‘‘But’ nothing. ‘But’ less–than–nothing actually. You ARE going to sit back there! Me and Charity will flank you ole girl so there will be ZERO chances of you to do something... like disobeying your mom!’
‘She’s fine, isn’t she? You told us that she was fine, were you lying to us?’
LeeAnn shook her head very timidly and then looked at the others, the way they had moved she was going to be ‘trapped’ between me and Charity (and Mary and Dora) and she meekly took her place. I told the waitress that in no way she’d give LeeAnn any alcoholic beverage and she took my order.
As I sat I received the compliments of the others. I had turned a bad situation (with risky attention drawn onto us) into a perfectly explainable one. As I arrived, late again, in the same cozy spot we had shared our ‘heroines for a day (or night)’ stories a month before I saw a commotion. I went into ‘Drill Sergeant’ mode and soon had the entire story told to me in a conceived way. Fart Bart, the guy who had made up about two or three dozens of different sexual encounters with LeeAnn (all fictitious, dirty and rotten and that we identified as the ‘big loser who had spread those stories about having sex with her’), had been arrested when he invaded LeeAnn’s mother’ bakery demanding to know LeeAnn’s address.
Over the two weeks before that night we had managed to pry some info about him from LeeAnn.
After the night when she killed for good her reputation as ‘the most lame and/or pathetic woman of the whole world’ in her hometown, people started to look after her actual rap sheet (not the ‘unfunny’ one they had created) and when they found out WHO they had mocked for so many years...
Fart Bart was not the only one who feared a meeting in a desert alley in a dark and stormy night with LeeAnn, there were dozens in his situation!, but thanks to his abhorrent sexual imagination he actually started to get paranoid about it, and started to drink heavily also because of it (well, that part was just speculation from LeeAnn’s part, who didn’t elaborated further, but still… we did it for her), and started to get more and more ‘callous’ while drunk... and the day before he had finally made it!
I quickly managed to make the waitresses (and patrons) of the place understand that she was frantic about a drunkard’s actions against her mother, but said drunkard was behind bars and was very unlikely that he would make bail. So, as her mother had told her to (according to what LeeAnn herself had said) she was NOT supposed to go there that night (or any other night or day).
Fay even went to the length of ‘warning’ LeeAnn that she wasn’t going to risk incurring in LeeAnn’s mother’s ‘wrath’, and thus be forbidden to ever eat again some slices of the wonderful pies she cooked.
Of course, of said pies we only knew (yet) their well-deserved fame...
After all the commotion was down, and we were no longer threatened with the possibility of being expelled from that pub, I noticed that the girls were a bit hesitant until Mary told both me and LeeAnn that we were not going to tell any story that night. It was their time to tell the others the stories about how they had ‘sinned’ and saved the lives of law–enforcement officer dames... ‘copladies’ for short.
Apparently it had all started with Mary, and the others had followed her suggestion and discussed it among them and... Both I and LeeAnn would be just listeners that night.
I really didn’t minded (much) about it. But the jokes about them being worried that I would suffer any form of ‘SAS (Storytelling Abstinence Syndrome)’ weren’t funny (for me they still aren’t)!
Anyway... Mary had been the instigator so it was up to her to tell us the first story.
‘Well, I was working for this guy while I waited for a better job to show up. My then employer was a womanizer, a racist and on top of that a complete scumbag. One night I awoke with he calling me way past midnight, close to 3 AM and he DEMANDS me to be ‘there’ ASAP. I was almost telling him to shove my job there when he said how much he was going to pay me for that extra job. More than a year’s pay for one extra job? There had to be a catch!’
‘And it was...?’ – asked two of the girls.
‘That was the last night I lived on the East Coast. My then boss was none other than Raoul Carbajal.’
Less than half of us knew who that ************ loser was, but the faces we made showed to the majority at the table that Mary had just made quite the revelation!
‘Let’s just say that Mary is going to some interesting confession...’ – I said to the inquisitive eyes that were aimed at me (I had whistled a bit too loud....).
‘Anyway, I went there and found in how much deep **** he was involved right away. There was a woman bound and gagged right inside a van I was supposed to fix. She was younger than me and about two or three inches taller, and was wearing most of her police uniform (she was a rookie in her very first week on the job), minus her shoes and tie (that one had been used to tie her wrists behind her back). The details are too weird and long to tell you, but basically Raoul (in person) was transporting something inside the van, the rookie and her partner intercepted the van because of a broken light, the rookie’s partner got shot and she was kidnapped and I was supposed to bring back the van’s engine (who had decided to quit the land of the living inches before it arrived there, Raoul and four of his men had to drag it inside the garage of the place) to life. Or they would kill me and look for somebody else.’
Sondra, Dora, Mary and I looked at each as the others started to demand the details.
‘Folks, Raoul was involved in smuggling, plain and simple our Mary here helped him to have ways to transport his ‘merchandise’ from ‘here’ to ‘there’…’ – I started.
‘But said ‘merchandise’ was never of the size or dangerous importance than the one of a stringently bound & totally hostage ladycop…’ – Dora continued – ‘Mary here would never be that reckless!’
‘And even if she was, never ever on Raoul’s levels of stupid insanity!’ – finished Sondra.
‘Very funny you two, but guys… look. My job was to deal with the vans and cars Raoul used. When I got into the garage there she was, writhing over a bare mattress inside the van while two of Raoul’s thugs were busy painting the sides of the van, to make it look like it belonged to FedEx or something like that (I can’t remember what exactly), and Raoul pointed at a pile of stacks of Ben Franklins that he had in front of him. ‘They can be yours or they can be of the next mechanic I call’ he said, and by the look in his and his goons eyes if I chose the latter... I’d be lucky if I made company to the ladycop!’
‘You took the money?’ – asked incredulously Fay and LeeAnn.
‘And did I have a choice? Besides... I knew that, whatever was going on (I only learned the tidbits I know about the case like a week later), Raoul wasn’t going to win that night... so why not cash upon HIS disgrace? I picked the two... three stacks and put them in the inside pockets of my jacket...’
‘But HOW did you know that he was doomed?’
The others got a bit mad at us when the four of us that knew the answer had a ‘complicity smile’ on our faces... But neither I nor Sondra nor Dora would spoil Mary’s story...
‘So the hours passed, that engine was beyond any hope and the new one that Raoul provided me wasn’t good either!, but by the break of dawn I was exhausted and the van was drivable once again. About this time the dame was down to her undies and tied to a chair in the back of the garage. I forgot to tell you, she had been ziptied and tapegagged... but not blindfolded.’
All of us knew what it meant to the cop’s fate.
‘Stop with the tease!’
‘Calm down Irma. So... Raoul thanked me and told me that one of his men would ‘give me a ride’... Yeah, I know... kinda obvious actually. But I saw one of the guys handling the coplady (who still had lots of spunk in her despite it all) a bit too roughly and I went in character and said: ‘Hey! Stop that!’ and totally ignoring Raoul and the others went to him and practically yanked the ziptied girl from his arms. We both saw Raoul nodding, what the hell... I wasn’t supposed to see noon coming anyway (why he simply didn’t order my death right after I finished the job is a mystery that I’ll never bother to know its answer), so he let me tie her up inside the van. As I said she was wearing only her underwear and would have been forced to hop at my side if I simply didn’t grabbed her, threw her body over my left shoulder and carried her to the awaiting van. I was EXHAUSTED! But I was supposed to draw all the men’s attention towards me at that point, and I even slapped her pink covered behind for the guys’ lewd cheers and delight! Inside the van I took my time taping her up, all the while I pretended to be really in the mood to humiliate her, and as I was finishing I asked the guys to bring me some black electrician tape. Raoul was finishing a call he had made when suddenly everything happened at once... Raoul heard a scream coming from the other end of the conversation, we all looked at him quizzically for a moment and before anyone reacted even further I made my move. I was inside the van, Miss Law was writhing furiously in her near tape cocoon about four feet at my side (right in front of the opening of side and in front of her ‘fans’), crouching by the part of the van’ side that was almost completely slid inside. With Raoul’s reaction to the phone call they all took off their sight from the helpless girl in front of them and turned around. And I slid the side shut, locking me and the dame inside the van.’
‘But...’ – started Fay before I made her shut up by raising my right hand and she, and all the others, followed my eyes as I silently returned its gaze to Mary. It was her show.
‘The three packs of bill were in my left inside pocket in my jacket, of course they weren’t all inside it but there was no chance for them to fall from it, in the right inside pocket was this little box. And inside it was the control of the van’s security system. I turned it on and it locked me and the perplexed cop inside the van. The guys didn’t understand a thing but obviously reacted... and that’s when the shooting started. The van, as I knew beforehand and I had realized as soon as I checked it, was coated with something that made it bulletproof. And as the shots were being fired from every direction outside, inside the van I went to the driver’s seat and found the hidden compartment under the passenger’ seat... but alas! No gun inside it. And no key either. Me and the girl with her eyes bulging in a very funny way above the reinforced gag I had applied over her lips were stuck and had no other option but wait.’
‘But who was firing?’ – asked Hannah.
‘And who had told you about the hidden compartment?’ – Fay’s question.
‘And who gave you the security system’s control?’ – Charity’s
‘Probably the same person or persons to all three questions, right? Then who was he? Or she?’
‘Calm down girls, calm down, and LeeAnn? Sit–back–now, please? As I said the whole van was bulletproof, but for no other reason than raw terror (it was the first time I found myself in the middle of a shootout) I stayed next to the taped up cop´, we actually clasped our hands together. After a while it was all over and I heard HER voice: ‘Just in case you have forgotten my dear, the cop is supposed to be blindfolded by now. If you haven’t done that yet, do it.’ And then SHE pressed the button on HER version of the control of the van’s security system. I jumped on the cop and, although she did put on a fight, I found a scarf that I wrapped over her eyes, and then I whispered to her ear ‘Stop it! You seeing me means nothing! You seeing her means your ass in some brothel overseas or inside some shark’s belly. And I mean it!’, the cop went calm in my hands and I told her to open the side of the van…’
Yeah, she did put on the drama!
‘Tough I was sure that she wasn’t going to call her by that particular nickname.
‘I told you that Raoul was into smuggling, but for whom? For the very first American enterprise of the Duchess, Starlight Export & Import Co.! That was its name before it changed to Ulysses Corp., but that would only happen like four or five years later…’
‘Wait a moment, Dread Debs worked for the Duchess back then?’ – asked Irma.
‘On job-by-job basis. That particular night was like the third or fourth time she was hired by PT Pike (before she moved to California) to ‘clean the mess’ some idiot left behind while trying to cheat on that ‘European lady who seems to be a real deal duchess…’, but let me tell you now what I haven’t told you yet. What happened after I got Raoul’s phone call… Ops…’
Our orders had arrived, we cheered and took our sips and…
‘So Raoul calls me, wakes me up and promises me 30K to be at an address I didn’t know at that ungodly hour. I put on some clothes, grab my equipment and when I go to the garage of my building to get into my car, I am grabbed by ‘Wonder Woman’s Evil Sister’ as soon as I leave the elevator. She keeps airborne and mute as she tells me what is going on. Basically Raoul discovered how valuable was whatever he had to provide to transport that night and tried to cash on it by himself, yeah… he stole the Duchess! And then there was this little incident (she didn’t told me what it was exactly) and now he had a broken van, that he needed to be fixed ASAP, and a hostage. She told me everything I was supposed to do and why. Simple isn’t..? Either I followed her script or I would be dead!’
‘Either by Raoul’s hand or… hers?’ – I asked.
‘So THAT’s why you…’
‘Shut up! My story, my moment of glory! I’ll tell them and you…’
I zipped my lips as she resumed her tale.
‘Anyway. She opens the side and throws me a pantyhose and a roll of tape and says ‘Cover her eyes with it’ and closes back the side. One minute later she opens it again and grabs the cop, who by then was either freaking out or had found her spunk back and tried to fight her. She simply says to her ‘I honestly don’t have time for that. You can be found with some clothes on and thus you’ll keep your dignity or you’ll be found bound to a tree or a post… buck naked. Your call.’ Thus, it was a very passive cop that she carried to outside the garage as she led me by the hand…’
‘WHAT?’ – Fay and Gina’s incredulity was quite funny.
