Disclaimers: Okay here's the part where I come up with something innovative and new that states that these happening grrls belong to me even though they somewhat in a mixed up kind of sort of way resemble some people that I didn't make up·.but I can't seem to think up a way, oh well.

Repent! For the day of the Lord is at Hand: So maybe I need to go to anger management or something, but once again I've taken out my frustration on my characters, (I'm such a beast). The buckets of blood are in the normal 2 to 3 range. I tried, really I did. I say some nasty words in here, and I seemed to have gotten carried away with the idea of vomiting, but I don't describe the chunks or anything.

Insert Porno Music Here: Hee-hee! I wuz a vewy vewy baaad grrl. Sex? Yes please! If I must say so myself I think I got a little bit raunchy, but it won't happen again·I promise 

Kablamm!Splat!OOF!: A little hurt, a little comfort. Borderline domestic violence, not quite as volatile as the 'Gab-drag', but trust me everybody gives as good as they get.

Hitting My Knees: As always in praise, supplication, and worship. I am unworthy of those who have filled my head with nothing but love love and more love even when it's wrapped up in criticism. I appreciate it so very much.

By the By: Even though I live here, (Maryland), the good thing about fiction, is that you can make it up. So what if I say Camden Yards is right next to the Aquarium, in my head it is, but I know it's not. As always, I took a few liberties, but for the most part, good ol' Bawlamore (that city speak for Baltimore) is still in tact.

F.Y.I.: For those who were wondering, now that this is done, I am all over Book II of The Vampire Hunter. It's coming·.(well at least the first couple of chapters.) Thanks for hanging in there.

"Feed me Seymour!": As always comments are greatly welcomed. I tried something a little new here, so you'll have to let me know. Suggestions and constructive criticism always go a long way as well. But if you've got unfriendly issues, it'll be me, you, and the man-eating plant in the corner in the schoolyard at three o'clock sharp!  catwoman59@hotmail.com

Message from Management: This story is all finished, but I'm releasing it in five sections.


Practical Lies

By Jp

 February 2000

White Lies

'Honey, I'll be home in an hour.'


CH 1:

Let's face it, Harvey Blank was a big guy. He wasn't quite linebacker material, but more the fat kid that got picked on in grade school. He was a squat man, suffering from male pattern baldness, that in a few years would leave him with a most pleasant comb-over that made him look even older than his prematurely graying hair. Almost everything about Harvey was premature, except for his payments of course, which I why I was there. I had been with Harvey all morning, and I realized that I definitely had to stop doing this, because I wasn't sure if I should feel sorry for the guy or ask him for his blessing in doing him a favor. I was enjoying the thrills of public transportation, which was how Harvey was getting around as of late.

He wore one of those thick parkas with the fur lined hood, that when pulled over the top gave you great protection from the wind, because your head was so far back in the damn thing. (Like if you're ever Alaska it's the best jacket to have.) It seemed odd to me, because it wasn't actually that cold, not that I'm necessarily warm-blooded all the time or anything, but it really wasn't that cold, so the leather cargo coat I was wearing suited me fine. He seemed so bundled up, even with all that fat, and it just seemed strange to me because it had been one of those mornings when you knew it wasn't going to be that cold. You figured it out when you were bumbling to the door in the dark at 5:30 in the morning to let the dog out, and when you cracked open the screen door to let the mutt out, (standing there in a t-shirt and boxers), you realize it's not 5 below and your not freezing your ass off. It might just be that your still numb from the all the things you did last night, but nine times out of ten, it just means the day is going to get warmer.

Technically, it was a mild day in February, right around the time of the year when spring is trying to push through, but you know a freak East Coast blizzard will wipe that all away in a couple of weeks. I watched him from the right side and three seats away and I couldn't for the life of me imagine being this man. He probably had 12 shirts in his closet that were all the same varying degree of light stripes like he was wearing now. He wore a simple tie, nothing spiffy, and definitely not the slightly off kilter fashion choices of a gift from your kid. He wore his badge around his neck in one of those faux-leather pouches with the clear plastic cover, that he had probably picked up from one of the street vendors at the market when he first got his job. Those things were practical, especially when you were burdened with lots of things, and Harvey was really burdened. He had a blue plastic grocery bag with his lunch in it, another plastic bag touting the freshness of some supermarket, and what was his briefcase was this tan (or maybe it was ochre) colored canvas bag. Harvey wanted to look bundled, and I thought the weight was doing him just fine. But that was Harvey, always trying to be busy. He was so busy, he even had one of those ear clip phone things hooked to his ear. I guessed the wire ran carefully down the inside of his jacket and jacked into the novel phone that he wore on his hip. Apparently Harvey was always on call; either that or he just couldn't wait to hook up to the phone in his cubicle.

