The Black Dog
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Big Man, Immovable Object

Chapter Two

by Dian Bulfin Winder

November 5, 1969 - May 22, 1999

Ar Dheis Lámh Dé


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chapter 2 SO

Darkness. IMMense dark. Thicker and blacker than plastic smoke. Barefoot. In the freezing cold, wet grass. And yet, a great polished smooth wall on the left hand, topped with merlons, protruding arrow heads and savage spear tips. Sinister, beyond fear. Hundreds of feet high. Unclimbable. Insurmountable. Knows this. Cannot really see. Afraid. Afraid of the terrible battlements that stretch on, forever. Terrified of the black, cruel lancer cavalry that may issue from an unseen gate on muffled hooves, to ride him down. To feel the point rip and burst in your own body. To be slain, and ridden into the lane like mud, at any moment. On the right The Bramble Wall. Merely six or eight feet tall. Green. Alive. Undulating with wicked life and Intent. An old craggy garden wall that lies beyond. The garden, initially overgrown but crimped lawns and escape that surely must lie beyond. Freedom. But The Wall will not let him through. Impenetrable. It bends and twists and scrapes and scraps with him when he makes forays into the thicket. The pain of its vicious hooked thorns is unbearable as it writhes and threatens to engulf him into its mean heart. It is a monster. A living, Writhing, moving Daemon. And when he dares to walk along the track - to get around it, tendrils sneak out to grapple with his legs and make him fall, lash at his face, his eyes - to make him cry out and alert the guardians that must lie in wait atop the wall.

it is a nightmare. a recurring hell to it's sleeper.
So. Wakes. Paralysed. Once again - a dream where he is the victim, the prey; and not the calculating, empowered one. Reversal. You or I might think of our worse things, but the graphic sense of impending slaughter and total frustration leave our man petrified, barely able to draw breath, long after the dream has gone away and he knows that he has awoken. Lying on his slice of the bed, the other person not stirring in the middle of the night. She is sleeping most like. Most people who are not working are asleep at this time of dark. But maybe she is awake.

?. She probably doesn't know herself. it is impossible to tell whether or not she sleeps without the risk of waking her. Which is a terrible risk to So. She may be only in a fight trance filled with dream. Her breathing silent, even. He can feel the tiny depression and recovery in the mattress next to him. He is pinned by fear that he might alter it. He is a sensitive man. Keen. A Vietnamese in a tunnel. He can sense the warmth of her buttocks pushed into his retreating groin. He longs to touch her, to reach down between her meeting legs into her her black lace designer turn-on panties. He knows he could not lie still indefinitely in contact with her, if sleep will not come. In her slumber, his physical presence and his intense bodily warmth would become an item, which if withdrawn, could easily disturb her. He smells her and her intoxicating perfume. It makes him light headed and want to envelope her in his arms. Squeeze tight, feel her soft breasts compact. He does not know the scent's name because such things do not concern him, but he knows it immensely, deeply, which she cannot. It never leaves her for long. She leaves him; into her other life about which he knows nothing. He would Never ask. He can smell her cold cream and the faint touch of fragrance from her shampoo. He can smell the faint taste of her sweat and her sex. The very smell of her makes him hunger. More hungry than Days without food. He itemises all the scents at once and all together. Without thinking.
if any of them were different he would begin to wonder silent questions? when so wonders paint peels.
Quiet questions. He would monitor her mood and check her, maybe for male smells and would test her sex drive. Not that it is his place to say what she is or isn't allowed to do on her own time, but he would reserve the right to be disappointed. As we all do. We not. Of course she'd have the decency to shower or bathe before going to So, if she'd just made it with another man. The tact. The caution. She believes him an unpredictable client. Knowing that he is Very predictable. All this is purely speculative, now he just does not want her to wake. Does not want to wake her. What he wants most in the world is that she remain, asleep.
she would only start to ask things if she woke. mostly with her eyes on the ceiling with tiny almost invisible inflections of the whites of her eyes and the almost imperceptible exasperation of a stifled sigh. or a half maybe.
He likes her this way, unconsciously following his warmth across the bed in her sleep. She may not admit that she cares for him very much during her waking hours.
this is her way.
But in her sleep, his being there is better than not. Not much. I hear you say. But to a man who only has his keenness, clouding, perturbing memories; a room and a bed - it is a special something. And a gun. And several knives. The special something. How he hangs on day after day. How can he hang on day after day? mankind hangs on. in a death spiral.

In her slumber - he is desirable company. This is what is important to him because what he has got now, is the best he can expect. Maybe she does like him but holds off because of the arrangement. So has known arrangements. Lives one. Consequently, he has also divined that being greedy can bruise the precious. My preciousss. He is not a handsome man of face - you see, but he is absolutely tenacious in pursuit and careful and thoughtful and appreciative in possession. This he has learned. His women have been the desperate, the fallen, the insane, the lost, the professional. So tries to swivel onto his back so he can meditate. She stirs. Oh no! Please do not wake up. Please, Please, please do not wake - couldn't stand feeling your eyes; silently blaming, accusing me in the night because I cannot keep my insomnia to myself. I'm so tired as it is. Go back deeper into your sleep. Please my love. My angel in sleep. ssssshhh.... Oh God here we go. She'll wake and I haven't hardly slept at all. I need to rest in peace. I'll go mad if I have to deal with your demands when I'm so exhausted as it is. Don't make me go through another day without even being half rested. She groans and rolls over towards him. Her arm snakes out and comes to rest over his bared shoulders. A Benedictine, frightening, magic touch. Sleep my darling and I will find for you the most wonderful thing I can for you today in my mind. I'll present you with the most beautiful imaginary present ever given - I promise. You will not know this when you wake, but if you would know it now - I will be very grateful. I'll place my sorceress cloak of darkness over you. It will put the Emperor's new clothes to rags. I will not be able to bring it to you, my sparkling gift because I am bound not to leave this prison for now. Years ago, I made this city my own and now that I am among its most feared inhabitants I cannot be seen abroad in it. One arm hunts me. Another employs me. I am hunted. I do not exist and am utilised. I am the reviled. And am the rapier of the hand of government. Why did I ever become involved with you people at all. I suppose every artist must work. ever decreasing circles i suppose. the law of diminishing returns.
Her thick eye lashes remain lightly - delicately closed. She looks so beautiful in the all but dark it makes my heart pain. So with holds his sigh of relief. o.k.. God you are beautiful; in this dim light I look at you and it hurts Soh much. Sometimes I wish I had the courage to kill us both at times like this. Murder us, and meet as equals. Man and wife. House and garden. Love and children. Neighbours and wine. Love and... love and... get me out of here! He has learned to keep quiet and still when emotional and physical necessities have insisted otherwise; So at this moment, as at many other times before, whilst his thoughts fire rapidly in his mind, not a muscle twitches nor a heavy breath betrays the frenetic activity which is passing in his head. Racing savagely, unrelenting in his mind. He relaxes. Just in time; once more at the door of the abyss of the insane. His whole body becomes fluid.
like seaweed.
During scarce periods of sleep he can encourage his body to become weightless. And then rise. Sometimes he flies. The wonder of that feeling, in contrast to the leaden wakefulness of so many sleepless nights is beyond expression. This plasticity is preferable, but it is the ultimate comfort of lacking any heaviness in his body and even in his self, which he ultimately seeks. Eyes closed, he has travelled from Room 101 into the stars. Zoomed into them. Surrounded himself with celestial bodies of light. Has charted from the inside, galaxies of stars - our scopes can only falteringly reach out to in two dimensions, black and white. So lies in the broad bed awaiting release from the thing body he drags around after him every waking moment. One second, five seconds, twenty, fourty, minute, ten, fifteen, hour, a half, two. He feels light and relaxed but neither of the releases which he desperately seeks has come.
Enough. Move. Game! He slides out from under her arm and silently, smoothly off the bed onto the floor. Few living people have seen how slick he is capable of moving. She gives a disgruntled murmur as her arm is separated from his warm body and flops gently onto the bed. So lies face up on the floor, listening keenly. Intently. After a while the equilibrium of her sleep re-establishes itself. Just. It is possible that she has risen from the depths and will not slip back down into deadness. She may be beginning to become more wakeful anyway, after all it is a quarter past six. So decides to knead himself under the bed on his bum and shoulder blades. He cannot turn on the T.v., or the light to read because it will only wake Laragh. Obviously fool. What have we been talking about? He doesn't want to wake his... lo... his paramour. so loves laragh.
so loves laragh.
I don't love her... she... I... we... I just... I'm fond of her that's all.
He cannot go out. If he did and it become known to the House it would break his contract, which on fruition will leave him rich and alive, and unpersued to enjoy it. Maybe. If. Iff. Necessary extensions aside. He dare not run the bath or turn on the shower. Instead he will divert himself in the gloom on his own. As always the fear and restlessness of the insomniac. Maniac. One foot and a half into his side of the bed So comes across the depression caused by Laragh's body where she's pursued across the bed. He manages to slip his upper body under her shoulders but it is a tight squeeze to get his middle past the bulk of the weight of her body which is projected toward the floor through her hip. Her regal hip. Her royal recurvedness. Laragh is unbearably good looking. Almost. Depending who you are. She lies on her side. Just as he gets one knee past the bulge, Laragh squirms angrily and half heartedly thumps the empty sliver of bed next to her. Please God don't let her wake up now. Jesus. She'll go absolutely ape if she finds out I've woken her because I've crawled under the bed. Jesus. Eventually, after the expenditure of the odd bevel and some deeply disgruntled mutterings, deeply disgruntled, Laragh once more settles into a composed rest. I was sure she would erupt that time. Whew! Close one. Better to lie still for a while. Better. So lies stoically with Laragh virtually weightless on top of him and asleep. He resists the temptation to break out laughing. Shout out. ! He wants to enfold Laragh, the blankets, the mattress and all in his arms. He feels very close to her now but - he cannot take the whole bed in his arms. Maybe he should get out from under the bed, wake her and try and persuade her to have sex with him, but no.. He doesn't want to rouse her, in case she hasn't had enough rest. She must be given a chance to rest - his Lovely Lady. She likes sleeping. And in sleep, she is gorgeous in her vulnerability. After a while he has to resist the temptation to tear at the upholstery above his face with his bald finger tips. They are completely bald so that if he stimulates her manually - it doesn't scrape. So lies mute, immobile. Shailowing his breathing he calms the frustrated flutterings in his brain. Then he smiles. It is a touching, ugly sight, all sideways and narrow, with the lips curled back and his eyes squeezed into dots. It is genuine, - dare I say; heartfelt though, if nothing else. It is not a kind order that consigns a man, in moments of shared joy, often to have people greet his facial expression with shock or disgust. what a life!
real life.
He is not a morbid person, people are often led to think so because unless he trusts them, which is rare; he will hold his face as a mask. A blank. A blank, apparently emotionless facade. Behind it, what we call the beast lies. So's beast is beyond. He has learned to be vicious and cynical. Generally he prefers to deal with people, with whom - a certain amount of mutual distrust is understood. And is mutually accepted. That way ceremony can be dropped without reason for offence. offence is awkward. and anyway, it is bad for business.
He is happy now - happy like a child. He has a woman bearing down between his thighs, unconscious though she is. It feels sexy and it is secret. So cannot share her beauty like handsome men can, on equal terms, but when they talk and he is good to her and amuses her, he can almost forget that she is with him in anything other than a professional capacity. But after they've been in the dark for a long long time So remembers to forget her reasons for not finding him attractive. Or almost. Which is the Benediction of his life. At those times he just does. Behaves completely uninhibitedly - tries to make her come and come and come.
Pathologically unfortunately. It is a face of his insecurity that he seeks over and over again proof from her body that he does something for her - allbeit in the dark. Afterwards he never makes reference to it - not even in jest; even when she has beaten him with feet and hands and knees and elbows, torn his flesh and bitten him to make him stop, which he never does, until he is sure she cannot take anymore or bead another drop. And when she crashes out asleep he, smiles his private smile and feels satisfied inside. And is alone. Resumes his long standing staring match with the ceiling.

So is nobody's fool. Sure, sometimes he likes to think that she is a semi pro where he is concerned but she will behave to him the way she does whatever she feels. So has a weakness for women. Woman.

So do most men I hear you say. But So would really have your guts out in much less than half a second if you gave him a reason to - like messing with one of his girls. Don't get it wrong, her feelings are not academic to him but he would not demean her by forcing her to lie if it is all, just - good job. So knows what it is to be a good job and as such, knowing its deprivations and trials, he respects her like she is a champion prize fighter. Knows the House pays her like one. And probably twists her arm. A bit. Like if you called Laragh the street name for what she is good at - in his hearing, you wouldn't realise it but you would just have pencilled yourself in on the endangered species list. Or you'd be over taken by pain on the spot. Overcome. People who are smart know this, and are rightly very wary of infringing. They are only two anyway who could know them together.

Only people who are smart get close to So. The rest are a long way off in the distance amongst the trees. It is good for them to have the trees to protect them from the eye. A look from a laser is a joke compared to a look from the So because at least you know where the red eye lie.

Cars and suits and make up and houses and dogs, are only a protection against certain types of insecurity. A dog has not met So that hasn't liked, or indeed loved him. On purpose. dogs understand meat. they eat it all the time. raw. more than we, they understand what it is to be it.

Few intelligent animals would side against So with its owner. There are few stupid dogs contrary to popular belief. If So had been a wild dog.... A European wolf maybe - all grey and keen.... He would have been a queen she wolf, and perhaps would have saved one more of the great northern packs from man. .0
man. ...Anyway he has Far too much pride to demand that Laragh bolster his self-confidence on demand. DON'T EVER RISK PROVOKING HIM BECAUSE YOU NEED TO FEEL TALLER ON HIS BACK. He will kill you. I said he learned to be vicious. Do not delude yourself that it is a sick lust. That, it is not. It is a technique that by its nature requires a certain quotient of abandon. He would use it as a weapon to intimidate and subdue you. And then he would DECIDE whether he would fuck you or not. It is statistically unlikely that you would meet him, one way or the other and extremely unlikely that you would know it if you did. And if you did, you would do well to disguise the fact. BUT you might recognise the ignition series in someone else and then.... You might be prepared to act.., fight because if you didn't you'd be admitting that you are destined to become just another irrelevant statistic. such worlds you think will never touch you. you are wright. perhaps.

He has a problem. He is extremely visually stimulated - optically in work. His eyes are a pale spectral blue with dark brown flecks, radiating into the iris from the pupil. And are permanently, mind alteringly hypnotic. They are obscenely far spaced which makes for excellent shooting, but they make his face seem even flatter as it had to be even broader to accommodate them. People often have difficulty looking into both of them at once. Should they feel so inclined? If you took a photograph of one and blew it up and put it up on your wall, people would stand in front of it and stare for ages. And they call me an ugly man. Not that I'd entertain close up photography of my face or any other photography for that matter. No matter how close an associate you were. I might eat you! might have to.

So enhanced the mesmerising effect of his eyes during his studies of snakes. He used to stare into their eyes for hours, unblinking, until he would almost go blind. He used also to play catch with aggravated aggressive varieties for fun and reaction speed - it's the kind of game he understands. And he respects their raison d'etre.

He flits by his reflection in mirrors not like 'you're so vain' man; consequently he has learned to use them for other things than repeatedly looking for an affirmation, that he is slightly better looking than he really is. Ever since his mother gave him the present of an electric razor he has shaved by touch, blind. He kept slicing himself with a blade because he would never quite concentrate on his own face in a detailed enough fashion. He always wanted to flee from his reflection. Other people cut his side burns. If you think that it is the ultimate statement of frustrated vanity you would be wrong. It is simply the best way for him to live, seeing the world from the inside out and leaving it to others to judge his aesthetics as they will. At a remarkably early stage for instance, he could see clearly inside a pretty woman because he generally wasn't concerned by what she thought of what she could see of him. He already knew and did not know. Instead of being shy of them - they are shy of Him. His self abasement is virtually completely absent. Practically speaking it is not a construction. He want thing. Resistance of thing. Understand thing. Strategy - win thing (if mission not impossible). He has watched so many women valiantly grapple with how his looks affect them or attempt to remain in ignorance and safety of 'im. He has admired many and known many, many more. A large part of his mind is fascinated by EXACTLY how an attractive creature feels and thinks and functions through her cover. In his first proper job whilst all the other lads were spendin' all their money boozin' and tryin' to get their legs over slags, he was saving to go to the 'Dam' and buy the best one he could find for a time. He would have enough money that she would do whatever he wanted, as a matter of course. So never masturbates. he waits.

He would wait forever and a lifetime for the right woman - not many men would. An uncomfortable Lifetime. Even though they think they would. Times he waited for a woman until she was at the low tide of her lowest ebb and having placed himself within her turning circle, he appears front and centre, touch and look at her unwaveringly there could be no misunderstanding what the look in his eyes said. 'I will never be self conscious around you and I will do anything, and I mean Anything to make you. If you do not know what it is that you want, I will help you find out what it is, and help you experience it.' ...And after ... and after ... and after you might deign to pay off your servant. In time. Your humble servant. I am a patient man. Your humble, Indominitable servant.

The first arguably gratuitous thing he did in his life was because of a woman. He had been going out with this girl - see. She Was a STUNNER, but her life, having failed to fulfil many of her ambitions, her fantasies, left her more than a little bit vacant. Anyway, as usual he took her to dine and dance and to concerts - the whole bit. She seemed indifferent to the whole twirl. It wasn't getting him anywhere and it was costing him a Fortune. At the time, he was working in an engineering factory on a lathe. He was a genius everybody said so behind his back.

Concentration, speed and such accuracy! Quite by accident he came across this really really expensive, really hot watch. Full of jools and everything. People were always hanging around trying to sell all manner of gear, especially to the single men on big wages. He gave it her. Even in his youth he knew. Her little eyes fairly twinkled in delight. 'So'. gotcha! Soon.

He knew it would give pleasure to her to flog it instantly. It got lost down the baths. She wasn't As distant. He got another one. This time he overtly purchased one. He reasoned that if she tried to flog a dodgy watch, she couldn't get half what he paid for it. What a ridiculous way to manage family finances. It would seem. So. Before they went out this particular night he made a big deal about giving her the warranty, which he'd 'stupidly' left back in his flat. Would she stop in on their sort of way past his place? She would. Good. So ostensibly forgot about it on the way home and tried to steer her the direct route to the restaurant but Sharon protested. And - OOps whilst rooting for the warranty amidst the calamitously arranged papers on his desk, a small white piece of paper floated meekly to the floor. So didn't look but he could hear its soundless thud on the ground. "Ah here. Tch. One Guarantee!" He had calculated the risk. As he washed his hands - he watched her in the mirror. The mirror. I telled you. She curiouser and curiouser. Yes. Stop. Look. Look again. Click! Pause. Foolish girl. If you had of straight picked it up and into the pocketses I 'd have had to let you have it but now... I will make you pay for it. if i can. and if the gods will let it be.

The chit read for what most women in the town earned in a fortnight. Not alot of money. But a lot of money. Clothes, go out whenever you want.... a change in style. A change in lifestyle for a while. for a while. So. Dinner. Piercing the tiny fastnesses of her mind Robert read his book. Getting whatever you want, at whatever expense, even if nobody loves me. He was still Robert then. He had begun his road to So however. Manipulation. Devolvement. In orientation, tactics and realism. The fish thought: Damn why didn't I just pick the damn thing up!

