Falls The Shadow

Falls The Shadow

© Mike Kimera 2011


Knowledge has a name.

Speaking the name makes the knowledge real and grants it power over your life.

The name cannot be unsaid. The knowledge cannot be un-known.

Knowledge is irrevocable.

Knowledge is dangerous.

My family understood that.

Knowledge makes you culpable.

Knowledge makes you choose.

Knowledge is the source of all guilt.

In my family, we chose not to know; we refused to name the things that were most important to us.

We were masters of inference, innuendo and unnoticed silences. If those failed us we fell back upon evasion, deflection and denial.

By this means we remained a happy family.

We did not know that my father’s fits of impotent anger would be followed by long silent drinking sessions that must never be interuppted.

We did not know that the bruises on my mother’s thighs were made by my father’s belt.

We did not know that my older sister was afraid not of the dark but of the deeds that darkness cloaked and which could not be named in the daylight.

We were a happy family. Happy families are all the same. Aren’t they?

I knew my father taught English at the Grammar School.

I knew he was a kind and gentle man, much loved by his students. You could ask anybody. They would all tell you that.

I knew that his favorite poet was Eliot. I even knew his favorite verses from “The Hollow Men”:

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow


This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

I knew that my mother was beautiful and that my sister was brave.

I knew that one day soon I would be as tall as my father

I knew where my father kept his gun.

My father’s suicide opened a sluice-gate that brought knowledge flooding into our family with such force that it was all we could do to avoid drowning in it

The police knew that my father and I were alone in the house because my sister had broken her arm in a clumsy fall and my mother had taken her to the hospital.

Our family Doctor knew that I had been so distraught at finding my father dead in his study, his gun still in his hand, a half-empty bottle of whiskey on his desk and a blood-spattered copy of “The Hollow Men” open in front of him, that I had had to be sedated.

The Coroner knew that my father was being treated for depression and should not have mixed whisky, Temazepam and a loaded gun.

My mother, my sister and I knew that things would never be the same.

I knew that sometimes knowledge falls like a shadow and fills the world with darkness.

I knew that a world can end with a bang that starts with a young girl’s whimper.

Lost and Found

Lost and Found

© Mike Kimera 2011

The first thing most men see is the leg that isn’t there. Some scan the rest of me as if trying to solve an unexpected puzzle. Few make it as far as my face. Almost none make eye contact and those that do are quick to look away.

I was never a crowd-stopping beauty, but I was young enough and pretty enough for men to give me at least a smile.

I took it for granted before the accident. I’m surprised at how much I miss it now.

Tonight I’m sitting on a bar stool, wearing my sexiest frock and I’m still mostly invisible.

My helmet protected my face and the physio I’ve done since the accident has kept me in shape. I’m mostly the woman I always was. Apart from the leg that isn’t there. And the fact that I can’t ride a bike anymore. And that I’ve slept alone for the past six months.

Racing my Suzuki used to be my passion. Nothing matched the thrill of canting my bike over and powering through a curve. I was fearless on the track.  I knew I could handle anything a race threw at me.

It turned out that what I couldn’t handle was a quick ride to the shops to pick up some milk. A housewife who could barely see over the steering wheel of her Range Rover, side-swiped me on Camden High Street, crushing my left leg so badly that it had to be amputated below the knee.

I’ve been told many times that it could have been worse; I could have been paralyzed or killed instead of just having a limb trimmed.

I’ve tried to look at it that way, to be grateful for what I have rather than angry about what I’ve lost but I can’t quite get myself there.

In my dreams, I still ride, I still run, I still see desire in the eyes of the men I meet.

My therapist says that I’m grieving for my leg. That this is normal. That it will pass.

My therapist is full of shit.

Amputation is not normal. It will not pass. And it is not my leg I grieve for, it is the life I have lost and which I know I will never get back.

Anyway, I don’t want the grief to pass. Grief gives me a focus for my rage and a reason for my tears.

I refused the prosthetic limb they offered me. Accepting it would have made the amputation real; confirming the permanence of my gimp status.

Before the accident, I used to come to this bar when I wanted to find someone to spend the night with. I met Jonas here. We’d been together for a couple of months when I popped out to get some milk. We were a Saturday-night-fuck kind of couple. I enjoyed the way he danced. He enjoyed the way I looked on his arm. We had fun together in bed. We both knew that we were just passing time together.

Jonas stayed with me until he was sure that I was going to live, then he said he was sorry and left.

He was a nice guy who wanted to have some fun. He wanted me to live but he didn’t want to be tied to a cripple for the rest of his life. I knew exactly how he felt.

So now I’m on my third drink of the evening and not one man has talked to me. The bar stools on either side of me have stayed empty although the bar is filling up. I can tell the barman wants me gone; I’m bad for business.

“Can I buy you a drink?”

It’s not the most original line, but it’s the only one I’ve heard all night so I’m already smiling as I turn on my stool to find the source of the voice.

Not bad. A little older than me. Well, maybe a decade older than me. Not handsome but not Quasimodo either. Two things make him seem out of place: he’s wearing bike leathers and he’s looking me in the eye rather than staring at the place where my leg should be.

“Why do you want to buy me a drink?”

That wasn’t my normal reply. I’m not sure where it came from. Or what it means.

Apparently completely unfazed by my departure from the normal mating ritual, he smiles and says, “I don’t. The drink is just an excuse to talk to you.”

It’s my turn to smile. He has a nice voice. He sounds honest and friendly.

“And why do you want to talk to me?”

“Well, I’m alone in London in a bar that was for bikers the last time I was here but has now been colonized by people from another planet.”

“That tells me that you’re lonely, lost and out of touch with modern life. It doesn’t tell me why it’s me you want to talk to.”

He steps closer to me, still keeping eye contact and says, “Three reasons: you look wonderful in that dress, inexplicably you seem to be alone and I’m curious about how you lost your leg?”

It takes me a second to process the last statement.

“You want to know how I lost my leg?”

I can’t believe he asked that. No one asks that. I wait for anger to push through me; for the outrage to start. The best I can manage is surprise.

“Yes. I figure it will tell me more about you than an hour of small talk.”

Incredible. His tone is light and fearless. No trace of embarrassment. He seems genuinely interested.

“So how did you lose your leg?”

“Sheer carelessness.”

My laugh is too loud. It sounds hollow, even to me.

He remains silent, waiting for me to finish.

I break eye-contact and say, “Sorry. It’s just that I hate that phrase. I didn’t lose my leg. A surgeon with a hacksaw took it away from me and I’m never getting it back.”

A tear slides down my cheek. He reaches out and brushes it away.

“You can buy me that drink now if you like.”

He busies himself getting me another glass of wine. He doesn’t order anything for himself.

I take a sip of wine. Still looking away from him I say, “My leg was crushed when a car hit my bike.”

