Susanne Langlois's continuing Novella Blog:
"Dial 'L' for Lounge".
Chapter 2 -- The Appointment --
We stood in the dark chain-sucking menthol cigarettes, waiting for the monsoon to stop.
Neither of us spoke. The tattoo of the raindrops on the tin canopy outside was deafening. Eventually the fumes in that six by six pigeonhole were so dense you didn't need to light up ...
you could just inhale.
After what seemed like hours the stranger broke the spell. " Name's Ric but everybody calls me Mr. Lounge. Glad you could make it." He said.
Ric pulled a full size retro telephone from his trench coat pocket. The end of the unconnected coil cord, dangled free. "I'll give Harleigh a call" Ric said, dialing a single number on the enormous rotary phone. "I'll see what's keeping him."
Now I had no idea what Ric meant by ' glad you could make it', or who Harleigh was ... but considering that I had wandered into a town straight out of the Twilight Zone, Armageddon raged outside and I could hear a dialtone on the unplugged phone -- I just went with it.
"Yeh, no problem ... I'm Trig, Trig Mixter" I said, stabbing my hand in his general direction. Ric's hand was ice cold -- his grip was like a vice.
The rain stopped as though a faucet had been turned off. Thunder rumbled far away. Harleigh
appeared in the doorway and the sun came out. " No taxis in this part of town." Harleigh said.
Mr. Lounge stuffed the five pound phone back into his trench coat. "Gentlemen" he said, holding the interior door of the vestibule open for Harleigh and me. "after you.'