‘I don’t play in that team! Turns out that she asked me to trust in and keep my eyes shut because, she said, I would really not like to have my eyes open as I was lead to out of that place. And, to be honest, I am still grateful to her for that. I almost slipped twice as I put my right foot (on both occasions) over something wet, smelly and red… Because of that I never knew exactly how many died, how many were just injured and how many helpers she had with that morning (already). She simply could not have taken them out, all of them!, by herself! But then I was out of there and by a car where there was this couple. Never got their names, the guy called himself ‘Bro’ and introduced the gal as ‘Sis’. ‘Bro’ and ‘Sis’ put the cop inside the car’s trunk and we drove to a place. There we transferred the not-so-struggling-now cop to another’s car’s trunk and ‘Bro’ drove it away. I was in my apartment when the news that the dame had been found appeared on the radio, ‘Sis’ was helping me make my luggage before she drove me to the airport. The **** was going to hit the fan and I was not supposed to be anywhere near New Jersey, so I came here with the 30K plus an ‘extra’ for my silence. I used it to buy me a new place (the police eventually found out about me so there was no way I could sell my old apartment or anything like that) and went to look for a job... Five months later there was this new dame who had finally decided to join the gang… people were telling all sorts of stories about her, her harem of hot, hotter and hottest gals (and some not that pretty as well), her skills and kills, and one day she went to the garage to set things right between me and her…’
‘And…?’ – asked Hannah as the others awaited.
‘I accepted her apologies… after I punched her on the nose!’
Charity, Irma and LeeAnn knew that story already, but they had always believed that it was just a tall tale told by others about Mary. Gina, Fay and Hannah hadn’t heard it yet and could not believe in it. And it took longer than we four would have liked to convince them all that it was true!
‘Look guys. In spite of knowing how to convince any lesbian babe to open her legs to her, in spite of knowing how to speak to any bad ass dude (and just speak) and make him calls his mommy right away and in spite of pretty much everything else… Deborah wasn’t very good with words when she talked to people who did not fell on those two categories. That lady, Ashley something, who could have been her wife to this day (leaving no places for anyone else in Deb’s heart), well she had a lot of trouble to teach some basics of sociability to Debs! Lots!’ – said Dora at some point.
‘Yes, you probably don’t know that Mary, but I know what was the reaction of the Duchess when she learned about how had actually been the ‘encouraging’ words Debs told you that night. I was at a party and there was this girl who got stone drunk, and it’s up to me to drive her home… It was either that or shoot the guy that thought that he was courting me! So I drive her home and she is another of the not-so-few girls that were stupid to demand exclusivity from Deborah…’ – Sondra started.
‘And got a kick in the butt as an answer?’ – finished/asked Gina.
‘That night was the third anniversary of the ‘shtooopidieeehsht d-d-dhay ooof mu live!’, and she started to tell me story after story about how she knew Debs well. And she did know her! For my side, I couldn’t gag a girl that drunk could I? There’s always the possibility of the person try to vomit and die if he/she’s gagged. So I took all her clothes, put her in her own bed, tied not too tight her hands behind her back and called a friend who I knew was a big friend of two or three of Deborah’s ‘harem’ girls, and I told him about a ‘talkative ex’ who needed to learn to hold her tongue. Turns out that she wasn’t in CA at the moment, so the ‘talkative ex’ was to be ‘removed from sight’ until Deborah could arrive and decide what to do with her. By morning miss ‘I-miss-her-so-much’ was wide awake as she tried to escape, hands still bound behind her back, from her own house. Fat chance for that to happen with me around! She back to her bed, and this time I could (and did) put her in a taut hogtie, for starters. Hours later she was struggling fruitlessly in between two BIG (female) orderlies who had put her inside a straightjacket, they also had muzzled her with one of those monstrous ‘medical’ gags and she was crying desperately, and aiming her pleas at me.... So I told the orderlies to leave us alone for like one hour, they called their boss who agreed and I sat by her side at the edge of her own bed. We talked, sort of since all she could do was nod and shake her head, and she just knew that she had got lucky that she had talked that much to me and not… well most of anyone else she could have talked to under her then conditions.
When the orderlies came back into the room she was the definition of a cooperative captive chick, basically they just escorted her to the ambulance and didn’t even had to help her to lie on the gurney, although (of course) they had to strap her to it. Four days later I was questioned, by Deborah herself, and I promised to keep my mouth shut. Don’t even think about asking me about the other stories! I saw herl a few months later... while working for somebody else… She had a new girlfriend, another smoking volcano hot dame dumped by Deborah, and she looked fine. Both did actually… even after I left them the way I did. But what can I say? It was just the second of a long row of times in which our paths intersected, and she’s a natural Gwendoline… So…’
Mary harrumphed a bit loud to get everybody’s attention before she made the question.
‘And when the Duchess learned about how she had ‘dealt’ with me…?’
Sondra covered her face with both hands, leaned her head forward and then when she raised it back after it had rested for like ten seconds over the palms of her hands…
‘‘Dear Deborah… what am I going to do with you?’, Deborah then became even more bright red as she already was and tried to explain how important it for YOU to act as they wanted you to and…’
In the end those disbelievers accepted that Deborah was, indeed, the kind of person that would allow somebody as poorly skilled in punching as Mary to hit her once in the face if she felt like she deserved it. As long as that person did not started to brag about it afterward, hence the fact that up until that moment Mary hadn’t told anyone about it. But it took us two thirds of an hour for it to happen!
We all promised to keep our mouths shut about her ‘second meeting’ with that Deborah and…
‘That was quite a story. Mine in comparison will look so lame…’ – Hannah started.
‘Try us.’ – Irma told her.
‘Okay… It was like that. There was this group ‘A’ who wanted to buy something from that group ‘B’, but whatever was in those DVDs it didn’t belonged to ‘B’ in the first place. They had stolen it from its original owner and the police, maybe even the FBI, was now looking for them so they had to create a diversion. They made it look like the exchange would happen in ‘this’ hotel, while it would actually happen in ‘that’ one on the other side of the town. They made quite a James Bond novel in order to make some dude the most obvious courier for them, while the ‘goods’ would be delivered by this chick, looking just another tourist from somewhere in the Bible Belt wanting to sin, and much! Me? Well, there was this group ‘C’ who also wanted the data, and it was much cheaper to just hire some people to steal it from the robbers. And that was one of the few times I worked with that bitch… Tinker Bell…’
We snickered, we couldn’t but do it. Everybody knew how those two hate each other…
‘The hotel in question was small, but definitely not a flea bag. Tinker Bell… well she did her part. The girl went to room… say… ‘13’ when she was supposed to be… four stories up in room ‘53’ where the buyers were already waiting for her. She knocked at the door and I and ‘Herman’ (that was the name he was supposed to register himself with) welcomed her. Five minutes later she was lying on top of the bed and I was cinching the last knots on the girl, who was just the brainless-but-greedy bimbo girlfriend of one of the leaders of group ‘B’, and said boyfriend and another guy were at the lobby while we had forced her to strip to her undies as we, actually just me, taped her nice and tight! ‘Herman’ had already left with the DVDs, after holding her as did her wrists and ankles, and I knew that I had but moments before the buyers sent a ‘where is she?’ call to her boyfriend so I did a quick job, just a very short piece of rope connecting the overly taped arms and lower legs, which put the girl in a mean hogtie, and for a gag four or five strips of tape without packing. I left her alone over the bed, closed the door and went through the stairs to the lobby and acted as inconspicuous as possible. Just some dame going to enjoy the sun and the beach, carrying nothing but a bag, it was summertime after all, and was about to pick a cab when it happened… I was there with like hundreds of people on the sidewalk by the beach, and there was this restaurant like five yards in front of me with a glass window and a ‘funny’ sun logo. And through the window came these two guys… a cop and the guy who had sent him airborne. That guy… imagine someone as big as Fay’s husband, and as strong as him but with more fat… much more fat! He was that big and strong. And now imagine him totally out of control thanks to what he had put into his blood.’
‘One of those cases of ‘Wild Thing’?’ – I asked.
Wild Thing had been a synthetic drug that a loser created and tried to sell in California around the turn of the millennium. It did provide a good experience to its users… in the beginning.
Problem was that after like a week or so of injecting it into his/her veins the user became increasingly violent, and in some cases they went into a rampage mode that had made its (really bad) fame.
The murder of its creator was a mystery that nobody cared to solve. So we all could only imagine what kind of scene she had seen on that day… But she did fill in with details before...
‘And that fat bear was in full ‘killer mode’ and jumped on the dazed cop and started to punch him. I looked around, there was like a dozen people watching it happening and none came closer to the big fella. And among them was that pink bikini clad girl holding her purse, and appearing from inside it was a can of pepper spray. I didn’t thought, I just acted. I went to her and pried the can from her very shaking left hand and went to where the guy, with the completely helpless cop in between his legs now, was still delivering punch after punch and shouted at him… ‘Hey!’, ‘Hey you!’, can you believe that I had to punch him to make him look at me… Twice?’
And Hannah pretended that she was holding the can in her hands and sprayed it…
‘Right on his face! Then a musclebound dude and a fat one, what a pair…, shoved me aside and tried to hold the guy, but it was only after another really musclebound dude appeared is that a gal claiming to be a doctor could see the cop. By this time reinforcements were finally arriving and I made my escape into the crowd, after I returned the can to the now stunned pink (barely) covered babe. Later that day I saw the news. Nothing about a girl found bound and gagged inside a room at a local hotel, but there was this facial sketch of me, they made my nose too big!.. and my ears!... My ears!... And how the cop was in critical condition. His partner, the first victim of the dude’s rage (left in the restaurant with a cracked skull) was going to be released the next day. It took like a week for the cop to leave ICU…’
‘And their attacker?’ – asked Dora.
‘OD.’ – Was that Hannah said about him.
‘You know what’s funny?’ – asked Dora to all of us after a few moments of silence. We shook our heads or said ‘no’ and she answered – ‘I have a story in which I helped a cop and to do that I did many things, including spraying pepper spray straight to the face of the guy threatening her life!’
‘Really?’ – asked Hannah in disbelief.
‘Yeah. But first I have to explain a few things to you all. Many years ago, when I was in my last ‘teen’ year I lived alone in an apartment in what wasn’t a great neighborhood. One night there was this confusion happening in the upper floor and I went to check. A guy had received a restraining order and was demanding that the gal he wasn’t supposed to get nearby to open the door so he could ‘teach her a lesson’. Thirty minutes later the cops finally showed up and he was arrested after they took care of his broken arm and hand… And that earned me quite the rep with my neighbors. A couple of months later there’s this knock at the door. It’s one of my other neighbors and she has a proposal to me. 500 bucks to beat up (real bad) a couple of guys for her and her friends. Said friends were all co-eds that, to pay their bills, were on the stripper business… the kind you hire for a private show in your home. One of them went to the wrong address and… it was ugly, not ‘rape’ ugly but really ugly. This neighbor of mine was quite the gal… body half covered with tattoos of all kinds and lots of piercings and short hair, but when I told her to call ‘her friends’ so I could see if the story she was telling me was truth or not… Wow! Two blondes, a brunette, a black girl and a petite Thai… all drop dead gorgeous and ready to double their offer. I asked if they wanted me to do it for them or ‘just’ wanted my help for them do it by themselves… Two hours later, at that apartment where their friend found Hell, there is a knock at the door. Dumb Guy goes to attend it and sees two busty blondes wearing really revealing outfits, their breasts were practically in plain view!, asking if that was the address where… hmm… Johnny was waiting for a show. Dumb Guy’s real name, let’s pretend it, was ‘Mike’ but of course he opened the door saying ‘Yeah, I’m Johnny…’, and they both sprayed his face and we stormed the place…’
‘And the other dude?’
‘Scum Guy appeared already with a knife, a big hunter’s knife, in his hand. I kicked it from his fingers and had him all to myself while Dumb Guy was introduced to the co-eds/strippers’ baseball and hockey bats. But after like ten minutes a girl who only wanted to spit at the guys, and had walked to the windows to be our watchgal after it, screamed ‘The police!’. And we got the **** out of there through the back of the building. Turns out that the gal they had attacked had been convinced by the hospital… yeah she ended up in a hospital… well one of the hospital’s doctors, or somebody else who worked there, talked to her and she decided to talk to the cops. Flash-forward nearly ten years, I am here in California and since I am alive and I want to stay that way, I have to buy food. So I am at the market and as I am choosing what fruit I will buy tonight… there he is, Scum Guy, buying some beers! I could have ignored him, probably I should have, but I didn’t. I had followed his (and Dumb Guy’s) trial and I knew how much this guy was dangerous! By the way, what was he doing in CA? He was supposed to still be enjoying New Hampshire’s ‘hospitality’! He and Dumb Guy had escaped like three months earlier and had crossed the country. All sorts of thoughts came into my mind, ‘it is a trap you idiot!’ and ‘where did I stashed my gun again?’ and others. He paid his stuff and went to his car, and I followed him back to his house. Said house was in a suburb, and I parked my car and was deciding what to do next when she startled me. She was wearing her uniform and hadn’t tried to be sneaky at all and yet…’
‘She surprised you?’ – asked Gina who couldn’t believe in what she was hearing.
