ask me to do it again.”
    “I won’t, but I have to ask this. Your dad calls you Mercy, but it says Carolina on your W-2. What’s the story?”
    I had half a drink left and nowhere to be, except bed. My boyfriend, Pete, was supposed to come by and he was late as usual. I gulped half my gimlet down and gave Tom the story I’d been telling since I was eight. Sometimes I embellished, but that night I gave him the straight dope.  
    “My father claims that he called me Mercy because it’s the first thing that came into his head when he laid eyes on my mother. My mother says I’m called Mercy because the night they brought me home from the hospital, I screamed for twelve hours straight. All my father could say during those hours was, ‘Have mercy.’ It stuck and I’ve been called Mercy since I was three days old. Mom also says that night and every day after is the reason I’m an only child.”  
    “Who do you believe?” Tom asked.
    “Mom. Dad’s a romantic.”
    “The famous Tommy Watts a romantic. I never would’ve guessed it.”
    I smiled and finished my drink as Pete walked in. He sat down next to me and tried to look contrite for being late. He failed. Pete was a surgical intern at the University Medical Center and terminally busy. Lucky for me it was a ten minute walk to the ABC or I probably wouldn’t have seen him for a couple of weeks. He was MIA most of the time and when he did show, he was late. He did love his work and it was hard to stay mad at such enthusiasm.  
    He spent the next ten minutes telling me, in detail, about a perforated bowel. I was a nurse, but bowel talk I could do without. My eyes glazed over and I put my head on the bar, but he ran the bowel full to the end.  
    “Are you looking for Josh Byers?” he asked just as my eyes started to close.
    “Who told you that?” I lifted my head and finished off my drink.
    “Nobody had to tell me. That case is huge, it happened in my old frat, and all the sudden you’re looking for a guy at the ABC,” said Pete, frowning. “I practically lived here during undergrad.”
    “Oh, really. Do you want to get something to eat?”
    “Don’t change the subject.”
    “What’s the subject?” I batted my eyes and tried to look clueless.  
    “Why didn’t you tell me you’re looking for a rapist?”
    “Well…,” I said.
    Technically, Byers wasn’t a rapist. Dad suspected him of drugging the victim, Lara Haven, with GHB, the date rape drug. Before he could get to her, she was raped and sodomized by a couple of happy opportunists, but they weren’t the smartest criminals in town. They managed to tell

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