Friday, April 14, 2006

Contract Work Fiction 2.

Monroe hated Crue. He hated every piece of him, every word from his smug mouth and every dollar the shark had loaned him. He hated the Russian more; that was a special kind of hate, but dealing with Crue twisted in his gut.

True to his word, Crue had set up him up on a new job. "My cut's only 10%. I'm generous!" he had said. Monroe didn't want any jobs but Crue owned him. Now he was in a little sports car with two people he met an hour before, tailing a shiny pearl luxury car through the rain soaked streets. Driver seemed to know his thing. He was skinny, blonde and refused to take his gloves off. Monroe wondered if he owned the car or had boosted it and wasn't taking chances. The girl sat in the back reading a book. Her face was toffee with wide brown eyes and she was dressed like someone who just left the gym. Tessa. That's what she said her name was.

Brilliant blue neon spattered up into his eyes off the puddles as the luxury pulled up to a club. A long line of hopefuls gathered by the door and two bouncers built like gun turrets flanked. The target, some musician turned politician was helped from his car and he and the shiny arm-candy with him walked right past the bouncers. Driver passed the block and pulled up, double-parked out of the glare of the lights.

"Well, front door's out," Driver said. He had an accent Monroe couldn't place. A touch of some European sound.

"Maybe the back?" Monroe said.

"Yeah, that's probably the way to go. I can get us in past a lock or alarm easily enough. If you can handle any more bouncers." Driver looked at Monroe, first eye contact since they'd met.

Tessa looked up from her reading.

"You're kidding, right? A place like that would have like 6 guys on the back. And they'd be the shoot-you-instead-of-look-at-you kind. How you think they keep drunks out of the empties?"

"Okay," Driver turned in his seat. "You've got something to try?"

Tessa sighed and lay down the book. Something about marketing Monroe caught off the cover. "Yeah, I do. Give me a little privacy.

"Turn around!" she said when Driver kept staring.

He shrugged and faced forward. They heard her sweatshirt rustle and Driver almost turned again but Monroe caught his gaze first and he settled back. Still, Monroe could see him turning an eye to the rearview and soon a little pink bloom came out on his cheeks.

The rustling and clunking had stopped and now Monroe smelled make-up and perfume. A quick hiss of some hairstyle stuff. Driver fixed his eyes forward and a well manicured hand with bracelets up the arm tapped Monroe on the shoulder.

"Help a lady out of this Italian cock-mobile?"

Monroe climbed out and flipped the seat forward. She took his hand and he helped pull her to standing. His breath caught for a second as he focused on her. Was this the same girl?

Her hair was puffed and plaited in a Hollywood starlet's 'do. Touches of make-up picked out her features, sharpening in one place, softening in another. A dress of some silky material clung to her curves and slipped away. Every perfect inch of skin he could see had a caramel glow. Her throat, wrists and earlobes twinkled with diamonds and platinum.

"Thanks buddy," her voice was smoother too; polished. She patted him on the shoulder as she strode past. The platform stillettos made her almost his height.

Monroe shook himself and stopped watching the glowing curves that flowed away from him. He sat back down.

Driver whistled low. He moved the rearview to watch her step up to the bouncer and say a few words. She was in.

"That is surely a sight," he said. As the silence stretched he turned a palm to Monroe. "I'm Emil, by the way."

"Emil? Is that a Russian name?"

"Not necessarily," his eyebrow was cocked.

Monroe took his gloved hand and gave a firm shake.

"I know what I do, and now I see what she does," he was looking over the beauty supplies and discarded clothes from a gym bag in his back seat, "so now I think I see where you fit in with Crue's plans."

Monroe still couldn't place the accent. "How's that?"

"You're the muscle-man. The heavy. You think I thought your little suitcase was full of memos?"

Monroe tapped the case with his foot. "Well, it pays to be prepared."

"I feel the same way."

When nothing else happened for a few more minutes, Emil took off his gloves, laid them across his lap and pulled a pair of handcuffs from his coat pocket. Monroe watched as he slapped them shut on his own wrists and then began twitching his fingers.

"This some kind of trick?"

"If it goes well, yes. If not it is more of a joke." Emil had some little springy piece of metal between his fingertips. As Monroe watched he shakily slid the metal into the keyhole and with a little jig the cuff fell open.

Emil was quite pleased with himself.

"You need to do that often?" Monroe said.

"No, not yet. But like you say; It is good to be prepared."

They both started when Tessa rapped on the window.

"Drive," she said with the door shut behind her.

Emil drove. She slipped the sweatshirt back on and ran down what she'd learned.

"He usually books a VIP room when he comes in, which is about once a week. They have one with a skylight which he likes so they toss whoever's in there out for him."

"It's bullet-proofed, right?" Said Monroe.

"It would have to be," she snorted. Amateur.

"I think I have someone who can help us with that," Emil said. "An old friend, but he doesn't work for free." He glanced to Monroe.

Monroe felt his pockets. "Yeah. Who does?"


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