A short story
Copyright © 2002, Kellis
When the doorbell rang, Rolly grinned around at Jeanette, the black-haired one with the birthmark on her nipple. “Catch that, will you, honey? If it’s for me, tell them I’m stuck in what I’m doing.”
Katy, kneeling between his legs with very long brown hair completely fallen in her face, snapped her head back without losing her mouthful and rolled her eyes at Jeanette, who in response to his request was already rising from her usual position of hips and breasts pressed into his right arm.
“Hang on there, hot lips,” Jeanette advised with a leer as she stood erect. She paused at the den door long enough to wiggle into the threadbare housecoat left hanging from the peg for just such a requirement, then proceeded into the foyer, closing the door behind her.
Rolland Jannifer, an unremarkable man of medium height and build with brown hair and blue eyes, turned to the third woman. “Am I expecting anyone, Babs?”
She rested against the couch arm to his left, one knee drawn up against the leather back, foot tucked behind his buttock, groin close to his hand, leg splayed beneath his to the floor. Her light blonde hair was cut very close. Rolly had heard she was a lezzy — but who cared?
“It’s probably Lula,” she said with a sneer. Bad blood was known to exist between Babs and Lula, though they kept it mostly below the surface when doing “Rolly duty.”
“Nah. Lula called and gave me a rain check.” He grinned. “But if that’s who it is, I’ll let her eat you out.”
Babs sniffed. “She won’t do that, anymore than I would her.”
He laughed with a calculating expression. “If it’s Lula, when Mooch gets here, we’ll do a double-end slobber.”
Babs’ mouth twisted and she turned her face away from his scrutiny.
Substituting hand for mouth, Katy, the long-haired brunette, raised her head, again snapping hair out of her eyes, and asked, “A double-end slobber?”
“Do you call it something else? The girls eat each other out while the guys poke them top and bottom. You did one with me, Mooch and Tissy.”
“Oh,” she said, head sinking back to the work. “It wa’n’t Mooch.”
The door opened and black-haired Jeanette ushered in a strange woman, who stopped and stared woodenly at Rolly after favoring his two companions with a brief glance each. The general nudity apparently didn’t faze her even when Jeanette shrugged out of the housecoat and returned it to its peg. Perhaps taking that as her cue, the stranger laid her purse among the others on the card stand and began immediately to remove her own clothing, which consisted of a blouse, jeans and low-cut sneakers.
Rolly suggested, “How about an intro, Jeanette?”
“Never saw her before,” answered the black-haired one indifferently, swinging around the newcomer to recover her seat beside the man.
This was a short slim woman, perhaps a girl, lightly made up, with a yellow barrette securing mousy brown hair in a ponytail. She shed her blouse in quick gestures and wriggled out of the unzipped jeans, revealing pink panties but a white brassiere somewhat oversized.
“Who are you, honey?” asked Rolly, not unkindly.
She paused to look at him. “Melly.”
“Melly,” he repeated. “I’m Rolly.”
“I know.” She stepped out of the crumpled jeans and tossed them in the chair with her blouse and sneakers. Though thin, her bare legs were well-shaped.
“Don’t look at me,” Jeanette muttered defensively, working her long nipple as usual into the crevice between the man’s arm and his side. “I didn’t tell her.”
“Somebody showed me a picture,” said the newcomer defensively.
“Who?” he asked.
The girl hesitated. “Shirley.”
“Did Shirley also tell you what goes on here?”
“Fucking,” she retorted, hands behind her at the brassiere snaps.
“Yeah.” He chuckled. “But I doubt Shirley put it just like that.”
Jeanette sniffed. “That’s for sure! Shirley won’t let one word do where twenty would work.”
“What kind of fucking do you do?” the man asked, then laughed again as his eyes widened. “Hey, I love it! Beats the hell out of ‘how do you do,’ doesn’t it?”
“Yeah,” said the girl, not smiling.
“What kind of fucking?”
“Whatever you want.” The brassiere fell into the chair. The girl bent forward, wriggling out of her panties. The small firm breasts hardly drooped. She straightened in stark nudity, undecorated by so much as a wristwatch or a finger ring, retaining only the hair barrette. The nipples were flat to the small, brown areolas. Fine dark hair adorned her forearms. The pubic bush was her plushest embellishment. Untrimmed, it filled half her lower belly. Her skin was as pale as Rolly recalled ever seeing, seemingly untouched by sunlight. Blue veins were apparent in thighs and breasts.
He leered at her. “You want to think that over? Ask these girls. I’m liable to want everything that doesn’t hurt — that is, doesn’t hurt much.”
Babs sniffed. “He means that doesn’t hurt him.”
He barked a laugh. Instead of denying the charge, he asked, “How old are you?”
He shrugged. “I guess that’s old enough. Shirley must think so, anyway. Jeanette, take her in the kitchen and pour her a drink. Hell, let’s all have one! Babs, give them a hand.”
As the women on either side got to their feet, he added, “Melly, while you’re in the kitchen, let me see your billfold.”
“If you don’t mind.”
“What do want with my billfold?”
“Nothing. What I want is to see your driver’s license.”
“Don’t have one.”
“How’d you get down to the beach?”
“My boyfriend dropped me off.”
“Huh! Does he know what you’re here for?”
“No. I mean, yes.”
Rolly chuckled. “Good answer.” He lost his smile. “What do you have that shows your age and address?”
When the young woman only stared, Jeanette sniffed. “Shirley should’ve told you he’d want to see it.”
“What for?” asked Melly. With a sigh she took up her purse, fumbled inside it and withdrew a plastic card. She stepped forward. “I’ve got this.”
It was a student identification, issued by East City High School to one Allison Faye Corbell, born slightly more than 17 years previous. The pictured face matched the angular one of the girl before him. The recorded address was in an upscale neighborhood.
He returned the card. “Thank you, Melly. Go get your drink. We’ll think of something fun to do when you get back.”
Jeanette led the other two out of the room, Melly detouring by her purse on the way.
Katy bent again, her mouth enclosing him, head bobbing. He endured her service only a moment before using both hands to part her hair. She looked up inquiringly. A lip broke suction with a slurp.
“You never met this Melly, did you?”
“Stop that a minute. You’ve been coming here the longest, Katy, and you’ve had Shirley on retainer the longest. You told me the truth about that scam artist, Wellon. Tell me again. This girl’s ID says she’s only 17. Does that sound like Shirley to you?”
“No, it don’t.” The brunette had risen slightly. She licked her lips and tossed her hair back again.
“I want you to go in the bedroom and call Shirley. Check this Melly out. According to the ID, the name is Allison Corbell.”
“Corbell. You want I should go right now?”
“No, when the others come back. After you call you can take a break and I’ll get with you later. You follow?”
“Then back to work.”
Down went the head. Rolly leaned back and looked at his wristwatch: two hours till suppertime. He studied the action for a while. “You’re good at this, Katy, but then, you’ve had a lot of practice.”
“Uh-huh,” the woman agreed nasally.
“I like your dogged persistence. These days I think I shoot more into your mouth than anywhere else.”
The head bobbed silently.
He chuckled. “Why do you like to fool the others so much? No, don’t try to tell me. Keep sucking. I’ll bet they don’t know half the times I come — unless you brag about it afterwards. Do you?”
“No, I suppose you don’t. You have a unique ability there. When you taste it, you let your mouth go all loose and easy until it’s over. That’s exactly the right trick. But you still don’t spill a drop. You and I are the only ones who know I’ve popped. Why do you do that? All the others are only too happy to quit soon as I come.”
She raised up, snapping the hair back. “You want me to suck or talk?”
“I want you to tell me why you keep on sucking.”
She didn’t blink. “’Cause I’m lazy.”
“This is the easiest way to fuck. And my mouth don’t get no yeast infection.”
He nodded. “Good reasons. This really is just a job for you, eh?”
“Pays good,” she responded complacently.
“If I ask you what you do for fun, I’d be getting too personal, eh?”
“You really wanna know?”
