Flander’s Steakhouse sat at the top of a twenty-story building on Louisiana Street, just south-west of the Theater District, and it took full advantage of the view. Floor-to-ceiling windows presented the spectacular expanse of the night sky, below which Houston spread, glowing with warm yellow and orange against the darkness. Freeways curved among the towers, channeling the current of cars seemingly through mid-air. The floor, ceiling, and walls offered soothing browns, and the delicate chandeliers, wrought iron supporting upturned triangles of pale glass, softened the décor even further. I’d gone out on a few business dinners, and most Houston steakhouses catered to male executives with business accounts. They ran either straight into rustic Texas, with longhorn skulls and pelts on the walls, or they resembled gentlemen clubs, where one had to be a card-carrying member. This was nice.
“Wine?” Rogan asked me. Why not. “Yes.” “What do you like?” I liked Asti Spumante. It was sweet and bubbly and it cost $5 per bottle.
Zeus stood six inches from me. His massive head was level with my chest. Turquoise eyes regarded me with mild curiosity. He took up the entire width of the hallway. An enormous tiger-hound from another world with teeth the size of steak knives and a fringe of tentacles at his neck.
It occurred to me that I was covered in dried blood.
I held very still. I could jump back and slam the door shut behind me, but it would cost me a second to open it. A second would be more than enough for Zeus.
“He’s friendly,” Cornelius called out from the conference room. “He just wants to say hello.”
“Just treat him as a poodle.”
What was wrong with my life and how did I get to this place?