presenter and barman

3

She shuffled towards the table, twisting her hands in front of her. The man grinned at her as she approached. “Well would you look what Buck sent me as a present.” He waved at the barman. “Thanks Buck, I promise I won’t piss on your wall tonight!”

The barman scoffed and turned back to his patrons as he called over his shoulder. “I don’t believe you!”

The man turned his gaze back to Effie. He leaned back and patted his lap. “Well come and sit here, baby, there’s plenty of room.”

Effie grimaced. “Er, no thank you. I wanted to talk about a business proposal with you.”

“A proposal! We getting married already? Ah shit, time for the honeymoon then.” He looped an arm around her waist and pulled her onto his knees and his other hand grabbed her head so he could kiss her firmly, his mouth hard and wet from the whiskey on his lips.

She shrieked and slapped him, leaping off his lap. “No!” She cried, and thwacked him with her bag several times. The rest of the group around the table fell about laughing and the man threw his arms up to defend himself.  “Calm down darlin’, no need to get excited.”

“I am not excited.” She swept her hair back behind her ears and shouldered her bag again. “This was a terrible idea and now I’m leaving.”

He was in front of her before she’d made it to the door. “Where you going, sweetheart? Come on.” He put his arm out to stop her. “So we got off on the wrong foot. Name’s Sully. What’s this business you got for me? It involve cash?”

Effie frowned at him and drew herself up to her full height, though she only came up to his chest. “Yes. But I’m not hiring someone as incorrigible as you. You’re just a - a freeloader. Looking for someone to buy you your next drink.”

“Well shit, that’s a big word. How do you spell that? Come on, I’ll be good. Why do you think Buck sent you to me, huh? You’re not going to find anyone better around here. So what do you need?”

She tried to scowl but he looked smiling and cheerful now and much less predatory, and if this was the best a few coins could get her she loathed to think who else there was to hire. “Do you know much about the Mayan calendars?”

“Hard pass.”

“Oh we’ll be here all day. I’m looking for one, only it’s not a calendar it’s a star map, and it’s supposed to be up the Amazon -”

“Ok, hold it. I don’t know much about your calendar things but this is way too far south for the Maya.”

She sighed, exasperated. “It was supposed to be given as a gift to another tribe and passed South and then along the river. It’s a map to what could be one of the greatest archaeological finds in recent years.”

Sully raised an eyebrow and looked her slowly up and down. “And it’s going to be found…by you. What are you, like 18?”

“I’m 21,” she sniffed. “And no one’s found it yet because the only book about it has been in my family for generations. It’s just a myth to everyone else.”

“So you’re a baby with a book. Great. How much do you pay?”