“If you don’t mind telling me.”
“You won’t believe me.”
She took a breath, doe-eyes steady on his. “I paint God.”
“You … You’re an artist?”
He grinned. “I already knew that: an artist at the blowjob. But you mean … in oils?”
“And you paint pictures of God?”
“Ah, what do you use as a model?”
“I can see Him in my head.”
“Really? Would you show me one of your paintings someday?”
“Most is too big. I do have a couple little ones. I got one in my purse I’d show you, but I don’ wanna drag it out in front of these … other people.”
“All right. Then you be the last to leave tonight, will you?”
“I’ll try. But don’t Babs stay late a lot?”
“Yeah. I’ll send her on home tonight.”
“The last bus is at eleven.”
“You ride the bus?”
The woman grinned. “Do I look smart enough to drive a car?”
“I’ll pay a taxi.”
“Okay.” Her face brightened. “Then I’ll stay as long as you want.”
He mused, “One of these days I’ll get to know all you girls.”
“You know what’s important to you.”
“I do? What’s that?”
“How we fuck.”
He chuckled. “You’re right. I’m finding out whores tend to be specialists, just like doctors. Well, Madam Dr. Sucker, please extend your treatment.”
“Take it deep.”
Katy could do that. Though Rolly was better equipped than average, as many prostitutes had averred and as his carefully measured length of seven and one-eighth inches compared to the anecdotal six, she readily opened her lips and slid her mouth down to enclose the entirety of the organ, pausing only momentarily with a couple inches still to go. He felt flesh part around the glans at that point, before her nose jammed into his pubis.
“Christ, Katy! How the hell do you do that?” He could not recall being alone with her before at such a moment and would not ask for professional secrets before the others. “It’s got to be down your throat.”
She wasn’t holding her breath; it whistled in flaring nostrils. Her brow was just below the top of his pubic hair. He couldn’t see her eyes and she didn’t try to answer. He grunted, concluding that to her this was an ordinary skill. Her head bobbed gently up and down, perhaps an inch of travel, nose sinking into the wiry hair, while her hands massaged his testicles. He laid back and let her perform, confident that the very familiarity of it would prevent an orgasm without extra stimulation, such as his tongue in a vagina.
So she painted God! His stomach shook with irony. He recalled that Michelangelo, the most revered portrayer of deity, was also reputed to suck.
The three soon returned from the kitchen. Babs, the blonde, and black-haired Jeanette arrayed themselves left and right of him as usual, leaving the newcomer to stand uncertainly beyond the kneeling fellatrix.
“Time for your break, Katy,” he said cheerily.
She released the glistening penis. On her feet, heavy breasts swaying, she announced, “I gotta pee,” and departed for the bedroom with its attached bath. Meanwhile Jeanette gave Rolly a tumbler of champagne, of which he imbibed heartily.
Looking up at the new girl, he pointed to his rampant organ. “How much of that can you swallow?”
She took a quick breath. “M-most of it.”
“Can I …” She hesitated.
“Can you what?”
“Can I get a cloth and wash it off?”
He blinked. “You think it’s dirty?”
“It was in the … the old woman’s mouth.”
“Old woman?” He chuckled a little as his two flankers laughed derisively. He shook his head. “Honey, you’ve got a problem.”
Her face blanked. “Can I?” she insisted.
“How long have you been on the street?”
“I don’t … I don’t go on the street.”
“Well, then, how long have you been in this business?”
“This is a business?”
“It certainly is. Some call it the oldest profession ― oldest but least respected, eh, Babs?”
The blonde answered dryly, “You can’t eat respect.”
“But wouldn’t you like to have it?”
She shrugged. “Lawyers do all right without it.”
He chuckled. “They get it when they’re needed.”
“So do we.”
He grunted, acknowledging the hit.
On his other side, black-headed Jeanette declared whimsically, “Maybe we need offices like lawyers, with chrome furniture and a slinky receptionist.”
“Then you wouldn’t make house calls. What do you think, Melly?”
“I … I don’t know.” Her eyes fell before his.
He studied her face briefly. “What about it, Melly? Maybe you really don’t care for this work.”
The girl’s chin firmed up. She said in a low voice, “I can do it.”
“Can you? Without worrying about hygiene?”
He took another long pull from his wine and held the glass toward her. “You’ll get the chance to drink this after me. Think you can stand it?”
“It’s just champagne.”
“Sometimes it won’t be when you drink it.”
He turned to black-haired Jeanette. “I think Shirley is falling down on the job.”
The woman grinned wryly. “Maybe she thinks you’d like to surprise them.”
“Maybe.” He fixed his attention on the teenager. “Melly, in this joint we swap body fluids rather freely. If you last here, you’ll swallow more from Katy than spit. You understand?”
“We all get weekly blood and urine tests. The girls give me a shower every day, sometimes more than one. We’re clean here, you dig? And we don’t worry about each other’s germs. By the way, let me see your doctor’s note.”
The girl stared, shoulders hunched defensively. “Don’t have one.”
“Maybe you ought to call your boyfriend,” he said dismissively, forgetting about Katy. “There’s a phone in the kitchen.”
Her response was to fall to her knees, pitch forward between his legs and slurp the rapidly softening penis into her mouth. He twitched, then looked around with raised eyebrows at the two witnesses and observed wryly, “She needs the work.”
“Test her,” suggested blonde Babs with a sneer.
“Wouldn’t be fair,” he retorted. “I need to get rid of the old stuff.”
“It would make a tougher test,” the blonde argued.
“Too tough. It would run you off.”
“Huh! After what happened last month, you think I’m so easy run off?”
Calmly he bunched four fingers together and slipped them to the knuckles into the blonde-frizzed, dependably moist vagina facing him on his left. He grinned fatuously. “I like your attitude. I’ll keep you on my hook as long as I can.”
If she took any note of his intrusion, her face failed to reflect it. She said complacently, “That’s what I’m saying. I don’t run off.”
Jeanette interjected dryly, “Not that we don’t appreciate your fun-loving ways.”
“This one won’t,” Babs guessed. She bent forward, tilting her head to study the timepiece attached to the wrist whose fingers had vanished within her. “When is Mooch coming?”
“He’ll be another half hour,” the man answered, “if he’s on time.”
“We’ll find out when Mooch gets here. Maybe he’ll be late.”
Something in her voice caught his attention. He studied her quizzically. “Now, Babs, what you got against Mooch? His little dick can’t be any trouble to you.”
The woman sniffed. “It’s not that little.”
“What’s your problem with him?”
She grinned slowly, apparently not in an ill humor after all. “If he brings the usual crowd, I’ll have to get to work.”
Rolly chuckled, tugging and thrusting with his fingers. “You call this work?”
“You know what I call work. When one of you guys just won’t come, that’s work. My back gets tired, my knees ache and my neck hurts. Why are you guys so contrary anyway?”
“Contrary?” he asked aggrievedly. “Jeanette here likes it when I don’t come.”
“Long as it stays up,” averred Jeanette.
“You let me lie back and relax,” Babs continued with a snort, “and I don’t care how long you poke. But when you want me to do the work, that’s … well, that’s work!”
“Can’t you do any better than that?” sneered Jeanette.
“Huh?” But the black haired woman was studying the kneeler. She laid her hand on the ponytail and forced its owner to take in more of the man. Gagging noises promptly arose from the junction.
“That’s the way!” Jeanette pulled back on the mousy ponytail, then pushed the face forward. Again the girl gagged, now adding a nasal protest.
Jeanette jerked the head back almost to the end of the glistening organ. “How long have you been doing this anyway? Breathe when you pull back and hold it when you push in.” Again she shoved the head forward.
“You’ll make her puke,” warned Babs.
“Another reason for the slip-covers,” responded the black-haired woman indifferently. Her hand remained on the girl’s head, alternately pushing and pulling. On the downstrokes more and more of the turgid organ vanished.
After a while the blonde said in alarm, “Look how red she’s getting! Rolly, make it stop.”