I watch his face to see his reaction.

“What kind of bike was it?”

Caught by surprise I tell him the specs of my Suzuki.

“Very nice,” he says “for a Jap bike. I ride a Ducatti myself.”

I snort and launch a set of disparaging remarks about under-sized Italian bikes that are all flash and no muscle. We talk about bikes for a while. Nothing special, just the usual chatter on which bikes rock and which bikes suck and why. It is the most normal conversation that I’ve had in months.

“Does it hurt?”

The question comes out of nowhere.

“Only when I run”

We both laugh.

He moves his head towards mine. I wonder if he is going to kiss me. Then I wonder if I will let him.

“Can I touch it?”

The words are tender, sensual, seductive.

I don’t trust myself to speak so I give a single nod.

His eyes stay on mine as his cool fingers find the stump of my leg. Gently he traces the scar tissue. Then he rests his palm on the stump and slowly works his fingers in a circle.

I search his eyes for a reaction to my crippled flesh. I fear revulsion or pity or twisted excitement. I find nothing but kindness.

The kiss, when it comes, is soft but passionate. Not perfect but pretty good for a first effort.

“My bike is outside,” he says. “I have a spare helmet. Do you want to go for a ride?”

The idea of being on a bike again fills me with joy. I want to be on the bike right now, even in this smart frock. I want to lean into his back and inhale the smell of his leathers. I want to slide into curves. I want to have a life.

“Answer me one question first.”


“What’s your name.”

Coming Home

This came to me today while I was on a train journey across Switzerland. It’s a romance of sorts, perhaps the sort that happens in real life-


Coming Home

(c) Mike Kimera 2010. All rights reserved.

“I’m home.”

Even after all these years of marriage, Saul still had a moments anxiety that there would be no answer, that Gina would finally have had enough, that the house would be empty, and he would be alone.

“I’m in the kitchen. Careful where you step, there’s glass everywhere.”

He released the breathe he did not realise he’d been holding, put down his suitcase and laptop bag in the hall and dropped his keys and his phone into the square leather tray that Gina had taught him to use. She had bought the tray out of frustration at his endless ability to mislay the things that were most important to him.

Saul had spent the past week adrift amongst strangers in unfamiliar places. He had reached that point where he barely felt connected to the world. He moved through it invisible, weightless, unnoticed. It pleased him to have a designated place to leave his keys and phone. He felt tethered to something strong and real. He was home. Well, almost home. Home waited for him in the kitchen.

Gina had a dustpan and a brush in her hands and was busily sweeping up fragments of what had once been a pyrex mixing bowl from the kitchen tiles. Saul stood for a moment, watching her, absorbing the easy grace with which moved and the fierce concentration she brought to her task. Not one shard of glass would escape her, he was certain.

Gina looked up at him for a second, before continuing in her hunt for rogue pieces of glass.

“Take your coat off, Saul. You look as if you’re about to leave again.”

Saul, who had not realised that he was still wearing his coat, immediately slipped it off. He was aware that he left far too often and had no wish to appear keen to do so again. Unwilling to leave Gina for long enough to return to the hall, he folded his coat over the back of a kitchen chair.

As he did so, he saw the edge of the present he had brought for Gina glint in his pocket. Already he regretted the bright wrapping that the young woman who sold him the gift had insisted on using. He did not want to make a fuss. He had bought the gift so that Gina would know that she had been in his thoughts while he was away. Now he wondered if it would look like some form of appeasement; a bribe to compensate for the weekly abandonments that he subjected her to.

Behind him he heard glass sliding into a bin. By the time he turned around, Gina was washing her hands in the sink.

Saul took a step towards her, wanting to touch her, needing to be sure that he still could.

He imagined closing the distance between them, placing his arms around her waist, supporting her weight as she leaned back into him, bending his head to kiss her neck.

Gina shut off the tap and reached for a towel. The moment had passed him by. Saul saw no means of retrieving it. As usual, he sought refuge in words.

“So why did you kill the bowl? Had it been particularly recalcitrant?”

Gina smiled and moved towards him.

“It wasn’t murder but suicide. The thing jumped out of my hands without regard to its own safety.”

Gina looked up at him, searched his face for something that she appeared to find and then stood on tip toe to kiss him on the cheek.

“How was Munich?” she asked, already moving towards the fridge.

“It was Brussels. Munich was last week.”

Lifting vegetables from a drawer in the fridge, Gina said, “I can never keep track of what country you’re in. Anyway, how was Brussels?”

“It was very Belgian.”

“The way you say it, that doesn’t sound like a good thing.”

“It isn’t.”

“I meant to make you a soup but I was interrupted by a suicidal bowl. It’s a little late for soup now, I’ll make a stir-fry instead.”

Saul knew that he was not expected to reply to any of this but it pleased him listen. Recently he’d noticed that he had become one of those men who are silent not because they are showing restraint but because they have nothing to say. Gina filled up his silences. Her words warmed him.

“So is there nothing good about Belgium?” Gina asked.

She held a very sharp knife in her hands and was confidently and speedily slicing peppers, carrots, onions and thin slivers of garlic and ginger..

“All the good bits of Belgium are imaginary: Poirot, Tin Tin, the Surrealists.”

“Will you be going back?”


Gina looked up from pouring peanut oil into the wok and said, “Are you all right?”

The concern on her face mad Saul uncomfortable. He forced a smile and said, “I’m fine, just a little tired.”

“Well you’re not as young as you were,” Gina said as she scraped the vegetables from the chopping board into the smoking oil. “All this travel isn’t good for you.”

Saul lost her to cooking for a few moments as she added soy sauce and sesame seed oil and finally a little chilli, all the while shifting the vegetables in the pan so that they cooked rapidly and evenly.

Gina was two years younger than him but it seemed to Saul that the gap between them was widening at the same rate as his waistline. She was vital and energetic and he was… not.

“Set the table, will you? This tastes best when it’s still hot enough to hurt.”

Saul set the plates on the table, thinking about when Gina had been hot enough to hurt.

Back then he couldn’t keep his hands off her. Sex seemed a natural consequence of being in the same room. She was so much smaller than him that, at first he’d been worried he would hurt her. She soon proved that he was the one who had to take care; his under-exercised gut had ached for a week after their first night together.

It had been a long time since they’d had sex and even longer since the sex had been easy and joyous. It wasn’t that he was impotent. It was more that he couldn’t go the distance. At first he had hesitated to start something he couldn’t finish. Now he no longer seemed to know how to start at all.

“Dig in,” Gina said, placing a large steaming bowl of food on the table.

She’d found the time to cut bread and add a simple green salad. Once more she’d created something out of nothing.

The food was too good to talk over. They both ate eagerly and quickly and soon there was nothing left.