It was a long ride, but I rode along watching the scenery pass, and then watched with pity in my eyes as Harvey loaded up all his burdens and got up to get off at his stop. Like always he never seemed to have a good grip and I was just hoping he could keep his footing as the bus lurched to a stop. He managed to find the pole after rocking back on his heels. He pushed out of the back double doors, resettled his bags and began his walk to the bank across the street. I figured I'd mull around and have a cigarette, after all you have to have breakfast and this place didn't look like it had a shop that catered to my coffee tastes, so I had to forgo the caffeine part of my morning diet. I watched Harvey make his way across the street with all the grace of a Hippo. All though, I take that back, Hippos do have a certain grace about them, so in truth Harvey trotted to his job like a fat guy loaded to bear. I put out my cigarette once he got inside and started to feel a little sorry for what I was going to have to do to Harvey. Maybe the sun was hitting me in the eye just the wrong way or I had watched too many karma-centered shows in the past week, whatever the case I got that feeling in the pit of my stomach and before I did anything, I knew I was going to get into trouble for it. I just didn't think the guy needed to die.

While I'm not the low-man on the totem pole, I'm not sitting on the board of directors either. I'm somewhere in the middle, biding my time till all this gets really passe, and the truth is it had gone way past that. According to those in my business I had been doing too much thinking lately, changing my mind and changing my plans when it suited me, and indeed here I was again deviating from the plan at the last moment. (I'm a Gemini what do they want.) I'm prone to changing my mind and I'm indecisive, I'll admit it. Besides, it was going to be a nice day, and I didn't want to spend the early morning hours cleaning up blood. Broken legs worked just as well as punctured lungs and cracked spines to make a point. I slid on my sunglasses and stopped as I got outside the bank doors and looked at my watch. The bank still had a half and hour or so to open, so I had time to enjoy another Dunhill, even though at five dollars a pop, these should definitely be the 'job well done' smoke, but hey I've never been one to be completely practical. After all, I do collect debts for a living.

As for me, (I haven't decided if I'm going to use my real name, so we'll come back to that), but needless to say I woke up one morning hoping to find adventure on the high seas and I ended up breaking kneecaps and chasing people through alleys in a city by a bay. I had a girlfriend once who described me as handsome, but I tend to describe myself as simply cute. That's not a self loathing statement or anything, it's just realistic and practical. My face, regardless of how cute, is not that memorable or forgettable I guess, and truthfully it's a little bit friendly especially when I'm prone to smile. I'm not one of those stonefaced assassins who only have two expressions that range from not quite frowning to scowling menacingly. I'm really quite personable, I like to think, and sometimes it does make my job easier. It doesn't quite help my love life, but then again this will not be a tale about my love life. There will be nothing in here of the love persuasion, nothing, nada. All though, since I'm not getting any, I guess this could be about my love life. Let's face it, I've never been accused of telling the truth. What can I say, my life is full of harsh reality so when I open my mouth to talk it is usually to promote the suspension of disbelief. Hell nobody wants the facts all flat out all the time, even if they say they do.

For instance, Harvey will probably want to know a few truths. But, let's face it, Harvey knows the truth. He's two weeks late on $35,000 dollar loan that he's let lapse because he's a fuck-up and I'm his friendly 'cleaner-uper' here to collect in one form or another. Everybody would rather it be in money, but I think fingers and toes amount for good collateral. So, with all that, why tell Harvey the truth. If it makes him happier to think I'm some sweet angel of death with a made up family to support and a sickly mother hiding away until I can pay all my debts, than great. But like I said, I changed my mind all the time and as soon as I finished my cigarette in peace, Harvey was going to get lucky. I should have probably been thinking about the consequences of changing orders, but following through would be too much like right and hey it's always got to be an adventure. So there I was standing in a sparse parking lot crushing my cigarette under the heel of my shoe, just about the same way I was going to be crushing the bones in Harvey's hands in a few minutes. Sure, I should have been looking for a new job or putting in my resignation, but that would be too much like right, that would be sane, and yeah, it would've been practical wouldn't it.