"More wine Sir7'

"Oh yes I Do think so!" Don't you Sharon - a drop of Dutch courage for the madam.

He's O.K. apart from the obvious. I kind o' like him, except when he leers... like.... No one would have to know. What they don't know.... They probably think it anyway. Maybe I'll just stay - "Delicious wine Robert thanks; lovely... and Thanks forthe... you really shouldn't have, you know." for a drink. Yea, just for a drink! Salubriously pissed as intended, Sharon allows to be steered to So's place. She braces herself for the ordeal to co.. the quick get away! But the gallant Robert was no such the fool - guides his tipsy date on across town towards her cat box. She is surprised, then confused, then indignant. Robert knew that if he asked her up 'for a coffee'that she might bolt after picking up the note. No. He must be firm. she had to ask herself into church. which is very important with certain beings.

Her pretty head turned a tad too quickly and jerkily. A bite! Yes.

"Robert I can't invite you up to my place we don't want to disturb the old flatmates..." Yes "or I'd invite you in for a cup of tea... ?' yes

"Would you like to err... like" yes'lo come up to my place for the last drink. A night cap with Rob." Yes


I'd love to."

Definitely a bite. I hope I can handle this right, now. Now if you will only do the diplomatic thing and look over the top of my head or past my ear for a half an hour, we will have a stirrup cup and you will have your precious finders fee. I bet you think you have been working hard! You have no IDEA. Once in the flat, instead of asking for a coffee which would have pushed him into the kitchen and out of the way, she accepted a large drink,
apparently resigned to her duty.

DEAL. most people early in their lives suffer from conscience, however primitive. excluding, of course the right of the young - abandon.

She sat down daintily on the edge of the bed. Knees together. Touching. Shoulders back. Back straight. She did not pick carelessly at the embroidery with her fingernails. She did not wistfully admire the surprisingly tasteful etchings and say: 'My aren't they beautiful! Where ever did you get them?' Nor did she hastily gulp her drink and reach out for more. She fixed Robert with a cool, penetrating glance that said - come and get me
if you must. All done. if you will insist. but what you see is what you get!

Any qualms that Robert may have had about what he was doing were mercilessly quashed. They would both have what they wanted (no favours here) but she had to feel that she was the better aswell. Superior. So. I chose what I wanted and I have paid for it. And isn't she love ely? Throwing open the drapes and turning out the light So faced her. For a moment, knowing how she valued herself above him an unpleasant expression passed over his visage and was gone. Sharon couldn't see it - back lit as he was but at that early stage if she had? She put the oily drink slowly, deliberately down on the carpet and looked at him expectantly, like he was about to deliver an intellectual lecture. She wasn't either, going to make this easy. The muddied cloud and smoke bounced dim, warm orange streetlight into the room. Now you cannot see this big nasty face I follow around after - with the fight behind me. How do you feel? How do I look? - not as beautiful as you, but you cannot see me now so you lie. I may have changed. I'm quite as good a lover as you I'm sure. Just lay back and forget about it and let me make love to you like any normal man would be allowed to. Does it make a difference? Sharon stood up, barely ever taking her eyes from where she knew his to be, she stripped from the shoulders to the floor. Not sexily. Not defiantly. Not dejectedly. Just stripped. Indifferently. No, not even that.

She held herself erect, naked as the day she was born, except for the mad coils failing down her back and neck and shoulders, her pubic hair and her mean experience of life. Not even coloured nail polish.

She allowed herself stare at him. So smiled demoniac, deeply, inwardly. She couldn't see. Such pride. No one could see but So could feel it warm him like brandy. She wasn't supposed to see. He would prove something to her - not that she would probably Ever admit it. He would prove that of all men... it takes a leper to judge flesh. He converted things to what they could be, should be, with precision every day. As the heat in his forearms built and his saliva, he tried to empty his head of all the nastiness, so that he could explore this new form without irrelevant bias. His hands remain cool, dry. He likes where ever possible to work with his shirt off. He took off his jacket and draped it carefully over the back of a chair and with his head dipped, pulled the shirt out from his body and unbuttoned it. Sharon stood as if waiting were a great chore, like everything else. Like she had to suffer waiting for him to get it together. Intimidating him into not being able to. She stood erect like she was waiting for a bus, which she doggedly had faith would come soon. Or later. Stripped to the waist So left his trousers on. He wasn't shy and hiding an erection - he didn't have one. So wanted to investigate her body, without her tightening up at the prospect of an immediate intercourse that she was averse to. No - that is not his way. He had been that patient, he would not spoil his pleasure because he could not make her forget. Forget. Forget darling. Darling. Ba-aby fo'get and fall luscious into my waiting, manly arms. What a joke! Forget. forget for him, man that needs you. You are capable, if you only knew it, of giving great succour.

He would sensitise her and sensitise and sensitise and sensitise her and then maybe. ...And then maybe she would want it; maybe she would want everything and maybe when she had forgotten the day and the daylight and her stupid friends, she will forget that it is me and accept me in the darkness and all she will want is to Feel. Crossing the room to where she waited was a moment. When he got to her she was taller, barefoot, gorgeous in the warm orange glow. It pleased her. He knew this. Anything to make her happy now. I will have my turn later. To knee her in the proud stomach causing her to double over crossed his mind and made Him happy. Make her bow. "Do you know why I have wanted to have you like this for so long?" Silence! "Everyday I make things of perfection in precision. With these hands." He raised his forearms - palms open, elbows at his hips. She would not look down. At an example of the manipulators. She would not help. The sinews at the top of his chest rose. The thick upper arms bulged to receive her as she fell into his strong embrace. But that was a different life. She was waiting for that bus. I could never make you." Do not despise my ugliness for at a different ill roll of the dice you could have been as pretty as me. So closed the rest of the distance, so he was two inches from her - chest to chest. Why won't you put your arms around me. Kiss me. I don't even care if it is like a sister ... some affection. Please ... as a favour for god's sake. A personal. Special favour. No one needs you more than me! Who would take care of you better? Carefully, So freed and swept the hair from her shoulders and from the sides of her neck, gathering it up in a tremendously soft pile on her nape. With the ends of his fingers, applying a faint pressure, he traced the lines from the bony tips of the skull behind her ears all the way to the ends of her shoulders and back as far as where her clavicles began. And then louder than if he'd spoken, the thought sounded in his head: would she yield at all?
And if she did, would she allow him the satisfaction of knowing that it was anything other than involuntarily? Secondary. Would she yield at all? for in her own way she was a proud girl. a proud, proud girl. in fact. is all she had really. in a lot of ways. and she stood on it. and she could stand. and look. when she felt like it sometimes she could melt whole people.
Simply did not know if she would participate, but would try and if that didn't work, would persevere. Incrementally, his keen hands followed the fine straight bones to the top of her rib cage. They held themselves in restraint by an act of surgical will what they ultimately desired was an open embrace. Just one. Once. Some show of understanding or fellowship or sympathy. Sharon let him play chess on his own with her board, not assenting, merely derogating permission. barely, meanly, silently, caustically.
It was what protected her from her own corrupted motivation. for pounds and not to feel cheap. a cheat.
Sex power in the most unnatural form a body can take. At one and the same time So was trying to think the word for what he felt for her. Or for her body. As he laid his fingers flat and opening across the top of her chest he thought of it: 'reverence'.

It made him smile faintly and quizzically at himself. He didn't feel as though it characterised the desire expressed by his mates. He looked different. Maybe, he Was different. The skin under the heels of his hands and near her arm pits, where the tips of his little fingers were, felt unbelievably warm and smooth and firm. A lot of her upper body was hard. She was a slim woman. She had tits though and a bit of a nice ass. Slowly he applied pressure. She didn't fall, sexy with abandon onto the awaiting bed, hair fanning out - but sat, quite suddenly down. So almost fell waist to face on top of her. However he is the furthest thing to being uncoordinated you could imagine. From an exceedingly early age he became astute at minimalising the intrusiveness of his presence. Quiet, subtle, reserved, unboisterous, undemanding - he didn't particularly value the attention of people who didn't find his presence uplifting or illuminating - as everyone, who knows anything about anything, all cherubs should be. So instead of toppling with surprise the two of them chaotically onto the mattress, he counter-balanced himself by swinging his buttocks underneath him and his shoulders back; ever so slow and balanced and relaxed. Woha. What balance. He calculated afterward that foiling her little trick might annoy her. It might not have been the best ploy. His reflexes may be said to have let him down by operating so perfectly. He had too much self possession and too little self effacement still, to deliberately make an idiot out of himself, which is what he should have done if he wanted to genuinely make peace with this woman. Peace if not love. But that still was not the balance he could accept. He might be renting what he wanted, with her accompanying distance and disdain but he refused to play the fool for her - so she could laugh at him as well. Instead he thought how titillating it would have been to have grown up with Sharon as his older sister. As she transformed from an undeveloped girl into a full woman. How little she could of picked up his incestuous interest in her budding sexuality. In an instant, he thought of as many opportunities he could have used to monitor her blossoming body. Suddenly, intensely, disgustingly, Robert had a vivid picture of the kind of man that would have come along and robbed him of his sister and bedded her. It was not the first time he'd thought these things. He instantly dropped the fantasy and returned to the problem at hand.... the pleasure at hand.
Sitting between indifference and abjectivity, Sharon was with her head slightly averted, her long fingers and hands clasped pointing toward the floor in between the delicious flattened curves of her thighs. So went down on his hunkers, reached forward almost timorously and placed his open palms on the tops of her thighs just above her knee caps. She tensed the fraction of a bit at the thought that jumped immediately into her mind. So knew with certainty that she was reluctant and that she wasn't ready. Like he didn't know it already. He knelt carefully to the floor. He wistfully thought of putting the crook of his index under her chin, raising his jaw slant ways and softly kissing her to carelessness on the mouth. that was a different opportunity. again, - a different life.
He knew it would only exacerbate their contrast in desire if he tried and she turned her face away from him. Surely. That type of honesty or deceit he might never win from her, even in the most private, most drunken, most disorientated of moments. prostitutes don't kiss customers. companions have been known to. all be it however sometimes unconvincingly.
Even in So's advanced state of self knowledge it still hurt that she was a pay-me and a side of him, which had grown from adolescence in order to protect himself from reality, wanted to hurt her, even slap her, but it flashed by, leaving him just a little less exasperated and a little more sad. And very strong. Very, very strong. He knew he had to become faceless. Perhaps, in order to vindicate her time with him, she might convince herself that superficiality had, in his case, to be let go. Few of us think; or recognise such thoughts perhaps, but great defences, for whatever reason, have been known at first to slip, and then under apparent token pressure to collapse. Or a clever general perpetrates a great flanking manoeuvre. What is important here is to understand that this man had already become a great fisherman. Knew he it or knew he it not, is irrelevant. A handsome man can afford to fish with grenades. So cannot, but a little shinnin' lure, or a favourable breeze, skill, will and all of time. A little shinin' lure. All of time. And so. so doesn't know it but he has visigoth blood in him. and if in the unlikely event that you'd ever met one and it coincided with your remaining alive, you would know what a useful and powerful thing it could be.
On his knees like a particularly sinning devout little altar boy, So brought his wide, tight face against her bony knees. Hard enough that it hurt his cheek bones and brows. Good. Tight enough that she must have known that it must be hurting. She knew. She knew him. Knew how he wanted her. Needed her. Her body. Not just her body, her very essence. He knew how tight she was being and while he was thinking this, she almost let the tension in her groin go so that her knees would part without effort. Almost! He compared also the debasement of whatever self esteem he had been left by the 'beautiful people' against what she was prepared to sell her's for and... Sharon was not a bad girl. People place such a high price on the looks of the pretty: it can be a very hollow currency for them. The narrow chink that opened was necessary so that she could still feel as though She was a good person and no one else really mat.... Sound familiar? Liberating her perfect hands she tried to squeeze them between his forehead and her legs. It was good. She decided to co-operate for whatever mixture of reasons AND conditions. They would emerge in time, unless of course she suffered from early remorse. The pressure on the confluence of her knees built. God I don't know if I'm ready for that! She braced herself and slowly, imerceptably she began to lie back, at the same time a rigid gap began to appear in front and below Robert's face. Thank God! OH God!! His smooth face slid between her shaven calves. Not quite where Sharon had expected, but infinitely easier to handle, given her very mixed emotions about the whole business. For the moment Darling. Alternately rubbing either set of bones in his face against her shins and calves Sharon's legs couldn't tell whether or not he was good looking - and frankly didn't care. wow. Then he started to use his mouth. Accidentally as it were; at first. As his cheek passed across her skin his narrow, dry lips would vainly try to make an impression against the pressure which his neck was increasingly applying to her lower legs. Then his mouth became wet. Undoubtedly wet. Sharon had never really particularly considered that part of her anatomy; certainly never as being particularly erotic. She thought they were nice legs but never.. She was starting to feel dangerously funny, sensitised more than partially against her will. As intended. that's what bed's all about.
Just when she was starting to feel that it must be a fetish rather than an elaborate foreplay of fealty, he started to gnaw, kind of painfully at her knees and to lick in earnest at her skin like a big cat cleaning meat. She leant forward, concertinead the flush stomach as hard as she could and aimed a blow at side of his head. Having brothers had taught her to strike with the closed rather than the open hand to have any kind of lasting effect. Sensing the dramatic movement in the middle of the bed So anticipated what was coming. He could easily have defended himself or dodged his head out of danger. Instead he turned his face to take the punch as full as he could. It was the best thing that could possibly have happened - he could give her satisfaction whilst not letting her belittle him as a person, a man or as a partner. Acceptable. It was a very stiff fist to the mouth, Especially considering how slight she was. She had hard protuding knuckles but. The blow split both lips and even drew blood from the upper gum. There was a loud, satisfying "SMACK!" sound. So was even starting to smile just before it struck. Dark droplets jumped into the quarter light in a wide arc and promptly disappeared. To most women the undefended impact would have been shocking - and to many men to be true. Sharon's instantaneous reaction was to ask him if he was alright - if he was hurt? In that guilty instant So's strong right hand took a firm grip high up on her left thigh and pulled her back side and all the blankets a good foot and a half down the bed. As she had swung he was reaching for it already. But deliberately he had moved more slowly - not wanting her to imagine that he might fight back. He certainly didn't want things to degrade into a sexual brawl, from which tomorrow, she might easily, never return. However, tactical opportunity was what it was. She allowed herself to feel completely vindicated in what she had done and let her superb upper body, with now partially erect nipples, be jerked backwards to flop heavily, once more onto the hard, waiting mattress. the bed enjoyed it. if you believe bed can enjoy?
Three quarters of Sharon's upper legs now were exposed over the edge of the bed. Soon to come under attack. They were nice legs. Red blood and saliva mixed over and around her lower thigh. War paint.
She could feel his mouth slip across her skin lubricated as it was. She respected his carelessness of her gesture; of the pain and consequent surprise it would have elicited in other people. Other men. Curiously Sharon felt herself impatient for her orgasm. man says to woman did you honey? i tried.
Initially it hadn't come into her calculations but now the slow build up of contact was gradually stimulating her into a depersonalised form of sensuality. Sexuality. The knowledge that she could do whatever she felt like, behave however meanly, however viciously, crudely or selfishly she wanted; without him being rejected; was new to her. Novel to her. A sexually aggressive part of her was becoming more than faintly turned on. With its realisation she let herself go and dug her long finger nails into the base of his throat and with her other hand drew his head back by the hair. She wanted to look into the face of the mouth that was inching up her inside thighs, where she was starting to water to meet him, greet him, against most of her will. When she did she was greeted by two small intense points of light. Pins. Which was impossible with all the incoming light behind him. It gave her a fright. She let him go with a start.

- Maybe she just imagined it. Of course she did.

she couldn't see the smile. the glee.

He did it hugely, outlandishly, insanely. Then, feeling foolish at giving up the initiative so quickly, she struck him again in a swipe below the eye. This time she hit him with the side of her hand. A thoughtful blow. Again he didn't allow himself turn his head to minimise the force of the strike. In fact he opened his face by tilting his head back. Thank you. The feeling inside her nipples and breasts, between her legs and in her stomach were so alienally placed with this guy that she felt like erupting into uncontrollable - tickled laughter. Ironic. She felt like repeatedly slapping him on the back of the head until he looked up again and say - furthering the extent of the gap between her legs 'I Know where you're Heading. I've known where you're heading for a long time. So why don't we dispense with all this unnecessary grovelling. You're a man. Why not climb aboard and we'll have a nice hard ride!' Yet. A short moment later So looked up and stood up. Leaning over the edge of the bed he entwined his arms incredibly carefully around her waist and lifted her, settling her further up the bed. It required great strength. Try it yourself. Feeling the rock hard muscles in the back of his neck and the top back of his shoulders and sensing the power in the lift, So actually Became a man to her and not just a servile sexual person who she didn't particularly want. A girlish part of her was charmed, charmed a little by this foolish gentle reverence toward a tuff grown woman who'd just attacked him three times. When she picked out the dried blood, she hardly saw his Ugly features just the sensuality of his nonchalance to the damage for her sex. Then she did something out of place for how she'd decided to behave - she touched the injured side of his mouth with soft finger tips and started to smile. As she did so, so did Robert. She closed her eyes and he knew that it would be alright to kiss her now. He just looked down at her. It was a rare, rare unadulteratedly happy moment and then he remembered a little discarded piece of paper on the floor in the gloom behind him. Waiting. She was letting him take something he'd already paid for.

Always usury, always commerce. What a pity. Gratuity is something to be bandied about, toyed with on whim. The force of good within people has no more direction than their ability to do harm. Far less in all probability. How paltry, how small, how debasing; he wanted two things amongst a hell of a life - her and his receipt from the Devil afire. A warm tear fell onto her curved flushed cheek. It was not a tear like yours or mine of sorrow but a tear of incredible bitterness and slight.

against all protocol. never the less.

Startled! She looked up - was he bleeding again? She looked up and was sad and sick. Saw the gleam of its trail along the side of his nose just. Then she saw him in all his splendour. An ugly, hungry, helpless man. Pity. she remembered also. his ticket to ride if you like.
She threw her legs around his waist and he lay forward, helplessly on top of her. Rubbing and kissing away his two keenly begrudged tears - she hoped into oblivion, her finger nails accidentally broke the skin of his belly as, a little frantically, she tried to relieve him of his favourite trousers. Eventually, he looked down and moving slowly, aided her getting them and his jocks off. She helped him into her and stimulated intercourse. She had to avoid the ultimate embarrassing situation now. Thankfully she was well equipped and practised for the job. By the end it was an intensely fast fuck; Sharon making sure that at each stroke as their two pelvis's came together, the contact became harder and harder. So thought: how things change! Maybe she won't? At least there was some kissing. So always likes kissing, if that is, you like kissing him. He knows more about false kissing... betrayal. People kissing him because they think they ought to. Or because it is brave to kiss someone so unfair of face. is that what was really meant by that incident with judas ... ? was it an allegory.. was he not in the habit of kissing christ or was it the wrong kind of kiss betraying the fact that he didn't want to kiss him because he was jealous of him? so knows, he has spent every waking moment he can spare disembowelling the books, desperately searching through their entrails for traces of truth. and sorrowfully, the weaknesses of men.