‘Yeah. Look, that co-ed hadn’t been the first woman they had humiliated… Scum Guy is one of those freaks that can’t have sex with women… he really fails miserably in that department and in order to ‘compensate’ it… and Dumb Guy was the kind of loser that follows men like Scum Guy. So all that I could think was in finding a way to attract as many policemen to that neighborhood as possible! And when I look to my side… there’s one of them right by the car! She was more or less of my size and age, a woman, so I thought that I would be able to convince her to call her ‘buddies’. But I was such in a state that she decided to check the story first… I only told her that he was an escaped convict but the way I said that… Well, Scum Guy and Dumb Guy were new to the neighborhood, her neighborhood. She had lived there all her life. And she had already received like a dozen or more complaints from old residents about the ‘newcomers’, so why not drop at his house, take a good look at him and then check the reports about escapees from New Hampshire?’
‘He really messed with you?’
‘Weird isn’t? He wasn’t, by far, the most dangerous piece of **** I had ever met. But that night I almost lost it. So… she checked me and my car with a call to ‘Central’, nothing, and then she went to check on the guy on her own. I was parked about five houses away from his, so I could see her perfectly, even if it was past 9 PM. She ringed, was admitted by Scum Guy as he tried to look less creepy and quite friendly… failing miserably on both. And two minutes later a cab parked in front of the house, and who got out? A stripper… dressed as a cop.’
‘No way!’ – Mary and Hannah, the ones more hooked by Dora’s story, said at the same time.
‘With a face, a bust and a behind like those and wearing high heels? A stripper. She went there and also was admitted inside as she pretended to be Miss Tough Cop, she kinda forced her way in… as in ‘Who needs a warrant?’ way… And ten minutes later none of them had gotten out of the house. The stripper I could understand, but the cop? Ten more minutes and I saw him. A cop, coming my way from behind me. A cop who was wearing… Air Nikes if not mistaken…’
‘Wearing the cop’s uniform! It was a tight fit in spite of him being less than half an inch taller than the lady. She wasn’t nowhere near busty and he wasn’t nowhere near well-built either, but it was a tight fit. So he got close and closer, I wondered what he could have done to the cop or the stripper to have the info about me pried from her lips, then I grabbed the pepper spray can and opened the car’s door as he was about to knock on it, a quick movement and the gun he was about to grab from the holster was now on the sidewalk, and right in the middle of his face…’
And she described the quick fight that ended with the guy rolling on the street with his own (smelly!) socks inside his mouth and the cop’s handcuffs, and some rope, putting him on a hogtie.
‘But weren’t you guys seen by anyone?’ – I asked to her.
‘Of course we were! As soon as I stood up there she was, a dame who lived alone across the street and had been already subjected to what passes for a ‘proposal’ in Dumb Guy’s mind, most of those details I only learned later of course, and she had a phone in her hand and she was talking to the police. I had no choice of running! That wasn’t a stolen car, it was MY car! With MY real name attached to it! So I looked at her, she looked back at me and started to walk backwards and I actually jumped on her, put my left hand over her lips as I grabbed her phone with the other one… ‘Police? I’d like to report a double hostage situation with one of your own as one of the hostages!’ (…), something like that…’
‘Say what???!!!’ – Three of us (me included) said at the same time (a bit too loud and within the waitress’s range!). After a few moments, as we pretended that she was talking about an outrageous remark from an ex-boyfriend, she was told to continue, and started it with a question.
‘Gals… have you forgotten what was my cover-up for so many interstate trips I did back then?’
And then we remembered. Of course!
Dora had passed for a bounty hunter for like six years; she actually got her quota of dangerous folks behind bars and went to be a witness for the prosecution on some trials as well. It was all a cover up, but it did leave her with unsuspected contacts within the police force of many cities around the country, a list of stories that she had barely scratched to us and her reputation as a cunning sly fox!
So that story had happened before she was forced to ‘retire’, when she became a full-time ‘evildoer’…
‘I identified myself, license and all, and told the gal on the other side that I had heard about two escape convicts in the area and had accidentally sort of bumped into them, then the cop came up because of my obvious suspect behavior and... The dame under me… early thirties gal of Korean ancestry, quite not the petite (more like chubby), was frozen with fear, but I managed to calm her down before I removed my hand. I told her to get back to her home, handed her the phone and went into the house after I grabbed my stuff inside my car. The guy stood there, writhing on the ground by it, as she obeyed (after she cursed him in her parents’ language)… I went to the back of the house as fast as I could... They were upstairs in one of the bedrooms. The cop was down to her panties and the stripper was naked and both women had been taped up in tight ‘kneeling hogtie fashion’, seriously they made it too tight! They were over a bed, side by side, with the door wide open to me... in plain view!’
‘And Dumb Guy was behind the door?’ - asked Irma.
Dora shook her head lightly.
‘No. Later, at the trial, I learned that it was Dumb Guy’s idea. Straight from a ‘Mad’ magazine! Right before the whole action he had just read a ‘Spy vs. Spy’ strip! In it one of them set up an obvious trap for the other, who isn’t fooled by it and acts as anyone in his situation would...’
‘...Falling in the real trap since the first one wasn’t but a decoy? That’s a classic! They must have used it for like dozens of times!’ - said Gina, who seemed to have all the collection of ‘Mad’ strips at home.
‘Sooooo...?’ - Asked/said Fay and Mary as they turned their heads towards Charity at the same time.
‘So I am running up the stairs and there they are, right in front of me, the room where they had been stashed in was in front, at the mouth of, the stairs! Plain view and all! And it got me on alert of course. So I stopped and checked things before I left the stairs and entered the upper floor. The door of that room was ajar, but not enough for Dumb Guy to be hiding behind it. I crouched a little and peeked at the hallway that connected all rooms on the floor, after I was sure that the guy wasn’t waiting for me to do that as was outside my eye range. No lights on any of the rooms, a bedroom & an office & the bathroom, at the left… and at the right there was the flicking light of a computer somewhere inside the only room there. Not much, but more than enough to show Dumb Guy’s shadow…’
‘Waiting for you to get into the hallway?’ – I asked.
‘And kick the door and stay put for like ten seconds! Or maybe he was expecting me to enter the room and rush to untape and ungag any of the women bound inside it... who knows? In any case he was really going to try to get me from behind. So I rushed to the room. The guy left his hiding spot and went to the room… and as he was about to enter the room already pulling the trigger…’
Can you believe that it was at that moment that we heard the ‘William Tell Overture’?
It was Dora’s ringtone for any call coming from the nanny she had hired that night, so of course she excused herself and took the call as we whispered to each other what could have happened. In the end it was nothing but Michael (Dora’s five years old little boy) playing with the phone.
After she managed to get in touch with the nanny, who gave an excuse only suitable to those who actually know those two little hurricanes she brought to the world…, she apologized and resumed.
‘Of course he was silent. He was actually very silent for his size and speed, but he was carrying his gun with both hands like that…’ – She extended her right index (as if it was the barrel of a gun) and held the base of her right hand with her left one – ‘…and was getting closer and closer… and how could I know that? Because the only light source of the hallway was behind him…’
‘And you saw the shadow approaching!’ – exclaimed Mary a bit too loud.
‘Exactly… So when he was like a yard or less before the entrance of the room… I jumped into the hallway! But NOT standing! I was crouching, my butt touching the back of my boots, by the door and when he got within arm’s reach and projected my torso to the hallway and with my right hand I touched his leg… the left one if not mistaken… with my faithful taser firm on my grip…’
‘But wasn’t he carrying a gun?’ – Three of us, with me following behind, asked at the same time.
‘Yeah, NOT a smart move… As he twitched he managed to pull the trigger… once. But while I was tasing him with my right hand with my left (…) I’m ambidextrous, remember? As I was saying with my left hand I grabbed the barrel of the gun and turned it away from and the opening behind me. The bullet hit the wall down the hallway and ricocheted a little, never to be found…’
‘Still it wasn’t a smart move…’ – said Charity as some of us, me included, agreed.
‘I know OK? Hundreds of things could have happened, hundreds of bad things. If I was somewhat calmer and more controlled I would have come up with a better alternative... certainly. But I more reacted than anything, and fortunately for me and the gals behind me that night the bullet hit a wall... and he wasn’t wearing rubber soles shoes or the likes... and lots of different things!’
We discussed how messed up could have things been for Dora that night, but in the end she finished her story with a quick summarize on how the women ended up captives. Dumb Guy’s reaction at the presence of a real cop in the house was to pull a gun... right at the moment the stripper knocked at the door. With Scum Guy holding a now handcuffed coplady in his arms (one hand handgagging her and the other holding his gun against her face), Dumb Guy tried to get rid of the busty gal, who was ‘in character’ and shoved him aside as she had a ‘search warrant’...
One minute later both ladies were taped, breasts exposed and gagged and forced to march upstairs, the ladies were then forced to strip and put into their predicament. She didn’t tell us exactly why Scum Guy forced the cop to strip and went after her; we were more interested in discussing her ‘dumb move’ at the time. Come to think of it, we did discuss it a bit too much...
Next Dora told us the afterward of it all... how she used the same tape he had put rather care-freely over their bodies on her latest captive, how the police decided to arrive at that moment and almost shot her... But about one hour later she was being praised by the cops, although she had to give a full statement (that night and again in the following day) to ‘half the precinct’ on to how she had recognized Scum Guy and followed him, who made them help her to not be photographed or filmed by the whole media circus the case created (after all she relied on her picture not appearing in any paper/website).
Charity then asked to be her turn...
‘My story also deals with the unexpected. But first I have to explain a few things. First, obviously the story happened before Facebook and other social medias were up and when phones with cameras were not as common as they are today, supposing that they already existed at the time. Back then I had a simple job, when I wasn’t here or there doing what I did for as living I had to go to ****************, CA, and visit my ‘boyfriend’. We had a real good night, and by morning I came back to San Francisco were I delivered to my boss whatever was that my ‘boyfriend’ had given me or left in my car. I was my boss’ courier between him and my ‘boyfriend’...’
‘And this ‘boyfriend’ of yours...?’ - asked Irma suppressing (not!) a grin.
‘Six feet four, muscles and more muscles and a face... what a face! Aaaaaaaaand...’
‘Gay!’ - said Mary and Fay. Charity’s proverbial bad luck when it came to use her natural assets to pass as just a ‘bimbo girlfriend’ was the source of many (funny) stories (for us others that is). Either the guy she had to pretend to be in love with was married, was ugly or was gay. NEVER ONCE she had the chance to pass for the half of a couple when the other half was straight, single and beautiful! But when, back then, she had to pretend (four or five times per year!) that she was a hooker, a slut or a stripper...
Then the Finnegans, the Colberts or the Milleys were around! Or Tim Malverne! Or...
Well you got the idea... Right?
‘And this guy name’s was?’ - asked Irma on our behalf.
‘George Clayton Biggs.’
I frowned, Irma frowned and so did Sondra. The others looked at us and at Charity.
‘If there is ever a poll about who’s the most handsome piece of male flesh you have ever seen... I’d vote on him with my eyes closed! Did he go all the way with you?’ - said/asked Sondra.
‘I wasn’t that curious, after I learned about his real preferences... Maybe I should have been...’
‘Curious as in...?’ - asked Mary.
‘He had to pretend that he was straight like 99% of the time. And to do that sometimes he did have sex with women who were posing as his dates/girlfriends, or were hitting on him a bit too much. I gave him an ‘8,5’ in the first time we...’ - I answered to the surprise of all the others...
‘You...? Anyway, my job was to go there, have a nice dinner at a restaurant, maybe a movie at the local theater or some hours in one of the clubs by the seaside... and return to Frisco so ****** ********* could get the latest update on how things were going for him there.’
We turned our heads to Hannah who was holding Irma’s smartphone in her hands; she had found a pic of George Biggs, and five other dudes, in a friend’s Facebook account. Over ten years had passed, and he still looked just about perfect! Well, there was a scar in his right cheek that wasn’t there before but...
‘Gay..., this guy... is gay?’ - Hannah asked/pleaded with us.
‘Sad joke to us gals of the world... isn’t it?’ - Irma answered.
‘Anyway, so ****** ********* wanted you to drop by that town...’ - Gina said to change the subject.
