“…what happened to you?”
“It’s a long story.”
“I’ve got time.”
Silence met that last bit, silence only punctuated by the raising of one eyebrow, as if to ask ‘Well where the hell else do you need to be right now?’
“Fine,” he sighed, heavy and weary and hateful of everything in the world, including and especially the amusement found in dark eyes.
“Should’ve been an easy mark— ”
“Are they ever?”
“—but the timing got fucked.” He kept going, as though he wasn’t interrupted, when in fact that was the question he’d had on his mind for some time now. Were they ever easy? “He was in his office alone, and I’d already had the keys made; after hours, the guards go for coffee, watch the cable, read their skin mags, sneak a fag in the washroom when no one’s looking, after they’ve turned off the smoke detectors. Probably could’ve walked in the goddamned front door, really, but the back one was set, and then I took the stairs.”
“Aren’t those doors alarmed?”
“Normally, yeah, but they’d been cut earlier, the switch for my floor rerouted to the one above it. So I get in, I get up, to his hall, and the cleaning crew’s already down to the floor below—they’ve got the main stairs and all the freight elevators blocked off for servicing; even if an alarm goes off, it’ll take them a fucking hour to get all the way up to where I’m gonna be.” He pauses to light a cigarette, then rubs at his face gingerly, wincing as his fingers probe the swollen flesh around his right eye. “I’m outside the door to his office, and all it’s supposed to be is a shot to the head and I’m out. The silencer’s on, the gloves’re on, the safety’s off. I’m listening, and I can hear him in there, muffled, talking to someone. He’s on the phone, I’m thinking. Then I actually listen, and realize that if he’s on the phone it’s with fucking 976-BABE or some fucking thing like that. Bastard’s clocking overtime while he’s wanking into the company trashcan, or something. I figure now’s as good a time as any, ‘cause it’s not like he’ll try to run away when he’s got his pants around his ankles, and I open the door.”
“One of these days, someone’s going to say, “Don’t you ever knock?” and you’ll be too surprised to shoot them.”
“Do you want to hear this, or not?”
“And wipe that goddamned grin off your face. S’bad enough what went down. So I open the door, level the gun, but can’t take the fucking shot ‘cause it’s not the phone—he’s got someone in there with him—”
“—and I’m in plainclothes and wasn’t expecting this shit—the logs didn’t show that anyone else had come up. Either security’s worse’n’I thought, or he’s been doin shit like this long enough he knows his way around.” A pause, for a long drag off the smoke. “Ain’t the worst fuckin part, though.”
“You ever seen The Shining? The old one, with Jack Nicholson?”
“Brightman, you fuck, if you tell me the elevator doors down the hall open and flood the whole fucking office with blood I will shoot you with your own gun.”
“Shut up,” he snaps. “No, the one flick of a snap they’ve got where an open door reveals a guy on a bed with a fucking man in a teddy suit going down on him—”
“You’re completely shitting me. You are completely and totally and utterly shitting m—”
“—M’not shittin you; the mark’s got a man in a catsuit on, ears’n’tail’n’all. Almost dropped the fucking gun. Shot once, but it hit the leash on the furry fucker, ‘n the end the mark was holding got jerked back, snapped me right in the fucking face.”
For a moment, there was complete silence, again, and then it was broken by the sound of her hysterical laughter, filling the hotel room.
“Got ‘em both after that, though. One-two, dropped ‘em and left ‘em for the morning coffee girl to find. Wife might get the blame, like she found out her hubby’s taste for Tender Vittles ‘n’couldn’t quite hack it, or maybe the furry’s pimp had something to settle. Or frankly, I don’t fucking well care what the papers say; they’ll be too caught up in the fact that the senior programmer was found dick-deep in a cat-man to wonder why they had their brains on the blotter.”
The laughter was beginning to recede now, but it gave him no relief; he knew what she’d ask next.
“Okay, so that explains the black eye. But what about the whipped cream?”
“If I give you another fifth of Chivas, will you be drunk enough to shut up?”