He felt almost conspicuous under the pearly cone of light at the shabby corner of Wheelhouse and Commercial. This time of night there were plenty of lights down at the wharf, glimmering amid the docks like tiny nebulae, but there was also plenty of shadow.
The sharp surprise of a coyote, yapping somewhere impossibly close, stunned him with portent.
But invisibility had always been his superpower, this grey man in a grim place. He would be fine, he always was.
Then she was there. Of course. She had seen him. A slight woman stooping a little and wrapped in a nondescript coat that barely covered her knees. She looked so fragile, almost childlike in fact, that he felt inexplicably sad. The deep kind of sad. The kind that doesn't go away no matter how much tequila you drown it with or how much cocaine you try rubbing into its receding gums.
She passed him what she'd come here to pass him. His guts moved inside him, squidlike. He handed her a roll of bills and she pocketed them without even counting.
And like cold breath in an awful dream about dying in fog, she was gone.
Leaving him holding it. The heavy thing. Heavy, cooling, yet still warm with its own ghost, and still dripping.
Here's that writers' manual you were reaching and scrambling for. You know the one: filled with juicy writing tidbits and dripping with pop cultural snark and smartassery. Ew. Not an attractive look. But effective. And by the end, you'll either want to kiss me or kill me. With extreme prejudice. Go on. You know you want to.