‘You know how ****** ********* works. He always has things ready for his big ‘operations’ in advance for like two or three years before the real action begins, at the very least! When he pulled that one against the Chinese in ‘04 what did he used? A rental car company that an underling had opened in ‘02, and when he fooled ********** in ‘08 he used what, a restaurant a guy had opened in 1996 but, secretly, had been forced to sell to another underling of his in 2003! So what was one of the ruses he had in that town? A blimp advertising company. Totally legit, with one major client (you think you know who it was) and among the three pilots of that thing was George. From what I know George was the ‘data gatherer’ of whatever were *********’s plans at the moment, how he managed to get in touch with ‘his’ informants or what was the stuff he dealt with during his time working there... I haven’t the slightest idea! I never asked and even if I did... he wouldn’t tell. Anyway, I was planning to have a weekend at a top spa and then I got this phone call from my contact with *********, of course I never got in touch with him myself, that’d be beyond stupid fro his part! ‘Things got weird’ he or she says and I am supposed to make an unannounced visit to my boyfriend. When I got there everything was already prepared, I’d be part of the cover-up of a cover-up!’
But Michael was simply impossible that night, and once again we heard that music made famous by the Lone Ranger. After a quick lecture and a few treats to him and the promise that she’d pay a sizable extra to the nanny, Dora returned to the table. After she apologized...
‘When I got there I already knew that I was supposed to be with George when he lifted off in the following morning, so we both went straight to bed and he, always the gentleman (!), slept on the floor as I (alone) enjoyed that very comfy king size bed... (Sigh!) By morning we were all set and he filled me with all the details he could tell me. For whatever reason that his boss might have, there would be a third person with us that day up there. This person was a PI who knew better to say no to George... (although, at first, I doubted she knew to whom he was actually working for), so she... Hmmm, let’s call her Mary Jane, because she was a redhead and a few years before she was (probably) quite the lookalike to that girl who likes to kiss dudes when they’re upside down, was a PI who was specialized in industrial espionage.
So the bogus story as to why she was there was: a meeting in the classical style between the guy she was following and the people who were paying him to spy on her client was supposed to happen at 4PM... the classic stuff... a crossroad in the middle of nowhere, in the very beginning of the urban side of the county, but not that away from civilization. And that particular spot where the meeting was to happen was absolutely clean. She knew that she had no way to be hiding there when it happened, but she found out that the place was on the regular path of a blimp that belonged to an advertising company, so she decided to bribe George to help her take those pictures. Why she was actually there, or what she was supposed to do, I never knew the full details, just some tidbits. Before you say anything, you won’t believe the kind of things she had already done in the past to get the proofs/data her then clients wanted her to achieve for them! There’s this story, a true one, about she becoming a ‘burglar’ just so that among her six or seven victims were the two people she really needed to relieve of their ‘data’! ********* had, again, chosen well the person for his needs! So that was the deal that, supposedly, we would follow that day...’
‘But this meeting... was it going to happen right under the blimp?’ - asked Gina.
‘Of course not! Say that we are right now in the blimp’s cabin. The meeting wasn’t going to happen there...’ - and she pointed at the next table at our right - ‘...but rather there!’ - and she pointed to a bus stop down the street, about a half a block away from the window behind me – ‘Mary Jane was a pro, highly respected in her field and all that, and she had these two or three monstrous cameras with her (that she knew how to use very well). The cover-up story sustained that she had learned about the meeting like two weeks before and had scouted the area in search of a place where she could aim her cameras at the meeting, while not being on plain sight, and while she hadn’t found any place like that... she realized that the blimp was part of the scenery and thus... a good hiding spot. I was to get half a thousand just to pretend that, again, I wanted to have some mile-high experience with George...’
‘‘Again’?’ - asked Hannah and Fay in chorus.
‘Well... once I went up there wearing a very revealing outfit and we spent hours getting in touch with a lot of people, gathering data and stuff like that, in the middle of it he took a pic of me kneeling on the floor with my breasts bare and he was quite creative with what we supposedly did while... there...Yes?’
‘Hold on a second! When exactly did it happen?’ - asked Hannah all of a sudden.
OK, now I have to explain a few things.
The town where Charity’s tale happened, no, the whole area where the town is located, is a well-known part of ****** *********’s turf. Of course he has not exclusivity on the whole area, but in what he deals with... that part of California is usually considered as ‘his’ backyard/territory.
So everybody on the table knew a dozen or more stories, at least, about his ‘enterprises’ in that town.
But not a single one of us knew of a story involving a blimp advertising company, George or Charity (and Mr. *********). So to all of us it was all a brand new story involving one of the biggest sharks of our field and our friend, not about our friend’s (until then secret) involvement in the greatest mess one of the most feared men in California (make it the whole West Coast) found himself involved in!
So what was, to most of California, just another hot Saturday in one of the hottest summers ever... to us was the day in which a very big business between ********* and the Chinese suffered the disastrous interference of the FBI (and the CHP and ATF) and a (now long deceased) ‘business rival’ of his (along with a few greedy idiots that either gave him support or backed him).
The two groups of ‘party-crashers’ promoted quite the ruckus in Southern California..., even I (who was in Newark that day) got involved in it. Tangentially, true, but involved nonetheless. Practically only Gina (doing time for a small offense) and Fay were not ‘touched’ by that day’s events! So you can imagine what our reaction was when she told us the date when the ‘action’ was supposed to happen...
‘Well, morning came and both I and the George and the land crew of the blimp’s company were already there, on the private property where the blimp hangar was located, and no sign of Mary Jane. Minutes passes and nothing, we’re all on a tight schedule and no sign of her... and then we all start to get messages on our phones. Something is happening, something quite big and the whole plan, the whole operation, is now severely compromised! And we start worrying about our safety, our well-being and our freedom. Three guys leave; running from their own shadows as MJ finally appears. She makes sure that the two guys that will stay on the ground won’t even think of running away with a simple fact: ‘Those who help her will help Mr. *********, and thus will find themselves on his Christmas list, while those who run...’, and then she turns to George and asks him about an injection. By then we had already heard the noise coming from the trunk of her car...’
‘Hold on! ‘Injection’?’ - asked Hannah.
‘Yeah... come on guys! There’s this person that has to be put out of the way... not killed nor anything else, just kept out of sight for a few hours... as long as he or she is sedated, and thus unable to afterward recognize where he or she was held, isn’t a blimp a good ‘hide in plain sight’ spot?’
‘Yes...’ - said Hannah through gritted teeth. Only over a month later we would learn about her visit to George Biggs, which happened the following day!, and why she punched him a couple of times...
And why he let her do it.
We, of course, knew that Hannah’s change of behavior had something to do with Charity’s tale, but as she slowly became monosyllabic in her answers and questions, we became focused on the tale brought to us to care. We knew that, sooner or later, Hannah would tell us what it was all about...
‘So Mary Jane makes us all put on ski masks and opens the trunk of the car, and there’s this half-naked dame, she was wearing only a see-through flimsy set of cream lingerie, taped, gagged and blindfolded with black tape, that she obviously had tried to have removed from over her eyes. George shows up with the syringe and lowers her panties and applies it, and she’s out in like ten seconds. He carries her to the cabin, along with some stuff that I won’t tell you about, and off we go! Outside it’s a really hot sunny day, and we can see that the beaches below are getting fuller by the minute. Just to train it, since she doesn’t know if her ‘job’ is going to happen or not, Mary Jane takes a few picks. Sure, she’s not able to grab a pick of a guy with so many details that we can tell what is the size and shape of the ‘dot’ over his right knee, but there’s more than enough for me to say ‘that guy was there, that guy too but that gal wasn’t!’, it was like if we started taking pictures of the people down the streets with the maximum zoom of our phone’s cameras, the results would be more or less the same...’
‘And ‘Sleeping Beauty’?’ - asked Mary.
‘She awoke a couple of times, the drug didn’t lasted that much and George was supposedly doing just another daily routine (he had a scheduled ‘path’ up there and didn’t strayed away from it one inch), but by then Mary Jane was focused on taking pictures (of hot dames and guys, four bikini dames per guy...), George was busy taking care of the cruise and of the stuff he took along and it was up to me to take care of her. Mary Jane handed me a list of stuff I could to her do and, if necessary, tell her, and I followed it, while I did my best to disguise my voice. The drug George used did not allowed me to immediately put her under after she awoke, I had to give her a few minutes of awareness during which she strained and fought her tape hogtie as little as she could, we took ZERO chances with her, when the fifteen to twenty minutes were up I removed the earplug on her right ear and warned her that I was going to inject her the drug, panties down, injection, panties up and then I could go back to a standing position and enjoy the view and the sun. It all happened about the third time she awoke, George and MJ had long convinced me that she could take up to ten shots of it without major consequences, and then the unexpected happened... the radio called, and the cops were on the other side of the line! Local cops, state cops and even some feds! And Sleeping Beauty was wide awake and ‘vocal’...’
‘They had busted the whole operation?’ - asked Fay.
‘No, or we would have heard of that already... so you grinning little tease... what’s the story?’
‘Well, Hannah, I quickly had our prisoner kept in one of my famous bodylocks as I kept both hands over her taped lips, MJ helped me and George answered the call... that wasn’t for him but for MJ!’
You should have seen our faces after she said that!
‘It turns out that MJ’s car was well known by some of the boys in blue down there. They rushed to the hangar and found her car and no MJ anywhere they looked, so they deduced (and hoped) that she was up there with George. And they called her. After a while George complied and, leaving me alone to deal with a now struggling girl, MJ took the call. It turns out that they needed her help. In between the whole mess that was going on in that town... one cop was missing and another one was... shall we say... ‘Incommunicado’? And they had a ‘good idea’ as to where they could be at the moment. Within the hour we were filled with the details as George and MJ, and me...’
‘YOU?’ - asked Mary and Gina in stereo.
‘Yeah... me. At some point, as MJ was telling them what she was doing and they were saying ‘Forget it! With the amount of cops on the streets no one will be stupid to make a shady meeting in some back road today!’, one of the guys... some ‘Detective Mansfield’... what?’
Sondra and I had made quite the faces at the mention of his name.
‘Male voice, very nasal and huffed, saying ‘like this (...) like that’ all the time?’
‘You know him?’
‘Both I and Sondra had the displeasure as it seems... Irritating busybody!’
‘Ehrrr... he’s a cop, remember?’ - said Charity
‘What the other cops think about him is related to busybody... but I can’t say that in public...’ - I said.
‘Well, I could have guessed it... I should have... Anyway, at some point he took the line and asked MJ what was the cover-up story she had for her actions... I had managed to make Sleeping Beauty go back to Slumberland so I simply grabbed the mike and told him, and everybody else, what was my part in that scam. From what I know some of the cops had heard about ‘George and his busty girlfriend’s wild flight’ of a few weeks before, and MJ admitted that she ‘thought’ that there wouldn’t be a better cover-up than ‘poor George’ complying with my demands of... shall we say... ‘seconds’? (…) ‘Replay’?’
‘We got it!’ - said Hannah.
‘But... did it worked?’ - asked Mary.
‘Well, by the time it was all over and the blimp finally returned to the hangar, there were like six or seven cops down there. And in order to ‘distract’ them I ‘fell’ into character...’
‘How?’ - asked Mary and Gina.
‘You both are getting way ahead! Let her tell her story in a chronological order, okay? And besides, what she means is that she probably got out of the blimp in a string bikini!’ – I said
‘With a thong...?’ - asked/teased Irma, to which Charity nodded before she resumed...
‘So! To everybody down there the blimp’s ‘crew’ was made of two women and one guy, and one of the women happened to actually have with her what the guys down below needed the most, high priced and extremely good cameras with ultra-mega-zoom lens! Why? Because they needed to look at a particular spot of the town that was right below us... (…) Okay, it was below us and at our right... but in any case they needed that somebody was up there and looking down with the ability to record whatever he or she was looking at with as many details as possible. And the blimp was just doing its regular path anyway, so... they asked ever so gently and she complied, what else could she actually do? The target in question was a three stories building right in front of the sea, the distance between us and it was not even half a mile in a straight line when we got the closest possible we could like an hour and a half later, but from that moment on MJ’s sole attention, and as it turns out... that building was her real target all along, the reason why she was up there in the first place! Come on guys! A three story building... by the seashore... in that town... at that time...?’
No way! Gina broke the silence as we all looked at each other...
‘The HQ of Truman & Hart Corp.?’
And Charity just nodded!
The place is now gone, razed and replaced with a restaurant and some beach shops and other things. But at the time it was the (legit) businesses’ HQ of Mr. ********’s main (pretending) antagonist-to-be.
Everybody that has half a reputation knows how the place went down that day, how many honest and ‘honest’ people saw their reputations tarnished or at least severely damaged. After all even Jacqueline (Jackie) Truman really did not knew about her lifelong friend and business partner’s ‘other sources of income’, and when it crashed on her face how low he had fell...
Could it be that Charity had taken part of it all?
