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Life is a weird thing, you know. Back when I was driving home on the way back from my suicidal mission in the motel, I was asking myself why I was still dragging this stupid table leg with me. It turned out it was for a reason though!

I had just parked my car in front of my apartment building and I was stepping out of the Beijing, dreaming of a shower and a big glass of whiskey, when some Chin materialized out of nowhere and started making threatening combat poses, while letting out shrieking noises like some fucking Bruce Lee. Then he mewed something in Chinese, and other Chins stuck their heads out the windows of my flat on the fourth floor. By this point, I was already toughened enough from all the action I had had, so I simply reached into the car for my table leg and smashed it into the Chin’s leg, while he was still swinging it around and screaming. As a result, he screamed the entire neighborhood awake. As a second result, I had to spend the night in a hotel.

I was sitting on the floor now, and for the zillionth time in my life, I was wondering what to do. I was sitting on the floor because the bedsheets were soiled and disgusting like the hotel itself, which was the only place I had managed to find that late at night at an affordable price. And I was wondering what to do for quite an obvious reason—I had become the main target of the Chinese gangs in Greenland and I had to come up with a plan of how to get out of this hideous situation quickly.

By noon, I had come up with nothing. At noon sharply, my cellphone rang to announce that Bobby was looking for me. She wanted us to meet in the same cafe we had met the last time. I eagerly agreed because the atmosphere in the hotel was truly suppressing.

I grabbed the camera from the bed and walk down the stairs and out to my car, where I threw it on the back seat. Using the red light filter of my cellphone in the bathroom, I had looked through the negatives and it turned out it was Bobby’s camera. Despite that, I wasn’t quite sure if I wanted to give it back to Bjornson because Sharon was actually right about one thing—the shots were totally useless.

I drove to the cafe, still thoughtful, and parked in the intersection where we’d had sex the previous time we’d met. I felt a bit nervous as I recalled the scene. I was afraid of the moment when Bobby would arrive—her car was still missing—and want to remove the tension. I didn’t know how to get away from this. I still felt horrible for what I had done to Jill.

I waited in my car for a few minutes, and then I saw Bobby’s Sangi slowly turn the corner. She stopped right behind me but stayed in her car. I also stayed in mine and thus another few minutes passed. During that time, Bobby gave me no sign; she was just watching me through the windshield. In the end, I sighed heavily and slowly opened my door.

I went toward her, all the while rehearsing scenes in my mind, in which I was pushing her away in delicate manners. As I reached her car, I already had a couple of good ideas in my head but when I opened the passenger’s door, she quickly grabbed my hand and sharply pulled me inside. I tried to fight but it rather looked like teasing to her. In a few seconds, she broke my resistance and sat in my lap. I nervously reached my hand to pull the door closed but when she saw my gesture, she squirmed like an eel and grabbed my hand, pulling it back.

I really didn’t have much choice after that. Bobby grabbed me even harder and she virtually raped me in this highly inconvenient pose on the front seat. She didn’t give me the slightest chance to protest, and the worst moment of the act was yet to come as it turned out!

We had been puffing and squirming for a few minutes, fighting elbows and knees that didn’t want to cooperate, and clothes that didn’t want to be taken off, and all the while, the guilt was taking a harder and harder grip on my soul. Then, when I was just thinking we were about to finish, I sensed that something changed. Bobby had her face buried in my right shoulder and I felt her breathing quicken. I thought she was close to her orgasm but when she started wheezing like a choked lawn mower, I looked above her head worried. There, on the sidewalk, I saw a guy who was watching us and grinning happily! He was a scumbag and I had the intrusive feeling that he thought he was witnessing some gangbang show and his turn was going to come soon.

I sharply grabbed Bobby’s butt and tried to move her on to the driver’s seat so I could smash the jerk’s fucking face, but my girl just went insane. She clawed her fingers into my back and desperately pulled me toward her. I was aware she felt insanely turned on but I couldn’t finish my part like that! I reached under my left armpit and drew out my gun, which I pointed at the jerk, furious. Bobby simply went nuts. She practically broke her head on the car ceiling, and the scumbag literally broke his legs while hurrying to get away. I heard him crashing into the nearby garbage cans.

