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Decker Curie

Decker Curie, the Austin lobbyist, had agreed to meet Steve Malinco one last time. Steve represented a drug company that wanted exclusive access to some state-run foster programs. They claimed to have a pill for ADD in children. Curie wasn’t having any of it. She had a “tough but fair” reputation as a lobbyist. She wasn’t about to get herself involved in something sleazy. It hadn’t been a productive evening.

 The music wasn’t quite what she liked, the martini wasn’t quite how she preferred it. The man across the table from her was loser, but perhaps there was still some way to salvage the evening and bring this mess to a close. She waited while Steve waded through the last of the chocolate pie in front of him, waited while he licked the fork and wiped at the corners of his mouth with the white linen napkin, and wondered if he used colored gel in his straight black hair that was swept from front to back. At his age, the man’s hair should be showing at least a few streaks of grey. He had a thick nose and brows that were too thin, while his eyes were glazed somewhat from his third Scotch.

Decker leaned back and ran her fingers through her spiky blond hair, conscious of her nicely honed figure and the diamonds around her neck. She slanted forward in a conspiratorial slouch while she watched the man struggle to keep his eyes from dropping to her exposed cleavage.

Like all predators, she enjoyed the kill.

“I don’t think we can do business,” she said.

Steve looked more angry than disappointed. “Why not,” he asked in an angry tone. “It’s not like you care. You don’t give a shit about those kids or who raises them.”

“Steve,” Decker fixed the man with a cold stare, “You know what the testing laboratory called your drug? They called it the Pandora Pill. You can guess what that implies.”

“Just a small percentage of cases,” the man retorted heatedly.

“Five percent isn’t small,” she snapped back. “It’s so fucking large that you’ll never get it past the board. I don’t care how much money you’re prepared to spend. You paid for my time, now listen to my advice.”

“I can’t take that back to my boss,” Steve whined, shifting gears and trying to find traction on other grounds.

“You see this piece of paper?” she reached in her purse and dangled a computer printout in front of her—and snatched it back as Steve reached for it.

“It cost a lot of money to get this. Nobody is supposed to see these records. With luck, your boss can crawl back in his hole and forget about his miracle drug.”

“Bitch,” Steve barked.

Several patrons turned around to stare at their table. Decker smile sweetly at them. “Sorry, sometimes these little domestic disputes get out of hand.” Their neighbors looked suitably embarrassed and turned back to their private conversations.

Steve pushed his chair back abruptly and nodded at her. “You’ll hear from me,” he said, obviously struggling to keep his temper under control.

“There’s this,” Decker held up another piece of folded paper. Steve reached out and grabbed it from her.

“What’s this,” he demanded without looking at the document.

“It’s my final bill,” she said. “Be sure and pay it. You don’t want any loose tongues wagging to the press, do you?”

Please Note: This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental__L.C. Frenzel

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