“I would,” admitted the man with a crooked grin, “except …”
Jeanette answered tartly, “Except he likes it. Move it faster, you little slut.” The speed of hand and head increased.
“God damn!” declared Rolly. “God damn!” The tendons standing out in the girl’s neck and shoulders bespoke aversion, even unwillingness, yet she offered no resistance to the propelling hand. The contradiction was somehow compelling. He thrust his hips forward and began to ejaculate.
Straining back, the girl made nasal sounds of distress. But Jeanette, laughing with glee, leaned forward and clasped both hands behind the head, holding it mostly in place. This was Rolly’s first climax of the day, occurring after several hours of stimulation. Semen frothed back out of the rictus around his organ.
The youthful body twisted in distress. At last it broke free of Jeanette’s restraint and fell backward onto the padded carpet, where huge eyes in a crimson face stared up to Rolly. Hands went to the throat, from which issued a strange gurgle.
“Good god,” he exclaimed, “she’s strangling!” He rose off the couch with alacrity and stood astraddle the girl’s writhing torso, flipping her over onto her stomach, thrusting her legs to the side. Pressure on her back forced a glob of phlegm from her mouth. She took breath with a gasp and began to cough and pant.
Both Babs and Jeanette had risen also to stand peering beside him. He stooped, gathered the slim girl up into his arms, spun and deposited her on her back with her head dangling over the couch arm where Babs had been sitting.
“Throw your head back,” he ordered, “and take deep breaths. Babs, bring her some coke. Jeanette, get the spray and clean that up.”
The women vanished momentarily. He stood, frowning down at the girl who continued to cough, hands gripping the couch fabric without offering to cover her mouth. Her eyes remained locked on Rolly’s. One knee was drawn up against the couch back while the other leg descending to the floor. His scan stopped on the moisture visible in the parting of her pubes.
He leaned down, ran a finger through it and brought the tip to his nose. “Kindly don’t piss yourself on my couch,” he ordered.
“It’s not piss,” she retorted, her spasms gradually subsiding.
Blonde Babs returned with a tumbler of cola on ice that the girl accepted. Jeanette was right behind her with paper towels and a spray bottle. She knelt to the stain.
At that moment the bedroom door opened and Katy with the long brown hair emerged. Her face showed consternation. “Rolly, can I talk to you?”
“Sure.” He took the several steps to stand beside the brunette and slipped his arm around her soft shoulders. “Something wrong?”
“I finally got through to Shirley,” she answered in a low voice. “She never heard of no Melly or no Allison Corbell. She says a gal matching the description got out on parole yesterday. She wants to talk to you.”
Rolly blinked at her. “Then how … Hmm. Is Shirley still on the phone?”
“Yeah. It’s lying on the dresser.”
He darted into the bedroom, pulling the door shut behind him, and took up the receiver. “Shirley, this is Rolly.”
The familiar, confident voice asked wryly, “Where’d you pick up this one, pal?”
“She waltzed in here a few minutes ago, said you sent her.”
“I thought she was too young for one of yours.”
“Looks young, does she?”
“And her ID says she’s only 17.”
“You’re right, that’s too young for me. Is it a photo ID?”
“Yeah. Looks just like her. Name of Allison Faye Corbell.”
“Never heard of her. Katy said she’s a slim girl, short, not much boob, with mousy brown hair, blue eyes and a prison pallor.”
“That’s a good description, except I don’t know about the prison part.”
“It might fit. A woman of 25, noted for her teenage looks, was released on parole yesterday from Women’s Corrections after serving two of four. She was sent up for aiding a pusher. Her name is Connie Chester.”
“Well, whoever she is, how did she get here at my place?”
“I don’t know. Maybe she heard about you while ―”
A thunderous crash shook the whole house. Rolly dropped the phone onto the bed and dashed out into the den. A drably garbed man in a helmet slammed open the foyer door, letting daylight into the den where the three women were gathered around the girl still reclining on the couch. Several other men pushed in behind him. Rolly caught one glimpse of the main door hanging from one hinge before his eyes centered in disbelief on military rifles leveled against him and the women.
“Hit the floor! All of you, now!” screamed the leading intruder hoarsely.
Rolly and the women obeyed instantly, dropping chest-down to the carpet, heads raised in astonishment. The girl drew up her legs and crossed her arms over her breasts.
The leader stood before them, legs spread, weapon ready, while others flitted into adjacent rooms. “Telephone off the hook,” called the one who entered Rolly’s bedroom.
“Rip it out,” ordered the leader.
Rolly heard the snap of the connector snatched from the wall socket. Drawers slammed open, crockery crashed in the kitchen and the scrape of a toilet tank cover emanated from a bathroom.
“Ten-two!” somebody called from the kitchen. “Ten-two!” chorused from the bedrooms.
The leader stepped up to the girl on the couch. “Where’s the stuff?” he snarled.
“I … I don’t know,” she answered weakly.
“You what? We heard them get it for you.”
“You did?” She looked puzzled for a moment. “Oh. The coke.” Her hand stretched out to the nearby end table and raised the half-consumed tumbler of brown liquid.
Shifting his rifle to his left hand, the man took the glass from her. He sipped it, grimaced and returned it to the end table. “Shit!” he declared.
“No,” she insisted. “Coke.”
Rolly asked incredulously, “Are you people a SWAT team or just thugs?”
“Shut up!” snarled the leader. He turned and shouted over his shoulder, “All clear!”
Two men in civilian clothing entered the room, followed by two uniformed policemen. All four held revolvers in their hands. After a quick glance around the room they holstered the weapons. One of the suits cracked, “Never saw perps more disarmed than these.”
His glance sweeping over the prone watchers, the SWAT leader ordered, “You people stand up in the middle of the room and don’t touch anything. Connie, you can get dressed. Bring four perp suits in here.”
The man who had investigated the first bedroom prodded Rolly to his feet with the barrel of his rifle and forced him into the group of three women. The girl rose from the couch and slipped quickly into her clothing. A man entered with a stack of folded orange cloth that proved to contain one-piece jail suits. He handed one to each prisoner. The SWAT leader ordered, “Put ’em on and make it snappy.”
The girl had removed her barrette. She passed it to one of the plain-clothed police. “Here. You don’t need me to wear it now.” He pocketed it without comment. She shook down the brown hair around her shoulders.
When Rolly was dressed, a simple matter of plunging in arms and legs and closing the long central zipper, he asked, “Do you mind if I get my wallet?”
“Tell me where it is,” said one of the suits, “and I’ll get it for you.”
Rolly grimaced. “I take it we’re under arrest.”
“You might say that.”
“What’s the charge?”
“You’ll find out.”
“I’m supposed to find out as soon as I’m arrested.”
The suit chuckled. “You’ve been watching too much TV.”
Babs sounded off. “Well, I’m going to put on my shoes, I don’t care what you say. Damned if I’ll let a lot of club-footed cops stomp all over my toes.”
When she moved to the row of women’s shoes neatly aligned beneath the card table, SWAT rifles tracked her but no one interfered. The leader declared, “One at the time,” when the other women made to follow her.
“Where are your shoes?” asked one of the policemen, looking at Rolly.
“In the bedroom.”
“Bring him a pair,” directed the SWAT leader. When all four were shod, he added, “Handcuff them and let’s go.”
“I insist on hearing the charge against us. And aren’t you supposed to read us our rights?”
The man’s lip curled. “You’ll notice that we haven’t asked you a damned thing. You’ll get your rights before we interrogate you. For openers you’ll be charged with prostitution, soliciting prostitution, harboring a felon, indecent assault on a minor and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.”
Rolly asked incredulously, “When did they raise the age of majority to 26?”
The man’s eyes narrowed but instead of answering he gestured to the others. “Load ’em up!”
* * *
“Come on.” The jailer took Rolly’s arm, now handcuffed in front instead of back, and led him down the tiled corridor and through the clanging doors to a carpeted hall that opened into a room marked Interrogation. He was pushed around a metal table to an integral chair on the backside and told to sit. One of his handcuffs was removed from his wrist and closed on a hasp set into the side of the table. Then he was left alone.
