Author Note: WordPress Reader is doing an odd thing where an unrelated picture appears at the top of this post, but I can’t delete it. I’ll check when I’m on my desktop.
Tuesday, July 3, 2415 | Sunset Valley, Valverde
“Why are we here again?”
Kass narrowed her eyes, trying to see into the dingy room. A thick smoke clouded her vision, thanks to the odd blue and green lights. She jumped, startled by the rusting door slamming against its frame. The furniture was terribly outdated. There was even a stack of broken chairs from when people got a little rowdy and used their seats as improvised weapons. The seedy part of the Valley along the highway, she noted. Save a few motorcyclists sitting on bar stools and one lone girl clad in leather shaking her groove thing on the dance floor, the joint was mostly empty. It was midweek, Kass surmised.
“Because…” Kass began, taking Davis’ hand.
They passed by a hulking man leaning against the wall, his arms crossed, wearing dark sunglasses indoors, a cigarette perched in his lips staring. She offered a thin smile and hurried past before tilting her head toward her boyfriend. A swill of cheap perfume, body odor, and watery beer assaulted her nose.
“This is where my contact in the police department said that street vendor, hangs out on Wednesday evenings,” she whispered, stepping over a chewed up wad of gum on the floorboards.
“You mean, Detective Goddard?” Davis’ eyes widened, and she noticed he casually released her hand.
“No,” she frowned. “We’re here for Joel Astroman.”
“No, I mean your contact in the police department,” Davis grimaced. “Detective Hank Goddard, right? You should be careful.”
“Why?” she asked, a smile blossoming on her face. “Are you jealous?”
“No,” a muscle twitched in Davis’ cheek. “…but he’s a little too interested in you.”
“He’s been helpful,” Kass shrugged as they approached the bar. “Nothing more. Nothing less.”
“Riiight,” Davis said as if he didn’t believe her and helped her onto a bar stool.
She nearly slipped right off, feeling some liquid on her rear end. She made a face when she realized she sat on a squished fry and ketchup.
“Excuse me,” she directed at the bartender. “You didn’t clean your seats between customers.”
The patrons at the bar all glanced in her direction, and the bartender rolled her eyes as she tossed a napkin Kass’ way.
“This isn’t like a restaurant, you know,” Davis said, in a hushed tone.
“Yeah,” Kass bobbed her head and gulped as she wiped the seat and dabbed at her skirt. “But yikes!”
“You said this was country night,” Davis said, quirking a brow. “I would’ve worn something less… uh… conspicuous,” he straightened the collar of his plaid button-down shirt.
“I thought so too. At least that’s what Ayesha told me,” Kass recalled, placing her hands on the hips of her khaki shorts. “Maybe she had this place confused with somewhere else. It’s called Rodeo-Go-Go…” she lifted her hand to her face as she adjusted the strap on her wedges. “I don’t know how much more country you can get.”
Davis chuckled. “Obviously, you’ve never spent much time in the country.”
“Or in here,” Kass smirked. “Or any bar for that matter.”
“You gonna order somethin’, hon?” the bartender with the spiky hair, the unnatural blonde color clashing with her darker skin asked, throwing a towel over her shoulder.
Now I could’ve used that rather than a lousy paper napkin!
“…or are you gonna yap all day to your man?” the bartender continued with an annoyed edge to her tone.
“Uh…” Kass’ jaw dropped open at the rudeness of the woman.
“Yeah, we’ll have two waters,” Davis replied, tipping his hat politely when his girlfriend couldn’t respond.
“We only serve paying customers,” the woman snipped. “You come to a bar… you drink. If you want water…” she thumbed over her shoulder. “…it’s in the horse trough out back.”
This gained a guffaw or two from the other customers at the counter. Kass’ cheeks reddened when the bartender dismissed her follow-up request for nectar. Wow! I’m off to a great start! Guess they don’t serve fruit-of-the-vine here. She straightened to her full height and stuck her nose in the air ever so slightly.
“A shot of Bernish whiskey…” she ordered, and deliberately left off the ‘please.’ “…and…” she demonstrated with her thumb and index finger “…cream… and he’ll have…” she glanced over at Davis. “I’m buying,” she offered.
“A glass of that trough water,” he added with a straight face.
Kass smirked and turned her attention back to the bartender. “And some of your deep-fried onion rings.”
The lady rolled her eyes and shook her head, but pulled the amber bottle with the red label and poured two shot glasses, topping each drink with a bit of cream, and placed the drinks before each of them.
“I didn’t order this,” Davis shook his head.
“Yeah, it’s the water of life,” she dismissed him.
“Great!” Kass slid off the barstool. “Your pool table?”
“In the balcony,” the bartender pointed. “I’ll yell when your order’s ready.”
“Thanks,” Kass replied, and pulled Davis’ arm, guiding him toward the stairs.
“Pool table?” Davis repeated, and narrowed his eyes. “And I didn’t want this.”
“When in Rome…” Kass waved her free hand, though she supposed this place was the furthest thing from the ancient Eorthe society. “…you can’t come to a bar and order water. I know that much,” she sighed. “We look like total noobs. Thanks for coming with. Ayesha couldn’t get out of a family dinner.”
“She come here a lot?” Davis squinted.
“Ayesh knows every place in town,” Kass replied, adjusting her spaghetti strap underneath a cute green button-down. “But I have no idea why Rodeo-Go-Go is a biker bar rather than a country bar.”