* * *

CH 2:

Just for the record, when I left Harvey he had a hand. Technically, he had two, but the left wasn't quite bending the way God or good genes had intended. His right was fine and quite usable. And, once he got that dislocated shoulder healed up, he'd be a one-handed money dispensing machine again. I didn't really decide to take mass transit back to the city, but since, I had no choice; MTA was indeed the way to go. When I made my way into Barberry's office, which was on the top floor of a bar/lounge, I had half a mind to just ease my way back out of the door. Big Jim, (who really did match his name), was this no-necked seven foot behemoth and he was actually blocking my exit.

I briefly wondered if I promised to buy to go buy him a drink, if he'd at least let me run downstairs and drain a bear and a couple of shots. At least I 'd be able to tune out Barberry. No such luck, so I had to stand there sucking on a pretzel stick, waiting for my turn. I knew it was my time when I could hear Barberry giving his customary adieu to some poor guy on the other end of the phone. "Yeah, yeah Fuck you too, Milo. You're a stinking piece of shit, always busting my fucking balls. You're a numb nut fucker you know that!"

I rolled my eyes as I heard the phone slam down on the base. "Charlie! Charlie!, get your faggot ass in here!"

I straightened my shoulders and rolled my eyes at my cue. One day, I was going to roll Barberry's obese form into city traffic like a bowling ball. I hated being called a faggot and he knew it. That was the one word I hated even more than nigger. At least people found a way to desensitize it in certain circles. It still didn't appeal to me, but it did have its place. I crunched down on my pretzel, wishing I could have had a cigarette and then walked into his office.

Barberry, despite having a cherubic face, was far from an angel. He managed to even make Rubenesque look ugly. He still wore his hair in a quasi-crewcut, which only accentuated the tri-rolls of fat at the back of his neck and made his head look even bigger than it was. Perhaps, in his former life, he had been an inspiration for Charles Schultz, but right now he was just an ugly dufus with an asinine handle-bar moustache to boot. I gave Barberry a lopsided grin, that was probably more of a sneer and sat down in front of his cheap desk, in one of his chairs. He snorted at me as I sat and let his eyes roam over me. He always had the most unpleasant way of reminding me that I was playing with the 'big boys', and honestly even though I was pushing 35, when he looked at me I felt like a six year old being sized up by a pedophile.

"Charlie, Charlie!" He was talking to me in his normal voice, but it was still loud and mind boggling. "What the fuck happened? Is this you fucking thinking again? I swear to fucking Christ!"

I winced as he spoke to me, like I always did, not because of the volume, but the fact that this man used fuck like most people used commas. I looked at him and answered in my typical cavalier fashion. "Am I supposed to answer that?" I figured if I acted normal than he would too. I popped another pretzel stick in my mouth and started sucking on the end.

"Still trying to quit smoking, eh?" He didn't wait for my answer. "Charlie you fuck, what am I going to do with you?"

I raised my eyebrows in question. "Get me on how to be a millionaire?"

He let out this gurgily chuckle. "You're fucking funny Charlie. But no, all though, if I put you on there you can get the $35,000 that you forgot to get from fucking Harvey."

I smiled. "Well, I didn't fuck Harvey, not quite my species, but I do realize that you know."

He shook a meaty fist at me. "Do you want me to bring Jim in here and let him break his foot off in your ass?"

He was dead serious, and so was I. "Can Jim really lift his leg up that high?" Barberry slammed a fist down on his desk, making everything jump. He started to shake his finger at me and everything else on him shook as well. It was hard not to laugh as the gelatinous mass of man was doing his best to berate me. I tuned back in to his rant when he said that I was going to fix Harvey's debt. He had caught me off guard and he knew it. "What?!" I said as I sat up straight.

"You heard me you fuck! You're fixing Harvey's debt."

"You want me to pay!" I was about to stand up and then throw a temper tantrum, but then I remembered that I wasn't six.

He laughed and relaxed back into his chair. "You'll pay, but not how you think." I relaxed and started chewing on another pretzel. "Somebody needs a favor and you're going to handle it."

