Time drew out interminably as I stood by the door, waiting for some kind of follow-up sound to put the hammer falling into context. Finding none, I realized it was time to act.
Summoning up my courage, I knocked on the door and announced my presence. After a short pause, I heard something guttural — almost a muttered cough. It sounded enough like “come in,” though that I took the chance.
I tried the door handle and, finding it unlocked, opened the door slowly. The door opened inwards, allowing me to take in the view of Jason’s dimly lit office bit by bit. The first thing I saw was a collection of filing cabinets against the right wall, all with drawers half-open and whole forests worth of paper attempting to grow upwards out of their cabinet confines.
Next I saw a large table placed squarely in the center of the room in front of a curtained window. The table was littered with papers — maps, documents, photographs — as well as many empty bottles. The floor nearby was also covered in bottles as well as innumerable cigarette butts, crumpled up pieces of paper, fast food wrappers, and general filth. Alarmed by the opening of the door, a single (although enormous) cockroach skittered its way across the floor from the table and up the wall, eventually disappearing into a long crack in the plaster.
The overall theme of the office seemed to be paper and grime, and as such I was ill-prepared for the sight of Jason’s desk. Obscured from the doorway by the door itself, I saw it on the far left side of the room as I stepped into the office. The desk was a monolithic construction of oak and steel. Rising from its surroundings like a lighthouse in an ocean of filth, the desk itself was spartan and held only a few things: A plain, unopened manila folder, a nearly-finished bottle of supermarket-brand scotch whiskey, and a very large revolver which, assisted by Jason’s finger, was spinning in a slow circle.
Jason was slumped behind the desk, and it was clear to me that he was more drunk than I’d ever seen him before in my life.
“Jason,” I sputtered at last, “It’s good to see you.”
Jason stared through me for a moment before a smile lit up his face. He leaned back in his chair, took his hand off the spinning gun, and pointed his index finger at me, thumb cocked back like the revolver’s hammer. The overall effect was rather disturbing.
Something came out of his mouth at that point… I think it was “Charlie Booth! Well, shit.” but I couldn’t be sure. Jason was much too far gone.
I knew I wasn’t going to get much out of him at this stage. Hell, I would have been surprised if I could get his address and get him home, but I had to try.
I walked up to the desk. “Jason, you look like shit, man. Lets get you home…” I reached out a hand to grab his shoulder when all of a sudden his eyes darted into focus. He sat up straight in his desk, grabbed his revolver, and pointed it in my general direction. Shoving me aside with one hand, it became clear to me in that muddled moment that he was actually aiming at something behind me.
“Who the fuck are you?” His words were clear and strong yet slightly slurred. Most traces of the alcohol had vanished, but not all.
I turned to look for myself, and in the dim light of Jason’s office I saw a very large man standing in the doorway. Underneath his coat I could make out the telltale signs of a holstered pistol.