‘As we agreed, tonight’s ‘How I Saved a Cop’s life’ Night, so all I did was help to save a cop’s life that day. But I am getting ahead of myself. It turns out that Mr. *********, somehow, got wise about the plans and pretensions of Ryan Hart... that’s why I was called in that town that day and ended up in that blimp. Remember, although everything happened in a Saturday, the ‘action’ between Mr. ********* and the Chinese was supposed to happen on the next day, Sunday, so all the we... that MJ was supposed to do was to take a few pictures of someone, or someones, that he actually hoped would not be around at the time (or any other time) in that building’s 3rd floor. So... at about 11:20 a.m. she pointed one of her monster cameras to the building and nothing, she slowly goes window by window and still nothing, one by one once more and yet nothing, but when she does it a third time... that’s when she saw, and took the pictures of, Jackie Truman being dragged inside her own office, with her two bodyguards and personal assistant, at gun point. Hands behind their back and zip-bound and tape gagged... Of course, from that moment on, the FBI and state fellas forgot about the two missing cops, and it caused quite a ruckus on the other side of the radio. Yes, it was a radio. Look, at that time phone reception was good but not that good in places a bit far away from the shore, in that area at least, and there was no viable wireless web to reach us so all that we could do was listen to the radio... and sooner than you can say ‘Of course!’ it was up to me to help the local police to find their missing ones!’
‘How?’ - asked Fay.
‘MJ was now an almost deputized law enforcer lady, George had to mind the wheel so to speak... but what about me? What could I be doing up there that I could not help them instead? So, after some true resistance from MJ’s part (you know how photographers are with their cameras...? She’s ten times worst!), I got one of those cameras... ok... the ‘monster’ bit was more related to the lens... but still, and aimed it at the building. Nothing, nothing again, and then this guy wearing blue Bermuda shorts and an extra-large white T-shirt rushed two gals into a room. Jackie Truman’s office was located right in the middle of the floor, at its left stood Ryan’s office, two room that I never knew to whom they belonged to and at the corner this room, bare save for a swivel chair and a table. One of the ladies was bound and the other wasn’t, the one still with some freedom of movements was just another secretary of the place, that for some reason hadn’t left when she was told (like all her co-workers) and ended up seeing the guy arriving with his bound captive over his shoulder (I learned a lot about them both in the following days). Said captive was none other than the ‘incommunicado’, and undercover, cop!’
‘Lori Ibarra? It was you?’
‘Who told the cops where she was? Yes, Irma, it was me. They had already given me a full description of both she and the (other) missing cop. She was wearing black running shorts and white tank top, one of her tennis shoes was missing and also black tape over her lips and around her wrists. The guy forced, at gunpoint, the secretary to tape her into a hogtie over the table before he taped the mid-forties fat dame to the swivel chair, at some point he left and returned with another roll of tape to really make them both tape mummies! After he was done he slapped Lori on the face and left them alone. The ruckus between local and ‘foreign’ cops was that the locals wanted to storm the place while the others wanted to wait... So I was told to check on the other windows...’
‘But... no one thought about closing the lids, curtains or whatever?’ - asked Sondra.
‘Why should they? They were facing the big ole Pacific Ocean!, nothing was facing them back... save for a few boats far and farther away and this blimp - With tainted windows, true, but so what? That thing had always been like that… - that is just doing its regular path...’
The worst part is that she was right, I recalled at that very moment a talk that I had with Bugs Kremp about the case a few years later. For what’s worth he told me that there was this ‘crazy talk’ about a blimp having been used in the operation by the feds, but he said that it was like talking about Big Foot or the Loch Ness dinosaur... the most likely explanation was that the FBI had managed to hack into the building’s security system, but had done that quite illegally so they could not use the footage in any trial that followed that day or even admit its existence... ‘Fruit of the poisonous tree’ and all that.
That made more sense...!
‘Anyway... For like half an hour I saw the dames struggling in their bonds and nothing else. Then suddenly, the cop gal struggle a bit too much and falls on the floor. After recovering, which took about four or five minutes, she started to worm her way to the door. I mean, there was NOTHING in that room that she could use to free herself. She had, at least, half a roll of shiny silver tape all over her body, having been reduced to a tight package, legs bent and taped in place and arms turned into one and ‘melted’ to her back. Yeah, the guy who taped them both was a sadistic POS. Of course, the worm had taken care of her fingers, her hands looked like door knobs... but still she started to worm her way to the door! The other woman in the room? You wouldn’t believe how much tape was used to stick her to the chair! Sure, it was a swivel chair, and due to her frantic struggle it moved a little in all directions, but there was NO way that dame could either help the cop or free herself! And the cop was moving to the door, inch by inch... she was just a quarter of the original distance near it when the door opened! And who entered the room? The other missing cop! (…) SONDRA!’
But there was nothing that they could do about it. Half the table knew more or less who was the other missing cop, and me and Sondra were probably the only ones who knew what happened next... I managed to keep my mouth shut, Sondra snickered and gave away the secret... Mary and Gina were the first to realize who he was and soon all the others knew that too, spoiling Charity’s story...
She really got ‘mad’ at her, and got even in the usual way... (all Charity’s bills were paid by Sondra in the following five meetings..., besides a long – very long – talk about spoiling other people’s stories that each and all of us gave to her in private...).
But, frankly, we’re talking about Herbert (Maxwell) Lancer!
The (former!) cop that everybody in California loves to hate!
There are two or three shooting ranges that I know of that uses HIS image as target practice! He ruined a few (honest) cops’ reputation because he was a ‘true’ big friend of those dudes, and dudettes, and they showed off that friendship (that actually wasn’t worth a dime in Herbie’s mind) to everybody they could think of, before the truth about him came out!
Until that fateful day... sorry for the drama but it is really apt for the occasion, but until that fateful day he was one of the top cops of the state! Then... the giant flood of proofs that he took bribes (not only in money...), that he manipulated evidences, that he intimidated witnesses or even victims of crimes... that the ‘hero’ was a ‘villain’ is disguise, and a scum*** one! Even among us, all of us and not only those I know, he wasn’t the kind of person you’d like to be in the same city with!
And his downfall was as impressive as his previous reputation! And it had been her, Charity!... who had taken (apparently) an active part of his exposure? Just... WOW!
‘(You bitch!)... Sigh... Anyway, he entered the room and it was obvious that he wasn’t NOT a prisoner! He was in plain civilian clothes, a sneer in his face and with a .38 in his right hand… Me? I told the guys on the other side of the open line what I was saying and they, of course, did not believe in me… I was yelling at them that their ‘buddy’ was roughly manhandling Miss Ibarra and they answered ‘Stop lying!’ over and over. And then what happened? Another ruckus. After tense moments there’s this male voice, I never got the name of whom it belonged to, and he says: ‘Please tell me that you are taking pictures of it’. Of course I was! Not very good, I had that very little mini micro problem with focus you know… but they were good enough to whatever ‘The Voice’ wanted them for…’
‘Lancer’s cover had been blown already?’ – I asked her.
‘Apparently (and that cost me a date with a cop with big hands, bad breath and glasses of the size of a… to learn more about it), SOME feds already knew that he was dirty, and that through him they could have a chance to nail Ryan Hart, and through Ryan…’
Needless to say she had us all in the palm of her hand at that moment!
‘So when they learned that you were taking pictures of the ‘Dirty Lone Ranger’…?’ – started Mary.
‘Oooohhh… wait for it! As I was saying, he lifted Lori to her feet and started to manhandle her, hands roaming North and South and East and West, and then Lori CONKED him! And he slaps her, very hard, and she falls backward over the table, he grabs his gun (that he had shoved in his pants) and aims it at her and… Ryan grabs his arm. And places a silencer in his other hand. And then Lancer starts to put it on his gun. And me? I grabbed the microphone and yelled ‘He’s going to kill her! Whoever knows Ryan Hart’s private cellphone number give it to me now or I swear I’ll find a way to send these pictures I’m taking right now to the press! NOW you…’ – (…) Time for a little censorship from my part…
‘And then?’ – Three of us asked at once.
‘Another ruckus, what else? Apparently ‘The Voice’ took long to ponder his options, and one of Lori’s friends solved everything with some treats with a gun. Don’t know the details, the town’s brass and the FBI settled it with his resignation the following day, but the fact is that I prayed that we were close enough to the shore to Mary Jane’s high tech cell phone work, and my prayers got answered as I saw Ryan giving an order to Lancer, who covered Lori’s well gagged lower face with both his hands (after he handed the gun with the silencer on to one of Ryan’s goons), and he asked me… ‘Who’s this?’’
And then, to our surprise, something dawned on Charity, and she blushed so adorably…
Well, well, here it came… whatever it was…
‘I said: ‘That was a good idea to order your crooked cop to muzzle that chick instead of shooting her. It might have prevented me from getting ten nice millions from you, but…’, and he? ‘WHO THE **** IS TALKING???’. And I? ‘Calm down, loser, just calm down so we can have a nice little chat…’, but he was adamant: ‘WHO the **** are you, ****!’ – And she blushed even more before saying – ‘‘As if I would be stupid to tell you my name! But you can call me… (…Sigh!) (…)… ‘The Babe’…’
It took us a while to stop laughing…
‘Of course… stop it Mary!... IRMA! (…) Of course, when he heard me saying that he told me a long list of unpublishable terms! But eventually he calmed down. And I told him ‘Shut the **** up you ****! Or I can just do what I already should have done, and call my boss and tell him the good news…’, and he said ‘Your boss?’, and I answered with a very credible ‘WHO do you think would be able to have a link to your security cameras for himself? Who could hire a gal like me to be monitoring your headquarter when she, apparently, was just an out-of-town rich bimbo who rented an apartment for fun and sex? Who could have YOUR private phone number, Mr. Ryan? If a hundred guys could be watching me right I guarantee that ALL of them would be more interested in my big boobs, or in my thong bikini bottom, than in reading my lips! What I have already recorded is more than enough for you to pay me twice whatever sum I tell you to… Hey! HE is not paying that well for me to let this opportunity to pass!’, and for a long minute I saw him moving around the room, his face showing me (and Mary Jane) that he was considering all possibilities. And then I saw him scribbling something on the table with a marker pen, and one of his goons left the room in a hurry, racing to the security room. I just said to him: ‘Too late, dude. I’ll call you in twenty!’, and I could only fell on my knees after that!
Everybody was yelling at me through the radio, Mary Jane was yelling at me too and so was George, but I paid attention only to him. He yelled a ‘QUIET!’ that left absolutely no room to the others, then he looked at me and said: ‘Well done, ‘babe’, but now you have to pay attention to the cops…’, ‘The Voice’ was barely holding himself as he asked me what the h*** I had just done. My answer? ‘Look, whoever you are, right now Ryan thinks that I am under pay of whoever is the guy or gal that he fears the most, and it’s not you, is it? Plus I think I can manage to send Lancer to a nice big trap wherever you want to sprang it for him. Lastly, I just saved a life you ****, if you don’t like it arrest me and sue me when we land…’, and I managed to hear somebody yelling in the back of the other side of the line… ‘He can try!’, the line went dead for a moment but then it was a row of cops wanting to thank me for doing having ‘sinned’ the way I did, apparently they had been exposed to some of the evidences the feds already had against Lancer, and then one of them told a story that one of his informers had told him or her (but that had fallen in deaf ears), and then there was this gossip from that other precinct and so on… Anyway, George took the mike from my hands and told them that we were not in the clear. He doubted, since we weren’t inside a bad 80’s action movie, that Ryan would pull a guy with a bazooka to shoot us down, but as soon as he realized that whoever was the gal on the other side of the phone, she did NOT had a link to his security cameras’ system, so it was a matter of moments that he would think about the blimp in the sky in front of him. And on a hundred to one bet, he said that he was going to send somebody to the hangar and if this somebody saw who knows how many police cars parked in and around it… We could hear them rushing away from the mike after that…’
And quite theatrically she sighed and threw herself backwards against the back of her chair!
‘But as it turns out… the Chinese, or the Russians, or the Japanese, or somebody else, had placed a link to the cameras’ system, and they were recording everything, but whoever was/were the tech or techs that Ryan sent to check on the system, he/she/they just reported that it had been compromised! So when I called him back… he was livid and fuming and boiling and quite the gentleman. ‘Let’s be rational’, ‘I am a businessman, after all’ and yada yada yada… and I settled for five millions, in the shape of some stuff he told me he had access to, and he did (though he ordered that a robbery was to be staged for it to be achieved), that was to be delivered by Lancer, of course, at some mall’s parking lot in four hours’
‘What ‘stuff’ was that?’ - asked Irma.
‘Drug money and merchandise, but from whom I don’t know...’
‘And Sleeping Beauty?’ - Dora asked.
