Swan sat hunched over the Racing Form, three fingers of Cuervo in a glass at his elbow. The expression on his face said he be better off skipping the track records- might as well pin the form on the wall and throw steak-knives at it. He had gotten sloppy- old, and sloppy. His piece lay on the kitchen counter just out of reach.
Blake Madison noted all this as he slid through the back door unnoticed. Like a cat, he crept up on Swann, and reached into the pocket of his trench coat. Silently, he slid the object out and pressed it against Swann's jugular while clamping his left palm over his mouth."Happy Birthday Swanno", he said,"Wear it in good health." Then he dropped the object on the table, vanishing out the back door. Swan ripped the Sunday Funnies wrapping paper away and opened the slender box. Inside lay a hand-painted navy-blue neck tie sporting a pink nude with blonde hair and red lips. Beneath it, Madison had scrawled with a fountain pen "to Swan on his Bday...thanks for teaching me everything I know...BM". He put it on slowly, tying an elaborate windsor knot. Her bear-slippers whispering aagainst the linoleum, PJ entered the room. This, he thought to himself, is going to take some explaining. She put her lips very close to his ear and whispered "Happy Birthday Baby...meet me in the bedroom." She walked slowly away, then turned and said "and you can leave your tie on."
Happy Birthday Bud