Next morning Sharon woke. Immediately, her eyes snapped open in surprise, feeling the strange bed. But her all feline caution did let her stiffen. No. Her being awoke. She would not wake the sleeping dog she had lain down with and which she had put to sleep the previous evening. By instinct she didn't flicker in the after dawn. Which ever Arabian fantasy she had escaped to in her dreams, the last thing she had expected was to wake in So's strange flat. Even with her eyes closed she could hear an alien set of morning noises. She lay stock still and gathered her thoughts. It hurt between her legs, her groins hurt, her back hurt, how come my hand hurts so much That doesn't make sense? Oh Yeaah! I didn't do that!... I did. God we had sex twice more after that initial.... Oh WOW! yeah. Christ I... ! Am I sore.... Gotta move. Gotta grow. Make like a fetus and head out. Or: as the shepherd said to the sheep: 'Let's get the flock out of here!' Nowish. Of course she didn't know about So's cosmopolitan sleep pattern. In fact he'd lain absolutely still for three hours without her knowledge - hoarding even such passive time with her, desperately afraid, despite himself, that she might leave and never be to revisit. On the rare occasions that So had a woman in his bed he would go through this silent self-imposed torture. And that wasn't nearly often enough as far as he was concerned. I can tell you. It was all the more poignant because the balance of self sufficiency he had established to protect himself and to survive, could never allow him admit how terrified he was of abandonment; and how dearly he yearned for a partner who actually cared about him. Let alone for him.
Ignorant of how So felt and the million and one things racing through the man's brain - she rose, picked up her clothes, hoping him and wishing him to remain asleep, she went for the shower. On the way she, at an incongruous part of the room, dropped a sock. She got on the way back so what she bargained for. The sore testament of which, she would privately bare between her legs for a couple of days. 'So' finally and irrevocably so, lay completely disconsolate in his bed. He had waited for her move for hours... or Ages which ever you prefer. She was what he thought. So was too sick in his stomach to remember to feel superior at knowing exactly what she was, her price and how to play her. But wasn't there a moment when, ...when something lost or never nurtured over the Eons; prevented him from having a perfect parcel within time?: faith, confidence, carelessness... some Jack Shit like that! Having confessed this iniquity, it made him even more fatalistic, he thought: so this is the way things will be.
It was the final straw. The last last of many.
We will know how they feel and we will not care.
We will know how and what they think and we will use it against them.
We will know what they want and we will cheat them into thinking what we have conned them into doing is what they wanted.
The only thing left out of this equation to make an adversary from which one' should immediately flee, even in a large pool is what? No clues. O.K. I'll tell you: the killer instinct. Rage. indifference - whatever it takes for a man only to - I was going to say care - but what I truly meant was live for himself. even if that life is not filled with Hollywood, ultimate pleasure or eating strawberries in the ripe summer sunshine of an English garden.
After some meetings the artifice within the relationship had become completely transparent. Obviously. It became a crude sham. Ridiculous, a bizarrely constructed facade. Absurd. Sharon felt O.K. with the deal, so long as she could partially feel - big, slighting and cheating him by abandoning his baubles for cash. But when she knew that he accepted it, probably even planned the first time, it just wasn't good enough. Pride. What did she do? She took a man. not just any man. an empty headed fool is what she took. Sharon told John all about her relationship with Robert. In time.
Oh he was good looking and had a sexy voice and all but he never bothered to understand what it must be like to be without these things and still to desire to distraction. Or in So's case beyond it. The pose he took for her was one thing but then, of course, he had to be righteous. After a while he couldn't help himself. A good story... I mean public information. you understand. In ones and twos he told people. the men. They were incredulous. That such a.... It is one thing to discreetly visit a pro. One understands. But to actively pollute and bring low a respectable (ideal fuck) girl is of course a totally... heinous. The crimes that have been committed in the name of that word.
How many of their wives would have twisted up their noses at So's reverent treatment and attention?
IRRELEVANT! a moral... decency. The man who had everything cuts the ice about his feet. A zealot. Zealousy can be a dangerous state of preoccupation of mind. That is where it starts u no. Someone says let's stone him. There is a volley. A bevy. But eventually someone says yo ho man you got wrong - fuck you! Couldn't help.... Had to expose... (sort of). Couldn't stop to think how Sharon.... She had confided in him because she was sick of what she had learned about Herself... far more than she resented So for pointing it out, for bringing things to.. The word on the street can be unassailable, especially if it is far ahead of you, fast moving and, most importantly - people want to believe in... u no - words. PUBLIC INFORMATION.
First the side glances and the suspicion that something isn't quite .... The coolness of people's... then the coldness. The fear that something isn't quite .... Then the taciturn... so the definite paranoia. Then the gruffness and the staring and the Certainty that something isn't quite.... Then the voices breaking when you come within... I really want to know what's going on but I refuse to (can't ask)... gossip. Catch the voice. BANG! Oh dear. oh dear. Oh Fuck. NO! no no no no no no no. Head down and finish work. Who (everybody must) knows? Try not to catch anyone's eye. Change quickly. Run slowly home, screaming teasing, pointing in the head. Inside. oh god no. Shame has been cast upon a warrior. But How (who) ... ? If the men in the factory know what's been... then.... She's been trying to. to cut both ends. But if all the men in the shed know?? She's very unlikely to have.... So. so. Finally and irrevocably.... Finally and irrevocably And sadly, sadly so. I'm finished he.. for good now how could I st... knowing that all.... Bastards... die... swear .... Plan. Settle the account. Leave. Nothing to stay For. Stupid... why did you hate ... you didn't hav.... I never... you know I only ... you didn't have to tell. Why? You, smiling, pretty, mean idiot I'll show you what I ... of your life. And You, you, you probably won't want to... in case your face gets .... But he is much bigger than m.... But I, I have the will and the pain... and I have the pain. and I have the pain. and i have the pain. and i.... THEY will know a share of my pain. O.K.. o.k.. So that's the way it is to be. Not what I... cannot be... never is! My accuser and my judge will suffer. They will know. I will not take anymore.
So: for now that is what he is, no longer Robert - but a reaction to unkindness. Misunderstanding. Having a destiny for which he yearns but cannot fulfil. He intercepted Sharon most genially on her way home. He had done a lot of running so he spoke in a warm, low voice, full of inconsequentiality and neutral friendship. Disguise. Camouflage. Disguising the burning sense of defeat, anger, hatred, vengeance, frustration and... and disappointment and hurt and lost love - a falsity of lost love: unrequited love then. Fifty seven unpleasant things he might do to her on the spot begged leave enter his mind. he repulsed them from the doors of his consciousness. Although he knew he would not lash out, he also knew that one of them might sparkle in his eye. The lust for your enemy's blood., He would not show it to her. She was not one of his tribe anymore. It would be another ordinary feast. Only after this service was over, she would be punished for speaking ill of his name amongst the cloisters. It can be dangerous there too, for old monsters who have been bending their backs may come at the sound of their call in the wrong context and be annoyed. Sharon had a slither in her stomach for how she had miserably related (treated him) again just the night before and yet here she Was. Unable to break it off. Because maybe she had started to like him against her will. Or a strange kind of bond had grown up between two creatures, howsoever different, however descendant. There was also money. Perhaps she had really come to like him with his essential forbearance and was running around desperately looking for ways to refute it and the consequences for the future. Her future. Her rosy future, which in the past had never in projection included... a monster. A monster who... who knew her better apparently, than she thought she could be known. Things had progressed in a calamitously wrong way (difficult wayby) for her she thought. Perhaps not. Sometimes. Robert had become her second kind o' sort o'job and she was good at it. At him. Too fuckin' good, without the courage of her convictions. Perhaps she loved - given a chance his candidness and self-effacement which she had not been taught to have. Which she had never learned. Perhaps she hated him for it. And her power over him gave her power. But for sure it made her dislike her own brand of haughty vanity in selfishness and self love. But (sadly) she was powerless to change the past and the rules made there.
Quintessentially could she not accept finding an ostensibly unattractive man attractive, or one who could have fixed a price for her that was not heaven and earth and all. But it was His heaven and earth and all. What she didn't know was that her other fuck had poisoned every ear he could against So, with the story of how he'd made a virtual whore of the spotless Sharon. He could pull another. She could hardly be blamed for not knowing the heartless ice which was forming, hardening, freezing in the centre of the man - Robert as she falsely thought she saw him.

many men can become cold given the right jab. jabs. some women too but you seem less inclined, disposed to pain, meanness and savagery. many women, full knowing however, have closed their doors on the cold faces of men and boys demanded of to be soldiers. when they have returned where they thought home ought to be cashed. you refused to recognise them in your hearts, when there causes and quests have turned to falsity, to dust.
it is written in tsung su that you should never attack an enemy that is returning home.
for if you bar him from fleeing; there he may have no choice but to fight. probably to the death. why engage anyone who, when you do, will have no other purpose than to kill you. no. do not waste good men who can still think, on men to whom it will instantly be a vendetta that you intend hamper their final line of retreat. rather call on them the next day and look in their eyes dareful. there will be those who have learned once more to cling to life much, and you will slay them. there will be those whose gardens have gone to waste or whose temples have been defiled. their faith in continuity will be gone and you will slay them. there will be those boys at heart whose loves will have died or love others. give them berth. slay them with your arrows. do not engage them with sword. draw out their rage. suck them back into the field. you will slay them, for they will tire. this is where officers may turn with them - seeing how the laws which they left behind have not been followed in principle, spirit, exacitude and yes - courage. they may prefer now the rules of engagement and lead the dourest regiments into your hands. once you have crushed the heart of an army and torn the loyalties of its garrisons, then you decide if you should tear down its citadels or to fortify them. as you are master - be beneficent: treat worthy vassals well. send them in your service away.
honourable waifs with respect. feed them if you can.
offer the defeated terms. especially their children.
mercy may be remembered even by the very cruel. give
the rest to your men.
and whilst they are enjoying their right to choose, as the general this is the time when you must be most watchful. whilst your army is revelling, keep in your hand your bitterest warriors. ring your dogs with ice. send those who thrive best on I499cal per day back out the way you came. if you came quietly you may be pursued, quietly. there will be scouts. take them. if you have engaged, do those who have seen your colours have terror of you? if they do not, slay them while the body of your men sleep.
in the morning you may have two armies. and now that you are secure for a time you will pray with those who serve under you. on your hill top, then and only then will you unfurl the black flag. savour the vanquishing of a foe with your officers and men.
accept petitioners. there may be gifts for those who are proven amongst the mighty. at a time like this an overlord, perhaps previously unknown, may be announced and wish to inform you of his plans for you.
ambassadors may come. it will be good. they will see that your people hold off somewhat in awe of you.
it could be a good time for your army to make a move.
there may be a bargain, an allegiance. a date.
another field. check over your shoulder. mount, ride. you will be followed. your colonels will purvey the reports from your scouts. your army will surround you. this is also a time when Old scores may be contemplated. in secret. perhaps this is a moment when you may pick a fight. perhaps even generals have vendettas but have learned they are better served cold. and when an excuse, manufactured or otherwise, draws in more of the strong when they are looking for exercise. or gain.

here, so having proven oneself the wisest, direst of foes you would look for the payoff a beautiful bedfellow. it is erroneous whilst at war. the scarred, unglorious of your men may not like it.
but the service of women, who nurture dead men, and repair them that they may go back into the fray, where they belong; should be remembered. so long it makes them strong.
beauty is an old and wiley one and will not be drawn into battle easily, however, little of their encouragements have been known to go a long way.

She thought of the promissory notes that had been discarded for her amongst his papers when everything else of his tended so precise. She had taken to wearing some things - for him... for both of them. She could have sworn it made So's eyes water sometime but he'd look away at some triviality. He was thread bare. And then as she thought to herself of the power she held over So's emotions, she thought how she would meet him anew and how they would be great friends... and anything else... no deals. little did she know!
little did she know there was an open claw in her path. just about to close. just about to close in retribution for unprofessional errors, more a signature of confusion than a desire to do harm. hurt. but, never the less, the woman trap would close.
Friendship was now further away than she was experienced of knowing. (This is perhaps the greatest vanity of all. While condescending to someone; to enjoy the arrogance of ignoring how they actually feel. Never looking into the little emotional box we have consigned them, to see what is Really going on. All knowing of the reasons why they should love us and all ignorant of our self love and their independent importance in existence.) And maybe she could be grown up enough one day to really love someone. Maybe she had. Already. This is one thing which So never made clear. Perhaps he couldn't bear even in long distance hindsight, that there was someone she had loved. Loved. Loved, the powerful human concrete. Perhaps even one day she would, could love someone, displeasing as he looks, like Robert. Was Robert. She could now relieve him of his sex drive when it bothered him, easily enough. It helped that technically he Is good in bed but she found it very hard to let go and enjoy herself because she wasn't attracted to him in the same way he was her. Wordiness aside they went to an out of the way, out of the way pub. The loudly gabby, cocky pub owner took one look at the couple and almost broke up. B&B. I'm sure.
How funny, how funny, how boring, how witty, how predictable. Now give us our drinks and go fuck yourself. ASShole. Serving So he got a shock he looked into his eyes and received a chill for his audacity. He couldn't help himself. He wanted to see if he could detect, in this fiercely ugly man's face, the key to pulling such a stunner. All he got was a relaxed intensity of deathwish directed at himself. Hate. It wasn't a threat. Far from it. It was merely an admission, that the other would do him if the opportunity arose.
behind the bar you see all kinds. it is not over common however, to serve people who'd like to kill you for having a smart 'thought', when they're stone cold sober.
So had turned away and walked casually off when the barman returned with the change. It wasn't much. What to do with it though? Don't feel like keeping it. Maybe it was a tip. I Doubt THAT... the way he looked.. Leave it on the bar. He passed a half worried look in Sharon's direction. It bounced off her. Sharon could always use the battleship armour plating of her looks. So ambled back to the bar and picked up his change from the counter. "How stupid of me!" and SLAPPED! the heel of his hand Hard against his forehead. Not for an instant did he take his eyes from the bar keep. His eyes glistened, smiling with completely unveiled hostility his look said: Mind your own business or I'll be in behind that bar.. And he did. It was a murderous mood.
a murderous mood is like so.

So had to steady himself - he didn't want to ruffle the pigeon - could not let it know, that what was sitting beside her was, in fact, a hawk. A hungry, pissed off, hooked beak; knowing its talons desire to gnaw the seats. He'd caught her - worse luck, but now it was time for a little patience And restraint before instruction was to begin. Sharon noticed something but she put it down to her being worried about her own situation and what to do! She had seen or heard nothing to regard Robert as being a threat! to anyone - least of all her lauded self. And he hadn't been - he had just been unhappy. Unhappy at fate. His fate. His one definite shot at life. She had no ambition of possible significant change in mood for anyone else other than - me.
Myself, I. this is a significantly dangerous policy.
He was beaming and charming in his shy public way. And yet So looked thirstily at her gullet more than once - sidewards. however he didn't lick, lovingly his kanine teeth. that is something you do to show your raison d'etre to other blood suckers who flock around a kill who is innocent of you. it is something you do when the outcome is academic, full in the belly as you are.
She felt the little chill pass over a not too distant future horizon of hers. A small foot, pressing gently down on her grave. stilettos mincing, heels down, along your raw naked back.
She ignored the sensation. The Instinct. Foolishly. Ignorantly. Idiotically. 'do a runner quick - bitch!', shouts the drunk lout by the aisle.

I include only a tiny part of my peoples lives. The important. The dramatic if you like. Mostly. There are times when you should act, even though for the vast majority of your life it is not necessary. Especially when you are afraid. Fear is uncomfortable for a very good reason. There is only one thing stronger than it. But any fool would relinquish fucking on noticing the ball and chain from that crane

which is heading slowly, but inexorably for the boudoir window. But then few of us listen acutely enough to the backs of our brains. Because we think. He just wants me is all.
She thought not really convinced. ?. Run. Hard. Run far away. Break it off NOW! Run, run away. Hide. Little girl. He is a man and you are only a li'tle girl. He doesn't want you like other nice men and boys anymore - he wants to subjugate you to his will, take out his inevitable hurt out on you. The chances of you staying with him were always minuscule. Insignificant. Of you bearing his children and keeping his house, non-existent. He was always doomed to the pain of the absence of you - beautiful woman. Most prized commodity of all - flee. Him. He will only teach you the bad side of us. It will make you suspicious of us. And that is the greatest loss to us. We who never intended that the chickens should see the knife. We the hunters who should have kept all our trade secret - no talk of battle, no exposed tools of the trade.
You've heard it said: 'fear is the mind killer'. And it is. Fear is the enemy. Fear of doing. Fear of not doing. Fear of winning. Of losing. Of the dark. Fear of not shining in the sun. fear of so. and those who have been learned to be like him. Forced or otherwise. Jean to whom I believe I have introduced you volunteered. People do. By the 10s of 1,000,000s. Or are volunteered. Naively believing that, like a game, when it's not actually in play that it doesn't matter. Doesn't count. Is not relevant. - I'm a normal person when I'm not in uniform, without my baton, hand-cuffs, when my fists aren't clenched, when the boxing's over. But you're not. I'm not. It warped Jean - taught him things someone as physically impressive as him need never have known, and in practice could have learned to obviate or tried to. Perhaps one student in his seminar would have adopted Jean's disdain of violence, if he'd let that grow, and not thrown that punch that started that fight where the kid got stabbed and all the ladies got frightened. It is not always true- that you Have to do things to understand them. Come close. Maybe.