I slapped my hands on my thighs and sighed. "Name and number and do they want the body on ice or just gone?"

He let out a villainous laugh and cracked his knuckles. "Not that easy ass-wipe." (Is it ever.) "Charlie, since you want to be an ass-wipe, then you're going to be wiping asses for the next week."

In my head, I jumped up from my little wooden chair and impaled the legs through his fat chest. In reality, I sucked my teeth. "Do I look like a baby sitter?"

"You look like a faggot, you fuck." I growled at him since he was pressing on my nerves. "Save your bullshit, Charlie. I should kick your fruity ass all up down the street till you're beggin' me to put a bullet through your fucking head."

"That would probably be better than listening to you say it."

He chucked a pen at my head, which I dodged. (He could be such a kid.) "Charlie, you're this close." He made a little block of space with his forefinger and thumb. I was going to say something rude, but I figured we were both at our limit. He just stared at me for a moment and then his face relaxed and he leaned forward on his elbows and looked at me with the hint of compassion that I once remembered he had. "Charlie, I don't know what you're expecting, I mean kiddo, I'm going-

I waved my hand through the air and stood from my chair. "Yeah, yeah, you're going out on a limb for me, I get it Barberry, I fucking get it." I ran my hand through my air and put a cigarette in my mouth as I fished for my lighter. "I'm assuming got a day or two to get ready for this nose bleed job?"

"Yeah, you shit. Get out of my face, I'll call you in a day."

"Oh yeah, since when did you get the opposable digits to dial a phone." I started walking to the door and I heard him call me a faggot, so I lit up my cigarette in the hopes that the smell hit his nostrils and gave him a coronary.

"Take that crap out of my office! And Charlie, you fucking behave, you understand me. No more thinking on your own. This job just needs your bodily presence so no shit. From now on you and me are a una-mind you got it. From God's mouth to your lips, understand."

I stared back at him through slitted eyes, and it was only the sweet smell of my five dollar cigarette that kept me from saying something. It was just too easy really, and I had made it this far, so I nodded and beat it out of the door and out of the bar all together. I made it to my car and slammed my head into the steering wheel. In retrospect, I kind of wish Barberry had just shot me there or at least had the decency to drive a pencil through my ear really slowly. I understood that I had been demoted, and I was hovering above shit, by a frayed rope, but even in accepting the worse possible situation I still wasn't prepared. The odd thing of it all was that in all the years I had known Barberry, that scum sucking bastard had always told the truth, and the one time he lied, the thought never crossed my mind.

* * *

CH 3:

Ever since I could remember having memories I have led a double life. I've always played both sides in a sense, and I've managed to use my quick mouth to get me out of trouble. (My fists only seemed to get me into trouble.) The car I had been driving for the past week was a Cadillac, a new one, with that GPS tracking crap. It was flashy and gaudy, yet classic. But it fit the image that people associated with me. It just seemed right that nearly six feet of well-toned muscle should ease out of the door of a Cadillac with my hundred dollar shades, black on black outfit, and a lit mini-cigar dangling from my full lips. I tended to scare people in that way. In truth, leather made me itch, and I liked to drive with the top down and the doors off of my Jeep. When I saved my money and made myself the time, I was going to finish my 57' Mercedes.

I was still singing out of tune to some teeny-bopper group that I only admit to liking in the company of loved ones, when I walked through the front door of the apartment building on 23rd. Technically, it was my apartment, at least that's where Uncle Sam mailed all of my bills. It was a borderline rat trap. Just a trap without the rats. I took the back stairwell down into the subbasement and opened the door to what led to the boiler room. Actually, it was a short tunnel, that took me to my apartment.

I'm not paranoid so I only had a deadbolt and a normal lock on the metal door. My babies came to greet me at the door before I could even shrug out of my jacket. Even at 5'11" and 170 pounds, a combined 280 pounds of slobbering Rottweiler was enough to knock me on my ass. The three of us rolled on the floor until Scully's breath got the better of me. I sat up and playfully shoved Scully and Mulder off of me. I found some ground beef for them to fight over, while I decided to find my own meal. Sometimes I have to laugh at myself cause I'm such a liar. I walk around like some fearsome warlord who rips peoples heads off and shits down their throats, when all I want to do is bring them to my home and show off my designer kitchen and how Emeril's got nothing on me.