Exactly five minutes later, we were in the cafe, sitting at a table by one of the windows and watching each other silently. Bobby had ordered a cup of coffee and every now and then, she pressed her hand to the top of her head. For me, I had ordered whiskey, mostly to soothe the feeling of guilt, which was devastating my mind again. I had just screwed it up for a second time!

“You know what? I still believe the deal between us is alive,” Bobby said after our drinks came and she had sipped at the coffee. Her hand reached into her purse to take something out. It was a small box, which resembled a glasses case.

I was still not sure whether I wanted to give her camera back or tell her about the previous night’s events, so I stayed silent, leaving the talking to her. She carefully opened the case. There really was a pair of glasses inside—they were sunglasses in fact.

“These are very high-tech gadgets,” she informed me, and she took out a luxury ballpoint pen, which she put beside the shades. “There is a full EXHD camera implanted in the lenses and the pen is actually a remote for it.”

“And where’s the memory card then?” I asked dryly without any interest at all. I was already pissed off with all her bullshit.

“It’s installed in one of the temples. And the case is a backup hard drive and, of course, a docking station. There is an encrypted radio connection between everything.”

I just shrugged and took a sip of my whiskey to help me digest this next portion of crap easier. Everything about my stupid cases had started turning into a farce lately!

“The main idea is,” Bobby went on, “that you keep hanging around the Chinese restaurant until you take the pictures we need. This thing here is digital and it should be easier. You can pretend to be a pedestrian and no one would suspect anything.”

“What happened with the entire analog-pictures-can’t-be-compromised idea?” I asked bluntly.

Bobby pursed her lips.

“It’s still valid but kind of not relevant in our situation anymore. With Chavez gone now, I’ll have to do some photoshopping anyway. At least the pictures are going to be EXHD now!”

“You’ll do the photoshopping? You mean you personally?”

She looked at me surprised for a moment. “No, of course not! I’ll get a colleague to do it for me.”

I shook my head and looked through the window feeling very tired and old. It had started drizzling outside and the sky was heavy with fat, gray clouds. The weather was closely corresponding to my mood in that moment, which was oppressive.

I sharply turned my eyes back to Bobby. “So that’s the new plan, huh?” I asked. “Menelaus really won’t give up on the idea to set the Chins after Chavez!”

Bobby blinked twice, her eyes totally empty. Their usual sparkle was missing now as if someone had turned off all the emotions behind with a remote control. She was still beautiful but somehow sinfully beautiful—like a fallen angel who couldn’t stop lying. Then her lips slowly parted.

“Why do you suddenly throw Menelaus into this?”

“Oh, come on!” I snapped, annoyed. “I know about you two!”

“About us?”

“Yeah, about you two—fooling around; fucking! I know it!”

“And how do you know?”

“Listen, I’m getting tired of this, okay?” I looked through the window again. “Usually, when someone hires me for a job, I do it, I get paid, and that’s all. That’s how it works! Unfortunately, you haven’t stopped lying to me ever since we’ve met for the first time. But you know what? I can’t do anything for you if I can’t trust you. And the only trust I have for you now, is the trust between a male praying mantis and his female partner after the act is over!”

“How do you know about us?” Bobby simply repeated her question.

I shrugged. “Your friends from Global Guards told me. We’ve met again. They want to mess Menelaus with either the Chins or Chavez, or so I gather. And in your case, since Menelaus clearly couldn’t want to mess himself with any of them, I think he wants to mess Chavez and the Chins! I just don’t know why you are both giving me the same environmental bullshit, but I suspect that one of you simply wants to counteract the play of the other.”

Bobby remained silent, still looking at me, and for a few moments, she kept biting at her lower lip thoughtfully.