“I brought you something.” Saul said, when the plates were empty.

“Would that be the shiny gold something in your coat pocket?”

“You saw that?”

“No, I’m just guessing. Of course I saw it. I can spot a present at 20 paces. Now go and get it for me.”

Saul tried not to watch Gina’s face too closely as she unwrapped the gift. He wanted her to be pleased but he didn’t want her to feel that she had to perform for him.

“So they do have something good in Belgium?” Gina said, holding the box in her hand. “Godiva chocolates.”

“I was told they were the best.”

“And I thought you chose them because you wanted to see me riding naked on a horse.”

Saul laughed, but he didn’t sound convincing.

“I bought them because…”

He didn’t know how to go on.

Gina got out of her seat, stood beside him and placed her hand on his shoulder.

“Because you love me.”


She stroked his face with the back of her hand and then kissed him on the forehead.

“You are allowed to say it, you know. You won’t wear the words out.”

Gina picked up Saul’s plate and her own and headed back towards the kitchen.

Saul sat in his chair for a moment, thinking about whether words would wear out. It seemed to him that they might.

Growing up Saul had often visited Wells Cathedral. While the beauty and the grandeur of the place was undeniable, what had captured his imagination were the stairways. Made from the same stone that, centuries later, still stood proud in the Cathedral walls, the stairs that were most used had worn away in the centre, eroded by the feet of thousands of people over hundreds of years. The erosion of the stone stairs had taught Saul that truth could sometimes only be seen in retrospect; no one person moving up the staircase would believe that they had had any effect on the stone and yet, in reality, they had left a wake of destruction behind them.

When he looked back, the pattern that Saul saw was one in which he frequently passed down the “I love you” stairway but Gina did not follow him. She acknowledged his love happily and seemed glad to receive it but seldom said the words and never said them first. For a moment he had the image of Gina at the top of a pristine staircase which he could only reach by carefully negotiating the deep rut he had worn in his own love.

“These chocolates would taste much nicer with a cup of coffee,” Gina said from the kitchen. “Why don’t you get that fancy machine of yours to brew us some?”

“Excellent idea,” Saul said, rising from his chair.

While the coffee was brewing, Gina stacked the dishwasher. Saul was forbidden from performing this task as he had repeatedly demonstrated his lack of mastery of where plates should sit in relation to one another.

“Shall I take these through to the living room?” Saul said. “That Johnny Depp movie you wanted to watch will be on soon.”

“No,” Gina said. “I believe my boudoir is the only proper venue for the consumption of fine Belgian chocolates. Johnny will have to wait for another night. You, on the other hand, do not have to wait at all.”

It had been a long time since Gina had asked him to come to her bed so early in the evening. Saul placed the chocolates and the cups of coffee on a tray and followed his wife. She was nearly at the top of the stairs by the time he had reached the bottom.

Anxiety and excitement competed for Saul’s attention. Tonight he might confirm his own sense of failure or he might win back something that he thought he had lost forever.

When she got to the top of the stairs, Gina turned and waited for him.

Saul breathed deeply and took the next step in his marriage.

Till Death Do Us Part

I’m one of those old fashioned folks who prefers crime fiction that isn’t focused on helping me share the mind of a serial killer or experience the heat of an arterial gush. I like Raymond Chandler, Carol O’Connell, Harlan Coben, Barbara Nadel and Carl Hiaasen. They introduce me to people who hold my interest and places that seem real even though I’ve never been there.

Recently I’ve been thinking about writing the kind of crime story that I enjoy reading. I posted my latest effort,

Box 127” a little while back and it was well received, so I thought I’d share my first attempt at the genre.

“Till Death Do Us Part” is set in New York City and features Detective Claire Jardin. Claire stayed in my head. She wants me to tell the story of boy who confessed to murdering a woman he ought not to have had any involvement with so I hope to have something further from her soon.

Till death do us part

© Mike Kimera 2002. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without written permission from mikekimera@gmail.com


It was an upscale apartment that still managed to look elegant and spacious despite the clutter that a bunch of cops working a crime scene brought with them.  Murphy, the uniform first on the scene met us at the elevator. She’s a good cop, young but keen.

“What you got Murph?” Martinez, my partner, asked.

“Two fatal shootings in the study, Detective, but neither of them are as cold as the guy on the balcony: David Reynolds. His wife’s lying dead in there, shot with his gun and all he says is, ‘Tell me when someone with rank arrives, officer,’ and goes out to look at the view.”

I walked past Murphy into the study. I’d get to the bodies later; first I wanted to get the flavor of the place. It was less of a study, more of a media room: Bang and Olufsen sound system, plasma TV, DVD player, commercial quality VCR and two computers, one with webcam. Very cool, very minimalist, very tidy. The only personal touch was the ego-wall, set behind the desk so visitors got a good view: photographic evidence of the success of Mr. David Reynolds, award winning maker of TV commercials and friend to the rich and famous.

I moved from photograph to photograph. Reynolds had a smile that never reached his eyes. There was only one “family” photograph, Mr. and Mrs. Reynolds on their wedding day. She was pretty and looked younger than him. The body language screamed trophy-wife. That’s why she was on the ego-wall for others to look at and not on the desk for him to see.

I turned to what was left of Mrs. Reynolds. The body was slumped against the wall. What used to be her face was splashed in arc of color behind her, like a satanic halo. I squatted to take a closer look.  ‘If those breasts are real there is no God’, I thought.

“The gun must have been right up against her chin,” Martinez said.

I hate the way he creeps up behind me like that and he knows it.

“Yeah, seems almost malicious doesn’t it?”

“Not as malicious as what was done to Mr. Young-and-Handsome over there. Hey, Claire, you think it’s true that you can’t get into heaven if you’ve had your genitals shot off?”

“That’s what killed him?” I asked.

“Nope, I reckon the two shots through the heart at close range have to take the blame for that.”

“OK, Murphy take us to see the grieving husband,” I said. I’d had enough of dead bodies for one evening.

“There’s something else you should see first, Detective,” Murphy said. “There’s a tape in the VCR. I checked on it because the player was still warm when we arrived.”

She looked like she wanted my approval. I smiled at her and she pressed PLAY on the remote.

The first shot was a close up of a very aroused man forcing his way into an asshole that looked way too small to take him. I glanced at Martinez and we both looked at Murphy who was actually blushing.

“It gets better,” Murphy said, “I mean it gets relevant.”

It sounded like the way the New York Times might review porn flicks but I soon saw what Murphy meant. The next shot was Mrs. Reynolds sucking Young-and-Handsome. I learnt that Mrs. Reynolds was a swallower, not a spitter and that the shot to Young-and-Handsome’s groin had blown away a substantial endowment. The film continued as a series of fast cuts of Mrs. Reynolds and her lover in an imaginative variety of different positions.