He sighed, looking at his free hand, from which the fingerprint ink had been imperfectly removed. But he didn’t have long to wait. The door opened and a familiar figure entered, now dressed in a police lieutenant’s uniform.
“Good afternoon, Mr. Jannifer.”
Rolly chuckled. “Leading the SWAT team doesn’t keep you busy, eh?” He squinted at the man’s nametag: Hunter. What a name for a cop!
“Here at the beach we can’t afford to specialize like the big city.”
“No doubt. I’ve already told you people I want my lawyer.”
“She’s on the way.” The uniformed man took the plusher seat across the table. “In fact she may already be in the building. She also represents those women, you know. It may be that she called on them first.”
“I see,” said Rolly dryly.
“I won’t ask you any questions, but I do want to acquaint you with a few facts before she sees you. You got any objection?”
Rolly laughed ironically. “Would it make any difference?”
“Take it easy. You’re sheet is clean.” The policeman cocked an eyebrow. “How’d you get involved with that lot of hookers anyway?” He raised a hand. “No, don’t answer. I won’t ask you anything. In fact I’m here to tell you something. When you were arrested, I said you might be charged with soliciting prostitution and harboring a felon. You were caught naked in the company of three known whores. That’s enough to convince most juries of guilt. And you welcomed the attention of Connie Chester, a felon on parole. We have the sound of her choking on your dick.”
Rolly shook his head. “Which is it: harboring a felon or assault on a female?”
“Why not both? Juries don’t like either one.”
“What happened to the teenager, ah, Allison Corbell?”
The cop grinned. “I wouldn’t mention that again, if I were you. She was only 17.”
“You mean the police made up that fake ID?”
The lieutenant drew a deep breath. “All that is neither here nor there, Jannifer. I mention it only to let you know we’ll forget those charges and let you return immediately to your love nest, if you’ll help us out.”
“Help you out? After you wrecked my place? Tore the front door off the hinges?”
“Your place! That property is registered in the name of Paul Maxwell Young. Let Mr. Young complain about the door. If you want to write up the interior damage, you can submit a claim at the front desk.”
“Gee, thanks!” Rolly took a breath. “What is it you want from me, lieutenant?”
“Let me tell you a little more. This woman you know as Babs: how long has she been seeing you?”
Rolly grunted. “Remember, you weren’t going to ask anything.”
The lieutenant waved a hand. “I’m not. Let that go. But consider this: her real name is Louise Dinero, Mrs. Raphael Dinero.”
Rolly shrugged. “So?”
“You haven’t heard that name? Sure you have! Dinero is ― or was ― the drug kingpin for this state.”
“No, more’s the pity. He’s serving the last five years of his term in a federal prison as we speak.”
“And Babs is his wife? You’re kidding!”
The lieutenant opened his mouth to respond but a loud knocking sounded from the door.
“What the hell?” he snarled, rising and jerking it open.
Shirley Hammond, in her trademark crisp business suit and ruffled blouse, burst into the room. “Don’t say another word!” she screamed at Rolly.
She whirled on the lieutenant. “Judge Morris ordered this man’s release half an hour ago. Have you even started to process him out? No, I can see that handcuff. Well, if you don’t begin it now, we’ll shortly find out how the judge reacts to a second writ of habeas corpus!”
* * *
“Why couldn’t he get me for soliciting prostitution?” Rolly asked in Shirley’s car on the way home. “He’s right, I was naked in the company of known prostitutes.”
“He’ll play hell finding a judge who’d let such irrelevant and prejudicial evidence into the record, unless he had proof of payment to one of them ― which he’ll never have. That’s why I like to send you experienced girls.”
“Why can’t he have it? You’re my lawyer of record as well as theirs. If you pay them for me ―”
“For you? I have better connections than that, Rolly. They’re paid in unsigned bearer money orders: the mob’s money.”
“Don’t act surprised. I told you in the beginning it was my background.” She took a breath. “The fact is, he had not one shred of proof for any of those charges ― against you or the women. Connie was supposed to find you using drugs. That business about the coke is almost funny. Did you really strangle her on jism?”
“Uh, ah, I’m afraid so. Jeanette was shoving her head down.”
“Of course, what he really wanted was leverage to use on Babs.”
“Is she truly the wife of a mob boss?”
“In fact I don’t know. I met her through a mob contact, but not Dinero’s crowd. I don’t deal with drug lords, Rolly.”
“Moral principles?” he asked with a grin.
“I do have them, Rolly.”
“For which I am very grateful.”
“But not in regard to drugs. If people want to destroy themselves, they will, one way or the other. If they were left alone at it, the world would soon have a lot less shitheads. I stay away from the drug business because it’s too volatile. I’ve yet to find a dealer who wouldn’t sell out his mother for next to nothing.”
Rolly thought about all she had said. “Then you don’t know what Hunter wants from Babs. Too bad you came charging in at that moment. He might have told me.”
“You can’t believe the cops, Rolly, especially the drug cops. Not about anything at all.”
“They say she’s a lezzie.”
“About Babs? I don’t think so. She does quarrel with the others, especially Lula. But she …” He chuckled sheepishly. “She likes my hand in her twat.”
“All of it.”
The lawyer grinned. “You do know the difference between liking and tolerating.”
“All right. I’ll say this: the first time I went past the knuckles, she encouraged me. What could Hunter want from her?”
“I don’t know anything about that … Hmm. Except this: they say Dinero knows where 20 million dollars worth of heroin is hidden.”
He laughed in disbelief. “$20 million! That’s almost familiar.”
“Isn’t it!” Her eyes twinkled. “It’s about what you’re worth.”
“Shhh!” he remonstrated playfully. “I don’t have a penny to my name.”
“Yes, and that’s a bit of a problem. If that house of yours wasn’t registered to a phantom I could sue the town for what Hunter did to it.”
“I wondered about that. Can’t we punish him for anything? He broke down my door like I was going to flush ten kilos of horse.”
“Oh, you’ll sue him and the town for harassment and false arrest, but I doubt you’ll collect very much. In that kind of trial, if it goes that far, he can get the evidence in of you being naked with known prostitutes. By the way, I’ve already instructed your maid and maintenance service that fixup has priority. Everything should be back to normal before bedtime.
“I meant to ask you,” she continued, “what were you doing with over five grand in cash in your dresser drawer? They really thought they were on to you when they found that!”
He shrugged. “Just never got around to spending it all.”
“Well, letting it accumulate like that is dangerous in more ways than one. And when you won’t claim it, those bastards end up with it. How about returning it to me once in a while?”
* * *
“Clothes feel funny,” Rolly concluded, plucking at his shirtsleeve.
Katy of the long brown hair looked up from her magazine. She alone had elected to remain with him when Shirley’s taxi had returned the girls to get their clothing. After complaining at Rolly’s refusal to own a television receiver, she had found a stack of Playboys somewhere and scanned them while maintenance people restocked the refrigerator, tidied the bedrooms and rehung the main door. Now the last of the strangers had departed.
She said with a shrug, “So get naked.”
“I might, but I was thinking about dinner. Will you stay and eat with me naked?”
“Why not?” She leered. “At least it’ll be different.”
“You mean, eating with me instead of eating me?”
Her leer softened tolerantly. “If I know you, you’ll want both. What’s the chow?”
“The deli sent over a few sandwiches. Come on in the kitchen after you hang up your clothes.”
Katy, standing mostly naked at the refrigerator, held up a coke bottle and grinned. “Guess we’re gonna have to start calling this cola.”
“Or switch to Pepsi. The hell with it. Let’s chase this roast beef with champagne.”
She sat across the table from him to unwrap a sandwich, but he hitched his chair around beside her, rubbed his leg against hers and said through a mouthful of beef, “The reason for getting naked is to touch.”
She nodded. “You sure you don’t want me to put on a robe?”
“Huh? Now, Katy, why would I want that?”
