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Shamus (standard:other, 1591 words)
Author: kendall thomas Added: Jul 25 2004Views/Reads: 1954/1160Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Gritty, hardboiled P.I. tale.
 



Click here to read the first 75 lines of the story


They were both naked and humping frantically by the time I'd slipped up
to them. 

Emma Mack was built; I'll give her that.  A natural blonde.  The guy was
hung like a mule.  I marveled at the ease with which she took all of 
him. 

I snapped more pictures, then slipped out before they finished. 

I had the pictures developed at Wong's Photo Studio and stopped off at
Larry's for a vodka and beer chaser, then headed home where I sat, 
sipping on a bottle of Kentucky bourbon, and flipped through the packet 
of pictures one by one until I became hard  imaging myself in the tall 
guys place. 

I'd earned my money.  Lonnie was gonna love'em. 

But something wasn't right.  I studied the face.  She didn't look like a
whore.  She was beautiful in a sweet and vulnerable way.  Like the girl 
next door every guy dreams of. 

I was beginning to feel dirty.  And thought about destroying the pics
and negatives. 

But I couldn't.  I needed the money as a practical matter.  Besides I
never cheated a client.  My career, what little there was of it, would 
be in the toilet if word ever got around that I didn't deliver. 

The next morning there was a gentle tap at the pebbled glass of my
office door, and Emma Mack entered wearing a low-cut yellow dress, her 
blonde hair fixed back in a braid.  A smell of lilac filled the small 
room. 

“Did you followed me yesterday?”  Her face was flushed with anger, but
her voice quavered slightly.  Her blue eyes were glowing pools of fire. 


I lit a cigarette and slid the packet of pictures across the desk. 

She stood indecisive for a moment, then, with a deep breath, that
brought a swell to her full breasts, she took a seat in a chair across 
from me, flopping her purse down next to the packet; slowly she went 
through it, almost, it seemed to me, with the air of an art critic. 

“Does my husband know you have these yet?” 

I shook my head. 

“It wouldn't do any good if I tore them up, would it?” 

I shook my head again. 

“I have the negatives.” 

“And a copy for yourself, no doubt?” she said bitterly. 

I didn't deny it.  They were some of the hottest pictures I'd ever
taken. 

“What made you suspect that I followed you?” I asked. 

“I wasn't sure; just a hunch; I overheard my husband talking to someone
on the phone about you.” 

She stared at me for a long moment, then sighed as if coming to a
decision. 

“How much is my husband paying you?  Whatever it is I'll give you twice
as much.” 

“I don't play that game.” 

Her eyes became teary. 

The beginning of a sob was stifled as she spoke. 

“You don't understand; I'm in love with Bruce, the man you saw me with.
My husband is a control freak.  He won't give me a divorce.  And not 
because I'm asking for anything -- I don't want anything.  No alimony 
-- nothing, but he won't have it.  I'm literally his prisoner.” 

“You married him.” 

She glared at me for an instant, then, there was a pleading look as she
began wringing her hands. 

“I had no choice.  My mother needed an operation -- an expensive
operation; her life depended on it.  I had no money.  I was a dancer in 
one of Lonnie's clubs.  He was attracted to me and told me he would 
take care of my mother if I married him.   You don't know what it's 
like.  He's a cruel man.  Whips and chains are his way of showing love 
-- and there are other ways . . . disgusting ways I can't even begin to 
talk about.” 

“We all have are crosses to bear,” I said, feeling like a heel.  But my
hands were tied.  I mean, how many of us are really free enough to do 
what we like? 

A small knowing smile formed on her face. 

“Perhaps there's something else I could give you besides money.” 

She stood up and reached behind her back. 

I started to protest, but too quickly the yellow dress slid down her
righteous body to the floor.  She was naked except for the high heels 
she had walked in on. 

Had she loved me rather than this guy Bruce what happened might not have
happened -- but it did. 

I rode her like a dog in heat on the hardwood floor with its generations
of scum, scuffs and blackened wax build-up.  I cumed on her and in her 
and made her lick it up.  And she was desperate enough to hope that she 
could buy my integrity with her body. 

After she was gone I took several long pulls from a bottle of Southern
Comfort and called Lonnie Mack. 

He was seated behind the wheel of a white Lincoln.  A goon opened the
back door and motioned for me to get in.  The air conditioning was 
good.  Real good.  I could feel the hot sweat on my body chilling like 
tiny beads of ice. 

“You got'em, shamus?” 

I handed him the packet with the negatives and prints. 

He shuffled through it slowly.  The profile of his face was impassive. 
A cigarette hung from the corner of his mouth.   The tip glowed red, 
like a tiny beacon, as air whipped over it. 

“Who's the man?” 

“Don't know.  Some guy named Bruce.  You didn't pay me for extras.” 

“All right.  You've been paid.  Now get the hell out.” 

I spent the whole evening at Larry's.  I didn't relish going back to my
stark apartment alone. 

When I woke up in the morning I was suffering pangs of conscience.  I
called the number he had given me.  It rang for a long time.  I drove 
to Estate Boulevard and looked up into the circular drive of Lonnie 
Mack's place.  The red Vette was gone. 

I drove out on the interstate with a sinking feeling in my stomach.  In
the park I saw the Vette and the Beetle.  A scattering of people lay 
soaking up the sun. 

I didn't need to go farther, but I did -- drawn like a moth to the
flame. 

They were both there. 

Emma was hanging upside down from a tree limb staring at me.  Her front,
from cunt to throat, had been opened with something sharp.  Her guts 
hung down to the ground.  Bruce's head was impaled on a stick between 
her thighs.  The rest of him was lying farther away, on the ground. 

Flies were buzzing around in the heat. 

I threw up and drove home. 


   


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