“Switch it off Murphy, we’ve seen enough,” Martinez said.

“Well done for finding this, Murphy.” I said. “What do you think it tells us?”

“Apart from the fact Mrs. Reynolds dyed her hair?” Martinez asked sarcastically.

Murphy and I both glared at him.

“Well, the picture quality is strictly amateur, all the shots are fixed camera, the lighting is poor, but the editing is very professional.”

“You watched this tape with these bodies in the room and that’s what you noticed?” Martinez said.

“That and the fact that the tape started from the beginning, so if someone watched it tonight they rewound it afterwards,” Murphy replied.

“Maybe you should be doing my job,” Martinez said, with just an edge of irritation.

“Maybe she already is.” I said and he laughed. Martinez never manages to be in asshole-mode for long.


When we got to the balcony, Reynolds was on his feet, taking in his expensive view over Manhattan. I doubt that he was pleased by what he saw; it was probably just another kind of ego-wall.

He turned to face us and said, “I take it that the absence of uniform means that you are the ranking officers?”

His accent was very Brit and his question seemed more like a put down.

“I’m Detective Claire Jardin, this is Detective Raul Martinez.” I said, flashing my shield.

He ignored Martinez but offered me his hand with such confidence that I found myself shaking it. His grip was light and dry. No macho squeezing. No smile either.

He made sure that I saw him checking me out from toe to head, then he smiled and said, “So you are a Detective, Ms. Jardin? How sad to have one’s illusion’s punctured. It would have been nice to believe that in real life homicide detectives are as young and as pretty as the ones on ‘NYPD Blue’.”

Martinez bristled with hurt macho pride on my behalf. Absurdly, I was struck by how sexy my name sounded when he pronounced it the French way. Clearly he knew how to be charming and had chosen to be insulting. I wondered what he wanted to gain by making me mad at him. I decided to give him some space to see if I could find out.

“You’re certain you want to talk about this now, Mr. Reynolds?” I said, “You’ve been through a significant trauma. You could talk to us later, with your lawyer present if you want.”

“A significant trauma, Detective? Is there another kind?”

I could see Martinez making a fist. He hates being patronized.

Reynolds smiled and said, “I’m sorry, that was rude of me. I appreciate that in this demonstrative, litigious society my restrained emotional reaction and my aversion to lawyers are regarded as deviant. Let’s just attribute that to me being an inscrutable Brit and get on with it shall we? I don’t want this to take all night. I have an important meeting in the morning.”

The Brit thing was clever, it made it much harder for me to read him and being nasty is so much easier to sustain than being fake nice. The evening was getting interesting.

“Why don’t you tell me what happened here, Mr.Reynolds?” I said, trying to sound as dumb as he thought I looked.

“Please, take a seat. Would you like a coffee? I’m afraid I don’t have any donuts but I could send out for some?”

I let the jibe slip by and took a seat. If Reynolds was in the mood to talk I didn’t want to distract him.

“I didn’t kill my wife, Detectives but to substantiate that I need to take you through some rather tiresome details. You see, although I am a very successful man, I am not a very nice one. People pretend to like me because I am successful. I think I am successful because I don’t waste time being nice. I am not without emotions but I’m selective about who I let see them.

“My wife, Heather, was one of the few people I let inside the circle as it were. She knew what I needed and she gave it to me. Frankly, she was never a very adventurous lover but she was beautiful, obedient and faithful and for me, that was enough.

“We had our fourth wedding anniversary last April. Things had settled down very well. I was pleased with her and I had told her so. I even increased her allowance. Then one day I forgot my wedding ring. I returned home to retrieve it and found Heather sweating under some toyboy she’d picked up. I watched for a while, unseen. The boy wasn’t particularly talented and Heather seemed a little desperate to me. I could almost have felt sorry for her but you see, she wasn’t inside the circle anymore. She had betrayed me. For me, she had ceased to be real at that point.”

“Did your wife know that you had seen her that day?” I asked.

“Good question, Detective. It must be all that training you received at the taxpayers’ expense. I assure you that we will get through this much faster if you just shut your mouth and listen.”

“Are you always this aggressive to women Mr. Reynolds?” Martinez asked. “Did you have to teach your wife to shut her mouth?”

“Ah, you must be the bad cop then. So Ms. Jardin here must be the one I’m supposed to want to please. Perhaps that technique works on the American MTV generation, I just find it irritating. If you will both be quiet, I will give you my statement and you can be on your way to whatever bar it is that you wash away the memories in.”

He was good. I wondered if he’d ever been an actor. He was certainly being one now.

“Your partner is almost right, Ms. Jardin. I did indeed set out to teach my wife a lesson. One that she learnt tonight in fact.  The dead young man littering my study works under the name Lance Strong. Apparently he felt the name would get him into soaps. Unfortunately his coke habit made it hard for him to remember his lines and even soaps demand that of their actors these days. He auditioned for one of my commercials. Instead I hired him to have sex with my wife. Actually, his brief was two-fold: to broaden her sexual horizons to the point where she needed his particular kind of action and to make her fall in love with him.”

“You hired a man to have sex with your wife?”

“Oh, do keep up, Detective Martinez. I hired him to turn her into an emotionally vulnerable slut. There was of course one further condition of his employment. He had to do all of this on film. It was the best role of his young life. I’d fed him the material he needed to seduce her: her favourite films, the music she liked, the things she thought were romantic. I baited the hook and she swallowed it live on film. Lance turned out to be a better name for him than I had thought. He had enormous stamina as a lover and he got poor Heather to want things that I knew she would be embarrassed to ask future lovers for. There’s a tape in my study if you need the details. I’m sure it will be a success at Precinct parties.”

“So how do we end up with the dead bodies in your study, Mr. Reynolds?” I asked, wanting see what happened if I pushed.

“Ah, that was most unfortunate actually. Not at all how things were meant to resolve themselves. In this case, real-life deviated from my script.”

There was something different in the way he made that comment. I got the impression it was the first completely honest thing I’d heard him say.

“You see, at my suggestion, Lance proposed to Heather last week. The poor girl was so grateful. And she had such creative ways of showing her gratitude by then. It produced some remarkable footage.”

He licked his lips. I’m sure he wasn’t conscious of it. I knew then that he had watched every moment of his wife’s betrayal many times, savouring it. Getting off on it. He was right; he wasn’t a very nice man.

“So this evening they came into my study together so that Heather could ask me for a divorce. It was a poor choice of venue as it turned out. It is the only room in which I keep a gun. It is licensed of course. I just wish I’d kept the desk drawer locked. Still, guns don’t kill people, people kill people, don’t you agree?”

Not a nice man at all.