“So you wouldn’t have to look at my sagging boobs.”
His free hand lifted one of the articles in question. “God, I love a heavy tit! What are you doing, Katy: fishing for compliments?”
She grinned. “Guess I wanted to hear what you’d say.”
“I’m not supposed to ask this, but aren’t you about 40?”
“Three weeks ago.”
“You look great, Katy: hair half-way down your back, full tits and sweetest mouth I ever knew.”
“But that … stoolie got your juice.”
“Yeah.” He looked away.
“Because she was choking.” It was not a question.
“My hubby liked that too.”
“I didn’t know you were married.”
“I’m not.” She lowered her eyes. “Not now.”
“Apparently Babs still is.”
He took a swig from his tumbler. “How well do you know her, Katy?”
The woman shrugged. “About as well as anybody. I was working with her when she met Dinero.”
“Were you! Then it’s true she’s the wife of a mobster?”
“Well, a drug dealer, before he was sent up.”
“Somebody told me she was queer.”
The woman grinned. “Lula, I bet.”
He nodded sheepishly. “Yeah, I guess it was.”
Katy shrugged. “That don’t keep her from being somebody’s wife.”
He asked with a frown, “Who’d expect to see a big-shot crook’s wife hooking?”
The woman blinked. “Why not?”
“Huh!” He chuckled slightly, then fixed her with a inquiring stare. “According to the cops, Dinero gets out in five years. Should I be planning to run?”
Her brow knitted. “Run? Oh.” She grinned. “You can bet he knows what she’s doing. But you’re a … what’cha call it? ― a refuge for her.”
“A safe place for her to lay low and stay out of circulation. That is, you was.”
“Then you don’t think she’ll come back?”
“Now that she knows you know about her? Maybe. We’ll find out tomorrow morning.” She studied him. “Do you think so much of her?”
He grinned. “I like to put my hand in her.”
“Why?” She blinked. “How can that feel good?”
“It’s the idea that feels good, like starting to crawl back in the womb ― that is, if you mean how can it feel good to me. I got the impression it turns Babs on like a light switch.”
She stared at him with a contemplative expression, chewing the last bite of her sandwich.
He added, “Men will put whatever they can into a woman, wherever they can. Partly it’s curiosity, I guess.” His eyes narrowed. “Did you ever try it?”
“A hand in me? Ha! I pushed a baby through that hole when I was a teenager. Once with something that size is enough.”
“Okay.” He shrugged, then grinned. “But Babs says stretching a pussy doesn’t hurt.”
“She never had a kid.”
“Well, does it hurt?”
“A kid sure does!” She cocked an eyebrow and grinned. “But the right thing don’t.”
“Even banging the womb?”
She looked away. “Ain’t got one.”
“You had a hysterectomy? ― Excuse me, Katy. I know better than ―”
“Yeah. I got messed up. But I never really learned to love cock till after that.” She straightened up. “Speaking of cock, I just remembered what I’m sticking around for. You wanted to see my painting.”
“So I did. I wonder if you agree with Michelangelo.”
“He also painted God.”
“He did?” The woman’s face showed pure astonishment.
Rolly chuckled and nodded. “Not too many people have.”
She left the room but soon returned from the den, breasts swaying with enthusiasm, bearing a large handbag that she laid on the table. But she hesitated with her hand in the purse, staring at him. Suddenly she blushed. “Rolly, I …”
He smiled encouragingly and put out his hand. Slowly she withdrew a tissue-wrapped object, sighed, and gave it to him.
With its wrapping removed he beheld a canvas-covered eight-by-ten board. Depicted edges were so sharp and precise that at first he suspected it was the print of a much larger painting, but variations in paint thickness revealed its authenticity. A flesh-colored object loomed over a background of arched, stained windows. The object was backlit from the windows but spotlighted in front. It rose from behind a penitents’ rail nearly to the top of the painting: a huge but very precisely depicted penis complete with bluish dorsal veins, partly withdrawn translucent foreskin, pebbly textured crimson glans and one pearly seminal drop sparkling in the eye. Around the glans penis at some remove glowed a circular halo. In the dark lower right corner of the little painting stood a stylized K.
“You did this?” he asked incredulously.
She smiled shyly and nodded.
“But Katy … The light through the stained glass … It’s perfect! And that foreskin … the red knob showing through … My god, Katy!”
“Oh, yes!” she breathed.
“If this is an original painting, my dear, you have a talent that Kincaid could envy. How did you paint this? What did you have for a model?”
“Just … my mind’s eye.”
“These edges … You must have used tiny brushes.”
“I trimmed them with a razor blade.”
“Well, I am certainly impressed. So, to you this is God, eh?”
He grinned. “Well, I wish more women agreed with you.”
“They do,” she averred.
He laughed hollowly. “If so, they sure conceal it well!”
She grinned slyly. “The problem is, it’s mounted on such pricks.”
His smile vanished as he studied her. “Which do women prefer: vibrating dildoes or real cocks mounted on pricks?”
“Real cocks,” she answered without hesitation. “We just have to put up with how they’re mounted.”
He shook his head, chuckling. “Maybe one of these days you can buy a robot for your dildo. I’d like to see your larger paintings, Katy. Do you ever show them off?”
“Not to a man.”
“Why not? I might want to buy one if you’d care to sell it.”
“To hang in here?”
“Sure!” He grinned. “We could start the day with a little worship service.”
Her lip curled but before she could speak the doorbell rang. Her eyes widened. “I’ll be in your way!”
“No, you won’t,” he averred, rounding the table past her. “I’m not expecting anyone. It’s almost ten o’clock.”
Behind him she wrapped her painting carefully and returned it to the handbag, then peered around the kitchen doorjamb. He passed through the den and donned the greeter’s housecoat hanging beside the foyer door. The doorbell rang again. “Coming!” he yelled, closing enough buttons for modesty. At the new front door he flipped on the stoop light and pulled the door open.
“This is a hell of an hour ― Oh. It’s you!”
“Can I come in?”
Melly / Allison / Connie stood on the stoop wearing the same clothing of the afternoon, including a large yellow barrette to restrain her mousy brown ponytail.
Flipping off the light, he pushed the screen open, leaned out beside her and scanned all around. No automobile was visible. “Where’re your friends, in the bushes?”
“No boyfriend either?”
She said testily, “You know I don’t have a boyfriend.”
He turned the light on again and studied guileless blue eyes. “But you do have brass, don’t you!”
“You gonna let me in?”
“Or what? Let’s see your search warrant. Huh! Come to think of it, I never did see one of those.”
She grimaced. “Believe me, I’m not a cop.”
“But you’re their agent, honey.”
“I can’t help that.” She sighed. Her hand rose to her head and popped the barrette open. Wordlessly she held it out to him.
He accepted it. Though it resembled a large, plastic hair clamp, it was far too heavy. “What do you mean, you can’t help it?”
“If I don’t do what they say, they’ll put me back in prison.”
“And what did they say do?”
Her eyes were steady on his. “Whatever I have to, to get that trinket back in your place and leave it there.”
He grinned thoughtfully. “So all you need is for me to take this inside, right? Then you can take off?”
He shrugged. “Okay. Goodnight, then.”
Her brow wrinkled. “Uh, just a minute.”
“Can I come in too?”
He sniffed. “I know enough about the cops in this town to believe they didn’t feed you.” He stood back from the door. “All right. I guess I’m a damn fool. But this time I’m going through your purse with a fine-tooth comb.”
She opened the screen and stepped into the room with alacrity. He closed and latched the door behind her, hung up the housecoat in the den and led her into the kitchen.
“Huh!” declared Katy incredulously.
The girl started. “Why, you was ―”
“Not another word!” ordered Rolly. He went to the sink, drew a tumbler of water and took a carpenter’s hammer from a drawer. Bending over the sink, he laid the hairpiece gently on the stainless steel faucet plate.
“Be careful!” he called. “Don’t drop that barrette.”