“You shouldn’t believe those bastards,” she said at last, slowly fiddling with the glasses case in her hands. “I’m quite sure they don’t wish you any good!”

“And do you, Miss Bjornson?” I asked her coldly. “Do you wish me any good?”

“Well, I won’t bite your head off, you male mantis!” she answered. “Otherwise you wouldn’t have survived those three acts so far! I can say, of course, I never meant to put you in trouble, other than the trouble you agreed to, but I guess you won’t believe me now. Anyway, I’m glad that you have all the money I promised, which entitles me to a little bit of credit at least. Don’t you think?”

“That’s actually the problem,” I said, “the money! Nobody gives this amount for such a job unless he or she is desperate to achieve something that the other party wouldn’t agree to if they knew the truth. And hiding things is never good for business relationships, you know. That’s, in fact, the delicate line between business and a set up!”

She slowly and disapprovingly shook her head.

“That’s something you should’ve considered in the beginning—before taking the case. It’s a little bit too late now when you have already taken the money!”

I said nothing. She was right, of course. I should have thought before taking the case, but unfortunately, money was all I had thought about back then.

Bobby remained silent for a while and started fiddling with the case again. Thirty seconds later, she suddenly reached into her purse and took out a bunch of digitally printed photocopies. They were pictures of Chavez sitting at some table and I reluctantly glanced at them. On most of the photos, the guy was having lunch and the jewelry on his fingers was shiny with grease.

“Well, whether it’s Menelaus or Green Guards, they still need the frames,” Bobby insisted again. “If you’ll decide to finish your job after all, this is what we have so far. I’m giving you the materials to make sure that the angle and the light of your photos match these. Photoshopping will do the rest then. FYI: Li Jin Tao loves the table by the last window in the row—the one that is furthest from the main door. He always has lunch there around two every afternoon.”

Bobby decisively closed her purse and quickly finished her coffee, obviously keen to put an end to our meeting. She pushed all the pictures and the gadgets closer to me and then she stood up. She didn’t leave right away however.

“You know, these Global Guards guys—” she started hesitantly.

I stayed silent and just watched her, expressionless.

“Were they, by any chance, a man and a woman around thirty? Say, a beautiful dark-haired chick with gorgeous legs, and a sturdy guy around one point eighty?”

“They might have been. Why asking? You know them?”

She waited a few more seconds before answering.

“Did you know that Menelaus was married once?” Bobby fixed her eyes on the table between us. It was an unexpected question and I wondered why she’d brought it up.

“No, I didn’t.”

“Yes, he was!” She went on, looking at me now. “It was not a happy marriage though. It seemed like a mistake and I’ve heard his wife was a real bitch. She didn’t go to live with him and she even had an affair with his chauffeur—some Marty Cork. I think she just wanted DuPont’s money!”

“Interesting!” I said thoughtfully. “How do you know this?”

She smiled.

“Well, my boss has started telling me things lately!”

“Was it a long time ago—the marriage?”

“Yes, the marriage happened a long time ago but the affair with the chauffeur, I think it’s quite recent. They may even still be together!”

“Then why don’t you warn DuPont about them?” I asked.

Bobby smiled roguishly and turned around without saying anything else. She went to the door and opened it, and then she pulled her jacket above her head to keep the rain off her hair. In this pose, she ran quickly to her car.

I followed her with my eyes until she drove away. After a couple of minutes, I thoughtfully put ten bucks on the table, pushed all the gadgets and the photos into my pockets, and walked out to my car, pulling my jacket over my head too. I had absolutely no intention of falling for Bobby’s crap again. Both my cases didn’t exist anymore. They had turned into a vicious game, which had nothing to do with me now. Nevertheless, I was still afraid I was going to be the one who would take most of the heat when everything became violent in the end. It was a terrible feeling and I just couldn’t stop thinking about that.

©2016 S.T. Fargo

Eurasian Gambit—Chapter 14 | a science-fiction crime novel by S.T. Fargo

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