During the course of the ensuing conversation in the pub, So, amongst other things, spoke in glowing terms of his work mates, of the camaraderie, the jokes, the foolery, the chat and the crack. Peculiar. Not something he normally talked about? - Said he had enough of it at work and preferred not to be one dimensional and boorish about it afterwards. The IRONY was so thick and hard only an idiot or someone who desperately didn't want to hear could have missed it. He was giving her WAY OUT.
Sharon reminded him that he'd said he thought work and all its paraphernalia boring fodder for conversation but he brushed it away with a wave of his hand, saying that he didn't think it was such a good idea to introduce the aul' male bonding when you're just starting up with a girl.
Sharon smiled inwardly, wrongly (very wrongly) thinking how So couldn't have 'started up' with too many girls and therefore was in no position to comment on what was or wasn't a good idea to talk about. Again, the egocentricity prevented her from judging what was actually going on his mind. So pleased was she with her insight that she over looked the key clause of his sentence which was 'when you 'were' starting up with a girl.' Did she think that So had come to think that their relationship had graduated?
it is hard to say.
In a relationship when one partner feels so little for the other, by contrast; take it or leave it, they can lead and dominate by virtue of being so much less into the other. Less to lose I suppose. Considering her coolness and aloofness; setting aside her being mercenary, perhaps she thought So had come to believe that the length of time since their first encounter meant that things had changed. Graduated. This of course negated his essential pragmatism and almost ultimate lack of self deceit. What it was was a cue. He would give her many more. Many more opportunities to acknowledge what she had done to his reputation, his face, his life. If she would just admit it. Say she was sorry. And then agree to keep seeing him sometimes, he would wear his thickest skin and not run away but stay for her. The terror of popular opinion can be a heavy burden to bear. He would pare away his pride as much as he could stand - for her. You see So was as near as makes no difference in love with Sharon. She was aware of this fact - she thought it was funny. in a nervous, sorry sort of a way.
Ridiculous that he should have paid such a high price for her and imagined that there could be any such feeling on her part. He didn't. He couldn't help himself. He was a lonely man and he didn't want to be without her, no matter what the terms or how HE was degraded. "You know that friend of yours - what's his name John... came up to me and said how lucky you were to have a friend who bought you such nice things."
"Oh. That was nice of him to notice." Jesus. Did he really say that?? So Robert what does This mean? I will see whoever I want! Are you trying to ask me not to see him anymore? I won't do that for you. I absolutely will not do that for you or for anyone no matter.... Privately I am your sleeping partner sometimes. Otherwise we socialise. Date. Now this? What does it mean? What do you want? What do you want me to say? Do you want a capitulation from me? - Never. Do you want a renunciation from me of my right to be single? If I stopped openly seeing John would your next logical gift be an engagement ring? Jesus. That would be an awkward moment. I like you. I have learned. Isn't that enough?
Fuck you Robert you really piss me off when you will insist on sticking these pins into yourself!
"Good looking chap. Don't you think?"
WHat? I spose so. Yes." What is THis? Is this a late emerging masochism? Did he hurt you luv? I'm sorry, I cannot be around the whole time to protect your pride from slight. You wouldn't let me even if I was! In fact when things are wrong with you, and I try and smooth things over you invariably get worse. More infuriating anyway. You're so independent and erect - my little man. Why do you have to be like this? So cutting. You only hurt yourself. You know. It's not quite water off a duck's back for me but you make Yourself wince. Com'on tell Sharon - you can tell Sharon - she'll be sympathetic.
Ah fuck you anyway! i give up. All this bloody posturing! SPIT IT OUT!
`I s'pose so.' What sort of an answer is that? If a ride walked in here right now and you asked me if I thought she was good looking - I wouldn't say 'I s'pose so', now would l! - I'd say 'corr isn't she.' - or something like that. John is lucky. He is a Damn good looking fella. No doubt about it. 'I s'pose so' indeed! And a gentleman - he spoke so highly of you. And not a whit jealous that your good friend Robert can give you such pretty little trinkets." I guess his looks more than make up for him being not so skilled. I admire guys like him you know." So much so that I'm going to fuck him!, that is, after I've finished with you delicious. Just admit it. How you blabbed about our little arrangement. Couldn't be satisfied with the goodies, you had to have sympathy aswell - and from Him! That... that snivelling, back biting, ASSShole twerp! Didn't you realise that men who think they will never have to compromise themselves can be so mean and cruel? "SOH handsome and not a bit vain. If I'd been born with looks like his, I'd like to have behaved like him aswell."
"Robert I'm sure I don't quite know what it is" and I don't want to know either "that is up with you today but I wish you'd stop it." There is no need. For Cris'sakes don't you think I'm going to tell John to shut his big fuckin' trap at the first possible opportunity! God you're so infuriating sometimes. So many little intrigues and word games. Jesus, why did you isolate yourself so much before you met me? So that you cannot do Anything straight! SAY! anything straight. "Did you slip out of work early and start drinking or something." Offensive.

"However invaluable I may be, I cannot do that without asking for the sack. But that wasn't a question you were asking me - it's just one of those things you say to annoy me." Not that that matters now. YOU = the pair of you, have destroyed my life here. And one - just one tiny, almost admission on your part of the fact will save me from having to hurt you. Don't you understand, don't you see how your bluff corners me, forces me. You don't. You won't see. "Someone else could do my job. Maybe not as accurately or as quick but they could do it." (And will do it). "The rest of the work force would go nuts if I got away with that." I wonder will they be glad that they have driven me away from my little home, my few mates for over a pint and my bit of a job? Or will they simply not notice that I am not around anymore? Years of my fuckin' life! MY life. Not your precious life. My paltry, dirty little meaningless fuckin' life. And you had to... and he... and he... smilin'at me... think you've won - FUCKer. You'll see... I AM GONNA STUFF YOU PRICK! And bad luck to your mother. I could have smashed your disgustingly perfect teeth in on the spot but I can wait a few hours. My dentist has to hold a relief map in one hand when he's working on my mouth. After all I waited for a woman like her all my life! The next time she sees YOU - FUCKer, she's gonna wish you looked more like me. So. And bad luck to your mother. So loves Hemingway. The Way. A man's way. Do what he must, no matter.... kind o' stuff. .
"Sometimes I really do think you're nuts Robert. Of course I know you don't just take a half day off work to go boozin' and yet you go on with all this... this... stuff!" This is of course not the kind of nonsense you normally go on with though. ?. If you were a woman I'd say.... What is it? What is at the back of your mind? What IS behind all this? Tell me! Please. Pleease tell me. TELL ME! Trust me. Let me be your friend. I'm no good at being your woman. But I could be a good at being your friend. I don't want to hurt you. i won't hurt you. Relax that invulnerable wall of yours for just one minute and stop speaking in jig saws. You are hurting. I know.

What pains you so? i know you. you think I don't? tell me. please.
Oh you exhaust me!
What did he really say to you? Oh SHIT!..
"Don't call me nuts."
I went and said some stupid things to him. Has he hurt you my short gruesome man. Scrue him. Don't pay any attention. Ignore it. I didn't mean it. He just couldn't take me liking you in Any way. I'm sorry! I have to have someone else. I can't have just with you. You have always understood that. You understand. It isn't true. Whatever he said? Just remember to believe that it Isn't true! Everything will be fine in a day or two. You'll see. You must remember only to remember that I sit here now with you and only with you. He is not with my mind when I am with you. TELL ME!
"I'm sorry. It's just... you know... sometimes you hear things and you think it has affected you one way and then you start acting like they said something completely different!" Pause. "You know?" You know. Why won't you just come out and ADmit that you were bad mouthing me to your 'other' lover behind my back. But that is the whole point isn't it - I'm fuck all removed from being your pay master.
DO IT! Tell me! TELL ME! Break all protocol between us and be STRAight. Please Sharon. I never ever intended You any harm. It is not My fault that I am made this way and that I wanted you. That I wanted.... I just wanted you. I just had to have you in order to live. A beautiful alter ego. Another half to be around for a while. I needed... don't MAKE me show you how much you've... I've been... before... so much... my life... anymore. No more.
"No I don't." BAAD decision. "That is if I knew what the hell you were going on about Robert." Show me your cards and I'll show you mine!
Unfortunately Sharon was trapped by the many veils under which their relationship had gone. she danced the dance of the seven veils like no other, but all she knew was a vision of her own loveliness. not the ache of the men who watched her dance. Even allowed them touch, but she never really gave herself to them which would leave them still hungry, even after. ever after. that hunger that she left, made them learn to despair, even to hate and despise Her.
The path to a bald saving honesty was at least partially blocked by by the etiquette which prevented Certain things, which being said, would surely have smashed their brittle little tacit agreement. Problem was as stated, Sharon didn't care enough about Robert to shame herself by reporting her meanness upon herself. Didn't fully believe or understand her motivation for doing what she did. Finally also, So's last shred of dignity would NOT allow him to directly ask for an apology. NOT. NOT. NOT. NEVER. NOT. Not. never. no.. He cared for her too much then to have her on those terms.
Without knowing it, Sharon helped forge the insomniac freak lying under the bed of his companion in a hotel chosen for him, where he is banked: a narrow sliver being moved around the board for elephants to tread on. Before her, he didn't sleep much, but afterwards, the fact of his sleeplessness distressed him, and as for being freak well.... Without realising it fully the precision machine tool maker was allowing himself be made into a precision machine tool. It was So because he was believing that what he really wanted he would never receive gratuitously. What he received gratuitously was pain, hurt, slight, frustration and most deeply disappointment. So no one had anything to give him. Nothing that he wanted.
OUTCAST. Unclean. Lean. Sharps.
He will take... revenge - whatever. No one holds responsibility for him so.. His adopted name IS what he is. It is fair. It is accurate. It will suffice. It is not an arbitrary name tag but the meaning of a man's life. All those trillions of instants. All those billions of fully rounded thoughts, emotions, dreams, fears, regrets, instants. He feels ill used by the Gods and man and has become perfectly honed to have no respect for either. In fact - Pay Back! This is So's way and he will NEVER go back on it, recant, feel guilty, be merciful because it contains his last shred of strength he walked away from Sharon with. An ugly, slighted piece of STEEL. All the more dangerous because he can paralyse you with a look.

And So when he became Their confederate they gave him the call sign: EEL. A bite that is at once swift and inseparable. Silent, unemotional, ugly, mean, slippery, persistent, patient and, if you swim into its waters or it swims into yours - Night.
“It was nothing. Nothing at all. I guess I was just making up some bull shit to excuse me being weird. I'm s'rry Sha'; have another drink babe."
"Make mine a double!"
english measures are pifflingly small anyway.
Good, you're gonna need it. My sweet. THIS obligatory tab I don't mind picking up. "What are you trying to do get me drunk! Double doubles it is then.'

- I'm glad. We haven't gone on the rip together for ages." Who's fault is that. One last night together. I AM glad. Without your make up you look even more beautiful. What a mess. God what a pity. Fuck you. Liar. "We shall have the Bestest of times tonight. No problem!
"Yes Robert?'
"How do I look to you?"
Never the kind of thing you usually say?! But .... .. “You look fine Robert.

Just fine.”
"Thanks. It's nice of you to say so." Even though we both know it not to be true. That's what I hate - God if you'd even just said 'horrible', I think I could have forgiven you. Just one shred of honesty. Just one four square moment of decency. Within indecency.
"I sometimes wonder what it must be like - feel like to be as good looking as you or... John for that matter." But he may as well be scarred beyond recognition.. "I mean, like having people who admire you all the time - all over the place. To be able to have whoever you want - at the touch of a button... so to speak. To be a part of so many unknown fantasies?"
“It's not like that.” As well you know. I thought you were going to stop with this stuff. What is it Sweets? I don't need all this probing. I should go home before you make a scene but you seem upset or... or something? You are upset. I cannot be sure... what it is but I will know as soon as I speak to that fool John! You're not normally like this.
I'll stay but please stop it.
"What is it like then?" Tell me. Tell me why? Tell me of your arrogance. ..of your callousness. Tell me how you can be so unfeeling. I am a person too. I AM A FUCKIN' PERSON TOO! I AM a fuckin' person too you know.. Bitch. I wear two masks: this hideous thing that I could tear from my bones and gristle and the wet blanket I've worn over my emotions ever since I've known how, and you do not know HOW Much i feel. And i love you. There! Your ultimate victory. The ultimate tribute to woman. But you will never know and i will never tell you. Quite the contrary: you will have pain by my hand and you will taste of my hate because you have made me suffer like I was sure I never would again. I have suffered every single day since I laid eyes on you; that was not your fault but this thing that you have done.. It is beyond bearing. I cannot let this go without it's being self suicide. My suffering is done, now only the pain remains. The pain again. I lived with it for years and so I will again but no more will I be foolish and live in hopes. In dreams. Robert has died finally and from the ashes I will CRUSH....
"For a start" as you insist "you can never always have what you want. People - the world brings you up to think that the beautiful people are always happy - having fun - and with each other. Only problem is is that people are always lying to you. The working model is .002% of women. 'Don't you think you'd be a little more comfortable darling with a little less on.' They adopt a personality or behave in a way that they think will make you like them. Then they'll judge you so much more harshly when you're not around" or in their heads at least. when your exquisite shoulders have turned you mean.
It can be impossible to know where you really stand." Especially with men. "They try to manage you properly, like you were" some "a brittle thing", idiot child "or something. Other people behave much more realistically to each other."
"Don't stop." I've often used to dream of being other than I am - of being attractive even. Of being able to pick up a woman without thinking she has taken pity on me. Or is dead in the water herself. or i'm the last thing between her fall from grace and an overdose. This is as close as I'm ever going to get. Call it a parting gift. "No please.
Do go on."
"Well... like you see someone - or you know someone who you like, and they have this really false picture of you in their heads. And then when you try and explain who you actually, really are, on the inside, and you try and tell them what you - the real You need, there's consternation... Good God she couldn't... how could she?... she wouldn't....
Or like you know this nice fella and you become friends. But he's all the time trying to hide the fact that he's into you. He's sensitive. And then for no apparent reason he goes all sour on you. But it's really because he hasn't got the courage to ask you to be his lover - you know. He's so afraid of being rejected that he blows the Whole deal even though that isn't what he wants. And he blames you! Even comes to despise the ground you walk on, when he tried, secretly to worship it before. Or you find out second hand that someone who has made themself your friend has been angling all the time to get you into bed, or has even told people that he already has! Unless you have a steady boyfriend you can have a sex life that you are completely unaware of! Other women can be under the impression that you're a complete slag even though you've kept your own council for ages. And they fend you off with their cold shoulders and dry smiles. And you're really disappointed because you thought it was cool just to be the guy's friend and that he liked You, and didn't just want into your knickers like most of the rest of the blokes around. And it's crazy because it often would be cool if their jealous macho shithead mates didn't subtly (or UNsubtly) try and make them feel like they were less of a man if they didn't try and hop you. And there's those times when nice shy blokes make these horrible sloppy passes at you. And you have to be faintly amused and polite and Firm, when what you really want to do is SCReeeam. It's disgusting. But you are not allowed. Women aren't. We're supposed to be demure and patient and soft and dolly and forbearing. And this guy's got you up against the wall at some party and he's breathing practically bloody neat alcohol down the front of your blouse. And you can SMELL him. And he's, like sweating on you. And it's horrible. It really is obscene. And he's trying to manoeuvre his groin through you and the wall at your back and you're looking over his shoulder this way and that desperately trying to catch the eye of a friend - to come and rescue you. And you have these little hands and these weak arms out in front of you trying to fend the brute off your body. And some women and men look you right in the eye and they know EXACtly what's going on. And they look away. Think it's funny maybe." Spiteful. Good enough for ya! Jealous. "And maybe you do raise your voice or give him a shove and he looks so disdainfully at you. Shocked. Tight. - Bitch. Or ever so genially, a guy steals you away, and it's just beautiful because he has Respect for your feelings and he wants you too and he can't stand to see you manhandled and pressurised and freaked out in that way. He would, could never behave that way to you. He wants to bash the guys face in but he plays the fool because he knows that if he makes a scene you'll be blamed - for being a tease in the first place! And he makes little jokes and he won't hold eye contact with you but keeps looking down maybe dances with you for a while. And sometimes he dances well. And sometimes he has a nice physique. And you think - well.. His ambition for you which he is trying valiantly to hide is so palpable that you could touch it; take a hold of it and shake it. It's so damn sweet and charming and lovable that you'd lie down on the floor and do it with him right there and then because he is a good, decent man and he really likes You -you're not just a flashy sex object conquest thing. But he can't make a pass at you because that would be cheating betraying your confidence in him. He won't believe your little encouragements because 'She couldn't be into me. ?. I'm too... she wants... He's so busy telling himself why not, that he won't listen to how you're saying 'YES'. You don't make a
more direct advance because you've been trained to be taken, to surrender; not to initiate, to lead. And then it's gone. Your frustrated at him too for not being more of a 'MAN'. (Whatever that is when it's at home? I've never known. You’re all boys as far as I'm concerned!

I'm dying to be proved wrong!) And maybe at the end of the night he's had a few more himself and having gone away and thought about it alone, he's finally clicked some signal that you made two Hours earlier; so he makes this pleading, scared little pass. And it's awful because you're not in the mood for him anymore, so you pretend not to recognise it for what it is. You can see how disappointed he is. It took such bravery. Courage. Now HE thinks you're a tease. He'll slink away from you, flushed maybe, like a beaten dog and you can't help feeling sorry for him. That's the worst thing. Feeling sorry for them. Nice guys...'get washed away like the snow and the rain.' He won't like you so much anymore but his desire for you will probably have increased and it will have made him sharp and polite or fawning and sarcastic in the future. It can be absolutely horrible, confusing, unbearable but mostly just plain disappointing. That's why so many attractive women go with such thick skinned, self confident men. The way we're brought up, they're simply easier to deal with. You don't have to spend half your energy or half your time bolstering their ego because they're not quite ever sure that they deserve you or that you're into them. It can be so God awful boring."

FUCKIN'HELL! Jesus. I wasn't expecting THAT. From YOU. CHRIST! How do you feel about me? Unfortunately I can't ask you now without the possibility of scaring you off. Eventually she will sniff the rot. The disease in me. I have plans for you. My gorgeous mean darling. You have grown in my mind that what you did WAS vengeful and not merely accidental or sympathy seeking. I cannot know and I cannot believe that you'd answer truthfully if I asked straight out. Contradictly, the sympathy which you have made me feel for you in your beautiful dilemma has made me all the more determined to teach you the UGLY lesson. I don't know what your direct intention was, but I feel that you intended, in some small way at least, to wound me, because you obviously feel that you deserve so much better. So much better for why? So much better for what? So much better because of your birth right? So much better than what I can offer. Yet you take what I can give anyway and pretend to be 'Goldie Locks' and that it is all such a 'horrible, awful' burden to you.
or can you really hate me?
Like those OTHER men you talked about. Did you not realise, with all your painfully won insight into men 'boys'what HE is?! Jon. Were you blind to what an irresistible temptation it would be for him to stab me in the back. Drive the carve in from behind. How heinous an act was that? How much wracking of his pathetic little mind must he have put himself through to find out why you should share yourself with me and his sexiness. Ha! I'm glad for that. How much wracking of his conscience must he not have gone through before he blew the whistle on me? When it comes down to it are you as blind and naive as everyone else (probably purposely) and you didn't even realise that you were using him as an extension of your 'little hands and weak arms'. Or was it lack of mental resolve and pathetic weak arms? It couldn't have been little hands because yours are majestic and elegant - that right? Unfortunately for you, I refuse to slink away from you like 'a beaten dog'. animal. I will walk away. My head will be high and my back Straight, even though I must lose the two things I care about - my bit of job and you. Work and sex - Ha! Christ add T.v. and you got the mix that keeps the western world going. God I'm a cliche! What a time to come to this little discovery. bit of a job and you. ..Christ you - I love you. loved you. No love. I will walk away. Which is not what you expect. You do not expect my dignity. So maybe that will teach you something. Maybe you will become a little less superior and a little more human. Also, it will make me a little less human which it seems is what 'I' need to be to survive. I must survive. I Will survive.
god help me.
and you I will divorce myself from the rights and freedoms of your world because to what I want I am polluted, so - I will make my own rules and just Take what I want. OR deface it. Do what I want. Do what I MUST. Do what i shall. (Jesus I don't believe that I'm going to do what I am.) Do you want to know why? Because I AM A MAN. Believe it or not. I am or am no longer one of your 'boys' because I have strength independent of the umbilical. Of your umbilical. I am not lucky. I have not been Blessed. But this thing I Know about myself and had you been blind in your eyes you might have known it too. But then again had I been blind I would not have tried to buy you. Rent you. Lease you. Why could I not have been able to ignore looks as i have my own? Almost. Well there you go. Q.e.d.. Could I not have found some dog with a nice body and in the dark.... And I would have been So good to her that she would have learned to love me. And feeling love is what she wants. Why did I have to have the instincts of the connoisseur? I am a connoisseur! Unfortunately. Everything could have been alright if.... So. As the Spanish say: 'Que va!': is life. - Hemmingway again. Life's weird! Is Hell. And as for him - the 'thick skinned, self confident' one.... I'm gonna give him THE fright of his Life. Que va for you too my ENEMY. MY ENEMY. ENEMY.. enem ene
akin to madness. of pain. corralled. already done.
"The way you talk... wistful like... a bit disappointed or something... do you think you would have been happier growing up... if you'd been a little less attractive... had less attention directed towards you? If you'd been given a little more space to get on with being... becoming you?"
Sharon in her deepest, grossest ignorance of him, turned and fixed him with her glistening eyes and with a wry smile proved her Great unknowledge of him. Glittering orbs. Robert foolishly enough, wanted to hear her compare herself a small way back to how he'd grown and lived. But instead, fairly enough by her lights, she took it to be an opportunity to place the onus onto other people. It was a sad moment for So. The final punctuation.
but the engine can run on sadness a lot longer than it can on despair. this is the truth of the loner.
and love? love is a memory. to be cherished. (if known.)
but not over used.
He was used to it, but the sinking feeling came just the same: 'tis not as deep as a well nor as wide as a church door but 'twill do'. So doesn't remember whether it's the exact quotation but 'twill do. Mercutio - the wounded between Sharon and John's houses. Flailingly, he hoped she would see that a little less could have been a little more. But then, would he have admired her so deadly, hunted her, entrapped her, if she had been a little less? perhaps.
Faithfully though, a little more to offer on his side and a little less sexiness on hers
could they have been Lovers? Was that what, in the round about way he had to go; what he meant - what he wanted to say?
possibly. but that is another life.
She came back in answer to his question, unassailably in the knowledge of her undiscovered noble birth with: "If people were a little more generous," less unkind “more one faced," less two faced "more appreciative of my space and feelings" less ignoble "then there would be no need for me to be less ‘attractive’” strut my stuff and have the attention I wanted, from whoever I wanted it from "would there?"
Great. Just what I needed to hear! yeah just what i needed to hear. Why do I bother to try and tap the spring of humility in this woman? You're doing it because you are trying to build up your courage. Trying to concrete what you have planned, which you still find extreme, but which, no matter what anyone else will think, you believe to be fair. Know to be fair.
When has fair been the yard stick of this life? let her disgust and contempt of weakness be yours.
So. You will do what a man has gotta do. This man. It won't make you happy. But you are used to this. For when have you been? when have you been. In her smooth arms, sometime late at night maybe, when she had forgotten to go home. and lay slowly breathing in her sleep. And was innocent of you. But she knew it was good to have a man by her side. As she slept. And in her rest was free and secure once more. But that doesn't matter now. does it? gone.
And a slow song began in his head, I wish I could describe it to you, it had a beat but was faint and always began when he had something to do; it was; is the march of retribution, if you like. Evil things have been done while this song has played in men's heads. and it has played in many.

