| The air smelled of wet concrete. Not a bad smell but nothing that anyone would associate with good memories either. Just the smell of a city, concrete buildings and sidewalks.
Mike walked in through the marble lobby of the somewhat seedy office building. The Metropolitan had seen better days, Mike thought, pushing the round button for the elevator, but it suited him. It was much like him, getting old and dirty in ways that could not be cleaned. A building that had seen better days.
The door to his office was open and he pushed inside, expecting to see his secretary, Velda, at her desk. No one sat comfortably in the black Zellers office chair. Likewise there was none of the usual sounds of Velda at work, file doors being opened and papers shuffled or the light steps of a beautiful woman. Not in Mike's office or the spare office further down the corridor, the one used for filing mostly... and the espresso machine that had followed Mike home a while back. A gift from a mobster who couldn’t pay his bill, being dead at the time.
Reaching down with his right, Mike eased back his nylon jacket, and rested a hand on the 45. No reason to be alarmed, just keeping his options open. Something was wrong here.
Maybe he was getting jumpy, Mike briefly considered before throwing out the idea. You don’t stay alive this long without listening to that little voice in the back of your head.
He moved through the rooms quietly, already knowing their emptiness. He could feel when he was the only one here, a familiarity bought by long nights spent on the old leather couch in his office. Too many nights and to much alone time with only his 45 for company. You could spend to much time alone with your gun. It wasn't healthy.
Giving up the pointless search, Mike sat at Velda's desk facing the open door. No one came in to tell him what had happened. In fact no one seemed to be on the floor at all. The city seemed far away but if he listened hard Mike could still hear the horns and whistles of the street outside, and the far off siren of a ambulance racing somewhere. The never ending symphony of the city.
The sudden ringing of the phone beside him seemed natural when it came, almost like he had been waiting for it. His hand was lifting the bakelite receiver before he considered the action and then he was holding the thing close to his ear.
“What is it Pat?” Mike said.
“I'll be there.”
Dropping the receiver back in the cradle as he rose, Mike headed for the door, the door that still stood open, as if waiting for him to understand and re-enter the real world, the door that had opened to let in the violence and the change that Mike knew had come to his office ahead of him this morning.
He slammed the door shut behind him.