A delicate fog strangled the streets of Munich. The lantern posts spread a soft yellow light barely reaching the other side of the road. A few lost souls hurried through the winter cold to the warmth of their homes or favorite bars barring all doors and windows as if to forget there was such thing as an outside world. Small drops of rain hit the window of Zum Wolf where a bearded bouncer kept a careful eye on the incoming customers. The place was quiet. Somewhat outside of the area of popular bars, Zum Wolf was peaceful even though on Fridays, even this bar was usually filled to the brim. Not today.
Leaning over empty glasses, two guys in their late twenties shouted, for all the bar to hear. “I told you, Ben, I told you Bayern would lose”. “Ah, you didn’t know Peter, you just got lucky. And in any case. With the money you won for betting against your own team, you can buy me another one.” He shook his empty Leffe glass and called for the bartender.
A sight from the movies
Peter ordered two Leffes and took a long swig of the strong beer. He nodded his head to the left. “Check out that chick there”, he whispered, “I thought it was only in movies you could see hot women like that sitting alone at a bar”. “I sure as hell wouldn’t say no to her”, came the swift reply. “Oh yeah? What would Hannah say to that?”, Peter grinned. Ben straightened in his chair. “Oh, that’s weird, I didn’t hear you mentioning your girlfriend when you were eyeballing that girl.” “Meh, what she doesn’t know, doesn’t harm. Besides, what else do I have to look at, that guy there?”.
At the other side of the bar, a guy in his forties absently swirled his glass. He wore a black shirt, a long walnut brown coat and a rather old-fashioned hat which lay behind him on the windowsill. Unaware of the two guys looking at him, he gaped at the bottles on the wall behind the bartender.
Zum Wolf was a blues cocktail bar and its interior seemed to have been borrowed from a fifties noir movie. Spread across the walls, a few lonely grandmother lamps bathed the bar in a yellow light. Five large Chinese lampions above the bar provided a red hint to the workspace of the bartender. He was dressed in a black shirt and apron and a stylish hipster hat finished off his outfit. With swift movements the man mixed together drinks and fruits to create one of the many cocktails Zum Wolf was known for. On the wall, dozens of close-hung frames of known and lesser known blues legends of the forties and fifties formed almost an extra wallpaper on top of the sixties wall-cover. In the back of the bar, couches and tables made for a more private area but there too dim lights and a wall full of frames brought you right back to an underground blues bar that could have been your grandparent’s one time favorite place. A soft blues song drifted through the speakers and moved the fingers of the man in the corner to softly tap on the bar.
“Hey, what are you making?”, Ben asked while he waited for his friend to come back from the toilet. “This is a dark ‘n stormy”, the bartender mumbled and put the drink in front of the man in the corner. “Ben, this is Marie”, Peter declared. “Euh, hello?”, Ben stammered. “I invited her to come sit with us”, Peter explained, “you want a drink?”. The girl hesitated and pointed at the drink the bartender had just prepared. “I’ll also have one of those”, she decided with a soft French accent. “So you are from France?”, Ben asked. “I am, yes”, sounded the answer. “And what are you doing here?” “I came to Munich to study engineering”, she replied while accepting her cocktail. The boys held up their beer and toasted. “To France”, Ben lisped.
The man in black
Two hours and three Leffes later, Marie huddled close to the guys. She brushed Peter’s leg with her hand, whispered in his ear and turned to Ben. Eyes burning with a passion he could not withstand, Ben succumbed to a kiss which left his body yearning for more. Marie’s hand moved up further down Peter’s leg and she kissed him too, deep and long. “Guys, do you want to come with me to my apartment?”, she smiled. The two nodded and grabbed their coats when a shadow fell over Peter’s shoulder.
Dazed by the alcohol, he turned around. “Hi”, the man in black said, “my name is Blaine”. He swirled the last drops of cocktail in his glass. “I and this young lady here have been hired by Rick Strasser, the father of Hannah Strasser.” He nodded to Ben. “He asked me to say hi and to inform you that the conversation of this evening has been recorded and taped and will be handed over to his daughter. The same will be given to your girlfriend, Peter.” The two stared at him in disbelief. “He will not be available for any commentary”, Blaine continued, “neither are we”. The private detective motioned to the girl. “Miss Renault? Shall we?”.
The girl smiled at the two guys, hooked her arm in Blaine’s and both left Zum Wolf. The two friends remained, frozen at the bar, despair in their eyes. The blues music again took the lead now the voices of the young men were silenced. A subtle cough drew their attention. “So”, the bartender said, “you two want to try the dark ‘n’ stormy?”.