What is it they say in the qualities 'scarce commodities command a high price' cuts both ways! Literally. So: "People are very grasping. It can lead them to be unfeeling. I'm sure it is very annoying to be plagued by the unwanted" unsolicited "attentions of men. Especially on a... physical level. It's so unfair; being at such a disadvantage where defending yourself is concerned. I'm sure I couldn't understand... or appreciate what that's like... or how it must make you feel!" Oh yeah.
Slowly the innuendo dies down. Even So forgot it. never. Or contrived to forget it. Or nothing. The flotillas of drinks helped him to remember his higher purpose. Or to forget both and to drift in a regular type sodden evening. He got her drunk Hahaaa. aa. Long before the night was done, he suggested going back to the flat for a breather. Did she suspect something might be up? A little giftee perhaps. She readily agreed, for she was both tired and drunk. She had no energy to falsify a mood. It was misty, dense with pollutants outside. Unreal. The river spilling a cool most tangible froth.
As they opened the door - a queen with her king - or suitor, their barman who'd served them faithfully and latterly in silence, wished it was he helping on her coat going to some alien cot, dance hall, burger bar. In his middleagedness, his overweightedness, his employedness and his very marriedness to a woman he knew but long since had given up the pretence to himself that he loved; there was no escape, no release, no hope of it. This story could have been about him - his customers lives, pork pies, getting bets in before the runners are let go - on the basis of dubious tips and even more dubious analysis of form, football, slag off humour, sex once a week and.... But he didn't take long long walks, forgetting the time because he was lost in reverie, he didn't become madly embroiled in the classics, the romantics, he didn't slowly fish the canal in peace and admire the felicity of the swans but thought of how they ate. He hadn't framed a way to work with kids even though he had none and loved them once. Jean would have made him laugh, praised his lady wife's cuisine, made gestures, shared smut even made him shine and show his barman's stripes and deliver his observations of pub life man. So hated him now with his back - this barperson - a tree rooted so deep and charge of destinyless - never knowing the dash through the clearing or even, the clearing itself. The barman didn't hail them good bye, even though it came to him - he was the one after all, who'd felt the slight for another man who was in luck. No we will not stay with him. We will not stay with him because and you have heard it many times before:
The candle burns twice as bright,
Burns half as long.
or in so's case: at both ends.
Breath came in plumes although it seemed not that cold. Swathes of breath like horses. Anyway, So steered her through the streets and alleyways, past strangers - bulky ghosts, some people they vaguely may have known coming out to the pubs and going. Up through the doors into the bedroom. Did she expect slightly distasteful - sex? It was not the sex she found distasteful actually but the choice of partner. The sex itself was exciting - there were no bounds. Except some of the excite was separated from the ment. She had learned to enjoy it with Robert. Somehow. To her credit. Whatever she was expecting she wasn't expecting a teeth shuddering punch in the jaw. ddd. No she didn't. The floor jumped up to hit her ‘SMASH' on the other side of her head. It was not part of slapping her around, even of beating her up - he wanted to abjectify her. Face. It hurt - she was not used to this kind of pain. She whimpered like a virgin school girl who has turned on an older boy who's pressing hard for his go of sex. Did she think of rape? Not apparently. She did say "no" though. That's what you're told. It's not what she got. She lay on her side on the floor - bleeding. She gurgled and spat out the thick mix of saliva and blood which was filling her mouth and a tooth. It had been a vicious, unrestrained and undefended blow. No warning. So was strong. Fit. She didn't stare at him with her eyes or plead with them - she hit him with them. He was unabashed, and the side of his face started to curl up most pleasurably in a sneer. he could easily have beaten her to death at that point.
He didn't have to, because just then she was the powerless one. He fairly brutally tied her hands behind her back with the belt from his bath robe that was hanging ont door and gagged her with a dish towel. "Don't want you screaming your little head off and force me to murder you." Do we?
"You mean you're not." she mumbled.
"Depends. Depends on how I feel."
"What are you going to...."
She did squeak on being tied, like a shop mannequin might when it is moved from window to window. Did rape pass through his mind then. Not really. He thought he was in the wright and that such an action or actions could only demean him. His actions were designed to be purely explanatory. Robert as was, was going to cut her face. Perhaps then her power as a floating wreck would be diminished. Stripe. Other men might wonder why she had been slashed. But he couldn't. He loves things of beauty too much. He could not even carry out his revenge, come lesson. Even then he failed himself. his heart was broken as he went through with the alternate.
He loves pretty things like a child loves strange, new bright things and will turn them over in his hands for ages - staring at them in wonder. And really, as always he cursed and blamed his own ugliness. Himself. So. What to do next? He had to do something or she would have an even bigger laugh at him for being weak and not following through with his diabolic plan. whatever it was.
Kneeling down - his hands as clamps he caught the front of her shirt and in that vice, he tore the front right out. And the bra. The tearing of the tight crimped elastic was better than sex. Now. That did scare her somewhat more for some reason. Her breathing became very irregular when he produced the knife. Indeed. The precise beauty of the wicked wafer of K47 steel in his deft hand could only be rivalled by the sleek lines of her breasts on their curved cage. He thought it would be easy again - up to this part. He sat back on her abdomen and cleared his mind. Emptied his mind. Acres of work had trained that hand, that arm, that hand. Endless hours, fields of toil have turned a part of him into a mechanical man and now if he could only access it .. ... To carve. He concentrated and squeezed his eyes tight shut for a moment and then he began to slice. Even still, he was glad of the warm steady pulse and rush of the alcohol. There was almost no need for sawing. Gentle pressure is all that was needed at first, but then more. Her body spasmed at its touch. She whimpered convulsively. He cut from the armpit deep into the flesh of her chest to the nipple and through it. The blood spilled in profuse chains of drops down the side of her body onto the carpeted floor. He thought of drinking it... of lapping it up like some kind of carnivore. of killing her.
She wouldn't bleed to death from the wound but it was a gouge. The tension of her skin pulling it wide. Perhaps some lover of hers would see it and think what a bitch she could be to a guy to make him do that. To deface such a beauti.... Despite So, the incision, so precisely made, would look to anyone like a surgical scar.
wasn't enough.
He didn't think he should do it, would do it. But then something new came to the surface. The only word for it is Aggression. Adrenal fed. The word doesn't sound as wanton, as savage as it was. He drew his arm back and slashed her face from the upper part of her cheek to the bone and to the point of the jaw at the chin. Blood lashed onto the floor and jumped onto his face and into his eye. He wiped and blinked it away with a bemused smile and a short laugh. Finally and irrevocably he was in control. He did it even though, not only did he not think he could not do it but that it was wrong. Better it made him feel and indeed shocked him at what he was capable of. Shocked in the sense of awe at how empowered he had become. His sense of wrongness was countermanded by what he felt had been done to him. So there was nothing his rage, his sense of wright couldn't persuade him to do. He didn't have the romantic thought of killing her and then himself.
Not anymore.
That would have been far too flippant. Far too arbitrary. He had come to the answer for the rest of his life - take, escalate, 'I' matter most.
"You have taken all I had for myself - the respect of the Men.... That and the part time of a prostitute. You and that bastard (who I am also going to sort out) have taken away everything a guy like me can reasonably expect to have in this life. Yes, I have not forgotten your pretty Boyfriend. I can smell him even this far from the Oaks. I ought to kill you but you are not worth it. Neither of you. There are other towns, others teams... other whores.
I would love to let you speak at this point. But that's a lie. Anyway you might as a final stupid gesture, force me to kill you by screaming your dumb fuckin' 'ead off; mightn't you my pretty - eh-eh." He poked her playfully in the solar plexus as he spoke.
He sat back on her upper legs, admiring his first attempt at surgery and the military slash. He was pleased, on the verge of tears. tears of loss, amazement, joy, horror - futurity.
- The slow clotting of the red liquid against her pale tit, he found most engrossing beyond the beyonds of fascinating. A little drunk, so the freakish or garish nature of the situation was mostly lost on him. Lit up a cigarette and used her concave bellybutton as an ash tray. What an exquisite belly to..
His mood was high - plans half-completed. Cigarette finished he wanted to stab it out in her stomach but he couldn't. Wouldn't I mean. That would again have been far too petty. To cause pain when humiliation was sufficient. That is not what he had sought or had become. If you can understand. Please. He did want to fuck her now but by not, it might leave him with that little bit of hunger that he would need for a target that not only might but Could fight back. you always wanted that just one more fuck. with her. anyway
His hand reached forward in a trance. His hand moved forward in a trance. Was he going the whole way? Was he going to go the whole way? His alien fingers eased the gag down. He knew he would drive the blade into her chest. He knew where. Could feel the hollow. This is insane - she is not worth murder. I don't want to.
She tilted her head back. So almost slit her throat but was fixed, waiting over a beautiful gap between her ribs.
She coughed. Winced. Spat. Drooled. Looked up. At So's face, but not in anger.
In sorrow. Deep.
"I only feel sorry for you.
This was not necessary.
I could have stayed with you for a long time.
I did care for you.
Maybe not the way you wanted, the way I wanted, but I tried.
It would have been good for you.
I would have been good for you.
Perhaps you would have ignored brutality.
You have hurt me. I will remember you everytime..
You have punished me for my nature. My lack of satisfaction. Let my defacement be an end, a letting of your bitterness."
"no.", he said quietly and replaced the rag, his face averted from hers to the side. She had taken his energy, his hostility away. And now all he felt was drained.
So could not believe her calm, her resignation. How ... ? Could he have had an argument with her instead and halved his wallet with her at regular intervals afterwards?
No. It could not have lasted. Could not have lasted. The artifice was necessary in the short term. Things had turned nasty because of aspirations... impossible aspirations and because of, I bore you I know pride - the bottom line of insult that people have. He turned slowly... away from her, with his right forearm and hand he swept the desk clear. He didn't have to say 'the slate's clean now'.
So. Now. The man traitor, bastard. He knew where his prey would be drinking that night. Good. He felt power once more... over someone else's immediate destiny. Future; of shock, of pain, of fear. Disembodied. Felt power perhaps for the first time in his adult life. Did he savour it? Not really it was too much of a rush. But he would. At least it was a direction to go in. Filled him up.
the red eye was oscillating in and out of his self. Down came the shield of the shades. He would not let him see. No he will not see the devil in me. One of the blue eyed devils. Coming. In his youth sometimes he had to hide from the victim his eyes. In time he learned to cloud them as also he did his craft.
"Just one more thing - you'll not be left here to croak. My ever so smutty landlord will be detailed to find you here in the morning. He'll take several good looks at You I'm sure and what a time he'll have freeing you, staring at your tits, ogling your pussy - hoping all the while that you'll throw yourself into the arms of your saviour. I'll save you the hunt around for old clothes to cover yourself with - I'll take or destroy everything." And he did. He packed what he wanted and cut up the rest. Then he tore down the rest of her dress - and ripped her panties off. of course. "No, you'll have to go in your clothes (or what's left of them) and His jacket.
They'll ask you questions - the hospital staff and the police and think you are lucky that you weren't 'interfered with' in any other way. - Ha! Another counsellor, another charge obviated." To see her quivering vulnerable body shrinking away - a body that in pose could inspire desire, admiration even - you would not have had to have been a particularly gentle person to offer her a blanket then. Pity. He wanted her to be mortified at the last and cold - he opened the window. As she would be discovered to it, so he had discovered it. He needed her naked body anymore not, he had learned to replace feelings, emotions with ones more appropriate to what he had to do, how he had to live.
like someone else.
The joke had been on him. Had always been or so it seemed. But he had the sense of humour now and he would be fucked if he would lose it. He looked at her trussed, lying on her side again, where she'd turned in abjection; having seen no pity roused in him, for what he had done to her in anger; no remorse for the pain the memories he had created would cause. For the memories he would create, for the losses others would sustain at the hand of So. At So's hand. His lust for her was gone. She had become merely - old baggage too dusty too kick. But he did it anyway. She was crying then. At the arbitrariness he had newly learned. Get the dig in above all, and think whether or not you should have afterwards. Or better still don't think about it at all.
know how, just DO M, walk away. think much later
Her convulsive sobbing became a groan. Pathetic: he thought and turned away. She was sobbing slowly. Reluctantly. Painful tears. She had been strong and reasonable and over fair in an effort to staunch him. Very over fair. She didn't care for John - he was just something to do - there was no love there, not even friendship it appeared, but she still didn't want anyone else to be hurt, even though he'd dropped her in it. As dropped in it as you get. Or almost. She had risked death, and she did not want to die, to prevent So.
Sharon is a good woman today, less green - maybe you've seen her scarred but not marred, deeper, still beautiful in a worldly way - not perfect, but having her good points. Moments. Side.
I've seen her or someone like her and fancied her more for her learning. 'Flaunt the imperfection.' if that is not in poor taste.
So's stomach dropped. He had not defeated her. In fact she had behaved
admirably. Which is what he wanted to make her. On one level. Then why did He feel so empty, so sick, so beaten? There was just sorrow again and a dull tired pain in his head for to be completed of revenge. To be finished. Freed. And to leave. Permission to retire. Permesso de depart. Yes, maybe he would go to a foreign country. To a foreign land. Shore. Where no one knew him. Become a mercenary. Join the Legion. Where a hideous face would be appropriate. An asset. Maybe. But then out of place, out of no where he thought of the very word 'foreign'. It broke the rules. 'I' was supposed to go before ‘e’ except after 'c' - but it
didn't; not in foreign anyway. They lied to children - adults did - to help them learn, be safe, grow up. They were wright about the boogey man though. It's me. Just now. Today. Tonight. Tonight, tonight, tonight. 'Bring on The night,
I couldn't Stand
Another hour
Of daylight.'
'Foreign' - hmmm - he would make forays there. Teach them to remember the Great British Empire. Remind them of the terror of Her. Of him. But first he would join a gang. They would admire his coolness in cruelty. And fear him. No, he would stay with his people the English. The Englanders. He would teach them the meaning of the word 'cold'. Show them. He would dig in. He would be an ingrowing form. To the marrow.
and deeper. to enforce terror upon the person, on top of cruelty.
He had discovered his new talent. Recently. He would embark on a new career. Cast off. Into an ocean of souls - of sinners who were not ready for him. Could not be prepared. There lay his advantage. He knew - 'fuck you'. Faster, Harder, further. For longer. First. 'FUCK YOU!!'. Always. Hate. Despise. Stamp. Crush. Until you know they know not to get in your way, trip you up, give you cheek, omit to pay tribute, or in any way interrupt your CRUISE. That was it he Would be a paid surgeon cutting like a hot knife through a dry ice of sheep.
To be.
Hail me.
or suffer....
Then he went over and slowly, gently dragged down the gag again. It hooked, sexily as he thought, over her polished teeth and lower lip. Looking her dead straight in the eye for a trace - for a flicker of resistance, of fight. Did he want her to cry out? So that he would be forced to silence her? murder her.
She coughed alittle cough and said: "I only feel sorry for you.", again. So laughed and slapped her wounded cheek. Not hard - just slapped. She had nothing further to say. Add. So replaced the gag.
- He left. His walls. His ceiling. His lightbulb. His kitchen. His desk. His covert. His refuge from having Simply to go on. The papers. He smiled a little crooked smile for a pathetic artifice which had helped drive him, wrightfully he then thought from home.
Grim. Grimness. Grimace.
He'd already swept the papers onto the floor so he smashed the side of his hand down it. A blow that undefended, unwarned, would have snapped your neck. And killed you. and u would have been unglorious and dead. His stamp of eternal good bye. He was learning. His punctuations were already becoming mortal blows. Learning. Preparing. To give abandon. To cripple, mutilate, ...immobilise an enemy.
A client.
The slate's all clean now honey - O.K., "You're free to seek new meat.
I'm sure you'll be more careful how you treat it when you find it.
Or what.
You'll have a so-so handicap. You'll feel it when you're coming up the hill at the end of the straight. You'll feel me. Lead weights on your thoroughbred back. You'll turn the other cheek. You'll know the meaning of it. In the disco. In the D. I. S. C. O. - when you see him coming over out of the corner of your eye and he'll be dancing kind o', but heading, definitely heading straight for what he thinks, in his youth and handsomeness and greenness and running and bucking and his belief in a good result and invulnerability - and he hasn't seen your stripe - your character line - you'll feel it then - feel me - in the pit of your stomach because, there'll be that moment when he tries not to do a double take and a part of you will hope that he won't forgive you history and will stay immune to reconciliation, accidents and incidents. That part of you will be glad that he goes - Whew! close one - escapeably, rudely, dodgely and swims away - and you'll be glad that he doesn't forgive you and passes on and stays away from young women who've suddenly become middle aged. Or will you mother him, when in his goodness and pride of it; he softens and tries to make it up to you - for the badness, unkindness of an uncaring, unfair, vicious, un-cricket world. And the thing is if he knew I was around, and had any sense, it would teach him to be afraid rather than compassionate. And there'll be another part of you - just as keen just as heart felt, that will wish that you were a man because then you'd just be another Huzzar bearing proudly a duelist's scar or a gash from a notorious, glorious milit'ry campaign. Or more likely a street fight.
I'm sorry if I didn't hurt you enough. - For you have destroyed a romantic which is the sin which makes the world what it is. Or at least, drives away some chance of reparation from the inside. There was no room for him in your.heart. How do you like this Man? You are a Frankenstein and you, not he will bear the scars. This time. When you notice them, remember that there are far more wounding ones inside. I should know, for I am your monster. I will care less for the nicety of the asking but for the size of my slice of the cake. You think it is a small thing compared to that which I have done to you? - but I plan on living a long time to teach many what you have taught me - Estella that you are. I will be famous in jittery whispers. When people check under their beds at night - it will be me that they are looking for.
Nothing to say?
I'm sure you'll have found your tongue by the time you talk to the Filth both of you! Or will you let it go as no one around here will ever see or hear of me again. Except perhaps in the odd bad dream - eh?
But perhaps one day when you are old and ugly I will come back to gawk at you just one last time. Or maybe i will be erased by someone before that sweet opportunity makes her way forward to meet me. I'd kind of like to be erased now... by someone good - it goes without saying... not in the 'two shoes sense of course that would be Too Sickening... it will have to be someone good ... I feel myself getting ... growing harder, slipperier... more devious all the time ... by the second I mean .... I've only just started... the clock is ticking"... ticking on ... ticking on in my brain ... 3) primary ignition start 2) ignition 1)... "My... how many are there of me?... i wonder... how many of them will there be?... how many of them will i meet?... how will we get on?... what will they teach me?... what Can they teach me?... what will I teach them? by then.... Will i have partners?... Accomplices?... Molls? Bosses?... Vassals?... Right arm men... Oooh it makes me giddy just thinking about it! Somehow the life of the controlled sadist isn't going to be all that glamourous methinks but... and however, I have a feeling there will be moments. Some humorous I hope. However sarcastic. Gotta have a laugh... sometimes. All be it on someone else.
Adieu chicken. Adieu.
Got a date. Gotta go.
- Oh, and by the way - you weren't That good in bed - a lot of it must have in my head. I did fancy you a lot after all. A lot. I'll give you that! Don't know that I'd go out with you now though - you're gonna look like a knacker. There must be some excuse... some explanation for my infatuation... my blindness....
How I lose the run of myself. I AM sorry. Don't want to miss him his appointment with doctor... no I won't say it."
And then he did something - he winked at her and smiled broadly. It lacked ingeniousness, artiface which is what surprised her, because at the turn of a coin for a moment - he was just a normal person - the man - the self deprecating man she knew. Once knew. And then she thought: God help them! He is serious. He Will do as he says. What have we done? He shouldn't have become this. God forgive me... if I'd known... if i'd only known... I... i'd never.... God help them.
Have pity on me. Forgive me. forgive
"We must do this again sometime.
No. I guess this is good bye. I've brought you to your threshold i think. If I haven't I'm sorry - I apologise - I'll learn - in time. Given time. No point in labouring the issue. But maybe I'll come back and when you carefree open the door - I'll flash you a grin and Knife you in your pregnant belly."
That is nasty. I'm sorry. It's what he said.
His bathroom. His bed. His worn..... He left.