On the last word he struck a powerful blow with the hammer head. Sparks shot from the barrette, followed by a wisp of gray smoke. Gingerly he picked up the mangled object in his fingertips and lowered it hissing into the tumbler. Bubbles rose briefly.
He returned the hammer to its drawer and faced the girl unsmiling. “Hand me your purse and take off every stitch.”
Katy took a seat and watched closely as the girl hung her clothing on another chair. Rolly emptied the purse onto the table. The contents included a lipstick, a nail file, a wad of toilet paper and a folded set of papers that proved, when straightened out, to be the terms of parole for one Cornelia (Connie) Marie Chester, AKA Melly Benson. Billfold, cash, credit card and identification were all notably absent. He read the opening paragraphs. Her sentence of four years was for “possession of and accessory to the distribution of proscribed substances, first offense.” She had been paroled yesterday after serving two years.
He looked up from the papers. “Were you hooked?”
She stood nude before him, arms crossed under her small breasts. “I was using some,” she admitted, but her eyes remained level upon his.
“Still want it?”
“After two years?”
“If you do you’ve come to the wrong place. We’ve got a little aspirin and some codeine my dentist prescribed, if the cops didn’t confiscate it.”
She shrugged. “I’m not here for that.”
“Aren’t you? Katy, check out her clothes for anything unusual. Connie, bend over towards me.”
“Huh? You mean the other way, don’t you?”
“I meant what I said. I want to check through your hair.”
“Oh.” The girl submitted to his hands, which carefully parted her hair and stroked the strands while feeling the scalp.
“What’s this?” he asked, leaning close to examine a section.
“Ow!” she complained.
“A wart, I guess.” He straightened up. “Okay. You’ve got a couple other spots” ― he leered ― “that we can plumb later, but I don’t see how they could transmit. What about the clothes?”
Katy shrugged. “I didn’t find nothing.”
He patted Connie’s buttocks. “You said you were hungry. There’s a roast beef with horseradish. Get yourself a … cola” ― he grinned at Katy ― “out of the fridge.”
The girl wolfed down the sandwich. Katy sniffed. “That part was true.”
He passed the parole papers to the woman. “Probably the rest too.”
She scanned them with disdain. “This goes with her paleness. But the cops can print up anything for their stoolies.”
“Yeah, I’m beginning to find that out.”
Katy grinned sardonically. “Too bad when you can’t trust the cops either.”
“Oh, I don’t know. You can always trust people to do what they believe is in their self-interest. Hunter thinks this is the way to become chief of police.”
She cocked her head inquisitively. “You mean you ain’t pissed at him?”
“I didn’t say that. And I’m curious what makes him think this girl will learn anything now.”
“Well, he guessed you’d let her back in. Why did you?”
He grunted. “I said I was probably a damn fool.”
“No doubt of that,” agreed the woman dryly. “But that’s not a reason.”
“You didn’t see her dive on my dick.”
“Didn’t they say Jeanette shoved her?”
“Not at first.” He grinned. “I never could turn down a willing woman.”
Katy smiled wryly but Rolly’s grin faded.
“I know how the cops treat a girl in her fix.” He sighed. “She was hungry.”
“You’re a good man,” said the woman pensively.
He blinked at her. “Imagine that!”
She frowned. “You don’t believe I mean it?”
“Imagine, I’ve been talking to Katy for the last hour!”
He grunted. “Your mouth is usually too busy to talk.”
“Oh.” She grinned shyly. “I don’t usually have much to say.”
“When you do, it’s worth hearing. Connie, you might as well eat the last one if you’re still hungry.”
When the girl attacked the remaining sandwich with the same enthusiasm, he asked dryly, “Is this your first food all day?”
She nodded but continued chewing.
“Christ!” he muttered.
“What you gonna do?” asked Katy curiously.
He sighed. “I don’t know. How about you spending the night?”
Her eyebrows rose. “And break one of Shirley’s main rules?”
“Where do you think Shirley got it? Of course, I’ll pay for your taxi if you’d rather not.”
The woman grinned slyly. “You sure you got any money?”
“Oops, you’re right! The cops took it. Oh, shit, Katy ―”
She put a hand on his arm and smiled. “No sweat, Rolly. I’ll stay. You might need some help.”
“Thanks. I appreciate it. I have to board this one too. She doesn’t have a cent.”
“Unless the cops are holding it for her.”
“If we’d found another bug, I’d suspect that, but we didn’t.”
“You figured the barrette was a decoy?”
He lowered his voice. “It just about has to have been. They knew I knew what it was.”
“Well, where’s the real one then?”
“Good question.” His eyes narrowed. He rose and went to the drawer with the hammer, this time withdrawing a notepad and pen. He printed block letters on the pad and laid it before the still-chewing girl. Are you wearing a second wire?
She pushed back from the table, stood and gestured ostentatiously toward her right hip, to which clung a flesh-colored band-aid.
He exchanged a confirming glance with Katy, then motioned for the girl to resume her seat. On the notepad he wrote, THANK YOU.
They sat silently around the table as the girl finished her second sandwich and emptied the coke bottle.
“Feeling better?” he asked.
“Ulp!” She burped indelicately, then smiled. “You saved my life.”
“I might yet,” he agreed. “Did you plan to spend the night with me?”
She nodded. “Got nowhere else to go.”
“Then let’s take a shower.”
“I’d love a shower,” she agreed with feeling. She glanced at Katy. “All of us?”
“Sure. I’ve got a big tub with two showerheads.”
She rose to her feet with a giggle. “We’re dressed for it.”
Under the falling water he raised an edge of the band-aid and ripped it off her skin in a single stroke. Like the barrette, it was too thick and heavy to be only a band-aid. Also like the barrette, it served the intended purpose. She sported a small sore where it had been.
Holding it folded in his hand, he stepped out to the commode, dropped it into the water and pulled the flushing handle, before rejoining the women in the tub. He pointed to the sore. “What’s that?”
“A flea bite. I spent the last week in the county jail. It has fleas.”
“Great! We’ll keep an eye on you for bubonic plague.”
“The jail doc said I’m healthy. I ought to be after two years of nothing.”
“Nothing? Didn’t you like the guards?”
“They fired one right after I got there. He was trading cigarettes for blowjobs.”
“Ruined it for everybody, eh?”
Katy was helping him soap the girl’s body. She asked, “What about the other jailbirds?”
“Some of them were sweet. But they weren’t men.”
The girl stood placidly, letting their hands roam over and within her body. Soon she sought out his erection, pushed her head into the hollow of his neck and murmured, barely audible above the hiss of water, “This is so nice.” Her hand tightened on him, suggesting a particular object of her approval.
“I think you’re clean enough,” he concluded, turning off one of the sprays. Katy attended to the other while he opened the linen closet and removed towels. They dried each other quickly and moved with a common purpose to the adjacent bedroom.
He found the girl ready, internally slick despite the meticulous bathing. She opened her legs and accepted him eagerly, raising her heels to cross over his thighs. Katy knelt beside them, her hand between the bodies, stroking the girl’s belly, waiting as was her habit to catch his ejaculate orally when he withdrew at climax.
He paused after a few strokes. “Now tell me, Connie, why did you come back here?”
“M-mm,” she murmured, eyes clenched shut, straining to be the cylinder to his motionless piston.
He chuckled as he resumed. “Guess I’ll have to wait for that answer.”
Katy noted dryly, “No, you won’t. It’s pretty obvious.”
“Think where she’s been for two years.”
“You mean …”
“Right. She let the cops talk her into coming back here tonight for just one reason: she needed to get laid.”
* * *
“Hiya, Rolly. What’s up?”
He grinned at Caller-ID’s effect on the initial element of telephone protocol, and said, “We need to talk.”
“So talk,” Shirley responded, all business as usual.
“Well … The way things are going these days, with the locals taking such an interest in my doings, maybe I’d better come to see you.”
“I understand. How about right after lunch?”
“You’ll have to call the taxi.”
“Huh? They kept it all, did they?”
“Bastards! Okay. I’ll tell the taxi to get to your place at 12:30.”