‘Sometime during the thirty minutes or more that the negotiation took to be completed, it wasn’t a single call but five of them, me and Mary Jane kept aiming the cameras at the building, George happened to her. And when the negotiation was over I sat on the floor of the cabin and there she was, with two or even three more times tape all over her face, not just over the mouth but the eyes and ears (and hair) as well, and with LOTS of tape over her limbs! George had turned her into a barely hearable and almost unmovable tape baby seal, she could only wiggle that way okay?, as I wasn’t looking at him and/or her. She was fully awake but no one could hear anything, anything, which she somehow managed to produce, unless he or she was inches away from her! So I went over her and, after quite the effort to cut the tape over her right ear, I disguised my voice and told her: ‘Look, it’s dangerous to keep putting you out and it’s even more dangerous, for YOU that is (let me be clear about it), to have you have the chance to hear or see anything right now and for the next two or three hours’, and I talked and talked and in the end she nodded. The tape over her face would stay on since she was breathing nicely, but the amount over her body was going to be reduced drastically. There was no need at to be that mean with her as long as she behaved, as she did by the way, and only when the time was due is that I would put her under for the last time. Minutes later she was taped with her hands in front, and said hands trapped to above her knees, a little more here and there (and around her crossed ankles as well) and I left her on her side as she sighed with relief (although I didn’t managed to hear it).’
‘And Ibarra and the secretary?’ - I can’t recall who asked that.
‘As the… negotiation went on, and I kept taking pictures and more pictures (with Mary Jane doing the same with each and every single person she could aim her lens at), Ryan snapped his fingers… and a goon grabbed Ibarra and took her away. She struggled all the time, much to the extra-large creep’s amusement, who kept slapping her behind (he was carrying her OTS) as he carried her three stories down. He used a stairway and I kept searching him (and her) for frantic five or six minutes as I kept a ‘cool’ façade to Ryan. I did not reveal how much I was being ‘paid’ to spy on him, but I left tidbits that made him sweat about for how long his plans had been compromised… And suddenly there’s the goon! And Ibarra is now tied with rope and in her undies! But don’t worry, he only took her clothes and added rope to her bonds… Seriously, the guy took his time to trap her in a spider’s web!’
‘Was this dude’s name’s Andre DeSilva?’ – asked Sondra.
‘Why, yes! After all was over I managed to learn his name when I talked to Lori, I pretended that I wanted to know what was the guy’s name so I could ‘pay him a visit’ (armed with a taser and a BIG sledgehammer), but she laughed and told me that I had arrived too late… How did you…’
‘He’s reliable, obey orders and is good in a fight… but if he has the slightest chance to ‘be a rope artist’ with a female hostage/captive… he will do it. There was this time when…
‘You’ll tell us this story another time!’ – said a chorus of four, me included, as we cut her short.
‘Well, then I saw them as he carries her to a vacant office on that floor, this one was well furnished and, if not mistaken, belonged to some dude from the company’s PR department. There he made her kneel over the desk… and anchored her there, kneeling with her chin as the highest point of her body, because he made a ponytail with her hair and tied rope to it and to something I couldn’t see forcing her head backward! She stayed stuck in that position for the next hour, struggling all the time… As for the secretary, she was released from the chair and sent to make company to Jackie Truman…’
‘But, wait a moment, for how long did you… the blimp stayed in front of that building?’
‘Oh come on Hannah, did you saw one of those things? It moves as slow as possible, especially when they are facing the city’s top beach where all the top hotels and restaurants are located! The idea is to advertise whatever the blimp is there to advertise for as long as possible, like a guy who runs as fast as he can to reach a row of hot looking buxom dames who are wearing tiny and tinier string bikinis while lying on lounge chairs by a pool. When he gets there what does he do? Keeps his pace? Or slows down in order to better show off himself? The blimp moved at its ‘top speed’, which isn’t much actually, every time it was either going to the seashore or coming from it. But from the moment he reached a prearranged point… Turtle mode on! And, of course, among the few things that the feds and the police discussed with George was how slow he could move the blimp without attracting the attention from the people in the building or anywhere else… and THAT was slow!’
‘Okay… but for how long anyway?’
‘From the moment she aimed her most powerful camera lens to the last picture I snapped… three hours and a half, give or take some minutes. The blimp went from one corner of the beach to another, 180° and back, 180° once more and one last run in front of the shore. A few more runs were supposed to happen, but by then the police was ready to storm the place, a big shootout had already happened in a restaurant a little to its left and the number of ‘potential’ watchers on the beach had already decreased substantially… no watchers, no need for the blimp to be there, right? The tourism industry took less than it was supposed to recover, but that was quite a punch it took that day!’
‘Okay… but how did you got out of the blimp with a bound and gagged captive inside it and…’
‘About a dozen boys in blue…?’
‘…with that many cops outside it?’ – asked Sondra.
‘Simple, sort of. As the negotiation went on the cops and feds left as little as possible of their numbers in and around the hangar. The guys were needed elsewhere anyway. In between the point where we could no longer take pictures for them, and the point where they could actually see the cabin and as much as possible of its interior, there was more than enough time for me to make MJ’s captive a Sleeping Beauty once more, and the cabin of the blimp isn’t bare, at least not that one. Think about a small motor boat or a big limo, the front row belongs to the pilot (George) and all the machinery necessary to keep it up. There was a row of three seats facing another row of four seats (the missing seat was the way found for the pilot be able to reach his/her seat) and quite space for the passengers of both rows to stretch their legs in the middle of them. The seats were comfortable, but had no feet, and the space under them was actually a locked compartment in both rows. The one under my seat had all the refreshments we could think of, the one under the pilot’s seat had a gun and all the fire combat stuff and the one under MJ’s was empty… I sedated her and put her in a bearable, but very tight, ball-tie and with MJ’s help I locked her there. We arrived at the field, MJ got out first with the rolls of film and memory cards in her hand, the FBI greeted her and took her away before I could position myself to my fans… Some of them still wish that phones with cameras were available that day… Among them was this lone federal agent who was there to get my written and signed statement. So off I went, wolf whistles abound, but as I am about to enter the fed’s car I turn around to ask George if I can be back ‘same time next month?’, George becomes the target of some serious death stares and envy looks as he said ‘Sure!’ and mouthed ‘Call me’. He and the land crew took the blimp to the hangar; he got out of it straight to the last federal vehicle in the parking lot and somebody took Sleeping Beauty out of her hidden prison and delivered her back to you-know-who…’
‘But, who was she in the first place?’ – asked Fay.
‘I know the answer for that question, and if you guys really want a BIG target over your chest you can ask either me or she. Anyone wants to ask that again?’ – No one answered my question.
Let’s just say that if Charity ever finds herself in trouble, real deep **** trouble, she can call ****** ********* at any time of night or day, and anything he can do to help her… he will!
He owes her, and George and MJ, that much!!!
Back to that moment, Charity told us about the statement she gave to the feds, she and the others had discussed the details while returning to the hangar, and how they all learned about Lancer’s escape.
But seriously, how could anyone know that ‘Hey buddy’ was a code phrase for ‘I am busted’?
That dispatch fella, who is still doing time and probably fears to become the punching bag (or worst) of his entire block one of these days, was already surrounded by three federal agents and two or three cops and was told to act normally if any of the (dirty) cops on the list the feds gave him called. And he managed to warn two on that list, besides Lancer (who called pretending to have been attacked by Ryan’s men), before his ruse was discovered by the feds…
Last thing I heard of Lancer was that he was, somehow, involved in the drug war in Mexico… About Ryan’s death there was a quick discussion about who could have taken that shot, since everybody knew what Cinnamon was doing that day and where, we chatted a while about where we were that day, and doing what and to/with who, nothing too detailed, just to wrap up a good story.
And then it was time to finish that night of stories, to pay the bills and say goodbyes… and Fay raised her hand asking us if she could tell us a story!
Do you know how many times it had happened over the past meetings?
Twice. Once, when that night’s ‘theme’ was ‘Who Me?’ (about stories of the incredible tall tales we had to tell to other people, usually cops, in order to explain what we were doing so close to the place where a crime had just been committed), and then again when we all told our ‘Interrupted Games’ (about unexpected jobs, or risky situations, that appeared while we were enjoying a baseball/basketball game, or the likes, with some buddies in the stadium or in a nearby sports bar) stories.
Fay was, after all, THE gun moll of our gang. She had have a couple of boyfriends, both nice fellas that weren’t that fond of the ‘righteous path’, before she met Carl (when he was one of the ‘Three Big Bears’) and had never ever taken an active part in any scheme/job any of them three came up with.
Had she fired a gun at least once in her life? Make it like twenty or thirty times! At people? Yeah on all occasions. And had she threatened people, tied them up and all that? Yeah!
But she was THE moll, the girl who was around because she had the looks (and how she had them!) and not the skills for any kind of job. Sure, she could steal a car, tie up a security guard or a hostage, and shoot back at whoever was shooting at her! But she was around because she did look good in a very revealing outfit or a micro-string bikini! That was her ‘purpose’…
So we all sat back to our chairs, much to the waitresses’ despair (we were the last ones in the place and it was already past the closing time!), asked for a lot of water bottles and converged our eyes and ears to Fay, who drank a full glass before she started.
‘As you ALL know, although I go by with the name of Fay, my ‘name’ back then was ‘Goldilocks’…’
OK, quick explanation.
Due to the stories we have shared over the months, it would be quite easy for us to find out the ‘real’ identities of all the members of our gang, save for Fay. She’s my cousin and the others always knew that she was ‘Goldilocks’. I mean, there were these three fellows, three BIG and STRONG guys that were buddies and liked to pull jobs together… and they ended up known as ‘The Three Big Bears’…
Carl was ‘Grizzly’, Ernesto ‘¡Te Mato!’ Madero was ‘El Oso Negro (The Black Bear, though I doubt that there are bears in Panama City)’ and Tombstone was (rather obviously) ‘Kodiak’ (the biggest and strongest of all bears). And then this gorgeous blonde girl comes along, and starts dating ‘Grizzly’, and she has long curly hair and is famous for her curiosity… She just had to be called ‘Goldilocks’!
And if you wanna know that much her father is white, but she grew up in the same ghetto that I did.
Back to the story?
‘Me and Carl had already talked a lot about his retirement, Ernesto and Kodiak had no troubles about it but kept asking him for ‘one more’ job. And another and another... and another! And there were the jobs that he pulled with other people. His next was going to be… somewhere up north. I never asked for details and he never gave me them… before his retirement, that is!!! Anyway, he left on Monday and the ‘job’ was supposed to be pulled on Thursday. And around 01:30 AM of Friday I was awakened by Kodiak’s big and massive hand covering all my lower face. ‘Sorry doll, things went bad in Grizzly’s job, you have two minutes to get dressed...’, he didn’t have any details, save for the fact that ‘Pearson’, whoever he or she was, was involved (and it seemed a bad thing to him). Ernesto was in the SUV and off we went... somewhere. Honestly, I can recall the place where it all happened in vivid details, but where it is located I haven’t the slightest idea. It’s not in California, I can tell you that. But whether it is in Oregon or Washington or even Idaho, or somewhere else... sorry about that.
Although I was quickly entering in desperate mode by the time I was entering the car, Kodiak told me that we had a long trip ahead, and that Carl was going to need me wide awake and ready when we arrived. Yeah, he basically told me to sleep, and I complied... somehow. When I awoke it was morning, we were not moving and I was blindfolded and gagged with tape. Oso was by my side, and he held both my hands quite easily with his left one. ‘Calm down, Ricitos de Oro, calm down. Grizzly is in even more trouble than we thought, and Kodiak is dealing with it, but you are not supposed to see anything. Is that clear?’, and he made no movement to peel the tape off my lips so I just nodded... (…) We better...’
‘Get moving!’ - said Irma as we all stood up.
The look in the remaining two waitresses’ eyes was of pure ‘Please!’, and we all gave very generous tips to them for our abuse (the place was supposed to have closed like one hour before!), and after a quick parley… they decided to crash my place (before and after making a good imitation of the waitresses’ look...)! So they went all here and after we were all settled...
‘I stayed like that for about an hour. At some point Kodiak showed up and; I was sitting in the middle of the back seats; Oso lowered the window and they talked, and he asked me how I was managing and told me that they had to do that to me... the little they told me was that, somehow, ‘Pearson’ had managed to know that in a small bank of a small town was this safe-deposit box with something inside it that was worth 4 million dollars. One for Pearson, one for Carl, one for some guy called Ashton or Keshton and one last to a gal called ‘Becky’. But it all ended up with Ashton/Keshton dead, Carl with a couple of bullet wounds and a missing cop!’
‘Hold on... when did it happen?’ - asked Charity.
Uh-oh, some of us (me and Dora and, possibly, Lee-Ann) had already identified the story, although none of us knew about Fay’s participation in it, but since it was so rare to hear her tales...
‘A little more than eleven years ago, why?’