Now you may have noticed something here. Small. Nagging. Have you asked yourself: has this person gone off the deep end? I have. Asked myself this I mean. Transcribing him, frankly, I am perturbed. Worried even. Has he gone insane? He certainly is beyond the normal range. too right!
Or more importantly ... or more to the point - how many are there of me? Of him? I mean. Of course.

In his head it thrummed. A manic falsetto. It screamed to have its share of the fun. Not the cool sardonic cut or the swipe of corporal punishment but the bludgeon and the mind altering yell of adrenaline. There was no thought of loss, no entertainment of the possibility of defeat - with the heavy metal bar in the pocket to laden and harden the fist. The thought of mashing his head between dock and concrete, of mushing his features into a pizza face was like extra smooth chocolate ice cream. Chocolate chip, extra smooth, ice cream. Crushing that man into the pavement was the only thought in his mind. His ultimate desire. The bastard's face covered in blood and his nose smashed and pulverised all over the place was his dearest wish. It was 3D, feeley, gel, hologram, quadraphonic, acid, ecstasy, weed, speed, B.C.P., crack, cocaine, formula I, Harley, jet fuel, Lear jet, Mirage, F 14, F15, F 16, SS 20, I.C.B.M., Minute Man I, II, and III, N.A.S.A., all at once, in short. And more. The chemicals pulsing, rushing in So's body and brain made him supercharged. Almost superhuman. The bugs he crushed underfoot as he marched were lucky. They didn't know much about it. Nor did they have the nervous system to feel pain like we do, or the brain to experience the almost infinite shades of fear and most cunningly, the depths and disturbing recurrence of paranoia.
Going to the bar So was buzzed. High. As I've tried to explain. Opening the door the smoke and the smell of alcohol swelled his nostrils. Business. Walking coolly up to Jon he placed his hand ever so gently on his shoulder like a woman or a submissive friend or a play actor trying to be effeminate. And when the mark turned around So squeezed into the bar and deftly had a double brought to him, which he instantly wolfed down. The liquor never touched his palate but its fire was appropriate. Would Jon like to go outside - and talk. - O.K.. He would. Amongst these people how could he say no - and there lay So's advantage. A slim one. Just not not done. Real man propriety. John expected a straight up punch up - straight away. The thought crossed his mind to level Robert as he went through the doorway. No. Maybe he did just want to talk? Did a small sense of guilt hold him back from taking the initiative and decking his adversary. A tincture maybe. Because he Was his adversary and he Knew it. As it turned out this was an expensive turn of conscience. Of fairness. Of chance. Of guilt. Of giving a man a fair chance. A fair go. Were these appropriate sentiments in a war. He had petitioned the members of the United Nations - coming clean, pressed - the moral arbitrary and they in their turn, had come to (an apparently) unanimous decision, on the shop floor, as it were. Was. The council in closed sessions had imposed sanction - disdain, the cold shoulder and most cleverly, as always, cloudy diplomatic communications edged with biting, yet deft and subtle innuendo. snow ball.
But these sessions had eventually to become known to the ostracised party. The lonely man perspiring at his work desk. I mean, round table discussions even on a reduced scale to the U.S.U.N. are bound, eventually, to become known to the interested party. I mean - stands to reason. They don't call them interested parties for nothing. I mean interested parties are interested. After all. It would take a real moron not to realise that they were in coventry. Eventually. John had blithely opened So's underbelly - stoic friendship and camaraderie on the job but refused to cut his head off - hurt and humiliate him further by giving him the digs. He should have. They would have understood - the man on the street - the man in the pub, because it was obvious there were two competitors for one meal and they had already decided, after all, to go for Mr. All American Colgate Smile who should Obviously carry on with Miss Beauty Shop Queen - unimpeded. Monogamously.
After going through the door So was planning on beating the fuck out of him. Simply. But he was subtle. He wanted to bait him a little first. Insult him a little maybe. Get his hackles up a touch. Instinct prevailed - don't taunt a lion when all you've got is a pea shooter behind your back. Instead, So reached into his pocket and fished out a cigarette and touched, with his fingers metal. And what a comfort it Was. It felt cold. Hard. Rounded. Certain. He'd made the bar himself. There could be no room for error - he wanted John to be sanguine to him putting his hand in his pocket. The target was strolling down the pavement on his inside and to his right - it was the way he was turned. Clever. He received the cigarette thinking - it will be talk... and yet. Fishing So for another cigarette... BANG!
Having not done this before he didn't realise that all his might equated to a fractured sternum and an arrested heart. The man slumped into the wall badly. Mostly with his face. Slid down it. Dead when he hit the ground. He looked surprised as the light went out of his eyes. Not unduly surprised. Just plain common or garden perplexed. So could have tried C.P.R., being versed in such pragmatics, but instead, he let the accidental sentence stand - he didin't feel inclined to revive anyone anymore, least of all the man who'd ruined his old life. a dead enemy is a good enemy. how did he know he was dead?, you ask.
he knew.
you know.
After the initial shock, it came as no real freak to him that he'd have to lift the man's body up, carry it fireman style some distance and throw it over a wall. He jumped over himself after it and rolled it up against the short hedge. It would give him some time maybe.
So was prepared to move. He'd dropped the case down to the station before turning to the haunt of his prey. And what little money he had was in his wallet. He didn't have much left after what he'd spent on Sharon. But hey! - he'd gotten laid. And she was, what? - a nice piece of ass. He'd have to do his first robbery pretty soon. Not too soon. But pretty soon. There are people who will rent weapons.
Calmly he made his way to the station where his train would come in. Assault with a deadly weapon, a.b.h. and assault are dwarfed by the word for and rank of killing. So he waited for a train south and discounted his losses and added his general paranoia and his private hell to be. That is now. And which can never go away.
As the train came into the station, the master walked ponderously past So on the platform once more. What does he have in his doddardly life to make him restless? Fuck'im I wish he'd.. I’ll.. I swear... if he doesn't... old bastard! Strange to say So was a jerk away from jumping up and throttling the railway employee, who was completely innocent of the effect his pacing was having on the weary traveller. Had he known he would certainly have stopped.
For more reasons than one. You say.
That just goes to show the kind of nerves So had come to adopt. So was like the proverbial fox in the chicken shack, driven to a kill by the furious hunger of waiting and the lusty, cocky insolence of the prey. Ready to slay all around him. like us all sometime if we can just dull our breathing to hear it.

Sitting in that dark, lonely exposed place - So began to fall, deeper into himself than he had ever dreamt could exist. Despite the cold, the fear and the incredible isolation of his new and second adopted trade; the earth shattering, bone crushing, mind numbing, soul destroying loss of it all - a tiny, microscopic, hard, mean, manic piece of him fell into the almost unkindleable depths of (for want of a better word) his soul and there burned hotly, unquenchably. A piece of activated phosphorus or sodium it repeated - over and over again - I AM STRONG. That is all. But that was enough. Enough not to give up. Give in.
Not until the noisy diesel had come to a complete stop did So unfold himself from the hard uncompromising seat. He resisted the temptation to lash a kick out at it but smiled a tiny, secret smile to himself instead. No one in the the world could see but it lay, still within him. Always to be hidden. - I don't care about other people. I will satisfy my self alone.
It said: I have killed a MAN tonight, what need do I have to injure my foot trying to vandalise a bench. that man will never stand and piss against a wall again.

Walking across the wind swept platform So couldn't resist the temptation to intercept the dowdy station master. He came right up to his ear and whispered: "You know - one night you're gonna walk right off the edge of your platform in front of a train. And do you know - no-one will care, even, that is, if they notice you gone at all. Do you know if I had been a tad more bored I might have helped you over myself.
Good bye old man for us never again shall we meet. Save perhaps in HELL. And I, I will be by then a general and a task master and therefore your friend and dearest n m e."
Had Robert gone crazy? Out of his mind? Crazy is not an adequate word. Improper. He had merely become the hurt within him and acted on its rationale - So's rationale. A great way of So's on the move became the enigmatic good bye it amused him so. When So made his second permanent living, he liked nothing better than to get close to them so he could send them off with a few cryptic words. . To feel their stuttering breath in his face and he gives them cryptic words. He loved seeing their faces failing to comprehend his meaning, as they were also trying to come to grips with on rushing, uncompromising death. It is something he gave up later in his career. When he thought about it it made him shiver not out of remorse but out of professional distaste. In a word he became sophisticated. He exchanged - slowly, his anger for a cold malicious superiority, which gave not pleasure but abstracted satisfaction. A disembodied orgasm which came every few weeks or months.
The light had just begun by the time the switched train approached its destination. Indeed, like in the movies, the sky was a strangely beautiful shade of violet. More than beautiful - perfect And silent. Another new day. A special day for our fox, watching the outline of the buildings grow closer, he knew he had changed things for himself utterly and for ever. As he looked out the window of the racing train he smiled.

There is nothing I cannot do. They will not be ready for me.
People. Why should they be?
How can anyone hurt me now?
i must become the wolf. and embrace its way. i will choose the colour of my surroundings - grey. i will be pursued always. but my hunger will make me sharp - there will be meals. i promise myself this.
The inner voice was straining to be released, so that it could prove how ruthless and elusive it could be. Another animal is enrolled on the big city's lists. Secretly and at night. This one has a mission - DON'T FUCK WITH ME! Like so many others. In their foolishness. In their pride. And their isolation. So is finally at home. Alone. Robert died by a bed and on a street in a dirty, hard working little town 'up north'.
So. Long live. Hail Caesar. from now on there are only three rules:
1) Guard against betrayal.
2) Honour your deals.
3) CRUSH! the enemy.
simple. simple as failing off your bike. simple as being pushed off it. simple as having it tampered with!

The man under the bed is in a hell inside, with the gnawing doubt and the sleeplessness. He will never give up, give in. He does not have pity, he has madness. Not the deranged kind that people commonly fear but ordered, reasoned... intensely over and over again. Lying here with you in the bed above my head. What do I fear? What do I want? I, like anyone, fear the loss of you. I want a new job. Then I can hold you without apprehension, for I am more afraid of what I must do. Poopoo. I take you and you like it better because you gauge the strength of your charge. I heard whispers in their eyes after the last time. I think you would like to die at one of these moments. At the height of your prowess. On the job. And I am just the man.
So many thoughts crowd my crowded head. I cannot uncoil it. Keeps firing breakers at me. How can I hide from these thoughts . Thought won't leave me alone. TIME.
TIME. God and Jesus. Leave me. Deaden me to the world. PLEASE. I don't want to hear these thoughts at all. Again and again. A REALITY OF BEING ALONE:'FEAR AND LOATHING'.
He looks up at the sleeping form and relaxes. Praise be to Allah. That woman lying above me in the bed is really all I have and I don't Really Have her. She's a borrowsees - a condition of my employment. She's like the char woman - comes in and goes. But when she comes... and Oh when she goes!
It must be late in the morning... no? So squirms out from the bed. From under the woman. This time she almost wakens. So's bravado has risen.
Time must have passed. Must have passed.... Has to have passed. Must have passed. He starts exercising and in the process strikes himself violently in the throat before he'd quite fully tensed it.
cough... gasp... cough... gasp... COUGH!
Laragh wakes. She rolls over to leave him room to get back into bed, her head turns to the side over her shoulder to look at him.
"Couldn't sleep again?", straight away; not to be too associated with sympathy Definately more question.

"Did. Got loads before you woke."
No you didn't. "What time is it there Robert?
"Don't call me that! That name. You know how I hate it.
Finito. Ceased to be valid.
Has Silas put you up to provoke me?
Does he think because of what happened last time out that I've lost my grip?
It's a dead name. Like I am a dead man post dated. You didn't used to be such a goodytwo shoes. Doing everything you are told.
Don't look at me so strange like I'm some sort of' freak "monster... and don't deny it. You know the look I mean." I will have to kill you one day. Couldn't give you the satisfaction of living on after me. But when?... today, tomorrow, next week, next month. When? It's hard to know. I kind of like you alive. Though. Not today. I think. Tomorrow? Tomorrow maybe. Yes tomorrow. or after that. ?. Maybe. perhaps
She did it on purpose. Used his Christian name not his pseudonym. To make him mad.
He is a tremendously valuable soldier. His temper has to be gauged.
But not too far.. never go beyond... S.O..

He got too close to the target at the last hit. going back to old habits.
Thought he was a street thug again. It is not clearly known why. "Time?"
"Fuck's to time. Time doesn't mean anything to me cooped up here."
It does to me. Someone has to be at home to feed my cat. You will release yourself one day and be packaged off to some country where you can run about freely. Doing your bestest at not your worst. But you are working for your retirement still. Another retirement: CREDIT. "Getting restless my leopard?" And anyway I have a private life. ?. I am not hunted by anyone. I am not a killer. I am a high class sofa... with the accompanying expensive tastes. I am no killer. I am a minder, a tamer of beasts. A woman who knows her place.. and when she is not in it, she has her desires, her trimmings.
but you keep a killer going. don't you. i no.
"Getting restless my babe?"
"Don't worry, something really nasty will turn up." It always does for you, you have become very good with it. I wonder do you realise that you are in more danger for being too good at your business than you are from any peculiarities you might undertake on the job? So much work. So many obsolete people.
It's hard to know with you what you know, you are covered with so many spines. Paranoiac porcupines are more approachable lovers. It's probably better not to know. Forme at least.
"You think you're really funny don't you." Ah, my little flightless bird has old uncle Si.La.s whispered the possibility of a stoop for daddy?
Daddy thinks maybe he has. or maybe the bat of a wing has been felt and in chaos this can mean the brewing of a breeze.
Silas feels it, he hears her - the Neman, goddess of winds. the first angered snarls are heard by the crows of the storm. they listen and are rewarded. their masters and their master's children are once more wearily roused. they slowly open their eyes. shake off sleep. so many hungry jaws. the odd spit escapes a careless mouth, in drool or in challenge. a back arches. stretches. concave and long, their mistresses convex and tight. the tails go up. the packs spreads. Lazily fans out. trouble for someone. somebodies. the breeze stiffens, will it be a gale?
"Sticks and stones may.."
in his eyes.
"Oh shut up will you. For Chris'sakes will you. You're such a tease bitch."
"No i'm not. You even prefer yourself a little" mad (oops can't say that) "angry than depressed - don't you. You look at me like that. Do you really think you can intimidate ME after all this time? You're dreaming.
You'll be sorry when I'm gone."
So unfair. "yes I will. of course you know that. you can always go back to that fine of defence." i will kill you with a knife. When you are choking from a neck wound, will you think then how superior it makes you that I will miss you when you are gone?
From my experience, I doubt it.
i seriously doubt it.
I've Seen expressions in peoples eyes.
"Ah I know it's not fair to go back over that track, with you cooped up here. But at least you're the dragon and not the meal." It worked.
"You're so full of shit. Do you know that? I know you're not dumb. I suppose you're paid to be. At least I'm honest."
"No fuckin'fair. You mean bastard! You want a change? You want a slab of meat? And you've got the balls to say 'at least I'm honest. How the fuck do you figure that out? Jesus the cheek of you. You're so arrogant and conceited. Jesus! How come whacking people for money is more honest than being a paid companion? At least the person" (people) "I service get some comfort and enjoyment out of what I do. You... you'd..." better stop here. No sense in getting carried away... in more ways.... It's not necessarily a good idea to... he can be... persuasive... remember what happened to Christine... don't remember what.. anyway he wouldn't... me....
Can't think of things like that. It'll make me tighten up. And that could make him suspicious. Angry. - Keep a loose grip. Have to remember to....
"Whore. I don't 'whack people' I enlighten them." Ha ha ha NICE OOONE!
"Yeah!! I'm sure they feel highly enlightened when they're lying belly up in a fridge.
What a pisser - Ha ha."
"I don't think you choose to accept a Literal interpretation of the word honesty. in this case.
You portray emotions which you do not feel.
I do not.
You lead people to believe things which are untrue.
I do not.
Anyone who I censure, will know by their actions, within their portfolio of reactions, that statistically I exist.
Therefore I do not feel honour bound to send them a post card telling them I am coming.
And when 'I' decide to eyeball them, everyone starts wetting themselves.