* * *
“Do you have this office scanned regularly?” he asked, looking around at the walls from the sanctity of the huge client’s chair.
“Every month, but again this morning.” In her trademark suit and ruffled blouse, face neatly made-up, every hair constrained in a bun, she was attractive but unmistakably devoted to her law career. He had enjoyed a sexual encounter with her once, on the occasion of their first meeting, but that too had been only business. His subsequent efforts to learn more of the person than vagina and mouth had born little fruit.
He had no complaint of her; she always took good care of him. She brought currency out from a drawer and laid it before him on the huge desk. “Here’s an advance on your next allowance.”
“Thank you.” He pocketed it immediately. It was a bank-wrapped packet of twenties, the same thickness as the 50 of the last one he had bothered to count.
“And that’s what you really needed to see me about,” she suggested with a sly smile.
“That too,” he admitted. “But there’s more. Babs didn’t show up until this morning, but Hunter’s stoolie came back the same night.”
The woman grunted. “Then Hunter’s a fool.”
“She was wearing the same wired barrette as the first time. She even put it in my hand. Guess I was supposed to smash it and think that was all, but it was a decoy. She had another one under a band-aid on her hip.”
Shirley stared at him. “Rolly …” She shook her head. “Is she still there, for Christ’s sake?”
He sighed. “I’m a bigger fool than Hunter. I took a fancy to her. She really gets off on dick. Mooch dropped by yesterday and between us we sent her over the top. She was out so long the girls got worried. She’s at least twice as wild a card as the others.”
“Or twice the actress,” observed the woman dryly.
“Maybe.” He chuckled sheepishly. “Who the hell ever knows with you broads?”
“You know when the woman has no reason to fake it.”
“When is that?” he asked guilelessly.
She grinned. “So you’ve found the ideal woman, have you? Huh! What difference does it make to a man if she’s faking?”
His lip curled. “Not quite ideal. She wants to be paid.”
Her eyebrows rose. “I can’t believe you object to that!”
“No, I agree, normally. But if I pay her … It suddenly occurs to me she’ll take it straight to the cops. Then they’ll have the goods on me.”
The woman sneered. “You mean you don’t trust her devotion?”
He took a deep breath. “And the other girls don’t like her, especially Jeanette. She punched Jeanette in the mouth, loosened one of her teeth.”
“From what I heard, maybe Jeanette had it coming. This girl’s not a pro, Rolly. You said it yourself: she’s a wild card. How do you know she’s even on birth-control?”
“Jesus, I don’t!” He shook his head. “I guess I’ll have to run her off. But I’d like to get a few hundred bucks to her, if we can figure out a way to make it untraceable.”
Shirley stared into the distance. Taking a breath, she said, “I can take care of that. It’ll be expensive, but you can afford it. How much do you want her to have?”
“Hmm. Say $500.”
She sniffed. “That’ll cost as much as ten grand. Okay. I’ll call you and tell you when to put her out, soon as I’ve made the arrangements.”
“You won’t, ah, let her get hurt, will you?”
The woman chuckled. “She got to you, did she? Tell you what, Rolly. Let me send her a thou and tell her not to go back to the cops.”
“A thousand bucks?” He shrugged. “All right. I hope it works.”
“That’s enough for her to blow town. Okay. Is that all? You say Babs came back this morning? Then you have worse trouble than a reluctant stoolie.”
“We went for a walk on the beach and had a little talk.”
“You left that stoolie alone in your house?”
“Katy was watching her.”
“Katy? Ha! One of these days remind me to tell you something cute about Katy.”
“You mean her religious ideas?”
Shirley laughed. “So you’ve talked to her, have you? But you were about to tell me what Babs had to say.”
“She admits her proper name is Louise Dinero, but she doesn’t know anything about any $20 million worth of heroin.”
Shirley nodded. “And that’s probably the truth, but no one will believe her.”
“She said that Dinero doesn’t have a dime left anywhere, but she’s afraid to divorce him. He’s a funny guy. It’s okay if she screws at my place, she says because of all this medical stuff you put us through, and she’s paying off his lawyer out of the proceeds from you.” He laughed uncomfortably. “She turns out to be a lot different from what I thought. I always took her for a brash, ‘up-yours’ kind of gal. But she’s softer, almost timid. She begged me to let her stay, even with the cops crowding us.”
He realized that Shirley’s gaze had become a glare. “Rolly, what’s come over you?”
“You’re going soft. Where’s the guy who meant to blackmail me if I reneged on our contract?”
He blushed. “I did say that, didn’t I.”
“These women are whores, Rolly. What do you think you owe them?”
He stared at her. Slowly he smiled sheepishly. “Is that what happens when a man fucks the same women for a year?”
“Huh! It didn’t work with your legal wife, did it?”
“She didn’t want to fuck. But these girls … They’ve been incredible, Shirley. They’ve milked my juice twice a day since we started and sometimes a lot more often than that.”
“Not every day,” she reminded him.
“Well, except for those ‘vacations’ you put on. I never did understand that, by the way. Vacation from what?”
“From fucking, as you put it. Everyone needs a chance to recharge, Rolly, even you. Are you saying you think of them as your wives?”
He spread his hands. “I don’t know. I do know I want to … protect them.” He laughed deprecatingly. “Even to cherish them.” He raised his chin. “Katy has been living at my place since the raid. I’m thinking about letting her move in.”
“You’re breaking your own rules.”
He sighed. “I know it.”
She chuckled wryly. “I recall you being worried about getting tired of all the girls I know. What happened to the guy who just wanted female flesh and lots of it?”
“You know a lot more girls, huh?”
He studied her. “I think you must be a pretty good matchmaker.”
She smiled, lowering her eyes. “What do you want to do about Babs?”
He leered. “Guess I’ll keep my hand in.”
She snorted but said thoughtfully, “You’re not up to anything probatively illegal in your love nest. If you’re moderately careful how you and the girls talk ― don’t ever mention money! ― I don’t think the cops can do more than harass you, even with their wiretaps and bugs. As to that, I intend to submit discovery motions to squelch that stuff, and I filed a suit yesterday against the city for invasion of privacy and destruction of property. We’re claiming a million dollars punitive. That ought to get their attention. But I warn you, Rolly, you can’t absolutely stop the cops from keeping you under surveillance. Given that it’s only this little one-horse beach town that’s after you, maybe you ought to move. The market is slow right now. I can find you another place in a few days.”
He thought about it and shrugged. “My place is comfortable, but … All right. Let’s do that.”
* * *
Babs, the short-haired blonde, lay at the end of the couch, legs dangling over the arm with Rolly, her leisurely piston, between them. Katy crouched reversed above Babs, large breasts and long brown hair falling on the other woman’s chest, licking the clit and penis top during the man’s near-withdrawals, else taking the male organ into her mouth when the withdrawals were complete. Connie lay in a dissolute sprawl on the facing couch, asleep and snoring softly. Jeanette of the black hair sagged on the couch back near the action, stroking the man’s back and belly, sometimes reaching between his legs to caress the curiously lumpy bag.
“I like balls,” Jeanette announced.
“Why?” asked Katy, presently reduced to lingual massage.
“You can’t put ’em in you.”
“Well, they’re a little like boobs: really useful for only one thing. But men like boobs anyway and I like balls anyway. When I squeeze them like this, Rolly, does it do anything for you?”
“N-n-no, not really, except having a woman’s hand around them is sweet. But the other day … You sucked one in your mouth and diddled it with your tongue. That was kind of nice. Jiggly.”
A telephone rang in the bedroom. Rolly cocked his head. “Now, who might that be?”
Jeanette sniffed. “The cops, checking on Connie?”
“Funny they haven’t showed up before. Guess you better answer it.”
The black haired woman sighed and dragged herself reluctantly into the bedroom. In a moment she returned. “It’s for you. Shirley. I told her you were busy, but she said it’s important.”
“Oh, yeah, she was going to call. Excuse me, ladies.”
A moment later he picked up the phone. “Here I am.”