‘No way! The Blaaaammmppphhh!!!????’ - Dora and Lee-Ann simply jumped on Charity, the first held her hands up front with her own while the second place a firm grip over her mouth, and after a quick consult (through their eyes) it was established that Lee-Ann would do the talking.
The others were looking at Sondra who wanted to help Charity, but Irma and Hannah placed their hands on her lap and she got the message.
‘No more spoiling tonight?’ - Charity just nodded, and then the three of them started a quick chat in whispers, and in the end Charity was more trying to say ‘I know, I know, but...’ and the other two were cutting her short with ‘No but! No nothing!’. It was a rare slightly awkward moment.
‘Ehrrr...?’ - Fay (obviously) was a bit unsure if she should or not continue.
‘It’s past midnight already, and (again) Dora will have to pay a sizable extra to the nanny...’ - I said.
‘After she wakes her up… is that tweenager from across the street, Darla (isn’t it?), again?’
And we all settled back to our places as Dora made a(nother) quick call to her home…
‘After about twenty minutes more I hear Kodiak opening the door, and someone else as well! Oso was with me in the back of the SUV, I was sitting in the middle and he was sitting at my right. Kodiak took the wheel and somebody entered the car at my left. She started speaking with Kodiak in Polish, and every now and then I heard him explaining a few things to Oso and me. She, whoever she was, had already cracked the whole case. She was the one that had captured ‘Becky’ as she tried to flee to the Canadian border, and had interrogated her before delivering her to... whoever was now pulling Kodiak and Oso’s strings. At some point they stopped the car and she got out, we waited for two or three minutes and only then is that Oso, carefully, peeled the tape from over my eyes and mouth. We would act as if we did not knew what we would find inside the cabin... And I asked him ‘What cabin?’, ‘The one we will be arriving at in five minutes’ was their answer... and five minutes later we got there, a clearing in the woods, by a small lake and no sign whatsoever of human activity in it. But as soon as the car stopped I dashed to it before Kodiak or Oso (who afterward accused each other of ‘amateurism’ for that) could react. And when I opened the door... the place was totally bare, save for the decrepit rug where Carl was sitting on and the chair on which a ladycop, in her mid-thirties, was taped and cuffed to. Behind her and aiming a gun at me was ‘Pearson’, or Adam Petrowski...’
Irma’s reaction was the loudest, the others mostly rolled their eyes and said stuff like ‘No... way!’, and they all realized who was the lady that had spoken to Kodiak/Tombstone in Polish...
‘Right behind me came Oso and Kodiak, as Carl grabbed his gun and aimed it at Pearson, ‘That’s my wife you are pointing your gun to, drop it... now!’ he somehow managed to say...’
‘Hold on... when did you two tied the knot?’ - asked Hannah.
‘Over two years later... and he hadn’t proposed to me... yet.’
You should have seen their faces when I said that!
‘Anyway, Pearson weighed his options slower than he should, but eventually he dropped his gun, and Oso punched him, hard. Kodiak and I were already looking at Carl’s wounds, and he was in a real bad shape. Two bullet holes, but nothing serious... if he had already received some medical help! Kodiak gave him some antibiotics and painkillers and redid the bandages as we heard his, and Pearson’s, version of what had happened. And what the hell was that dame doing there... no honestly, just guess, JUST guess why she was there? You will be surprised with the answer...’
We all looked at each other. And then Sondra broke the silence.
‘Anything to do with Tarantino’s first movie?’
‘‘Reservoir Dogs’ was not his first movie, but who has ever heard of the others? (…) Ok, who, besides Sondra and Hannah, has ever heard about the real deal first ones? (…) And the answer is ‘no’. Sure... as ‘Becky’ was helping Carl to get into the getaway car, and this cop showed up, there was a reason for ‘Pearson’ to overpower her, maybe even cuff her with her own bracelets and leave her in that alley... like Carl himself had done a couple of times. But why oh why had ‘Pearson’ been as adamant as to why they had to ‘bring’ her with them? Carl didn’t knew, and ‘Pearson’, playing the guy who’s not sure if he can trust the friends of his partner, said only that the whole failure of the job was ‘way too suspicious’ and he hoped to use the ladycop as ‘leverage’ in order to make the local sheriff (or whatever) to tell him (and Carl) how they could have been so prepared for their heist...’
Just like the rumors had told us, albeit with far less details!
‘Carl gave up fighting for staying awake and Kodiak took the reins and demanded to know pretty much everything about the whole job. After all, what kind of job in such a small deep into nowhere city could be worth 4 million dollars? ‘Pearson’ tried to say ‘no’, Kodiak and Oso punched him a little and he spilled it. There was this gal, ‘Drew’, who worked at some place that Oso knew, she came to him and started the whole thing. She was just the messenger, she made it clear to him, but she gave everything that he asked about the target, down to a copy of the key that would open the safe-deposit box!’
‘And this ‘Drew’ was a real person?’ - asked Irma.
‘Please! Her real name was Drew Van Hornlee, or something like that, she was just the latest chick that Pearson had tried to make a pass at, in a way that would make cavemen like him proud, and he wanted to get even with her! Did she have some trouble because of...?’ – said/asked Mary.
‘Dunno, Dora, anyone...?’ – And that was the excuse for me to raise my hand.
‘Me and a guy called Rico... we broke into her house about two hours after the events Fay is telling us. We tied her nice and tight and ransacked the place, and found nothing of course. She was locked inside a closet, it wasn’t exactly a ball tie, more like a ‘package’ tie, crying softly under her gag and all that, and then I take her out of the closet and give her an envelope with 20K in it. ‘Sorry, we were fooled by a guy you said ‘no’ to...’ I said and kissed her forehead as I left her with a pair of shears clenched in her right fist... Three days later she had already spent it all in new clothes! And shoes! And...’
‘We got it!!! Fay, you were saying?’ - asked Hannah as she cut me short.
‘Anyway, since I am the lamest actress in the world, neither Kodiak nor Oso told me that they knew that ‘Pearson’ was lying, and Carl had figured it out for himself hours before. But they let him tell his lies and pretended to be really hard to buy it, and in the end they ‘decided’ to leave me alone with ‘Pearson’ (‘Just for a couple of hours’), as they checked his tall tale, and the still unconscious Carl and the now practically tape mummified to a chair captive ladycop! And I fell for it, big time. They checked ‘Pearson’ before they left, and confiscated all the weapons they found with him (a brass knuckles, a knife and two guns), and told me to keep an eye on him... and like... five minutes after they left, I was struggling under ‘Pearson’ as he looped tape after tape around my limbs!’
‘They left you as bait??!!!!’ - asked Hannah and Mary at the same time.
‘Months later, when he was finally 100% himself, Carl met Kodiak and Oso at Kodiak’s ranch, and they didn’t fought back as he... explained to them why they should never ever do that again to me! Sure, I and Carl know that they didn’t have any other option but do it, and that I was safe all the time and blah-blah-blahs, but he packed some mean punches for me that evening!’
‘They had no options. Carl was in a bad shape, not really bad but bad nonetheless, and needed medical help, and so they had to provide one for him and had to check on ‘Pearson’’s story. So Kodiak would provide the doctor while Oso would check on the ‘Drew chick’. And ‘Pearson’ just had to make the call he was supposed to have made that morning no matter what! So he simply grabbed one of the two or three rolls of tape on the floor of the cabin, that wasn’t but a small box made of wood, and jumped on me! I started to curse him and call him names and he couldn’t be less bothered by it. Wrists, ankles, above the knees, three strips over my lips because I tried to bite him, and then loop after loop over my whole body. Three minutes work and I was twisting like a caterpillar on the floor! Next he stood up, slapped my butt hard, chuckled and left the cabin. He had parked the car they had used to reach the cabin about a mile into the forest, and the ‘special’ radio he could use to get in touch with his bosses was somewhere inside it... (...) what, Mary?’
‘It was under the spare tire.’
‘And while he went there, made his famous three calls and returned, about one hour passed. And he wasn’t gone for more than ten minutes when she entered. Since that was her famous first case, she had done here and there a few jobs without any repercussion, I did not knew who she was... just that this statuesque black lady dressed as if she was hiking around the area in an absolutely normal fashion (in white and navy blue and no sign whatsoever of a weapon with her) suddenly opens the door, and winks at me as she selects which one, of the two microphones and three micro-cameras (that she carried in her backpack), she would hide in the place! I try to attract her attention, but my screams are now barely hearable mmmpphhs and my efforts are useless. She makes her choices and gets to work as she tells me: ‘Girlfriend, you’re going to waste a lot of energy for nothing. Save your breath’, and only after she hid the last camera is that she actually pays attention to me and the others, and she adds MORE TAPE to my body before she checks on Carl... who grabs her arm before she can react. ‘Give-me one reason...’ he starts, but she cut him short. ‘You were a greedy fool and tried to steal from the wrong person, who knows that if you had been successful on the job you’ll be dead by now. That is the only reason as to why you and your lovely dumb girlfriend will walk out of this alive. I can’t be here when Pearson returns, which is due to happen in any minute now...’ and Carl let her go. But before he fainted once more he managed to ask: ‘Who are you?’; to which she answered ‘Call me...’’
‘The Black Rose!’ – We said in chorus
Sure, she’s Texas-based and (nowadays) rarely goes out further West beyond El Paso and all that... but her first major job was up North, in Seattle, with ramifications in Oregon and Northern California! She was the one that had grabbed ‘Becky’ (or Tessa O’Bannon), a loser that soon faded into oblivion due to her betrayal-prone-behavior, when she was supposed to look for some medicine for Carl and not try to escape, she was the one that had managed to uncover the whole deal before it had happened, and the fact that Carl ended up shot and whatever was in that box wasn’t stolen the day before was just because, sometimes, ca-ca happens (in the shape of a seven years old little girl who got the measles and thus her daddy didn’t showed up at work)... Otherwise... who knows what her original plans were?
But if Double Deal Deborah was able to crush so completely the first attempt to land a major strike against the Duchess’ organization (back when the cancer that nearly killed her showed up), it was because of the great job the Black Rose did for her... Sure, Debs did pull a lot of strings that couple of days, mine included, but only because the Black Rose told her to.
Of what was in that safe-deposit box that could be so valuable no knows the answer, just that it was a fake! A ruse, a whole elaborated ruse set in motion three years before by the Duchess, in order to trap any greedy traitor among the high ranked members of her ‘new American enterprise’!
(Which is why, instead of calling someone she knew, DD called ‘that unknown Texan dame’…)
‘And what was your reaction when she said that?’
‘Well, Mary, I confess that I only... tried to say a big ‘Say what???’, but I was so well gagged that she just chuckled at my ‘insults’, she honestly thought that that’s what I was trying to scream at her, as she started to leave me and the others behind, but then she stopped, turned around and looked at me. In the next she was crouching by my side, cutting the tape around my arms with some effort because she didn’t wanted that the cuts were easily visible.
As I, cautiously brought my arms forward she was already on full ‘mean mode’. ‘Now listen up! I probably should NOT set you free, but, who knows? Your buddies told me that you are smart and I might need a trump card, maybe even an ace up my sleeve. For all intended purposes you are still as efficiently taped up as you were moments ago. DO NOT touch your gag or the tape over your legs! He will be back in less than half an hour and he has to see you as his captive. Your boyfriend (or whatever) is fine for the moment and as soon as possible he WILL get the necessary help. But that will only happen AFTER he makes the call me, and my client, is waiting for him to make. And for him to do that he needs to feel confident, and for that he needs to think that you are STILL his captive! IS THAT CLEAR?’
And I nodded like I had never done before! Next she left a switchblade, which she taped at the small of my back, with me and warned to use it only if I really needed to, and then she left. With the help of my hands I moved myself until I was between the chair with the ladycop, who was now asleep, and Carl. And then I relaxed, and I waited. Twenty minutes later, probably (I am not so sure but that’s what she told me), he came back and was he frantic! Desperate, almost! Apparently Oso had managed to have already get in touch with some of his buddies, who had sent a tattooed Latino dude and a black Amazon (guess who?) to check on the ‘Drew’ girl, and she was being tied up (according to whoever he was talking to him) as he spoke to the guy. He briefly took a look at me and the others and then his attention was back to the phone. He knew that his gamble was going to be paid sooner than he thought, and he had just found that, mysteriously, there was much less gas in the tank of the car than as he thought that there was the day before... He wasn’t going to ‘make it’ (never knew if it was just his escape or not) with that car, that all of a sudden was having ‘mechanic troubles’... and then he heard something bad happening on the other side of the conversation. And then he screams ‘Who’s this? Who’s talking? Who are you?’ and whoever was now on the other side of the line hangs up!’ - And she took a deliberately dramatic pause!
‘He pondered his options, to himself, as he paced around me and the other in a nervous state (getting desperate by the minutes) and then... ‘Screw this!’, and he grabs his phone and calls somebody...’