“After Heather told me of her new-found love, I showed her the tape. I thanked Lance for a job well done and told him that I intended to give him a bonus. I should have been paying attention to Heather, not Lance. The tape affected her more profoundly than I had expected. It was too much of a shock for her. While I was shaking Lance’s hand, Heather took my gun from the drawer and shot him between the legs. Before I could react, she shot him twice more in the chest. Poor Lance.

“I know I should have been afraid for my own life but at the time I didn’t think about that, I just wanted to get the gun away from Heather. Then I realised she was about to shoot herself. We struggled. The gun went off. I was unable to stop her. She literally lost her head.

“I’m afraid that means that I will test positive for gunpowder residue and you may even find my prints on the gun. I realise it puts me in a bad light, Detectives but I like to be honest. I can supply tapes covering every encounter between my wife and her paid-for-lover, plus a copy of Lance Stone’s contract. I’m sure that a competent lawyer would have no difficulty convincing a jury to see this for the murder/suicide that it was.”

We asked him questions for another thirty minutes but his story didn’t change. He even wrote it down for us. I was certain Reynolds was lying but there was so much truth in what he said that I couldn’t find my way to the lie.

Reynolds stayed on his balcony when we finished with him. He asked to be informed when the bodies had been removed. He made it sound like a request to get rid of the leftovers from a room service meal, but I wasn’t completely buying the calm and in control act. I figured he was in no hurry to go back into his bloodstained study. I told Murphy to keep an eye on him. It would have been embarrassing if we had had to scrape him off the pavement because I’d misread how stiff his Brit upper lip really was.

In the elevator, on the way down to the lobby, Martinez said, “He’ll get away with it you know. The jury will watch that tape and condemn her not him. I bet they ask for a copy to watch over night. I bet they won’t want to miss a moment.”

I saw the lie and the truth then. We didn’t get out of the elevator when it reached the lobby, we went straight back to Reynolds’ apartment.


The camera was in the ceiling of the study. We played the tape on his plasma TV. Things went just as Reynolds described them until he switched on the tape of his wife and her lover. Heather Reynolds laughed.

“God, Lance, you were so big and so hard I thought you were going to split me wide open.”

The camera was fixed on Heather so I couldn’t see Reynolds’ face, but I suspected this was were reality parted company with his script.

Heather was rubbing herself up against Lance now, both of them watching the screen. “Mmm, I do love the taste of fresh meat in the morning,” Heather said, her hand stroking Lance’s crotch. Lance kissed her.

Heather broke the embrace and turned towards Reynolds. “What’s the matter, David? Things not going as you planned? Lance told me about your pathetic little plan on the first night we met.”

Heather leant forward, her hands on Reynolds desk. The tape played on, unregarded behind her.

“You were right, David, after four years of lying under a dried-up emotional cripple, I wanted to be taken by a real man. But do you know what the best part was? Do you know what used to make me scream with pleasure? It wasn’t that you’d chosen such a stud, or that you were paying for me to get properly serviced for a change, it was the thought of you watching Lance taking me and getting off on it because you love the size of him, because you wanted it to be you he was in, not me.”

Reynolds was only just on camera but I could see him reaching for the desk drawer.

“I don’t want a divorce, David. You and I are going to stay married and if you ever try to change that I’ll expose this twisted little plot and take you for every penny you have.”

Heather turned to Lance.

“Why don’t we give him one last thrill Lance? Let’s do it on his anally-tidy desk.”

Lance stepped towards the desk. He was reaching for his fly when the first shot hit him. Reynolds moved into camera-shot, placed the gun against Lance’s chest and fired twice. The camera was on his face as he turned towards Heather. There was nothing in his eyes except hate.

Heather backed against the wall. She didn’t shout or struggle. She seemed mesmerised by Reynolds’s eyes. He placed the gun under her chin and fired.

For a few moments he stood over the body. Then he put the gun in her hands. His movements were calm. He switched off the tape and rewound it. Slowly he moved to the phone. He dialled 911. He gave his name and his address and reported two deaths by gunshot. Then he sat on the desk, looking up at the camera until Murphy arrived at the scene.


“So how did you know the camera was there?” Murphy asked.

We were at Raj O’Rielly’s, home to Irish booze and Indian food and beloved of every cop in the Precinct.

“It was what Raul said about not missing a moment. Reynolds photographed everything. He wasn’t going to miss the last chapter in his wife’s humiliation.”

“But why leave the tape there for us to find?”

“Maybe he thought we’d need a search warrant to search a crime scene,” Martinez said.

“Or maybe he was thought we were too stupid to figure it out.”

I was remembering Reynolds’s behaviour on the balcony. The way he had provoked me. The performance he had given.

“I think,” I said, “that he wanted to get caught”.

“Claire,” Martinez said “to almost quote the great Ozzy Osbourne ‘I love you to bits but you’re completely nuts’.”

I laughed it off and went to get some more Guinness to go with the Rogan Josh, but even in the middle of all that noise and life, I was haunted by Reynolds looking up at the camera as he sat on his desk. There had been nothing at all behind his eyes. Not even hate.

© Mike Kimera 2002 All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without written permission from mikekimera@yahoo.co.uk

A story without a reader is incomplete. Please let me know what you think of this story by leaving a comment below.



When I worked in London, I used to spend time at the National Portrait Gallery near Trafalgar Square. The people I saw there were often seemed to me to be quite patrician. I would spend as much time wondering about them and their lives as I did about thinking about the paintings themselves.

This story combines the paintings and the people that I observed viewing the paintings.

I hope it also achieves a little love and a little romance.



(C) Mike Kimera 2010. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without written permission from mikekimera@gmail.com

Sometimes, I obsess about small, apparently unimportant, things. Elspeth, my wife, says that this is why I have risen so high in my chosen profession; it is a civil servant’s job to obsess about things others pay no attention to.

For the most part, she means this observation to be humorous.

I am grateful for her tolerance but we both know, that buried in the flesh of her remark is a tiny splinter of resentment at my distraction that she can not remove and which neither of us can completely ignore.

I am aware that I spend too much time inside my own head, I impose structure on the most inconsequential of events, I find spontaneity suspect and I tend to treat happiness as a temporary aberration from the norm.

I am not any easy man to live with.

Yet, Elspeth has spent the last twenty four years at my side. I take this as a sign of her love for me.

If I were an American, perish the thought, I would probably have been diagnosed as having Obsessive Compulsive Disorder by now and would either be in therapy or be loaded to the eyeballs with mind altering drugs.

Fortunately I am a Scot of a particular class and so my obsessions are seen as mere peccadilloes as long as I fulfil my duties to society and uphold the honour of the family name.

Today, my obsessions have brought me once again to the National Gallery. I come here several times a week to find moments of calm away from the frenzy that is Whitehall immediately after a change of government. The quiet focus of the place allows me to slough off the cares of the day and listen to myself.

