Buck meets Charlotte
Buck meets Charlotte – by Gene Hilgreen
Everything about Micky’s New Year’s Eve bash at Faux to kick off 2014—screamed A-list. Impeccably dressed celebrities bump elbows with glamorous young socialites clad in the latest furs, as the line of party goers wrapped from the main entrance on Bowery onto Grand. Tonight money may have gotten you invited, but it didn’t move you to the head of the line, and nobody seemed to mind—except me.
I wanted to be here like I wanted another hole in my head. My best friend—Mookie—a Kuchi Shepherd fighting dog, had passed on just last week. Fifteen years ago this filthy little ball of fur had wandered into our camp outside a Taliban stronghold in Afghanistan—we had been best friends ever since.
Micky said I needed to get out and meet someone. He had someone in mind—his lawyer. I told him I wasn’t interested, I had heard all about her, and didn’t need a man-eating Weretiger. I continued that I had been saddled with some issues. Hearing none of it, he said I needed to get saddled more often, and I better show up at his party.
I called ahead—no way was I waiting on a line. Carlos, Micky’s driver was standing out by the curb when I pulled up. “Hey Carlos—catch.” I flipped him my keys.
“Mr. D., you can’t park that piece of sh— crap in front.”
The piece of crap he was referring to was my silver Tahoe, with mud caked on the windows and rear quarter panel from off-roading. I handed him a C-note and got the—you’ve got to be kidding look, and added another. “I’m not waiting on that line either,” I said.
He smiled and said. “Got you covered, I’ll have someone put it in Micky’s lot.”
I grabbed Carlos by the arm. “That’s my pride and joy; make sure you split that tip.” I followed Carlos in the employee entrance.
“You’re on your own from here,” he said.
My senses kicked in the second I pushed through the service door to the ball room. My feet took over and aimed straight for the bar. The bartender was standing in front of the scotches, and grabbed the Dalwhinnie 25, which was surrounded by a Glenlivet 25 and a Chivas Regal 25. There was no cheap booze here tonight—everything was top shelf.
Ulysses caught my hand signal; well that’s what his name tag said. “What’ll it be?”
“Glenlivet neat,” I said, and changed my mind when I saw the bottle next to it. “Make that Macallan Fine Oak 21.” My eyes followed the two linebacker sized gentlemen—and I use that term loosely—as they stepped away from the bar, and back to their posts. As I turned back to grab my drink, my jaw dropped. Attached to an angelic face with long flowing platinum hair, the most beautiful blue eyes I ever saw—had my full attention.
“A man after my own heart,” she said, looking at my drink…then she blinked and I melted. “I’m Dr. Charlotte Vice.” She extended her hand. “But please… call me Char.”
“Well Char,” I said, slightly tongue twisted. “I’m Buckner Davidssen…you can call me Buck.” I shook her hand and stammered. “So…you’re a Macallan man.” I looked down and caught enough cleavage poking from her scarlet gown to realize, what an ass I am.
She smiled, and showed me her perfect set of teeth wrapped by her killer red lips. “No Buck, my father is a Macallan man, I’m a Dalwhinnie man.”
Totally flustered, I looked about the room for Micky and spotted him waving my way.
“Find your date,” she said.
With my bravado reestablished. “No, I’m solo tonight…I promised the gentleman throwing this shindig that I would stop by.”
“You know Micky?”
Micky was the Director of Department Homeland Security Investigations—Micky Livingston. “Yes, we met a few years ago. Now I do some work for him.”
Micky now appeared to be waving to Char. “I work for Micky too,” she said. “I’m his lawyer. Come join us, there’s room at our table.”
Anita, Micky’s wife stood and kissed my cheek. “I see you met Charlotte the Weretiger.” Her smile said she was pleased. Micky smiled too, and stood to introduce me to his guests. I knew DCI Snowdan Jones and his wife, but I didn’t know the tall gentleman who stood up next. I’m six-one and had to look up to see his steel blue eyes. I know a warrior when I see one, and this man spoke professional killer with his eyes. His date looked familiar; she was an actress—I just couldn’t place her.
“Buck,” Micky said. “I like you to meet Dr. Jonathan Vice and Estella Fleece.”
I shook his hand and he held on a little longer than I liked. He nodded in Chars direction. “I see you’ve met my daughter Charlotte.”
I got the hint, pulled my hand back, and scanned the walls. They were lined with Secret Service agents. Well I felt semi safe, and heard my named called.
“Buck,” said DCI Jones, glad to see you made it.”
BS I thought, but I played along. “Nice to see you too—Mr. Jones.” I sat between Anita and Char and waved over a waiter.
“Sir—would you like a refill?” he asked.
“Yes, the Macallan would be fine—make it two.”
Dinner choices were offered shortly after; I wolfed down my Porterhouse like I hadn’t eaten in a month, and excused myself. I had to get out of here I thought, but went straight to the bar. While I was sulking over my drink; a soft arm slipped around mine.
“Want to get out of here?” Char asked, her gorgeous eyes batting
“Thought you’d never ask,” I said.
And that my friends is how I met Charlotte—love at first sight—my life would never be the same.