A white-jacketed man in his mid fifties held out a tray of assorted colognes, pointing a well-manicured finger at one fragrance in particular. “Started carrying your favorite, Mr. Sparlo.”
A nod of acknowledgment, and Sparlo lifted the slender bottle from the tray before slapping the bold, musky scent between his thick palms. He applied it to his face and neck, finishing with a trip over his slick hair as a crisp, white hand towel was handed to him. He promptly soiled it with remnants of cologne and hair oil.
“See you tomorrow, Benjamin,” he said, tipping the man a twenty. He then shifted his tie and left the exclusive spa frequented by wealthy lawyers, doctors, political gamers and businessmen like himself.
His business was commodities: heroine, cocaine and the leasing out of desirable women to the financial elite. It was an enterprise that afforded him a lifestyle attained by those who were either incredibly lucky or incredibly deceitful.
And luck had never played a role in the life of Richard Vincent Sparlo.
Glossy Gaziano alligator wing-tips galloped over white tile as he passed through the spa entrance, oblivious to the assortment of fresh-cut flowers, reflecting pools and instructors who were all young and obscenely in shape. He caught the stare of a 20-year-old with “Dangerous Curves” printed over the tight swell of her breasts. He exchanged an appreciative grin and passed through large double doors that parted on his approach, quickly making his way into a dark limousine that was waiting to take him to his daily brunch reservation at Le Pichet — a small, 32-seat restaurant in the Pike Place Market District. The restaurant’s French cuisine was as exquisite as it was expensive. And its limited seating assured the level of service and anonymity he required.
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