Sometimes, like today, I will arrange to meet Elspeth for lunch in The Dining Rooms. But first I always spend time alone in the Gallery, looking into the faces of the great and the good that hang here as if there is something important that they can tell me.

For the past few weeks, every visit has ended with the same painting: Jan van Eyck’s portrait of his wife, Margaret. I do not yet know why this painting is important to me but I have learnt that my small obsessions are the way that I reveal to my mind truths that my heart already understands.

Van Eyck’s portrait of his wife shows her strength and intelligence in an honest and bravely unglamorous way but it is not what is on the surface that fascinates me about this portrait.

It seems that infra-red reflectography shows extensive pentimenti on both paintings. The National refers to them as “underdrawings”, perhaps to avoid the now frowned on use of a foreign word, presumably on the grounds that only an educated reader would know what it meant. I find this attempt at egalitarianism distasteful as the word selected reminds my of Y-fronts and singlets. But I digress.

The point is that the painting that we see with the naked eye today is not all that Van Eyck painted. It seems that he originally presented things one way and then painted over them to present them in another.

I suppose it is normal enough for a painter to change his mind but what puzzles me is why he made so many changes to the portrait of his wife. She must have been available to him as a model whenever he needed her to sit and he clearly knew her well, so why should a man who sees so clearly need to make so many revisions?

I have no gift for portraiture but if I did, I wonder how well and how decisively I would paint Elspeth.

Even after all these years, there are many things about her that I do not understand. Perhaps the greatest of these is what it is about me that stirs her affection.

I asked Elspeth about this quite directly a few weeks ago. We were celebrating our wedding anniversary with a pleasant meal at The Grill in The Dorchester. We go there every year. I enjoy the lamb that they serve: it’s Welsh and organic and reminds me of how meat used to taste when I was a boy. We’d made our way through a surprisingly good bottle of South African Merlot and it seemed to me that this would be the perfect opportunity to discover why Elspeth endures me.

Looking back, I can see that I wasn’t setting a particularly celebratory tone and that an outsider might even have concluded that I was challenging Elspeth on her poor judgement.

Elspeth waited patiently while I explained all the things that made her involvement with me difficult, then she put aside her knife and fork and scrutinized me carefully, as if assessing my state of mind. After a few moments, she spoke.

“Well, Alistair,” she said, “you can indeed be an infuriating man: socially myopic, emotionally distant to everyone but me and our children, and prone to obsessive behaviour that borders on the compulsive. This latter I have learnt to tolerate. After all, I have been an obsession of yours for many years now.”

As for what I see in you, at first I was attracted to your good looks and your ability to focus on an objective until you had achieved it. It wasn’t until much later that I realized that I was the objective you were trying to achieve. Even then I assumed that your objective was only to have sex with me.”

The sex is very good by the way. I believe it’s because you don’t think about it or question it; you need it and you take it and in the process you give everything that you have. Many, many times I have lain watching you sleep after sex and smiled because only I know what a fierce and creative lover you are.”

This took me completely by surprise. I have always found sex with Elspeth compelling. I had not considered that she might be quietly evaluating my performance. It should not surprise me; quiet evaluation is part of Elspeth’s approach to life.

I made as if to comment but Elspeth, said, “Do not interrupt, Alistair. I want you to listen, then we won’t need to talk about this further. You needn’t look so surprised at the fact that I enjoy you as my lover. Sexual attraction was the start of everything for you and me. You changed my narrow little virginal world.”

After you took me the first time, in the bottom of your father’s rowing boat, still moored in the cool darkness of the boathouse, I felt as if I had become a boat myself: floating, tethered to the world by the thinnest of ropes and ready to launch into deeper waters.”

I was sad because I thought your objective had been achieved and your attention would be snared by some other obsession. But you have never moved on. You have a good heart and you have given all of it to me.”

Sometimes, that is a burden I would like to set down for a while. Most of the time, I see it for what it is, the rock on which I stand.”

Now do stop going on about how awful you are before I decide to believe you. Order a good Port and then take your ageing wife to bed and help to launch her once more.”

Now, with this memory fresh in my mind and Van Eyck’s portrait of Margaret in front of me, I suddenly understand why Van Eyck made so many changes and why I have returned to this painting again and again since that Wedding Anniversary dinner.

I walk away from the painting. I will not need to visit it again.

The Dining Room at the National is flooded with daylight. I use it to study Elspeth’s face during our meal.

I try to see Elspeth as a stranger might: a woman in dignified middle age with good bones, a dancer’s posture and a demeanour that suggests strength without making her unapproachable.

I too see those things, but they are only a fraction of what is there. Our history grants me infra-red vision that let’s me see the many pentimenti that form the image of Elspeth that dominates my heart.

Love has over-painted lust. Age has begun to add craquelure to youth. Beneath the face of the strong matron, I see the proud mother, the pregnant wife, and the young girl who lay with me in a rowing boat many years ago. I see them all at once. To me Elspeth is all the things she is now and all that she ever was during the years we have been together.

The parts of the portrait of Elspeth that have been most worked and reinforced in my imagination are the ones that tie me to her: her ability to see the beauty in the world, her excitement with ideas, her impatience with stupidity, her anger at injustice, her love for me.

I realize that Elspeth has stopped talking and is looking at me closely.

“I love you, Elspeth,” I say. “You are everything that I want; everything that I need.”

I lack the words to say more. Having an epiphany is not, it seems, the same as being able to share one.

Elspeth puts her hand over mine and smiles. I realize that she is welcoming me to a truth that she has long understood and is pleased that I have finally discovered.


© Mike Kimera 2010 All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without written permission from mikekimera@yahoo.co.uk

A story without a reader is incomplete. Please let me know what you think of this story by leaving a comment below.


Box 127

A few days ago, a voice in my head said, “I’d never had a knife against my throat before.” The voice was female, Canadian, educated and unafraid. Those were the only clues she gave me, the rest I had to work out for myself.

It turned out that “Box 127” wasn’t erotica. I was a crime/thriller story. There is some sex in it but that’s not the reason for the story.

Please let me know if you like this

“Box 127”

© Mike Kimera 2010. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without written permission from mikekimera@gmail.com

I’d never had a knife against my throat before.

All my attention was on where the horribly sharp blade kissed my neck. If the guy with the ski-mask behind me pushed any harder, my flesh would part and blood would flow, then my new blouse would be ruined.

Damn, why did I pick today to wear something silk and hard to clean?

With an effort of will I turned my attention outwards, focusing on the fear on the pretty young bank-tellers’ face, the quiet sobs of two children hanging on to their mother’s arms, the indecision in the watery eyes of the bank’s superannuated rent-a-cop.

Ski-mask chose that moment to tilt my head back further, pulling me closer to him. So close that his solid erection brushed against the curve of my ass. It seemed that Ski-mask liked me.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw the security guard finally reach for the gun on his hip; a gun that would soon be pointed my way.

