"Miss! Oh, Miss!! Beg pardon but I ain't got all bleedin' day." complained the cabbie.
Snapped out of her reverie, Kara did a full spectrum probe. Nothing! This was getting frustrating. Nobody vanishes completely. She turned her attention back to the cabbie and apologized. Putting in her backpack, she settled in as the cabbie asked her where to.
"London, please." she responded. Then she asked, "Can you recommend a good hotel near Harrah's?"
"Yes, miss. There's the Bris-"; the cabbie froze in mid-syllable when he finally got a good look at his new passenger, "-tol."
"Can you tell me how far away that is from Harrah's?"
"Th-Th-Three blocks, miss. An easy walk, miss,"
After thanking the cabbie, Kara examined the interior. It was a deep burgundy with rich, leather seats. It was very roomy with a nice selection of fresh newspapers and magazines in the holders in front of her. Small, discrete brass placards announced hotels in an elegant script. A glass partition separated passenger and driver. It was incredibly quiet inside but for the whoosh of the ventilation system. That system must be the reason why it smelled ... well, fresh.
Kara looked at the cabbie's license. The picture showed a square-jawed face with brown hair cut severely short. Mouth compressed into a thin line, turned down at the corners. Blue eyes looked back with an angry yet slightly confused expression. The nose had to have broken at least twice. The name was Chas Harrison.
Poor Chas! His over-heated imagination was doing back-flips. She's out of your league, thought Chas, even if you weren't already married. Jaysus-what she must be under those clothes! He saw her reach for the cut glass vase hanging near the passenger window. It held a single pink rose. She reached for it with a graceful gesture. I'd give ten years of my life to be that rose right now, he thought. Chas noticed that he was sweating. Feverishly, he wiped his face with his hand.
Kara, leaning forward with concern, asked "Are you alright, sir?"
"No...YES! Uh...what brings you in from the states, miss?" he asked, trying to get his mind back to business.
"Oh, a job and that I am looking for someone."
"Miss, I can't imagine a bird, I mean - someone like yourself having to look for anyone." Chas said earnestly.
Kara gave a low wattage smile at the compliment. Chas's synapses decided to fry themselves anyway.
Kara also picked up on the phrase the cabbie used.
"You might be able to help me, sir."
Chas was trying real hard not to look like a puppy wagging it's tail.
"Be happy to, miss."
"I noticed that you had the same accent as this guy that I'm looking for."
"That would put him from Liverpool. I just might know him. Wot's he look like?"
"Tall, skinny, blonde, wears a trench coat, always has a cigarette."
"Does he always smart off to you?"
Kara translated the expression and said, "If you mean does he insult you, yes. But there is always a little bit of truth in it and you don't know how he knew what he said."
Bollocks! , thought Chas, it's fuckin' John she's talking about. Bloody figures, don't it. He would figure a way to get up even with a bird like her. In a disappointed tone, he said, "It sounds like me mate, John."
"John. John Constantine."
Kara looked a little puzzled.
"Constantine. Hmmm...sounds Greek."
Chas started to laugh.
"That's a first. John being called Greek. Ow, Gawd!"
Chas got himself under control.
"Sorry, miss. John's been called a bunch of things but that's a first. Gotta tell'im that. Anyway, he ain't Greek. Family's been here since Cromwell. He's a strange one though."
"Never works but always can spring for Guinness and Cut Silk."
"Beer and cigarettes. One night, he's getting smashed in the pub after a football game. The next night, I'm dropping him off at some toff's party full of lords and ladies. You can never tell about him."
About that time, a burst of static came from Chas's cab radio.
A voice, male, accented with pure smart-ass written all over it came on.
"Chas! Quit playin' with yourself and answer!!"
Chas snatched up the microphone.
"You watch yer bleedin' mouth, John. I got a passenger!"
"Yeah, I know. Blonde, Bluer-than-blue eyes, a pair of utterly smashing tits. Wearing a cable sweater, painted on jeans and a pair of white Reeboks. Am I right?"
Chas was suddenly quiet.
"How did you know?"
"Doesn't matter. Give her me phone number."
That was it, thought Chas.
"Sod off!! I ain't your bleedin' dating service!!"
"Give her the number or you don't get the winners at Brighton Downs tomorrow."
Much to Chas's credit, he hesitated.