A Memory in the Black (The New Aeneid Cycle)

A Memory in the Black (The New Aeneid Cycle) by Michael G. Munz

Book: A Memory in the Black (The New Aeneid Cycle) by Michael G. Munz Read Free Book Online
Authors: Michael G. Munz
attention. Plus it's just, I don't know, comfortable."
    "Come to think of it, Felix wore sunglasses in here when I first met him. I wonder if the bartender remembers me." Michael led the way toward the bar at the center of the room.
    The late-morning crowd was sparse, and though conversations in the place had always seemed muted unless there was about to be a fight, it felt quieter now. Most were drinking alone. What talk there was got drowned out by the white noise of the metal rock that was as pervasive as the brown-orange light that dominated the establishment. The bar was one of the few spots in the place where a bit of white light shone. Portioned out by a few fluorescents tucked away in the rafters, it barely managed to cut through the rest.
    The two men each took a stool and waited to catch the attention of the bartender, who seemed content to take his time pouring something for a sullen man on the other side.
    D aylight swelled from the entrance as the door swung open and a man and woman strode in wearing leisure street armor tagged with Aegis Security insignia. Michael gave them a sidelong glance and noted the stun grenades and auto-pistols at their belts. They looked over the area briefly and then made for a table.
    Marc heaved a sigh. "Guns make me nervous when there isn't someone out to kill me."
    "Relax," Michael whispered. "If anything, you're safer in here. Diomedes told me people here don't like to have their drinks interrupted by gunfire. I saw a brawl once. No one much cared until one of 'em pulled out a gun and I guess at least a dozen guys drew on him until he holstered it."
    "Yeah, I figure no one likes a ricochet . Good news, I suppose. Hopefully ESA won't come at me with a crowbar."
    Michael expected he could probably handle a crowbar, but the bartender approached before he could say so.
    "What can I getcha?"
    "Yeah, um, a pint of whatever's on tap," Michael ordered, guessing it was probably better to do that before asking for information.
    Michael took the opportunity while Marc ordered to glance at the two freelancers who'd come in. Something familiar struck him. Was that? It was. They were in the booth he and Diomedes had shared in the last night he'd been here. It was there that his old mentor had first dubbed Michael a freelancer and allowed him to join him on a job. Then so much had happened in the few days that followed.
    His eyes had been opened.
    The bartender returned with the drinks and broke Michael from his reverie. He took a little time rummaging for his wallet to pay in order to stall while he tried to think of just what to say to the man. He put the cash down on the counter, plus an excessive tip. "Keep the change."
    The bartender scooped it off the bar with barely a glance. "Who're you lookin' for?"
    "How do you know we're looking for someone?"
    The man shrugged. "Cause I ain't blind, and I ain't stupid. That's the kinda tip that either says yer lookin' for someone or ya broke somethin'." He glanced at Marc. "And I been wrong before, but you don't quite look in a breakin' mood."
    Alright. "We're looking for Diomedes. I know he used to come here a lot. Any sign of him lately?"
    "Diomedes?" The man said the name as if it meant nothing, with an expression and shrug to match.
    "Don't know him?" Michael asked, doubtful.
    "Why, he famous?"
    Struggling to not scowl, Michael changed his approach. "I don't suppose you remember me? I used to come here with him sometimes."
    The bartender sized him up. Marc sipped his beer and turned to look behind him while Michael waited.
    The bartender stood a bit taller to look down on him. "Yeah, I think I do at that. You ain't been here in a while, huh?"
    "So you do know him."
    "Lots of freelancers come in here, kid. Freelancers got enemies. I start tellin' every punk that asks about one of 'em, pretty soon I either got no business or a slug in my gut." He wiped the counter absently. "Ain't seen Diomedes in a week or so. Maybe more. I don't keep

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