“Don’t,” I shouted.

Ski-mask turned rapidly, pivoting me on his undiminished ardour, until I was completely between him and the security guard.

“Touch that gun, old man, and you’ll have the red-head’s blood spurting in your face.”

Now that was a graphic image. Perhaps too graphic to be spontaneous. Was it from a movie or had Ski-mask been practicing it in a mirror somewhere?

I wondered briefly if his erection was a spontaneous reaction to my firm form or the product of a fantasy that he’d played out many times. If it was a fantasy, I hoped he was getting hard because I was helpless in his arms and not at the thought of releasing a hot arterial gush from my neck.

The rent-a-cop put his hands in the air, but he couldn’t keep them still. Poor guy looked like he was going to wet himself.

“Take off the gun belt and throw it away, pops. Then sit on your hands. Today ain’t your day to be a hero.”

Ski-mask watched way too many re-runs on TV. Who says “Pops” anymore?

The old man looked embarrassed to be taking off his belt in front of me but he did what he was told. As he settled himself slowly on the floor, back against the bank counter, the second of the three bank robbers vaulted the counter in a graceful arc. Her skin tight black outfit displayed every detail of her Xena, warrior princess body. Even the clunky utility belt thing around her waist looked like a fashion accessory. The girl looked good. She also looked fierce as hell.

Xena had already shown us that she could be dangerous. She’d taken out the bank manager as soon as she and her two friends had walked into the bank.

It was probably just as well, Mr. Martin had seemed to me to be the kind of terminally stupid man who could get people hurt in a situation like this.

I’d come to the bank to meet Mr. Martin. He’d told me over the phone that for a customer of my status, by which he meant rich and new in town, he’d handle everything personally. We’d agreed to meet as soon as the bank opened this morning so he could help me set up a safe deposit box. He’d greeted me in the lobby with an overly firm handshake and a smile that got wider as he took in my appearance.

Even as he shook my hand, he was staring at my breasts. I’m small on top so I don’t normally wear a bra. Of course I don’t normally wear a tailored blouse made with silk so soft that my nipples distort the fabric either.

Martin must have been distracted because he didn’t notice the three large people, dressed in black and wearing ski-masks, entering his bank until they were almost on top of us.

Xena was at the front with the two men flanking her. It looked like an arrangement she was used to. Her breasts are much larger than mine and they had Martin’s full attention. Maybe he didn’t even register the ski-masks

“What do you think you’re doing?” he said as if he was reprimanding a junior member of staff.

He still wasn’t looking Xena in the eye.

“I’m robbing your bank,” Xena said.

When she produced a Tazer, the manager laughed.

“You’re robbing my bank with that?”

Xena closed the distance between them rapidly. Martin looked down to find the Tazer pushed up against his groin. She smiled at him, gave him half a second to understand what would happen next, and then she pressed the button.

He went down fast. The air filled with the smell of singed cloth and urine. Yeuk.

Next thing I knew, Ski-mask had his knife at my neck and everyone froze.

Xena bent over Martin and took some keys off his belt.

“Got them,” she said, “Now round them up.”

The second masked man was carrying a cattle prod. He pressed it against Martin until the guy flopped around on the floor like a landed fish. Then, holding the prod in front of him, he politely asked everyone to move towards the bank counter.

A Tazer, a knife and a cattle prod. Ah, the impact of mandatory minimum sentencing on the CaNaomin criminal – using a gun during a robbery can lead to some serious time in jail.

Cattle-prod had everyone on the floor with their backs to the bank counter, even the two little kids. They were all looking at me and Ski-mask.

I was looking at Xena. She was terrorising the pretty little bank teller, who was barely half her size. She had one arm draped over the girl’s shoulder, gloved hand resting gently on her breast. With the other hand she ran the Tazer slowly over the girl’s neck.

When the girl tried to move away, Xena grabbed her hair, yanked her head back and kissed her softly on the mouth.

Damn that looked hot.

“I’m not going to hurt you, Cher,” Xena said, looking into the bank teller’s eyes, “Not if you’re a good girl. So,” Xena made a show reading the girl’s name tag, “Lisa, are you going to be my good girl?”

“Yes ma’am.”

Lisa’s voice was ragged with fear. Suddenly the scene didn’t seem hot to me any more.

“Leave her alone.” I shouted.

Xena flashed a grin at me.

“Jealous, Red? You want to be my good girl too perhaps?”

Then she glanced at ski-mask and said, “Since you can’t control the red-head, even with your big sharp knife, bring her here to me.”

Ski-mask took the knife away from my throat and grabbed me by the hair.

If I was a super hero I’d have chosen that moment to swing my bag up at his head, disarm him and rush to Lisa’s rescue, but I’m not anybody’s idea of a super hero, so I concentrated on moving fast enough to prevent my hair being pulled out and I offered a silent prayer that the first time I had a knife at my throat would also be my last.

Ski-mask slammed me up against the counter.

“Lisa,” Xena said, “I want you to be a good girl for the nasty man with the wickedly sharp knife. Empty the cash out of the teller drawers but leave the bottom layer in place. We don’t want to trigger any alarms.”

Turning to Ski-mask, Xena said, “If lovely little Lisa is a bad girl, cut her face.”

Lisa couldn’t prevent herself from sobbing but she bravely started to stack up the cash.

“Five minutes left,” cattleprod called out. His voice was flat and emotionless. His eye’s never left the herd of people he was guarding.

“You and me, Red, are going to the Safe Deposit Box room.”

I let myself be led towards the back of the bank. Xena used the keys she’d taken from Martin’s belt to open the steel door to the Safe Deposit Box room and then pushed me into it so hard that I staggered into the opposite wall.

While I was recovering my balance, Xena took a can of spray paint from her belt and covered the lens of the room’s security camera with a layer of dripping black paint.

She pulled off her ski-mask, ran a hand through her short hair and then advanced towards me, grinning.

The fierce beauty of her face pierced my heart again as if I was seeing her for the first time.

No wonder I was in love with her.

I stepped towards her, my arms went up around her neck, her face came down towards mine and we kissed. It was a good kiss. A great kiss. A kiss that set my belly on fire and had me tightening my thighs around hers. It was also a kiss we didn’t have time for. We had less than five minutes left to finish robbing the bank.

I pushed her away from me.

“Cut her face?” I said. “Cut her face! I can’t believe you said that.”

Xena – no, I had to stop calling her that. Her ego was already enormous, knowing that I thought of her as a Xena look alike would make her unbearable – Naomi just shrugged her shoulders.

“All part of the hard-assed act, Cher. Leon knows that.”

“Truly? Well Leon had his hard-on pressed into my ass and a blade against my neck.”

