Inspired by a Ron Sukenick reading
When X. entered the room, there were, to his great surprise, several people waiting for him, among whom he recognized only F. and O., two former business contacts, tied to not very pleasant memories. Even a hard worker like X. needed a chance to forget certain things. One of the unknowns stood up and met X.
"My name is Q., X.," he said. "You may have heard of me. Anyway, I won't add anything. We hope you have a vague idea why we're here." X. denied this flatly. He took off his hat, and all of a sudden two silvery weapons shone in his hands as he made a backwards exit. He slammed the door and laughed loudly outside. Just once, gruffly.
That night he rented a highly anonymous mass production car, an R., drove around for a while to see whether he was being followed, and developed a liking for the R., a brand he'd always heard plainly disdainful things about. He finally turned into M.'s L. in W., where he knew O. lived. O., "globes noirs" - telling on him for something way, way in the past that he'd even made up to her.
He didn't have to bother much with the lock downstairs, frightfully careless for a medium range agent like O. But then he'd learned to think of her as just a frivolous young thing out for some not so serious adventures. O.'s apartment wasn't even locked. Too damn careless. The door was pulled open violently. O. in some excitingly tight silky thing that went down to her elbows and the middle of her calves and showed plenty of the sections in between ... She'd always known how to tease his eyes successfully.
"Step right in, I had expected you," she said.
He made a sign that asked whether she was alone, she nodded, and he still had enough of the old trust. There was a man in the living room, however, and if X. hadn't had his hand on the trigger beneath his trench coat he would have been dead instantly. Instead of a tall wimp he seemed to remember as A. from way back when ...
"Another trench coat ruined," said X. coolly as he took it off and handed it to O. O. seemed an idol of obedience all of a sudden. Her moist eyes didn't leave X.'s face for a second, and was it true or not? there seemed to be some admiration in them. Cherry black beauties, and the rest of her just the same.
X. sat down on the sofa he vaguely remembered having seen somewhere else. His memories seemed out to trap him today. Without asking, O. served him a B. M., X's favorite drink. "I have been waiting for you all these years, and when I finally get to see you, you probably won't believe me," O. said, kneeling at X.'s feet.
"Depends on the action that goes with it," X. said with a cool smile. "You know I've always had a soft spot for you as far as that's concerned," she hastily replied.
"Saying it might not be good enough for once, O.," X. said.
O. pulled her dress apart. Underneath she was entirely and adorably naked.
"Sex, to me, is just another deal, as you know, O.," X. said, "and please pull those in." (He touched the brown points of her perfectly rounded breasts.)
O. lowered her eyes and wrapped the dress around herself once more. "You despise me," she said in a toneless voice. "Yes, indeed, I do," X. said, bending forward and taking her chin in his strong hand, "especially for what you done to me tonight."
"Believe me, I had to," O. said, and tears were welling up in her eyes. X. made a neglectful motion, raised her chin and let go.
"Kneel down with your backside to me and slowly lift your dress in back," he ordered. O. smiled a little - she seemed to remember the game - and did as he had said. X. looked at the beautifully exposed rounds and the tuft of black hair between them for a long time, then he got up and left the apartment.
He hadn't even touched his favorite drink, so deep in thought was he. Was it really true what O. had told him? Was there such a thing as true love among agents? He didn't know, and he didn't care much at this moment. There were a couple of other people he had to take care of first.
He blasted right into a party that was going on at E.'s house outside of D.in the mountains. Luxurious living room/dining room/kitchen unit. Big black stereo blasting away with the sound of J. B. , all the people stoned out of their minds, of course. Those were things X. never went in for. Nobody noticed him at first, but then his presence, like a cold draft, was noticed by one person, then by another, and so on, until the whole party stood staring at him. He then took out his blackjack and walked straight up to the host, E. E. stood there in a sleezy bathrobe. X. hit E. on the left shoulder, probingly. The man was hollow.
"Where's your wife?" X. asked.
E. pointed at V., a ravishingly naive blonde in a black sexy leather dress who was about to put another record on. "Tell her I want to take her right here in front of you all," X. said coldly, "and no surprises, please, you mucker! I'll be holding this dreamer all the time."
The blonde had obviously listened, for she gave X. an intense stare.
"Aren't you L., the lousy bastard who licked me in P.?" she said menacingly. Everybody started laughing. Of course everybody knew about it, they'd never known it had been X., but it made a lot of sense. Only he could have done it. X. smiled. There were some old-timers here, and he sure appreciated it.
"Come on, baby, let's strip," he said to the blonde.
She slid one zipper down and stepped out of the leather device. She had not a single hair on her body. "There, you kiss-ass," she said haughtily, walked over to X. , turned her back to him and bent over. X. enjoyed the sight of her face through her thighs for a while, then he turned, lashed out with the blackjack and let E. have it.
"Back to work now," he said, moving his hat back.
That night he showed the blackjack and the silvery ones quite a bit. Once he had to be somewhat explosive, but he always had his way. This is what X. was known for. It was not what L. had been known for. L. had been a slight number everybody could push around. L. had had some surgery done and now he was X. And before he had been L. he had been U., with another masterpiece of surgery. It was amazing what medicine could do nowadays, and right in the middle of B.!
Q. was the hardest case. X. used his card for the computer room and searched for Q. He found that Q. had a wife - they were divorced - and three kids who stayed with the wife. Q.'s current location was supposedly M. Uhuh, X. thought, that's why. And Q. sure wasn't in M. tonight. But X. had a good idea of where he was ...
She was cute, had cute little legs as if made on a lathe, a cute little shy smile, and she was as deadly as acid. You didn't fool around with this specialist. For that she was. She was generally known as "The K." That said enough. She was also Q.'s closest co-worker. She was elusive, but X. had ways. She was having a Chinese meal at a place named K.F. X. sat down at her table and didn't say anything for a while. He just kind of leered at her. You didn't show fear when you were afraid. But this had to be done.
Finally he said one word, and it was: "Q.!"
He felt something sharp penetrating his thigh under the table. One of K.'s famous r.b.s. Well, nothing was for free. It slashed up, then a little sideways. He knew he must be bleeding like an h. by now. Was it worth it? The pain was so sharp he could not speak any more. K.'s lips formed two words, without saying them. They were: "Fuck Q." Then she smiled a slow, long, drawn-out smile.
She got up, but when she did something unexpected happened to her. X. shot her right then and there. And his silvery weapon sure didn't make a lot of noise. He was out before anybody noticed.
By the time he reached the top of the stairs he was pulling himself up with his arms. His legs had long ceased to function. There must be a trail of red behind him. Q. didn't matter anymore. One word had told him that K. had really been the head of the entire blague. O. and F. stepped out of O.'s apartment, arm in arm. X. had never seen such pity, and yes, such everlasting love, in two women's eyes. For O. was F.
Copyright © by J. Beilharz, 1982 / 1999
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