This is the second appearance in this space by Mr. Hayes.
Charlie is six months out of prison, and six months sober. He is living in a halfway house and trying to deal with some decisions he regrets.
Into his life wanders Ivan who is somehow allowed to hang around the halfway house and claims that he wants to help the residents. But Charlie is wisely skeptical. Ivan asks him for a favor and he is willing to pay for it, but Charlie realizes there are strings attached. Nevertheless he figures he has no choice but to say yes.
The strings, when they arrive, are very tangled indeed. A nice noirish tale.