It turns out that the day in question would be the last peaceful one that I would have. That's not to say that everything went to hell from that point on, but it was more of a slow escalator ride into hell. In retrospect, I'm reminded of taking the escalator leading into the Dupont subway station or the one in Atlanta airport for that matter. All the way down, I'm watching my life pass by, and it's not quick and painless, but just slow enough so I could pick out all the details and be reminded of how things always come back to bite you ass, and if it looks to good to be true than it usually is, and never trust a woman in a Catholic school uniform·.but here I go getting ahead of myself.

As for me, my name is Charlie. It doesn't exactly say that on the birth certificate or anything, but I've never been called anything but. I guess mom and dad knew from day one. I don't have some sob story to tell about my childhood. I had two parents, even had pets, and a heap of friends. Our neighborhood wasn't really crappy and it was actually well integrated. I wasn't spoiled, but hell I wasn't neglected either. I can't even say I got caught up in the glamour of it all, what glamour. This job is not something out of some formulaic wannabe Rappers made up life. I got this job, because when it started, it was actually fun. Hell, it was like an afterschool job. I was networking at 13 and by the time I made it to college I had enough money to pay for it. My life is pretty much like the theme song to that old t.v. show. Everybody does know my name and yeah the people are always glad you came.

I started out running numbers and running errands. The kind of things that involved me carrying brown paper bags across state lines or having an inane conversation with a boarder patrol cop, while somebody was sneaking 12 pounds of some illegal drug over the fence. I actually did stumble on to the 'enforcer' shit by accident. Personally, I try not to do it that often, and most of the time I'm applauded for my efforts, but let's face it; shit happens. Unfortunately, I have to be the one to clean it up. It started out as a measure of my own loyalty to a childhood friend. Nobody even asked me to do it, but I felt like simply telling joe blow, hey man I understand, let me give you a job, something else was needed. My love affair with Kung-Fu theatre became a life skill once I got some training, which in turn made me an 'effective tool'. (That's Barberry's phrase.) The first time he called me that I should have just walked then, but I was having the best ego trip on the planet and even though I should probably go to therapy or confession for it, fear is a one of a kind drug.

I've made grown men ruin $2000 dollar suits by curling my lip. I've made so-called righteous people fall on their knees and bow to me with a turn of a phrase. I've made god-fearing individuals sing my praises with a bat of an eyelash. Fear is a hell of a trip, and I've even been fearful a few times. I'm not afraid to admit that because I think it's important to know that. I know damn well I'm not invincible, hell I'm not even invulnerable. I might as well be a China doll in some cases, but it's because I know that, that I'm still alive. It would be fair to wonder where I went wrong and I'm quick to blame it on Barberry's twisting of the details or better yet withholding of information. I should have known, but I was too busy being offended by the rotund jackass to think ahead.

I think, (excuse me), I know I went wrong when I met Wade. (Who the hell names their daughter Wade anyway?) They did and she was. I got the impression that she was some midwestern country hick who would rather be out hunting innocent deer with an OT 6 rifle (which can stop a tank by the way) or some other weapon of mass destruction, that added up to overkill. At the least, I had the impression that she was a demur and bible-toting young lady, who had a propensity to be 'just a little blunt'. (Barberry's words again.) For some odd reason, when I think of her, the phrase two-faced jackal comes to mind. Maybe even demon-spawn. Bitch on wheels is too polite and the Devil-incarnate is merely flattery. Whatever the case, Wade did a number on me the first chance she got. And I quickly discovered the first of Barberry's lies: the only ass I was going to be wiping would be my own

* * *


CH 4:


I was dressed for the part when I met Wade. Tailored black Armani slacks, a soft black long-sleeved v-neck sweater that hugged me in all the best ways, and my leather cargo. I would have preferred my pea coat, but it wasn't that cold. I stepped out of the taxi and I put my shades on and let my hair loose from the ponytail holder. It was still a little wet, so it hung in loose waves just past my shoulders. I decided to keep my shades on, even when I walked into the gargantuan house that obviously doubled for a museum when the owners were away. I didn't want to let her see my eyes, lest she get the wrong impression of me. I was feeling a little less than jovial, on account of Barberry purposefully waking me up at six in the morning, knowing full well I don't even turn on the coffee machine before ten, if I don't have to. Besides, eyes are supposedly the windows to the soul and when I walked through the kitchen (which had me drooling) and onto the back deck, I didn't want her to think I was some lust-filled moron. Perhaps, if I had taken my shades off, I would have looked into those swirls of lapis-lazuli she had for eyes and known she had no soul.