“You can castrate him later. I’ll hold him down for you if you like. Now, let’s do this. Show me where the sugar is.”

I don’t normally do banks. I’m a jewel thief. A very careful, very successful jewel thief. Carl, my idiot, recently dead, brother had stolen my last haul from me. Which was a problem as I already had a buyer who would be very unhappy if the stones didn’t reach him.

“Carl said box 127,” I said.

Naomi used Martin’s keys to unlock the box, then she started opening other boxes at random, dumping the contents on the floor, holding on to any cash she encountered, creating as much mess as possible.

I pulled the little velvet bag out of box 127, checked the contents, and stuffed it deep in my bag. The image of Carl, bleeding out in my arms, pushed its way to the front of my mind.

“One minute.”

That was Zach, our man of the cattle-prod.

Naomi pulled me to my feet, kissed me briefly on the lips, mouthed “sorry” at me and then pressed the button on the Tazer she held to my neck.


“Are you OK? I thought she’d killed you.”

The lovely Lisa was leaning over me. I felt like I’d been in one of those Star Trek transporter beams and not yet fully materialised.

“He didn’t cut you?”

It seemed my mouth had offered up the first thought that entered my head. I was glad that it had at least refrained from using Leon’s name.

“No. He had his hands all over me though. Then he grabbed some of the cash and ran out.”

“Some of the cash?”

“Yeah, can you believe they didn’t bring a bag? And look at this place. It’s a complete mess. What a bunch of amateurs. Let me help you up.”

Amateurs. That made me happy. The police would be looking for local yokels without the smarts to plan properly.

I put my arm over Lisa’s shoulders and let her lead me back into the bank. The police arrived just as we made our entrance. There were only two of them. They had their guns out and they looked nervous. One of them turned to face Lisa and me.

“Hey, don’t shoot them.”

Rentacop had climbed to his feet.

“Those girls have been through enough today.”

The younger of the two policemen lowered his gun and came over to help us.

“This woman is hurt.” Lisa said, “You should get her to the hospital. You need to take good care of her. She tried to protect me from those people and look what it got her.”

I decided it would be a good time to faint.


I was strapped to a gurney that was being manhandled out of the bank. I opened my eyes as little as possible and looked around.

On the other side of the street I saw two men in dark suits. I’d seen them before. I knew I’d be seeing them again. They were the ones who’d shot my brother.

Again the memory of Carl in my arms, blood everywhere.

“I’m sorry, sis. I thought I could handle it. But they found me and they took the key to the box.”

Over the next ten minutes, his last ten minutes, Carl had coughed up his story and his blood. I learned that he’d meant to use the stones to pay off gambling debts and then gotten greedy and demanded more for the stones then he’d originally agreed. He’d left the stones in this hick bank for safe keeping. The guys in suits gut-shot him and dumped him at my door like garbage.

Even as Carl bled out, I’d started to plan. Getting the stones back was part one. Tick, done that.

Now it was time for part two. I opened my eyes fully, made sure the suits had seen me see them and then I waved. By the time people turned to see who I was waving to, the suits had run.


The police questioned me at the hospital. It was clear I wasn’t a suspect. My story checked out. I am rich and I am new in town. I told them that I didn’t think I’d be going back to Mr. Martin’s bank and they all laughed politely. One of them even told me that he admired my bravery.

I asked them if they’d caught the robbers. They told me that they were probably amateurs, possibly from across the border, and that they were bound to be caught soon because they were sloppy.

I looked forward to telling Naomi that. Naomi was never ever sloppy.


I spent a week doing normal, unsuspicious, routine things. On the weekend I drove over the border to do a little shopping. It was a well established pattern for me. Everyone knows I love shopping.

I stayed in a small but upscale hotel in Buffalo. I had a drink at the bar.  A man offered to buy me another. I refused and turned to leave. He was so close I had to brush past him on the way out. I saw him leave a little later, after he checked that I’d managed to drop a small velvet bag into his pocket.


I’d been back in my room long enough to check that a large sum had been wired into my Swiss account, grab a shower and change into a wonderfully thick dressing gown, when someone knocked on my door.

“Room Service”

I smiled. I hadn’t ordered any room service.

Naomi was wearing a hotel maid’s uniform – don’t ask me how she gets this stuff – and was carrying a tray with a bottle of champagne and two glasses.

She walked into the room, tray held high, ass moving like it was on springs,  turned to face me, standing one foot in front of the other with her left hip jutting forward and said,

“Well, I’m in the room. How would you like to be serviced?”

Naomi was in the room. In the here and now. In my face without a word of greeting. No comment on the bank robbery. No questions about the men in suits. I loved that about her.

I decided that in my face was exactly where I wanted Naomi to be.

I let the bathrobe pool around my ankles and then stood in front of Naomi.

She held her pose and remained silent, making me make the next move.

“The good thing about room service,” I said, dropping to my knees, “is that I get to eat something fresh and hot without having to dress up.”

Naomi set down the tray and stood with one foot raised on to the little coffee table. The maids outfit rode up her long leg, showing that she wasn’t wearing anything underneath it.

I knew an invitation when I saw one. I ran my right hand along the outside of her raised leg and pressed my face against her inner thigh. I extended my tongue and was about to get to work when Naomi pulled my head back by the hair.

“You ready to be my good girl now, Red?”

I almost gave into the slave-girl-for-the-evening vibe but it’s not in my nature and besides, Naomi looked way too smug.

I knocked Naomi’s leg from under her. She broke her fall but was still a little winded. I scrambled up her until I was sitting on her chest, pinning her arms to the floor with my knees.

“Bitch,” Naomi snarled.

Her eyes softened when she took in the view and widened when I reached behind me and pressed my fingers into her sex.

A few slick seconds later, Naomi had turned her face to one side and was biting her bottom lip.

I took my hand away and reached for the Champagne bottle.

“We can drink later, Cher,” Naomi said, pouting delightfully.

“I agree,” I said, “But first I want to see how much of this bottle I can push inside you.”

Naomi pretended to try and throw me off. Pretended just hard enough to let me enjoy the movement of her soft, muscled body. We both knew where it would end. Although to be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever managed to push that much of the champagne bottle in her before and usually we pop the cork first.

The champagne was slightly warm when we opened the bottle. We were in the bath, Naomi’s legs wrapped around me, her fingers working my shoulders.

“They were at the bank, watching.” I said. “They know I took the stones.”

“Then maybe they’ll be smart enough to be afraid,” Naomi said, her hand sliding down to hold mine.

“We’re going to do this aren’t we?”

“Kill the people who killed your idiot brother? Of course we are. That’s how our world works.”

Certainty, strength, loyalty, love. These are the things Naomi brings me. The things I can no longer imagine being without.

“But not tonight, Cher. Tonight is just for us. Now take me to bed.”