PIC
Masks
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Chapter One
Cherry's "Kidnapping"
( Cherry is sitting waiting when ...) My daydreaming was interrupted as suddenly, the curtain is pulled aside and a figure appears. It's not the waiter. I raise my gaze and see a man who looks like an undertaker. He is holding a leash. He stands in silence for a moment, then taps the table. I reach into my bra and pull out the token I was given when I signed up. I tossed it into the table in his direction. It danced and spun. He slapped like he was swatting a fly. The silence returned. He picked up the coin and examined it before putting it in his pocket. Then he curled his finger at me, beckoning me to leave the safety of the booth. I pulled out my chair and was almost standing when I heard a click. In one swift and practiced motion, he had reached out and attached the leash to the ring on my collar. He tugged at it and we started walking to the exit. His movement was that of a person with a train to catch. Down the hall, to the exit, we went. He opened the door and we walked out into the alley. It may as well have been a graveyard. The air was stifling. Not a sound and only the moonlight shone through from above. (to be continued)

Chapter Two
Rex Knight, Private Detective
(Rex Knight, private eye, stands at the window of his office) The scent of coffee fills my nostrils. I take a sip. I hold my morning cup of java, allowing the steam to waft its aroma to my nose. I look back out the window. Monkeys, maybe that would be better than ants. Ants are orderly and work as a team. Monkeys, on the other hand, are cliquish. One second they are digging lice from your fur, the next they are tossing their shit at you. I chuckle, sip some hot coffee and look out again. Monkeys wearing the same black suits and white dresses dragging their little monkeys around with them. (to be continued)

Chapter Three
How a Diamond is made
(Diamond is reflecting on her past) I was 16 at the beginning of the war. The Nazis invaded Paris in May of 1940. I had managed to escape to the south, to Vichi, France. I stayed at many places along the way, abandond houses mostly, a few barns. It was hard to get food. Nothing was ripe in the fields, and what was there had been picked over by the others before me. I kept moving south. I knew I had to reach civilization sooner or later.

Then one morning I awoke as five men stared at me. They had guns. I was so afraid. I looked at them, standing between the hay I was laying in and the door to the barn. All in silhouette, with faces of darkness, some with smoke wafting from their cigarettes. They were all men. I closed my mouth which had been left open from a gasp of panic. Then I drew my dress over my legs, covering any temptation. Then one of them spoke, in French, and I hoped I had found safety.(to be continued)

Chapter Four
Max mets Diamond
That's when a brunette with long hair and a barely there dress came from the back, from one of the alcoves I presume. She sat at the other end and ordered a drink. I kept one eye on the entrance and the other on her. Her hair draped partly over her face, which didn't seem to bother her. She glanced over at the group which was now being lead away by the maître d'hôtel to a booth somewhere behind me and in the back. That left just her and me at opposite ends of the bar.

Hell, I have some time to burn. I got up and started moving to the other end of the bar, towards the mystery at the opposite end. The bartender caught my movement. I placed my empty glass mid-journey and asked for another. I arrived at the far end before my drink. He placed in front of me. She reviewed it.

"What a terrible torture for zee scotch to endure. Ice changes the" she paused , "Oh I don't know how to say it, zee arôme et saveur." She spoke with a French accent.

"It's Bourbon.", I replied.

"How terrible zen, for zee ice."(to be continued)

Chapter Five
In Persuit
(Arriving at In Persuit by cab) I got out paid the cabby, telling him the keep the change. I started toward the front door when I heard.

“Hey Bud!”

I returned and peered into the cab. He just looked at me and gave his head a sideways nod.

“Forget something?”

I looked into the back an there was Diamond, sitting patiently, looking at me. I walked around and opened the door for her. She glided her legs out and offered me her hand. I took it and helped her out. I closed the door and she cut me a stare, whispering. “Max, my dear, you are going to have to act like a gentleman now, if you want to treat me like a slut later.” (to be continued)