Jack of Hearts…Chapter 31

Ace ran up the stairs of the Art Institute and turned right as soon as she went through the doors.  She walked into the gift shop and picked up a few postcards.  

“I didn’t see her,” whispered the woman at the register.  “If she came in, she went right to the Chagall.” 

Ace nodded, paid for the postcards and went to the stained glass window.  It was beautiful and it was the Queen’s favorite spot.

“Looking for someone?” asked the man coming to a stop next to her.

“What’s it to you?”

“I might know a thing or two.  I like to play cards.”

Ace moved a little closer.  “Talk.”

“How much is it worth to you?” he asked.

“Is you life enough of an incentive?”

“You’d never hit me here,” he laughed.

“You guys never learn,” she sighed.  “Now you can tell me what you know and I’ll let you go, so you can stop the bleeding or I’ll keep you here until you bleed out.  You’re call.”

“The guy who took Mathew’s place has her,” he said, blood seeping through his fingers.”

“Where?” she asked, handing him a a wad of paper towels.”

“You carry paper towels with you?” he asked, pressing them against his side.”

“I carry a lot of things with me.  Where is she?”

“Downstairs, in the basement, by the Mary Cassatt  paintings.”

“They just hate women, don’t they?” she growled.  “She was the only female Impressionist, the only American Impressionist in Paris with all the guys, but where are her paintings?  In the BLOODY BASEMENT, THAT’S WHERE.  SEXIST PIGS.”

“Hey, I’m feeling a little faint.  Can I go now.”

“Oh grow up.  It’s just a knife wound,” snapped Ace.  “Is she hurt?”

“Might have a few broken bones, but she was alive when I saw her last.”

“Why do you work for those monsters?”

“I got kids.  Health care costs money.  Life is hard.  I do what I gotta do to get by.” 

“When you’re better, if you want to work for me, just let me know.  A couple of your buddies…”

“Yeah, and there’s a fifty thousand dollar hit out on both of them.”

“See that’s the thing.  You’re afraid of what might happen but I could let you die right here.”

“Oh, yeah.  Good point.”

“You should be fine. I didn’t hit anything vital.  You just have to worry about blood loss.”

“Ya got a card or anything?”

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