You know how to do your job and as I've told you many times before - you do it very well.
Do you think I don't know how to do mine after how many kills?
I am old."
..Although the last time I did talk to her. I'm still not quite sure now I know why I did. Strange..
"I am neither judge nor consumer. but simply currency.
I do not tell lies.
I do not prevaricate.
You do.
Rifleman - will travel.
Simply - that's me.
You are many colours and are always pretending to be one."
Why did you cozy up the target the last time then. To bait her? What? "Do you really believe that infantile rationale makes what you do alright?"
"Yes Insofar as honesty is concerned." Q.e.d..
You're out of your mind. Better not. "No way. You know we've gone beyond you're arbitrary distinction."
"You see, what annoys me about all of this is that you think you are cleaner than I. Out of which fairy God mother's purse do you draw your pin money anyway hmmm? Answer: same as mine. Ours. I've got account numbers but you're actually out there spending it. I'm not going to be able to slurp all my ill gotten gains if I get nabbed." Shot full of holes. "Am I?
You change a part of yourself so that the rest of you can have the life it requires. So that you can remain intact - go to tea parties and stuff. I change nothing. I am always the same - for the meat, for you, for that creep Silas, for myself or my coworkers."
"Co workers! - Jesus just listen to yourself!"
"What is so strange about calling them co workers.
Sometimes we work together.
Sometimes we work alone.
Sometimes we wait together.
Sometimes we wait alone. Like me now.
Sometimes we win.
Sometimes we don't.
Sometimes we live.
Sometimes we don't.
Even if you play for a bad football team, it is still filled with co-workers, however capable or otherwise. Seen or unseen. Known or unknown."


What are you on MAN?! "Oh Yeah and you are a star player. Right! What do you think this is poetry you FREAK." Ooops.
"Do you think the contemplative life of the carp is preferable to that of the pikefish? You think because one preys upon a smaller bug than the other, that its raison d'etre is more preferable than the other's, and therefore more noble. More proud, more fuckin' esoteric and therefore cool. What would a cleaner fish know about it anyway?
In and out quick, wheedle a mouthful, no regrets, avoid the awkward questions. That's you. oh yeah and don't ever call me a freak again - I'll break your face - your stock in trade." and then i'll put you ina wheel chair. i know how to maim as well as kill. sometimes a living cripple is a longer, more frightening reminder of our power than three days of mourning and a heavy, funny shaped box.
"And if I thought you could handle not being able to look in a mirror with pride I'd break your neck - Capice." He says this last sentence quietly, almost softly up to the last word and then with emphasis not volume - it is a deadly threat. He means it. Any resistance now and he will complete. This is understood.
Remember Christine.
Real killers are prepared to do violence - always. of course.
"You're just impossible today So. This is getting us nowhere.
Hey - look, perhaps I should just go." ?.
So walks over to the bed, sits down, leans over and starts to bite her foot through the slippery sheet. Whilst stroking her delicate calves. Just so much is enough to make him horny. And he graduates. And how does she feel? Pleasantly satisfied a hit begun? Warm maybe. As his hands run over her thighs and hips, on the outside of the scant bedcloth he buries his head in her groin for refuge. Home. Inaudibly she cannot help but groan. He Can turn her on. If he couldn't he'd put in for a different model. She still responds to men to whom she is assigned - still at
the height of her powers. He pulls the blanket away and kisses All her smooth soft belly, until he knows she can hardly bear it. And then he stops.
"You shouldn't have called me that name."
"What - FREAK?"
There is no use in So producing his pistol in order to frighten her. She'd make love to it. He wants to screw her, but he feels too annoyed at being related like he has a nut loose. It annoys him that his singularity of purpose can be discounted by her soft pliableness so easily.
"You shouldn't have called me that... you know.... I know you're trying to make me angry but when you test my mettle you also test my temper. You threaten yourself with that smart mouth of yours. Do you do it for fun? Does it excite you to see how far you can push me? You don't show it but you have fear. You still love life. I endure it because I am such a bastard. The power that I hold is enough to suffice. It wouldn't bother me a whit to ice both of us. BUT I am not finished being a bastard yet. And quite frankly Darling I want you ALive. So - you win again... leave it out though. Isn't that the height of it. Funny thing is you won't know when I've tired of being a swine until it's too late. And having said that, if you plan on asking for a transfer, I might sense it and have to enlighten you strictly for security reasons of course. You understand. Do you think you could escape ME?" He laughs and looks at the ceiling. "you wouldn't get to the end of the next street. Cock sucker Silas would be peeved but strictly speaking, in business terms, I'm worth more than you baby. - no matter how good you are in the sack. So unless I get incredibly sloppy on the job, you're stuck with Me babe and don't you forget it!"
I thought you said that already. "I'm sorry. Look please don't get upset and tighten up on me now. I want it too you know."
Are you? Do you? You're so good i really cannot tell. I cannot tell. That is why I like you. Does it really matter? Do you know how cheap you make me feel sometimes? Do you care? Or are only caresses bought and sold in your accounts?
I really Am sorry. Don't crawl back into your shell now. Sometimes when you talk you are so hard that you frighten me. So, I play the bitch. I don't mean it. I hurt your feelings and I Do know that you do not expose yourself to anyone no - not even your 'co workers'. Please talk to me my Strong little man. I know you have fear And remorse and compassion but you block it out because of what you do. What has brought you to this business? Who can say (you won't and i won't ask. past is past.) but don't cramp up and die inside. You don't know what has brought me to this function? For sure. And you have the decency not to ask. Please Talk with me. I won't tell anyone. You're Allowed to talk to me. For God's sake! I won't tell Him. I promise. ESPECIALLY him! But you don't know that. For sure. Please. I, I..
He touched me once. I replied 'Sir?' - Freaked him right out. - Never tried that again. Strange to say I thought of you - my unbeautiful one. Locked up here in your gaol. You came to me. Your face. Your hands. And you smiled - ice him you said. And I looked at him So cold. It felt so good to have you with me then. For a moment I felt your strength. I grasped it, I had it. I am very weak. Really. Inside my armour. I was untouchable and I ain't been That much. Hardly ever been so glad to see anyone's face as when I next saw yours. But you didn't smile - you frowned and asked me what it was like outside. So instead of jumping into your arms as I'd sort of planned to, I talked about my morning in the park and the pigeons and the kids. What I didn't tell you was that I'd been thinking of getting accidentally-on-purpose pregnant by you. How I'd thought that any kid could well do with some of your strength in this world. Or that knowing you, not only is it difficult not to see weakness in other men but being married to you in a home with your reserves, your thoughtfulness and your lack of bullshit might not be such a bad thing. So Robert do oh do please talk... So. "However things are arranged I am your woman. It is unfair of you to threaten me: when you force me to fight back verbally in order to maintain my integrity. In fact it is stupid. Whatever you say, I know how highly you value my friendship. And I Am your friend. But if I knew you were coming for me do you seriously believe that I would be infantile enough to try to escape you? I'd open a vain or two, a few bottles of pills, take a long bath, add the radio - just to deprive you of the satisfaction. So - Hey, lighten up will you for God's sake, or I'm putting on my things and going home Right now."
"Speech!" He claps his hands loudly several times and starts laughing. - I won't kill her I'll frame her. Far more reservedly but far more; he loves Laragh than he did Sharon in the now distant, hazy past. A rare thing: broadly smiling, but it is spoiled - he turns away, conscious of how he can love her and without any notice, make people suffer great cruelty and loss at his hands. He makes people unwell. He could handle it if it didn't bother her but in truth, he knows it does. Turned still from her, he looks down at them, his hands, almost shy of their alien presence. More despicably - he has trained himself to enjoy it while on the job: in order to make himself more effective. Or so he tells himself. Afterwards. But still.... Spooky. It is a secret he has kept from her. He couldn't stand it if she thought of him as an animal. The spinning cylinder of his thoughts rolls around, as now, he is not beyond finding it horrifying. He will never tell anyone of this, one of his private hells. He has a few. Faces, places, blows, screams, keens, flashes, lenses, jolts, flights, blood. It is his mill wheel to carry. On his honour he Will carry it in silence. And he will carry it alone, and to the grave. And if there is a heaven and if there are pearly gates and if there is a Saint Peter awaiting there, he will spit in his face and say: 'What the FUCK! did God or Jesus or the Saints ever do for me!?' and how will they answer? is he not a living representative of the old testament.

She has seen him turn his face from her. Laragh has. He is no longer with her. She can leave now. He will be away now for at least hours, days, weeks - who knows? She has done her job - he is on call. Ready. readiness is high. She slips the little packet of thing that he is not supposed to have on to the table and which the guy on room service, who sees him and who is also an employee of the House, would certainly not get for him and would rat on both of them if he knew So had it. Laragh has her little rebellions, her little victories over her employers. It, coincidentally helps her with her clients that she tends to side with them. In little ways. Of course. She'd hate to be found out. She might be forced to work then.
?. Like she's not.
... He is far away now - reliving old chess games of the snake, the scorpion and the web. Relaying ancient snares - traps more slick and sure and deadly than they had been; repinpointing the instant and the micrometer of the strike. His mind exuding deeper smoke, out jumping the flea, carrying a greater weight of guilt, of cross referenceable craft than the titanic ant, yet without giving Hansel his crumb. Generating and out witting ever faster, ever more cunning pursuers. Foes. Ageless, nameless, faceless. Huge in number and great in art. His mind implodes goes sub atomic - each thought takes an eon of perfecting, of rounding before it ever begins to form itself into being. Each movement enlarged into a gargantuan Ocean of space - to be tested by three, then four dimensional models. Then the repayment comes - the repayment for manic consciousness - a point in the furious examination and reexamination of possibility, of improbability so far beyond the experience and necessity of ordinary human beings lives - Stillness. Balance. Terrifying computing power. Automatic random testing. then Darkness. silence. Surrounded by the infinite Chaos of thought of its own making. The self. Raw Survival. The most elusive. The most savage. The most scared. The most sacred. The most certain of its own indestructibility. The most believing in the necessity of continuance of its own being. The most frightening. The most untouchable. The most wicked. The most arguable.
It is in fact, what people believe the devil to be. It is the real difference between us being and not being here. One raw molecule of it in existence within a species is enough to keep to ensure it's life. Or to wipe out another. Others. This one has taken 2,500,000,000 years of organic chemistry to isolate + I2,500,000,000 years to make its abiological blocks. This time around. It is not logical. It is necessary. It is the identity of a specific life force. Energy. History. God. if you like. it is YOU. But do you own to it? Will you own to it? Your largest living relative? mine. the CORPORATE CAPITAL MACHINE. alias: MAMMON. 1+1=2+: The She monster. Life. LIFE. so. Has any of this helped you understand what Robert has become? had to become. Can you anymore judge what he has done? What you have done? As Him. What he will do? What he will have to do? What you will do as him? I am - therefore: FUCK YOU! I challenge you. Find him. Slay him. For every breath that he takes is proof that he will cut away in ever decreasing circles around himself until 1 Divides 1. Because he breathes in Time, Exists in our time, our time is finite. His existence is the writing of your Destiny in your own blood. If you do not seek him out then you accept the loss of infinity. You accept an infinity of loss. And if you can seek and destroy him then you ARE He. Statistically speaking. ME. I. MINE. MORE. For we are speaking of the machine. The Machine. The machine is just the aggregate of us. U.S.. Look. Seek. then ?. what? YES. Destroy. You have taken his mantle. You have striven to survive and have won. So. You are he. You are what we consider the devil to be. What we admire. and what we think we wish to become.
I have seen him several times. He looked different each time. This So. But they were just disguises. I knew it was Him. Perhaps he knew I observed him? Perhaps not. I couldn't see into his mind because his mind is covered by a thousand ever wakeful eyes and is guarded by the Way of every dead tiger and their ancestors. I never took my chance. Even though I am a weapon of sorts. Blunted perhaps, by comfort. Perhaps I am capable now only of seeking. I know that I have held ground and made Temple to protect myself and others from His Coming. But I have bled before ever one of his many illustrious Hands or any of his magnificent Servants or any of his terrible Vehicles has touched me. I bleed Before his Touch. And am Glad. For I will fight or fly but will never be taken. If you are taken, owned, you will know real suffering in the end. I will perish b 4 the End. And am Happy. A Valhalla may await us who have known and have fought or done Magic. But beware, he knows the Fight and much Great Magic. Beware - cast yourself under his wheels or make Sacred not to Escape or to Survive but to Clog his progress or to Protect that he has not Yet touched. ...An old vampire once told me: never should the Warrior drink the gold rimmed Cup of Suicide. The warrior must fight a rear guard action if there is one to be fought or throw himself upon the Enemy with the lust of every ounce of his Being and then he will be set Free. Suicide is the one thing that He fears, contradictly. The soaking up of the ground of one drop of UNpolluted blood. Warriors’ blood is polluted with antidotes to old venoms and scratches and gashes of war and therefore undesirable to Him. But suicide is honourable and therefore the right only of those who are unaware of His presence. For they may be free only if they believe they can only fight themselves AND that there is no Point in the World at which they can fight. The honourable Warriors will always throw their blood in his thousand eyes to hide from him where the Loved ones are hidden. It is their nature. They will gladly fill His enormous Maw so that his appetite is a little stifled, or even better - choked. So long as we are given bodies this we will do. It is our duty and our Franchise. We have long since known that we cannot win. True Life is the striving with the Fore knowledge of Ultimate defeat or the Cup. True Warriors do not draw the innocents into an almost infinite existence of defeat and yet it is their to duty to seek allies. Yea even to breed them. But the children must find the battle themselves and engage as they will. Here lies the Crucial paradox. Unknowledge is Gifted and must be respected or there will be no enjoyment even within defeat and therefore there would be no point at all. Or if you prefer - to be ignorant and happy and mortal or Drink and be set free - knowing and yet not knowing the certainty and Enormity of the deprivation of possibility for our Destiny. These unfortunately are my words but... I am sorry I let myself be bound to speak. I must still be too proud. Forgive. So - one of my names sounds like Aim On.

Fortunately you do not just have to take my word for it. So, in his trance like state of professional 'deep thought' hardly notices Laragh kiss his neck. He inflects and notices the little paper envelope. It is a friend that comes from the enemy. She has only dressed in her brief lingerie and God she looks good. She has left swathes of bare flesh for him to admire; so that he will know that she is still open to love making if he so chooses. Sex if you prefer. She knows he won't. Not now. But she carries through anyway. She is 'a good girl' as Silas would say. She sticks to her guns. At this moment however, words have crystallised in So's mind. He walks in Zombie like shuffle to the table and awkwardly takes up the instrument like he never held one, any tool, and begins to write... begins to write. He transcribes slowly, afraid that if he moves quickly he will forget perhaps, he is trying to apply Order to his understanding and certainty of meaninglessness: and there was One. And He, he looked around him. And what he saw? What He saw. What he saw was nothing. He Knew loneliness then and conceived of it forever. So he gave nothing meaning. But the people didn't understand. The same people who had come into existence when meaning had come to be. And they Quailed at their lack of understanding and therefore their failure of their Master. She had to come into being also then. To give them succour in their despair. And to save Him. Because He had not wanted those who were like Him but less than Him to be consigned to distress for almost forever, through no fault of their own making. But She. she had something far more amusing in mind. And She was far more Beautiful than man because He had let her Be so; so that man would have his mind taken off his lacking in understanding of his Master and his purposes and what should be done with his creations. But She made herself Even more beautiful still because it was Her Arch tool. Poor man became over balanced in love for her. In the majority, he forsook the quest for understanding and service of his growing distant Lord. It was not Her fault that she believed her Purpose, as opposed to her Duty was to be loved. Just before He shut the Door and went back before the Beginning; so that he could prepare a respite for those who had reached the End - in his sorrow, because of his Sorrow - our half buckled. In that instant improbability was created. For those who serve his memory. The memory of meaning. With possibility came little impossibilities. Archaic footprints from when things were decided and did not merely flow. or magic. but magic - she suffered at the hands of those who sought to trap her for power and to awe others. And those who had striven to provide for Woman and her bairns mistook magic and her handful of wizards for cheaters and persecuted them. Simple charms became Sorcery. Some of those good turned in their beseigedness and knowledge of superstition to the black.
Why should they be able to do things we cannot? and so even the dreams and tears of Him are driven from the hearts of man. And Her name was never Eve but Delilah. And her only fault was to want to be loved more, because that initially, was her first and her greatest means of survival. and man's fault was that he could imagine of nothing more lovelier than She and had long tired of the Search because it reminded him Too harshly and Too often that in fact, he was only very weak and very small and very, very stupid. so. but so who invented the veil? who invented ownership?
And then he wrote, leaning much harder on the page:

in other words: There is a part of me
that is an infantryman with only a blade.

There is a part of me
that is a fisherman with only a hook.

But there is a part of me
that gets lonely, and it never goes away.

So if the Devil keeps me keen.

And the Devil keeps me sharp.

And if Coin He keeps letting Fall,
so that Buy I can what I Want,
then forever shall I be His servant,
for this is what I AM.


I have despaired. I despair. I AM despair. For a team, for a father, I take away. I reduce. I end. Because for me nothing is for free. Killing to me is appropriate because it is incontrovertible I place others where I have always been. Facing something which is quintessentially not negotiable. The plotting of goodness for my heart because I am loved, I have not known. There are always entailments. Entanglements. Codicils. The appearance of spurious acts of kindness do not fool me. Nothing is for free. The Touch, the warmth that a woman can spread just when she lets you brush her cheek - for that instant I forget, I have solace. But the welling of beauty is like my cloak of darkness - from my being. I must feast. The House finds me those who believe what they pretend whilst they are pretending. You may find a sack actress. You may find a bedside actress. You may find a coffee table actress. But all three in a face, a house that makes you forget, eyes that don't appear to recognise your perversion, your marring, makes up, for me, enough.
I destroyed Christine's ability to be such lies - not because she despised my murders, my tortures or because she abhorred my visage, my scars but because she believed I had crushed, eradicated my compassion. It was erroneous And superior. I haven't, because to nurture, in secret, what people would hope to receive, expect, reminds me to always to know where they will turn when they are under threat, feel the fear. I always know where they will turn, bolt. More often (those wise enough to feel me) they end up running into me, not away. KEPOW. They die. So.

Stunned by his own audacity, his self knowledge and himself - So looks over his shoulder, half expecting Laragh to be there, half shy that she might see his rewriting of the story of creation and his raison d'Etre but She, is long gone. Her hour’s up. Her scent is cold. She had said good bye. Even faintly touched him. He should have gone to secure the door. But he had ignored her. No one is perfect. Maybe beyond knowing, everyone deliberately leaves themselves prone to someone, somewhere, sometime - so they may be taken at their ease, without their knowledge, when it is o.k.. It is a postulate. Do you? Have a spot. A hole. A weakness that you refuse to shore up because somewhere deep inside you there is someone who refuses to deny that they are human. Fallible?
He is sorry now. No room could be big enough to contain his despair now. How paltry a thing it is to be a man, but to realise it, is something Totally different.
"Laragh", he says her name: softly in plea. He is alone. He screams a war cry down the psychic telephone to his next victim to kill him. if they can. But So remains undefeated. God help him. relieve him of his mantle because you are compassionate.