While Wade did confirm my belief that women were the greatest creatures on Earth, she was everything I never wanted to be. Spoiled rich kid was apparent form the way she haphazardly tossed her designer clothes around, and uppity snob gleamed from her smile like the idle drops of perspiration on her Martini glass; reflecting in the early morning sunshine. However, it was only when I really looked into her eyes did the words sadistic brat echo in my head. Perhaps, the glasses clouded my vision, which would be believable, but just not practical. She was sitting in a deck chair with her back to me. Bronze legs crossed at the ankles and stretched out across the table. Shoulder length blonde hair, highlighted with red was pulled into a ponytail. She was giggling like a little girl into the phone. I turned my head towards the man standing off to the side, back to the glass doors, arms folded across his chest: pure eye-candy. But he was equipped with muscles that were definitely functional. I stood quietly for two minutes, while she bitched about her manicure and somebody named Billy.

I was in the middle of rolling my eyes when she hung up the phone and decided to address my presence. Wade was a tiny little thing. Probably, 5'1", but she was cut like a polished diamond and still supple enough to look like a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model, in her ankle-length sarong and bikini bra. She took in my black on black visage, hands in the pockets of my slacks, so that my jacket opened and you could see my assets as well, (not like they're that big anyway). She licked her lips like a parched desert traveler and then hit me with a smile that would have put Katie Couric and Julia Roberts to shame. I was starting to feel hopeful about this job right up until the moment she spoke. I mean, yeah, her voice was like honey and all, but damn if it wasn't wrapped up in anthrax.

" Well look at what Barberry sent. My own personal Big. Bad. Dyke." She blew me a kiss. "Wanna hold hands."

I knew my face went red because she laughed. My brain disconnected from my mouth and I spoke. "And I tend to take maniacal, pint-sized, back-water, snot nosed, homophobic, rich bitches, who spend too much time sniffing their hair dye, and use them to pick my teeth."

I don't know if she took offense to the pint-sized, the homophobic remark, or the hair dye. Whatever the case, she shocked me silly when she closed the small gap between us and slapped me hard across the face. Mind you, my brain had yet to come back on line, so when I picked up her Martini glass and flung the contents in her face-- I wasn't thinking about 'eye-candy' in the corner. Blue eyes went wide and she shrieked. Before I could even grin, I got a mouthful of fist, which knocked me to the ground. I rolled over and hopped to my feet just in time to catch 'eye-candy's' punch. I snapped his wrist back and stepped into him and sent two shots to his ribs with an elbow, right before I jerked his arm up and dislocated his shoulder. I didn't give him any time to scream, as I swung him around and tossed him straight through the sliding glass door. I went and stood over him just to make sure he was breathing. When I was satisfied that he would eventually wake up, I swept my hair out of my face and turned back to the girl.

She looked cute for a split second, all wet, holding my sunglasses, and pouting. "That's the third one in two weeks. Daddy's gonna shit a brick." It probably would have been safe to throttle her at this point, but I was so mad, my spit had evaporated into steam. I stalked over to her and snatched my glasses out of her hand. She smiled. "You've got beautiful eyes--are they real?" I almost asked her the same thing as I snarled at her and picked up the phone. "Who are you calling?" she chirped.

"Barberry." I gnashed together my teeth as I spoke.

"But you can't." she whined.

In the same voice I replied, "But I can." I added in my normal alto, "I'm not doing this."

She folded her arms across her chest and raised a perfectly sculpted eyebrow. "Barberry promised my Daddy."

I sucked my teeth. "Then let Barberry fucking do this. Fuck you and your dad."

She put her hands on her hips and smiled a smile that only God and the Devil could create, and reached for the phone. I raised my own brow and looked at her like she was deranged. "Well why don't you call Carlo and tell him yourself."