And that’s when Fay became ‘Pearson’ and, with her right hand in the ‘hang loose’ salute (but acting as if it was a phone), she stood in the middle of my living room in front of us...
‘Hello? Yeah, it’s me... Don’t give that **** and don’t hang up! (...) Because everything is falling apart! (And then he told his boss everything that had happened in the past twenty minutes) (...) No I don’t have the ‘diary’ or whatever! (…) Because the guy didn’t showed up! That’s why! (…) No I couldn’t... NO I COULDN’T!!! (…) **** you! I am the one trapped in the middle of nowhere with the cop you told me to grab (…) it’s not her either? But... But... Oh come on! How could I know that?’ – and seeing the look in some of our faces she paused and explained that last bit – ‘Apparently, and I have no way to confirm that, the small town where the stuff Carl was supposed to steal was kept under lock and key had three dames among its police force, and one of them was instrumental to his plans, but he grabbed the wrong dame! The one he was supposed to ‘grab along’ was the one that was supposed to be near the bank the hour the action happened, but for some reason (the Black Rose or someone under her orders?) that ladycop was stuck for good inside the bathtub of her own house when the shooting happened! And no, I don’t know why he needed to grab whoever was that ‘right’ ladycop!’ - And back to her ‘Pearson’ persona... – ‘OK, okay... (…) No I don’t know where ‘Becky’ is, I told you she was NOT reliable... (…) Yeah, I have him, his... bimbo (!) and the blue lady. (…) All of them? Yeah, alright! (…) I told you I will do it! (…) It’s a twenty miles walk! (…) But... (…) BUT!!! (…) Alright, I’ll do it... (…) But this bitch of yours better have the money, MY MONEY, in her hands when I meet her!’... and then he hung up.’
‘And it was all recorded, all of it, by the two cameras the Black Rose left in the room?’
‘Hey, they were small and reliable (their batteries lasted for more than two hours) and where both stuck and hid on spots where you don’t usually look at, the corner of two walls where the ceiling starts, and the cabin wasn’t exactly well lit... He would have to take a good and closer look at the corners of the cabin to spot them, and he failed to do it when he appeared or as he was talking to the phone...’
‘Because Carl was (still) out, the coplady was out too and you were his captive?’
‘And then what?’ - asked Mary.
‘He paced around and then, and only then, he noticed something weird on that corner over there..., and found one of the cameras... In the next moment the door burst open and there they are, Oso and Kodiak, with very mean looks in their faces. And him? He pulls a gun at them! And pulls the trigger! (…) But... the Black Rose had jammed his gun, that he had hid...?’ - she asked looking at Mary.
‘Taped under the passenger’s seat.’
‘...and now both Kodiak and Oso are looking at him in a way that scared even me! Now pay attention, ‘Pearson’ was here... - and she pointed at the spot of my living room where she stood, then she walked a whole yard to her left - ‘...the still slumbered and overly taped up coplady was here...’ - and then she took three large steps backwards (and hit the wall in a funny way) – ...(Ops!) and I was here! And I was taped, helpless and all that, or so he and the others thought. So even if I had more ‘value’ as a hostage, she was closer to him than I was, and the place was small and all that. So what he did? He jumped at her in order to grab her, which he did, and use her as a shield. Me? I stopped pretending that my arms and hand were useless and brought them forward, with the switchblade (but the blade was still inside the handle) firm in my right hand, and for a moment I thought about crouching and leaping at him, like a cougar, and land the blade in one of his feet... He was threatening the now wide awake cop with his bare hands, in that special movement that can make you break someone’s neck, and his eyes were looking at the menacing duo in front of him. So I could do it, and with the pain and everything else he could (and would?) release the woman and be at the aim of Oso and Kodiak’s lack of mercy... Could I?’
‘Nnnnnaaaaaaahhhhhhh....’ - we all said in a chorus of knowing (and smiling/smirking) faces.
She was OUR moll-per-excellence, and you should see how she trembled after every time she had to shoot (back) at somebody! And I doubt that there was ever a gal that tied up this security guard, that accidental witness or that secretary with more care than her! Steal cars... well, she can do it fast and there’s not violence involved in it anyway, at least usually. She is, in a word, soft.
TOO soft for our line of work.
(But she was a mean cousin to me when we were kids!)
‘You are right, all of you...! Sigh!... I couldn’t do that. And both Kodiak and Oso saw that I couldn’t. But they knew me. So suddenly the two of them start to openly acknowledge my presence to ‘Pearson’ who at first acted like ‘Are you really trying to pull that one on me?’, but then he took a peek over his left shoulder... and my eyes were deeply focused on his hands. I saw him relaxing the grip... the deadly grip and I leapt at him! And I moved my right hand, which was holding the switchblade with the blade ‘out’, this way... - and she moved her hand, and her arm, from left to right - ‘...and he reacted just as I hoped he would... well, it was more instinctive than a thought and planned action...’
‘But he jumped to his right?’ - asked Irma.
‘...And became too far away from his captive for his well being?’ - completed Hannah.
‘Yes to both. He was looking at me when he did it, and when he looked back up front... Oso had the tackle ready. I honestly thought that Oso (and him) would make a hole... not like in the cartoons, shaped with their silhouette, but a big hole anyway... in the wall when they hit it. But alas, for poor ‘Pearson’ that is..., the wall held... - And she quickly described the pummeling Oso gave to that...
What is/was he again?
Look, I know his story... how he swore revenge against the Duchess after she sent his father and many brothers either to some European ill reputed slammer or his hometown’s cemetery, how he came to America hoping to be a pain in the *** for her when she moved to here and all that, I even know (now) that his name wasn’t ‘Adam Petrowski’ (But don’t ask me to repeat that consonant crazy-filled name!), but his nationality is something that...
The guy was Swiss? Of a Estonian/Polish family... (…)(?)!!!
Anyway, back to the story...
‘And then Kodiak came to me and, as he saw me trying to saw the tape with that switchblade he simply pried the blade from my hands and grabbed , in his ‘keep the captive girl airborne way’, as I heard the arrival of many cars, and the beating Oso was still giving to ‘Pearson’. The first guy to enter the cabin was armed, the next three were paramedics that went straight to Carl, and then there were two gals untying/untaping the cop dame from her chair, and then they half escorted/half dragged her away (and I heard a car moving away in the next minute). She was found inside a stolen car, probably the same one that took her away, like six hours later... locked in the trunk with her own cuffs behind her back, gagged and blindfolded with tape and no memories whatsoever of the past 24 hours! Back to the cabin the paramedics were doing their job and I heard them saying something about a helicopter...’
‘A what?’ - Mary didn’t knew that part of the story.
‘Like those rescue helicopters you see on the TV? Well, it didn’t had a red cross anywhere on its sides, but Carl and what was left of ‘Pearson’ were taken to it, Kodiak took me outside still fighting (and airborne) in his arms so I could see it, and as it lift off Kodiak, and Oso, finally decided that I could be set free. I slapped them both, hard, and in both cases it was like slapping a stone wall... it hurt! But they explained that their orders, and they had orders that HAD to be followed if Carl was to be able to walk away from all of it in one piece (after he received the necessary medical help), was that Carl would be taken to the hospital by chopper while I (and them) would have to hit the road... They had the address of a road motel near Seattle, and it took us a few hours to get there. The place was simple, with huts, but as soon as we got there (near midnight) the guy on the desk made a phone call, and after a few moments I heard this male voice: ‘Listen carefully...’ and then I heard a snore!’
Carl still suffers with this little problem that forces my cousin to sleep with earplugs...
‘And then the male voice was back and told me that everything was alright with him, save for this little infection (that the antibiotics were already taking care of), the loss of blood and the damage the bullets did to his body. A couple of months or so of rest at home, plus some physiotherapy and he would be fine. I was told to eat and sleep and that’s what we did... and when I woke up I was there! In his room!’
‘How? Tombstone and…’ – asked Irma.
‘Oh no, the huts could be gassed fairly quickly, and one of its walls had a hidden door that could only be opened from the outside. So we three were gassed, two masked gals came in, tied me up and gagged me quite quickly and took me away, while Kodiak and Oso slept peacefully in front of the TV…? (…) They had hidden cameras and recorded the whole thing and, at some point of my stay in the hospital they showed the footage to both I and Carl. Save for it I spent five days locked with him…’
‘Why? Oh… you weren’t supposed to know…’
‘The name of the place where we were being held? Exactly, Mary. Aside that, I spent the days watching cable TV and talking to him. In two occasions this nurse came in, tied my wrists behind my back and did the whole thing on my head. White tape over my lips and eyes and plugs in my ears. I was then led outside and somebody, that Carl never told me who was, came in and talked to him for hours... I managed to count to ‘6305’ in the second occasion! He agreed to make two jobs for the Duchess and was even given a phone number to call if he really wanted to ‘retire’, and I really wanted him to do that after that last job… so he went to the Canadian side of the Niagara Falls and to some French city (he bought me souvenirs on both occasions, ok?), and then I made him make that call…’
Classic misdirection tactic from the Duchess… to give something to whoever was not ‘reliable enough’ in an important job as a ‘proof’ that he or she was in another part of the country (or even outside it) at the time the job was being pulled… I know where her husband was in those two occasions, but if he didn’t told she (as he was supposed to) then I won’t do it for him…
Anyway, after Fay finished her tale with a few details that aren’t that important it was disbanding time. The gals had to call taxis to go back home, none of us was stone drunk but they wouldn’t pass the test if a cop told them to do it, and I told Lee Ann that she was going to sleep in the spare room (and how she was going to spend the night was up to her, which killed any idea of going straight to the airport for good in her mind). So while we waited for the cabs to arrive we started to chat about stuff and ‘stuff’ quickly evolved to me and my ‘SAS’...
So I decided to get even...
‘Well, to be fair... When I was driving to the meeting tonight I was thinking about the story I couldn’t tell you guys last time. How could I tell that one to you? It’s one of my best... So I remembered that time you were talking about stories that have many labels, Irma.’
‘Oh, come on! You forgot? It was the night we shared our ‘Fourth of July’ stories, and you, Irma, realized that many of the stories we told that night could have been told in other previous nights... (…) (alright...) Hannah’s story fitted the ‘Worst Holidays Ever (For Who Deserved It)!’...’
‘Mine could have been part of the ‘Strangers in the Night’ night...’ - remembered Sondra.
‘And mine was a perfect fit for the ‘No Way José!’ night...’ - Charity said.
‘Exactly... well... Here I was in Florida and I had just been told to ‘lay low’, and what you do when you’re have to do that? You go t the beaches or to the pools... and the hotel where I was staying had a very good and big pool. So I went there, I am arriving and... Bingo! Who’s that guy over there, on a lounge chair by the pool flanked by two busty gals in micro-string unikinis? Could that be the ******* who left me stuck inside an elevator while he escaped with the loot of the job we had just pulled three years before? Yes! Yes it was him! So I went straight to ‘REVENGE!’ mode...’
‘But...?’ - asked Fay for herself and the others.
‘If tonight had been a ‘Looks Can Be Deceiving’ night, or a ‘Turnaround’ night, or even a ‘Fat Lady’...’
‘Fat Lady?’ - asked three of them at once.
‘Yeah... It turns out that the guy had used the money to start a new life, find some dame who was dumb enough to believe in his lies about his past and all that. But somebody needed a goat for a job, so his wife was kidnapped, a video with treats against her life was made... and two very dangerous lookouts were left to watch him until he could take the fall for whatever he was going to... if he hadn’t been helped by ME (of all people) and a dame who was way above her better weight...’
‘So you was going to try to goad us into making you tell this story?’ - Irma was onto me...
‘No! The point was that I decided to tell you guys, like I am telling you now, if we could have a... a... (…?) a ‘Stories That Could Have Been Told Before’ night...!’
They started to talk, as I expected them to, about the pros and cons of that idea right away. You see, the fact that we have ‘themed’ nights for our meetings usually leaves out a lot of stories, and we don’t like to repeat a ‘theme’, up to that night we had only done that once or twice.
But right then every single one of them was thinking about this or that story they had lived through that hadn’t been told (yet) when it should have been. They most likely would keep on thinking about it, for a few more hours, way past their bedtime, until they all realized the obvious...
They… WE… could do it whenever they/we wanted.
Me? I’d have a good night of sleep (with all my phones shut off) before the first of them made me a call to ‘bash’ me for her wasted time... and in our next meeting the odds that we had a theme like that were just about the same to have a ‘No Retreat’ night, a ‘Why Oh Why Oh WHY!’ night or a ‘Can I Borrow Your Clothes/Uniform, Please?’ night, or...
It took some of them THREE days to remember that...
The ladies, and their remembrances, will return in ‘Of Goats and Forgeries’.