When She Walked In.
"My name is Approval. " she said slowly as she placed her gloves on my desk and sat down. There were times when I wished I was a chair. She crossed her legs, and lit a cigarette and took a long, slow drag before she said .. "I need your help."
I pointed to the nameplate on my desk: Laesa. At your service.
I reached for a bottle - dropped a couple of ice cubes in a glass and asked "Drink?". She nodded yes. " Scotch on the rocks? " Again. That same, simple nod.
They say a single glance of a woman in ancient Greece launced a thousand tanks and guns and bombs to war. A woman like this could teach you why. I handed her the glass. She put out her cigarette and leaned over.
"I want you to do a job for me. The kind we don't like to talk about. " She breathed into my ear.. "I can pay you well. Very well, Mr. Laesa." She leaned over to make her point clear. Both of them, in fact.
"Why didn't you go to the authorities?" .. I asked. But I already knew the answer. There was someone else. Someone she wanted to protect. She was here for a reason. Nobody calles Functio Laesa without a reason, and it usually isn't my legendary patience they're after.
"I did, but they didn't give me what I need." Did I imagine she said that in a husky accent... or was it the scotch. It must have been the scotch. Wait. Whose glass was I drinking from?
And then the room began to blur and spin. I tried to focus, but I couldn't see straight. Normally the alcohol just tightens up a few blood vessels, starves off a bit of oxygen to a few brain cells that didn't need it. This was different. I looked down at my glass. There on the edge I saw it. A mark of lipstick. She'd switched glasses on me while I was contemplating her.. points... she'd slipped me a mickey finn. She was good. Really good. I reached for my gun but she picked it cleanly from my shoulder holster, going through my jacket like it wasn't even there.
"Mr. Laesa, you really should watch what you drink. You never know where that glass has been." ... just before everything went black I looked up and I saw a pair of long legs coming toward me, and I caught the scent of a silver handgun there against her thigh. And then the lights went out all over town.
When I came to I was in a place I had never seen before. "I had to bring you here, or you wouldn't understand "
"We have a limited time frame to affect our target" she said. I shot back, "Listen, sister, I am going to break things down for you."
"What you're talking about here is constant inflammatory stimulation is needed to propagate their effects." .. I recognized the work immediately. She needed Mr. Big. Omega 3 Fatty acids. "If you're expecting me to break down at your feet, its not my style". . I tried to laugh about it but my head felt like it was getting hammered by a bunch of gnomes practicing kettle drums primary to my skull.
She threw her head back and laughed.. "Thats not it, Mr. Laesa. We already have Omega 3 working for us. " And he walked in. He's an oily character, Omega-3. Something was fishy here.
"What we want from you is simple." .... she smiled.. "We want to go on without you. And there's only one way to do that, Mr. Laesa." She reached down her thigh, and I caught a glimpse of stocking. I couldn't stop my breath do a sharp intake ahd she noticed. She produced the silver firearm and pointed it straight at me.
"Let me introduct you to resolution." .. It all became clear. She was with Neutrophil, she'd coordinated this all along. I struggled, but I was bound to a chair and somehow the bonds were very painful. I was in a predicament, and there looked to be only one way out. It didn't look good for me.
"Listen, I have a job to do , and I do it. You came to me, not the other way around. Let me go" .. struggling against my bonds only tightened them. The chair, a hardwood ..wrapped in white silk. The bonds were steel and leather. There was no seat. I had to struggle to stay in position. I gritted my teeth and bit the final three words through waves of pain.
"I'm afraid you don't understand, Mr. Laesa." Through the pain I saw another figure appear. Neutro. Neutro Phil. I should have known all along. This was an active, coordinated plan . He didn't see it coming.
She was fast, she turned to him and struck him in the groin with her knee. He doubled over. Trying to stay alert was difficult for me. I saw someone getting kicked in the face. When I came to, neutrophil was alongside me. And that was when Mr. Fats came in.
"Gentlemen".. he said, in a low guttural voice. "Your services are no longer necessary." He laughed a short , deep laugh, and said "Mmmh .. Come my darling. Lets leave them here. "
But she'd caught the bug. She wanted more. "One moment" she said.. she flashed puppy dog eyes. How could he resist... She went up to me and kissed me on the cheek.
Then pulled the trigger. A loud pop sound , that sounded like "apoptosis" through my muffled perspective ... and then Neutrophil fell to the ground. He'd never seen it coming. The look of shock and suprise on his face is something I'll never forget as long as I live.
"I hope we've made our point perfect clear, Mr. Laesa. You understand, we have to regulate things fairly strongly around here. " She put on her classic pout and levelled the gun at my head and then made a gesture, sort of like squeezing the trigger, and pulling the gun up in the air. Before she slipped it back under her dress.
"We don't want to see you around here again, Mr. Laesa. You're a neurological reflex. You are no longer needed in this town. If we see you taking a job here, we're going to stop you. " .. "If you can figure out how to get yourself free, you may leave. But if we see you in this city again, its going to be the end of you."
It's a dirty job, I thought. And that was the last I saw of her. But something tells me we'll meet again. And when we do, I will shut her down.
My career since has been a long series of small jobs, but now, older, no one will come near me. And there's a rapidly closing window before I'm out of the game forever. I miss the hunt. Sure, tracking someone's pet has its moments, I keep things together. At least to a circle of friends, lovers, and enemies. But we both know how this ends.
I still have my moments. Sometimes I find my way down a small alleyway or street and I catch a glimpse of the old fear, the adrenaline. I pick up a trail that wasn't meant to be left behind. I get a clue that I wasn't supposed to get. They throw me a bone and the blue velvet underneath shows. Sometimes, they ask for it. I give it to them.
Someone has to make an 'exudative decision' . Someone has to load up fibrins and immunoglobins into the chamber . There are always going to be unregistered offenders. You never know where or when. I say, blow everything full of holes, shoot first, ask questions later. Closed case.
She doesn't know that she dropped her purse in my office. I still have the documents in my safe. One day she'll be back for them, when she notices they're missing. And I will be ready. I hate to bust a cap on a woman, especially when she's sitting down, however if it isn't going to be her , it's going to be me.
And thats my story. Take it or leave it.