“Oh this place is charming,” Davis bobbed his head and adjusted his cowboy hat as they climbed the steps. “It’s…” his foot crashed through the worn wooden step.
No one even flinched at the sound, or looked up. Everyone was focused on the poker game on the television.
“…just this once?” Kass forced a smile and took his drink as he pulled himself out of the broken step.
“…such a dive!” Davis scowled.
Kass inhaled sharply. “It won’t be a typical date night, I promise,” she patted his chest. “Now we have a better view of the bar so we can see when my contact comes in.”
“So you had an ulterior motive for coming upstairs?” he tilted his head.
She smiled. “Exactly.”
He nodded and set their glasses on a tiny table. “Since we’re here…” he pulled out the pool rack.
Kass downed her shot and watched her boyfriend perfectly line up billiard balls. She rubbed her chest as she swallowed the smooth golden liquid, the cream sweetening the drink. To be completely honest, she ordered the first thing that came to mind, something she read in a book. Not like Nonno’s Cranerlet Nuala that he drinks with dinner nor like dad’s foul-smelling blonde ale that he kicks back every once in awhile. It wasn’t like she had that much experience with ‘juice,’ but she half-expected Davis to know more and order something alcoholic.
“Do you really want water?” she asked. “I can go see if I can find someone else to get us a glass.”
“Naw,” he shrugged. “It’s okay. You can have my shot though if you want.”
“Are you sure?” she winced.
“Yeah, I’m driving,” he said, but it sounded more like an excuse than the truth.
Kass didn’t pry. Maybe he didn’t drink on principle. Something to do with his faith. The second shot swished down even more smoothly. The door opened downstairs and she peeked over the railing. Not Joel. She narrowed her eyes. This place didn’t seem like the kind of joint a scrawny police informant would patronize, but Detective Goddard said his partner often met informants here.
Davis picked up pool cues and handed one to Kass. He explained a few rules, but Kass wasn’t really listening. She couldn’t imagine why Detective Hunter would pick this locale. The place was lacking. She would still prefer a glass of wine and civilized waitresses any day.
But that was the exact reason she was here tonight – to catch Detective Hunter with his informant. Supposedly, he would occasionally meet Joel, and Kass wanted to ask the guy if he could identify the people who sold him the brooch. Maybe they were the same people who were in the Sell’n’Swap.
When she called the police station, all Hank would tell her, once she finally reached him, was that Detective Hunter was following up a lead on the brooch. He seemed surprised that his partner hadn’t mentioned the shopkeeper handing over the stolen piece. After checking the storage, he was unable to find the brooch so he supposed Detective Hunter still had it in his possession.
“Do you think he’ll show?” Davis asked.
“Yeah, why?” Kass frowned.
She had been tempted to mention her shocking discovery of Bella to the detective. She thought about giving them a copy of the video tape with Madison outside the Big Box Superstore, but decided to turn over that information to Jennifer first. Her boss was excited by the surprising evidence as they had been attempting to create a timeline of Madison’s last week, and build a case against the baby’s father. When a pregnant woman is murdered, the father is always a suspect, Jennifer explained.
Davis lined up his shot. “The goal of the game is…”
Kass was barely paying attention. Jennifer wasn’t convinced the woman on the tape was Bella Goth. The wannabe security guard, future artist-slash-sales clerk, Stacy had graciously made Kass a copy, especially after Kass paid her half a week’s salary. New canvases aren’t cheap, Stacy said. It was just one more reminder that Kass didn’t make much at her job, but she didn’t mind doing grunt work and filing for the legal aid office if it meant catching bad guys.
“Was that good?” she asked after he finished his first shot.
“Eh,” he shrugged, leaning heavily on his palm on the edge of the table.
She pushed her thumb through her belt loop of her high-waisted shorts and waited for him to continue, realizing she had a moment before it would be her turn.
Stacy had cleaned up the image as best as she could, but Jennifer argued the lady could’ve been a lookalike. It wasn’t anywhere near Spooky Day so Kass really didn’t think it was a costume, but it wasn’t like she and her friends had never dressed up as characters from one of Bella’s television productions or movies. Still the woman outside Big Box was a material witness, Jennifer consented, and if they could find her, they could ask her questions.
Yeah, like why she needed those specific push-pins. And why would she exercise caution only to get caught on camera outside the store? Even if it was just her profile? And why hang a flier in Jade’s Java Jolt with a misspelled word that links back to a defunct travel agency? If it ever existed. Connected to a law office? And Bella’s phone number? The whole thing was too coincidental. Despite the number of times Kass ran the conspiracy theories in her mind, she couldn’t generate a good enough answer.
How did I just so happen to stumble onto all these random details? her eyes widened. It was like someone had dropped breadcrumbs, leading her to some conclusion. She chewed her lower lip. …but to what?
Author Notes: Thanks for reading. A few things… I had just added Starlight Shores to my game when I captured these screenshots the first time. For whatever reason, I plopped Rodeo Go-Go into Sunset Valley and sent Kass there to “test” out the lot. Excuse the bad lighting. I hadn’t figured out how to disable “full moon” effects yet in game so it’s the “zombie moon night.” The bartender is Kay Shaikh. Bernish whiskey is a play on “Irish whiskey.” Hibernia is my Sims world version of Ireland/Scotland. Irish whiskey is referred to as “the water of life.” You can download a Baileys bottle (and other alcohol) for your Sims 3 game from Around the Sims 3. Hope you enjoyed!