“Listen carefully, Rolly. I don’t want to repeat this. You know what was the first thing you did to your video camera when you got it home? I want you to do the same thing to what you find in the newest bag in your house. Do you understand?”
“Uh … No.”
“I’m confident you will when you check. And Rolly, leave the camera there, you dig?”
So he was to remove the tape from a camera in Connie’s purse? Oh, yeah? Just where did Connie get a camera? How did Shirley learn about it? But all he said was, “I hear you.”
“And the time is nine P.M.”
“Ah … Got you. Nine P. M.”
“Good luck. You’ll have help.”
With a click she hung up. He glanced at his wristwatch. It was now 8:40, cutting it close.
In the den Babs had squirmed her blonde head out from under Katy. All three of his regulars were watching him quizzically. The newcomer still snored.
He raised a finger to his lips and went to the card stand containing four purses. He could not suppress a jerk of surprise when he opened Connie’s. It did not contain a camera.
* * *
“Wake up, Connie.”
The young woman groaned and turned her head toward the back of the couch. “Not tonight, sweetie,” she intoned. “I’ve got a headache.”
Rolly slipped his arm under her back and raised her to a sitting position. “I’ll get you some aspirin,” he told her.
She blinked and looked around. Katy sat in an adjacent chair and Babs lounged on the other couch. Jeanette was not present. The two women and the man were fully dressed for the street.
She looked from one to the other, settling at last on Rolly. “What’s going on?”
“Get dressed,” he told her. “Those clothes beside you are yours. Jeanette is getting you a cola in case you’re thirsty.”
“What time is it?”
He glanced at his watch. “8:55.”
“Are we going somewhere?”
“Get dressed, please. Hurry up!”
She got to her feet and took up the clothes but insisted, “I wanta know where we’re going.”
“We’re not going anywhere. You are.”
“Oh, yeah? Then where’m I going?”
“That’s up to you. Now I mean it: hurry up!”
“You’re throwing me out, are you?” She pulled up her jeans with alacrity, looking at him askance. “Did the cops call you? I heard a phone ring.”
He did not respond. The black-haired woman, also clothed, came into the room and extended a tumbler of brown liquid to the girl, who ignored it. She sat down to tie her sneakers and in a moment was fully dressed. She leapt again to her feet and nearly danced across the room to her purse, still on the card stand with the others.
She whirled to face them. A small revolver appeared in her hand, turned toward Rolly. “All right,” she snarled. “Enough hanky-panky. When are the cops getting here?”
“I don’t know anything about any cops. Where did you get that piece?”
She grinned sarcastically. “You poor fool! Did you think I’d waste my time in here without some backup?” She turned the gun towards Babs. “Good thing you’re dressed. You’re coming with me.”
The blonde’s chin rose. “I am not!”
“Oh, yes, you are!” A maniacal light gleamed above the girl’s wide grin. “I don’t care if you are supposed to talk in your sleep. We’re going to find out how well you talk wide awake, while your fingernails and toenails are prized off and lit cigarettes shoved up your ass.”
“What?” demanded Rolly in horror. “Even the cops wouldn’t do that!”
“What cops? Hunter was paid for one hassle. You’re right. You don’t know anything about any cops.” She gestured with the weapon. “Come on, Mrs. Dinero, or I’ll show you what a .32 slug does to the bone in your upper arm.”
Babs’ hands went to her face. “Oh, god, Rolly!” she moaned.
“Damn it, you dumb bitch, you think I’m kidding?” The girl raised the revolver in both hands and thumbed back the hammer. She took careful aim and squeezed the trigger. The hammer fell with a click. To her credit she didn’t flinch.
“Huh?” She worked the mechanism again with the same result, then turned the barrel toward herself. After one glance she dropped the weapon on the floor with a thud. Her eyes narrowed on Rolly. “I guess I’m the fool, eh? I should’ve known when flashing it didn’t faze you. And I should’ve known it was too light.”
She began to edge toward the foyer door.
Babs cried, “She meant to shoot me!” and collapsed onto the couch.
“You gonna let her get away?” asked Katy in wonder.
“What would I do with her if I don’t?” he asked reasonably.
Jeanette sniffed. “Make her your love slave. She likes to faint under you ― or pretend to, the bitch.”
“Did you enjoy my show?” asked Connie, sneering from the foyer. “Don’t go away, folks. I’ll be right back.”
She spun, snatched the front door open, stepped out and shouted, “Charleee, get your ass here now!”
“Quick!” Rolly called to Jeanette in a loud whisper, “Take Babs to the laundry cubbyhole.”
Black hair pulled blonde to her feet. The two women vanished into the back of the house. From outside Katy and Rolly heard the thud of running feet.
“You’re not Charley!” they heard Connie scream in surprise.
“No, sister,” declared a masculine voice, “and you’re not Connie Chester, either. Now you’re coming with us.”
“Who the hell are ― Ow!”
After the sound of a slap several feet were heard retreating. Rolly hurried to the front door with Katy on his heels, where he decided not to turn on the stoop light. A quarter moon glowed on the eastern horizon, enough for him dimly to see two or three dark-clothed men leading a white blouse through his front gate.
They had hardly vanished before another figure came toward them. High heels rang on the walk.
“Shirley!” called Rolly in great relief. “What just happened?”
“The mob grabbed Clovis Vicary.”
“Who’s that? Come in.”
He opened the door for her. Inside she smiled at Katy and Jeanette, just returning through the den. “Hiya, girls. Where’s Babs?”
“Hiding in the laundry cubbyhole. Go get her, Jeanette. Who is Clovis Vicary?”
“The right name of the biggest pusher in the state, these days. Clovis is quite a gal.”
“You mean, she was?”
Shirley shrugged. “That wasn’t the cops who hauled her off. I expect she can pay the ransom.”
“Wait a minute. Did she take over from Dinero?”
“Exactly. Killed three men to get the job, so I hear.”
“How did you hear about her in time?”
“My contacts. They sent a few good boys here to size up the place this afternoon. They spotted Charley and picked him up. When he found out who’d caught him, he sang like a canary.”
Babs and Jeanette had reentered the room. Babs said sorrowfully, “Then somebody really believes that junk about Rafe’s heroin.”
“I’m afraid so,” the lawyer answered. “But I don’t think they’ll bother you again. The word is going out right now.”
* * *
Katy rose up from between his legs, eyes glittering in the dim light through the blinds. “What’s the matter, Rolly? Ain’t I doing it right?”
“You might as well quit, honey. It’s not your fault.”
She slid up beside him, a heavy breast falling on his chest, and kissed his cheek. “What is it, then? You know if it’s anything I can do, just say the word.”
“I was thinking about Connie ― I mean, Clovis. If you consider it from her point of view, my god, what a brave woman!”
“You think it takes bravery to come in here and screw you?”
“Well …” He chuckled. “Doesn’t it?”
“The only reason more don’t show up is we don’t tell anybody how sweet you are.”
He laughed outright. “Katy, I love you, you know.”
“Well, of course. That’s what I mean. Are you missing that stoolie’s play-acting?”
He took a breath. “She did put on a good show, Katy.”
“Yeah, fainting and carrying-on. You know what it means when a woman pretends to faint?”
“Eh? All right, tell me.”
“It means she’s through, that’s all.”
He chuckled. “That sounds reasonable ― either way.”
“But me … I don’t pretend.”
“I know. You think a dick is God.”
“That’s got nothing to do with it.”
“Then what do you mean?”
“You don’t mind licking a pussy, do you?”
“You know I don’t!”
“I’ll show you what I mean.” She flopped on her back beside him. “Come on. And when I start to come, get on top the regular way.”
He crouched between her legs. “Katy, I thought you girls didn’t much care for this.”
“Huh! You know we have to outlast you.”
“You mean …”
“Come on,” she invited, spreading her legs farther apart.
Babs and Jeanette had also elected to spend this eventful night with him. Shortly they appeared wide-eyed at his bedroom door to ask who was killing Katy.
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