Her words registered and the phone fell from my hand and I stumbled back like 'eye-candy' had punched me again. She winked at me and pulled out a chair, which I collapsed into. She was humming to herself as she picked up the phone and patted me on the head before walking into the house. She probably skipped inside, because she struck me as the kind of girl skipped when she knew she had somebody. (And oh she had me.) And it wasn't one of those 'Jerry McGuire' had me at hello things. She had me by my proverbial balls, which had just shriveled up and ascended into my guts, where my overacting gastric acids were eroding them away to match the now atom-size of my ego, my confidence, and the worth of my life.


CH 5:

Carlo, was actually Charlemagne Agustus Minos Worthing. When he was 24, and he merged together the two leading steel companies in the country, he was thought to be a visionary. When he sold them off piece by piece ten years late and drove his worth deep into the seven figures; he became a demi-god. Everything he touched turned to gold and what he didn't want, didn't take much to turn it to shit. At 56, Worthing was rich, powerful, and probably on the verge of becoming President. He had all ready been governor and was making a move towards Senator, so the presidency wasn't out of his reach. Of course, it wasn't really Worthing who bothered me-- it was his alter ego, Carlo. Nobody makes the merger that Worthing made at 24 without an inside track. Carlo, made that track. Which in truth was simply the foundation laid down by his father, Agustus Minos , when he stepped off the boat from Ellis Island.

The business savvy and intelligence that kept Charlemagne Worthing a top, mingled with a malicious strategist to create Carlo, and kept him feared and worshiped. Yes, I feared Carlo Worthing , of course I did. (Let's face it, Worthing scared me a little too.) I admit to being a little off, but insane enough to deny Carlo? Not in this lifetime. I'd rather go down on Barberry three times a day than go back on Carlo. While his prominent ego, Worthing was on his way to being senator, Carlo was quietly trying to be phased out, and not with Carlo's blessing. For all I know, it was a C.I.A. plot to kill him on account of all the trouble he could cause, but that was not to be my concern quite yet. I finally realized why I was here and seriously began to think that this was my number being called. Barberry had just sent me to the wolves. If little Wade didn't give me a massive coronary I was going to die trying to protect her ass.

I could feel it and I knew it, so much so I was sure I was shaking. Needless to say, I welcomed the chilled shot of Tequila like it was apple juice. She was all smiles as she sat down in my lap and refilled my shot glass. I was slamming back my third and ready to skip to my fifth when I realized that Carlo Worthing's daughter, only daughter--only fucking offspring---was sitting in my lap. I pushed away from the table and stood, abruptly dislodging her. I know I looked like a nervous teenager, saying I was sorry and dusting her off as I helped her to her feet. I tousled my hair and just stepped back from the table. She just sat in the chair with her chin resting on her fist watching me, with that quirky little grin.

"Will you at least tell me your name before you go sign your death certificate." She was trying to be cute and I just glared at her and almost told her to go fuck herself. She must have caught the glint in my eye because she laughed. "Don't be sore, tell me your name."

I relaxed my features and shoved my hands in my pockets. "It's Charlie."

She frowned. "What kind of name is Char-lie for a girl?" (She pronounced my name like it was two words, emphasis on the 'Char'.)

It was beginning to seem like the only time I looked her in the eye it was to glare. "I could say the same about Wade." I snapped back.

"Maybe, but I guess," she tilted her head and looked me up and down, "that does become you."

Her condescension tore through me. "What's that supposed to mean?"

She shrugged bare shoulders. "Just saying. I mean, what thought goes into Char-lie."

I leaned down onto the table with both arms and got right in her face. I wanted her to look into my eyes and realize they were as green as the grass that was going to be covering her grave. My words were crisp and full of venom. "It was my mother's name, that was passed down from her mother, you snot-nosed freak. And if you ever insinuate anything against my mother or my family again, your father can gladly bury me right after I tell him where I scattered the pieces of your body, you little pissant miscreant."

She drew her lips into a straight line, but instead of hauling off and giving me another right hook, she tweaked my nose and smiled. "God, I bet you'd fuck me till I couldn't walk straight, if I gave you the chance."

Her voice was all breathy and full of honey, but I wasn't about to let it phase me, I was too busy being dumbstruck by my situation, (not that she didn't surprise me.) I stood up, and tried without much luck to put my jaw back in place and then tousled my hair. She laughed at my reaction. "Sit down Charlie. Have another drink and get comfy, cause sugarpop, you're not going anyplace."

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Fairy Tales & Fables

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