Six hours later.
six long hours.
So has remained seated, unravelling for himself the ways of man. The same man, whose champions that challenge the sway of his House, he culls. Teasing us everso carefully out. Expertly. SUDDENLY! There are two quick raps in succession at the door. So is still poring over his papers. Ignoring. He doesn't even bother to raise his head. Doesn't raise his eyes. He doesn't have to. He hears and he doesn't hear. He doesn't need to hear because he felt them coming. He can wait, there is plenty of time. Time is in plentiful supply around him. Let Them wait. He is looking through the ink, through the page, through the pad, through the desk, through the floor, through the building, and beyond and beyond the foundations, the bedrock, the molten core beneath the mantle and on out the far side into infinity. - A pause. Three separate knocks follow, one after the other - slightly longer and evenly spaced. He unfolds from the chair silently, without emotion and walks over to the bedside locker avoiding the bed, slides out the drawer carefully and lifts out the pistol quietly. It is a glock - a most excellent weapon. It takes a small load but I in the breach + I4 rounds in the mag. A long silencer protrudes from the barrel. Because of the small recoil it is a very accurate hand held weapon. Hand gun. It feels comfortable - not too heavy in his hand. Always. More loyal and constant than the touch of any woman. But weapons have been known, for what ever reason to jam - So. It has been perpetrated upon men bad ammo. Even that the colour of their noses as a joke has been known not to accurately reflect their nature. You wouldn't. As a matter of course he deftly eases back the hammer. The safety is left disengaged. A small satisfying click. A knowing snick i am with you. master.
Will he kill now? Will he be forced to kill now? Will someone force him to kill now? Without sound. Slowly. He gracefully slinks approaching the door, stalking the spy hole.
walk like an Egyptian.
Careful not to let his shadow or image cross in front of it. He stands to the side and cradles over to look out aiming the pistol at the middle of the door. He presses the barrel to the door hard. If he is hit it Might keep his shot closer to where he wants it to be released. Where he thinks his betrayer's hand might stand. It's not much precaution but what can he do! He feels the lust for the destruction of another at the same time as calculating. But it is abstracted power. no one will get me without being shot themselves. for their trouble.
He sees the diminutive blond - Laragh his lover (if that is the right word for her), the grey man - Si.La.s, ever in the armour plated suit and his friend Driver's placid face above them. So unlocks the door and snaps it fast and effortlessly open. The weapon is left raised, swung and eased to level at Silas's brain pan. if there is to be any treachery - he will go first.
Silas in discomfort tries to lean his head out of the sight line unconsciously but is followed. He hates to admit it - he is afraid of England.EL. EEL. He is an executive director of strictly off the books special personnel. - Basically a businessman but one delegated; detailed to deal with concealed irregulars of the trade. A man with an ignorant spouse (ignorant that is, of the messy specifics of his civil service and of course - awkward hand in glove - sort of private enterprise commitments), ignorant kids in university, ignorant neighbours, ignorant wife's charity friends, hemi ignorant golfing cronies, etc, etc.... "Do you have to brandish that thing about? For Chist's sakes."
It is always like this - such all abiding caution. Silas cannot but squirm a little under the spotlight of So's barrel. It is a very disquieting sight. Very. He of all people knows how So has killed many. And how. Perhaps too, he has figured that So Wants to kill Him. "You will please to STOP pointing that thing at me.

NOW." What if another guest were to see it? It would very easy to taint this cover you know. A great deal of trouble has gone into providing it for you!
Apart from the gun, the man behind it is known for such savagery. Some reputations become exaggerated however, but usually for some base reason. For a reason. For a good reason. For some reasons. After they have entered the room So lets his arm fall - nothing having rushed in from the corridor (head shots only). Dutifully closes and locks the door. Slowly, turned to them, he releases the hammer again - barrel pointed down after he's looked in their eyes for the flicker of a sign of a move. He is anything if not attentive now. Alert, intense, keen, pointed. as a dagger. a rapier. spear.
POW wow.
Council of war.
His mind waters to the conference to come. He is keyed up - flashing at the opportunity to become ACTIVE again. Boredom long since having set in. Long, long since having set in. But he is the marksman. He awaits only the head of the beast and the shoot and he will be delirious with expectation. And then the calm will come. This man is serious. So serious that you would imagine his body tattooed, writhing with asps and vipers. Immovably. No -wait! Almost imerceptably. If you knew him. He runs and does a head over heels onto the bed, arriving beside the bed locker sitting down. He reverently puts the pistol back, closes it and turns around with a huge, gleefully gruesome smile and says: "So's going out to play. I know it. I just know it." Laragh smiles broadly and laughs with him. She is astoundingly attractive too short to be a model but her face and her body are perfect in their small proportion. So is short, likes taller women but they don't seem to work out. Somehow. She could be from the upper classes except she is more warm than removed. He can be such a winning child sometimes that she feels great love for him as now. If love is the right word. She is like a mother having watched over him these empty days. Nights. She throws a huge blanket of empathetic warmth over the conquering. Isn't she wonderful. She isn't so strict all the time - not like our Si.La.s. Not like Our Dour Silas.", says So, elated at the prospect of a job. Something to Do.
it is a job isn't it?
"Fuck you So for pointing that thing at me. Can you honestly think that they would possibly send Me to sanction you.
Anyway I don't see why you're so paranoid - you're on a perfect 10 after how many hits. You should be in the Olympics." But can you ski? I wonder... UNLISTED. I bet you'd become expert pretty damn quick if your quarry'd gotten over the ridge on you in the snow! This is the way you are. Hunter killer. No. Not just a hunter killer but a hunter-seeker -killer.
"And do you really think it's so witty; so cool to make fun out of a person who is just doing their job." Yea just like you - you smug, arrogant, wanton, ungrateful, grotesque Prick.
"You signed up for this duty of your own accord when things in the Real world were getting too hot for you. No one forced you to become ACTIVE employee. You stepped up and bought in at the price of your life. You are the death sntence. I didn't fucken make you!
And I'm glad that you and your temp. here are getting along so well together because Robert, you're taking her with you this run."
- See you don't know my real name. But I know yours. Smart ass. I know All about you. Yes. Oh Yes. I do. I feed you. Entertain, clothe, house, move you. I get you layed. I Even ignore your mistresses illegally feeding you. - And you thought i didn't know about that. Ha! I know everything there is to know about you. Everything there is to know worth knowing, that is. Except what it's like to be killed by you. I clear up, pay-off, frighten etc. your little messes... oh yes - like Christine. That was a particularly nasty little bit of calculating and balancing I had to do there. poor Christine you really did a job on her. didn't you. you ruined her. she'll never be the same. i had to unemploy her. she wouldn't have been any good. on the outside of course. you've learned how to leave 'em alive with no distinguishing but inside.... you know all about that. don't you. she'd never have unwound enough to be of any further use to us. so she is paid off. threatened. she knows she couldn't do anything to the house. one way or another. one day or another. we couldn't stay in business and let anyone cross us. defame us. - bad for business. disrespect. no. and that's what you bank on. daddy'll clean up the little messes. mistakes. walk the fine line. tread that fine line. but Finally i decide whether you have outlived your usefulness. or in your special case - gone rogue. but while i dwell on that aspect of my relationship with you - you get skittish, break, and start rubbing out family members. for want of anything better to do. you see i know you you darling little impetuous twerp. it's never good to RETIRE employees. bad for recruitment. bad for morale. bad for loyalty. bad for business. but we both know that we cannot pension you off early. you set your target in $s, we set our price in bodies, you completed and then negotiated a second on better terms. not only is there no null clause in the contact (either way) but if we did pay you off early for the full quota - you might get suspicious and go PSYCHO on us before you'd imagined we decided to try and tidy up your loose end. so - you Horrible little bastard - we're stuck with one another. like it, love it, lump it, hate it or despise it; it's you and me my pretty. what I'd really love is if you fulfilled your contractual obligations with us and one day on holiday somewhere, i saw traversing off the crossing, so i'd feel exonerated if i ran you over in my car. but somehow i know that that isn't going to happen. worseluck. this is one of my little refutations of the arguments for god. a just god. or just a god who listened to my prayers. but we will see little man, we Will see. it ain't over between us yet. it may never be. you may fulfil again and renegotiate again. god help me. what drives one such as U? we will always have enemies, if only because we have much more than certain other billions of paper friends or because with our history of suppression and being presented with certain talented like you, we are helpless to prevent ourselves from tinkering, interfering or just plain old strong arming.
"I'm WHAT - going with 'Her7'
Don't pretend to be deaf aswell you little git. "You heard me. You're taking Laragh with you."
"Ah here, hold on a second! I wouldn't want to take Laragh to the toilet outside of this room. I'm not taking no woman with me on operations.
Noway." NO ENTRY.
Laragh pipes up: "You pig ignorant, good for nothing prick; after all we've been through together, here in this very room and you don't trust me to come and hold your hand on the outside!"
"Who asked you to speak.
She is to be part of your camouflage. What could seem more natural than a pretty ugly couple flying out to avail of some cheap rate, late Spanish sun?" You've made us loath to fly you out anywhere on a military flight or to diplomatic bag you because of all that shit that you bring back and don't deny it! You really are a tiresome impudent little... oh no word adequately describes how infuriating you are. 'And your driver here will fly out ahead of you to Malaga and get some wheels under him, make contact with the grubbers and he'll meet you in Almeria. There is an airport there. That's where you are going.

Anyway, as this is very late and hot incoming, we might not be able to find you a hide. If so, as our target of choice is a ladies man...."
"Wo, wo, wo, wo, wo,WO! Not any sort of a way. You're seriously.... I can't believe that you seriously.... You're ordering me to take her on manoeuvres. You're seriously telling me that we have been reduced to bait fishing. I cannot believe this Silas. This is so unprofessional of you... I cannot believe what I'm hearing. I just can't. Come on let me into it what gives 'ere Si? Why are you ordering me to do this gig so out of fashion?"
"Wait a second. Just hold on one Goddamn minute you punk. I'm not Ordering You to do anything. I May Be the 'grey' man but you help the House for your own reasons both of you... And driver here. We look after those who looks after us but that does not mean that you can pass the buck on to me when you don't like the portfolio. If you don't want to deal then you can go fuck yourself. I... We can go to another hitter but.. you are acknowledged as the best, numero uno, so I had to come to you first. It is also Your area. I'm sure there are plenty of sights seers who'd be glad to do the trip with Laragh here. You have a huge bank account you can piss off anytime you like and forsake our protection and management. You would be alone. And I know you are a hunter. Still. I'm not saying I understand why, but if you want the rest of the brief, you do so on the understanding that you take your 'little bimbo of a wife' with you. Don't you worry. You know how she has been trained and by whom. She has done this kind of thing before. So what's it to be? One happy little family or not insubordination but dissent - leading to a missed opportunity for a Double credit by you.
Well which is it to be?"
“A double cred." Ah I wondered if would get him.
"Oh well then! That settles it. O.K., let me have it. Hit me.
You like talking a lot Silas but should remember when talking to someone like me that I represent your livelihood - not the other way 'round. And my enemy, when I'm on call as I am, is boredom. And the last thing I need is to be lectured by a fucken suit. Right!"
Got that have you you little runt.
"Now having sorted that out. I'm registering an official objection Right here to bringing her with me.
God and his mother got cross with me for having gotten close up to the mark last time out. Well as I told you, you can put that down to just plain boredom. I, in fact, was, as I always am, on the job, in perfect control. It was arrogant of me, if you like. However, I am the one who calculates the risk. But I'm warning you, bringing in the idea of a bird trap smacks of amateurism to me.
I don't like it."
She is unlearning her place methinks.
Methinks she thinks she could do My job.
Anyone can, but it is the parameter of error.
Laragh pipes up in her defence again: "You would wouldn't you, you thick bollocks."
"Shut up." Again. These tiresome... tiresome, unprofessional... people! What i have to deal with... i really don't know... i... couldn't be paid enough... never .... .. Noone asked you.", Silas.
"Yea who asked you wifey?
Better you remember - when we set foot outside this room - you are under orders. 'My' orders. And unless told specifically otherwise you Will be a Dumb pedestrian or I promise you... if you Fuck up, or if I even imagine that you are Going to fuck up I'll kill you myself, preferably but not necessarily, in cold blood.
Got that?"
"Got that." She bows her head in deprecation to the stronger. Not quite unconscious body language. But This could be fun. Exciting. scary. Real.
"Oh let's get down to business for God's sakes. This to and froing can get us nowhere. The aircraft will still be running to a time table even though we're obviously not."
"So what's the jelly.", says So.
"Well it appears that the sales boys got caught with their trousers down. Couple amateur politico detectives burned some film of 2+2's at a party together who never should have been seen connected." Stupid idiotic provincials just had to see seniority and stupid idiotic seniority had to go and be incited upon to accept an opportunity to let their greasy hair down. In of course, the most risky and incriminating way possible. And of course greasy provincials have to show out in style - open air if you like. And, of course greasy provincial buyers or greasy provincial entertainments inc. or greasy local security or even greasy salesmen leak and up pops cockin the box and thanks to Mr-ever-present-trusty-Nikon : SNAP! 'Thanks lads! Nice one of you with trousers down.' And I'm off. And just when things were going So smoothly! provincial bloody greasy security who fucked up in the second place manages to wound, then RETIRE cock in the box but omits to remember to acquire for certain from him, all be it under wouldbe duress, the 20 of the commodity under issue because they were too fuckin' busy wantonly and of course with cavalier glee, Trying to make amends for having fucked up in the second place. They do a job on him and here we are. But - wait for it - that's not all - turns out it's STRATEGIC House Only. We're doing to Big Brother what the good old FRIENDS - the froggies did to us in the Falklands. Remember the Exocet. We do! We're flogging the best we got to a bunch of sand niggers - co-incidentally the Wrong bunch sand niggers - or at least the current wrong bunch of sandniggers. It would appear. Why? Because we're broke. Or going broke. Or Someone's broke. Or we have to pay for our end of our independent R. and D. within The Special Relationship and or N.A.T.O.. Or we're unemployed. Or we're going to be unemployed. Or because we're bored. Or Someone's bored. Or some posse of people are bored. More like. Or having suffered withdrawal symptoms from having the Empire and having become so used to interfering or having learned how to fuck up so well, whilst trying reluctantly to withdraw from the empire we're determined to see to it that other people know all about fucked upedness on Their patch. Hopefully. But what if the Americans.. I mean Big Brother - ah shit I told you who Big Brother is but then again I'm sure you know that much; know all about it. I mean how big a secret can you keep?! I mean I just proved I can't keep a secret - well O.K. a code to myself. I mean - well - talk, paperwork, interdepartmental talk, interdepartmental paper work, international talk, international paperwork, translators talk, international technical talk, international technical
paperwork, technical translators talk, spare parts, talk, paper work, factories, lots of talk, lots of paper work etcetera. So what if B.B. knew? Maybe it was B.B. who farmed out the intelligence to cock in the box's Editor or Control? Or whoever was behind him. If there was anyone behind him? Maybe there is a big SHAFT coming? Maybe since we're on the verge of getting retired from the Security Council someone is planning on giving us the PUSH? Or somebodies? If the Israelis are starting to play ball with the Palestinians it might look to the world that it is an inopportune (well no - it's very opportunist - say - inauspicious) moment to start arming their old enemies. And since they're broke they've probably had to make provision to go on credit somewhere. And - yes that probably means the two bankers - the Germans and the Japanese who want on to the Security Council in place of us! I'm quite sure they're involved in some shape or form - all be it only underwriting the loan however circuitously. But if that is the case why wouldn't B.B., if they're that deep into the Japs let the deal go through? Perhaps there are too many bad loans? Or perhaps someone in B.B. who has sympathy with the Yiddish nation told Them and they'd much rather the arms never arrived on site and don't really care exactly how deep the sand is when it gets kicked back in our faces or who's on the Security Council, just so long as they don't fuck with them!? Of course they'd probably prefer it if the Germans weren't. And as for the Post Nazis would they be heart broken today, if someone else finally drove the Israelis into the sea, partly using, ironically, British weapon production skills which helped to foil them the last time. And people wonder why I am grey. God what I have to endure. The messes i have to clean up. Have to try to. As best i can. But we have a chance. Some little time maybe. ?. We also have MUSCLE messy though they always are. But what if Mossad have been sticking their oar in? There could be trouble. Messy fuckin' trouble. And if there is, the Spaniards will go CRAZY - apeshit. And it's my area. "Laragh 2 + 2s are mated, like here salesmen and customers for arms." Especially hi tech.

"I understand." I know that! You pompous school teaching git. You just went and alluded to how I've been trained and now you go on like I was born fuckin' yesterday! What Is your Problem? Do you have to suck up to So by making out how the two of you have to suffer stupid underlings... Especially women?
"In this case the DOWNSIDE is if the Americans find out who we've been touting our wares to. They will go ABSOLUTELY INSANE."
"Why are you telling her this?", says So.
"I'm telling her because she needs to know. Remember - need to know. She needs to know where potential friends and enemies may come from. And what the worst possible scenario is.
OK. Now the froggies say that our mark has an excellent record and probably isn't involved But the proximity and the contamination are high. Too high. Far Too high. That's why we need the woman So, because we just don't know if it's a straight shot or not. And you, as a negotiator have been known to be... shall we say - less than tactful in the past. It is possible that if approached the right way he might cede information. If he is still a patriot he should. We just don't know. The French may not be in N.A.T.O. but we're on the same side. His government is also implicated as a participant at the auction. Anyway, if he isn't a risk, why did they bother mentioning him in the first place? There is panic in Whitehall. And a stampede amongst the intelligences. The Secret Intelligence Service is bound to have sent in the 'Air Service already for the centre of the cell. It's dodgey though. Thence we can assume that the nest and the self addressed will be covered by the S.I.S.ter and her buddies. It appears that we're First up to tickle and shoot the outside man. We could be important. But a hand over would be nice. And this thing has only been running minutes. SECURE on site said they wounded the carrier climbing down a drainpipe believe it or not. They found him later, down the docks - dead. Or so they say - hunted him down and murdered him more like. He was clean. So it must have gotten passed over. Possibly irregularly. It could go straight from leaf to trunk. That's what we're afraid of - the irregulars. These men were war compatriots. Our man ran some rumbles afterwards but he is supposed to be retired. He is supposed never to have acted treasonable however, and as the package's wounding to the French... theoretically he could be our best friend. But you So must decide for yourself. Perhaps these men were too close. You will see now that some close contact could make things a lot easier and finite. It wasn't specified but his Control could be of another nationality. Again, if that is, he has one. Anyway his name is Jean Marsaud. His call sign is EI CAPITAIN MarSud or just plain EI CAPITAIN." JeM he missed one of yours. nice one. even such ardent professionals make mistakes. perhaps there is hope. but ferrets from another sphere have unearthed your leonora's fair - and the dogs have been dispatched. but hear this jean: BEWARE He comes for you.
"Ha! pfff... are you serious Jean Marsud is like saying John Smith!", So
Driver will issue hardware, likeness and 20 on site. - Questions?"
"Sometimes it is very annoying being the messy detail - I mean you say 'the SISter is 'bound' to have sent in the 'Air Service' - in other words someone in 'Defence had a hastily arranged lunch or brunch or coffee and brandy or a whiskey with someone in 'Industry and it was hinted at that procedure would admit of such regal intervention. But because 'Defense can't confirm anything the Secrets are doing to anyone outside the Cabinet and because 'Industry can't admit any knowledge of the House to anyone in 'Defence or the Cabinet (officially) or 'Industry for that matter, I or You can't TELL anyone in 'Defense to 'F.uck OM' because we don't want the COWBOYS giving the irregulars anything Concrete to do.
That is exactly the kind of action they want us to take, so they can be confident and bold and heroic. And we give it to them. I mean you say this Dude - MarSud is ex-military - probably some twice decorated infantry grunt fuck - worse luck - and his eyes are just going to light up if he feels the tremor of little S.oft A.nd S.flent boot boy's pumps tryin'to a sneak across his web which he's probably been sitting in for years, and make off with his dinner. He might be prepared to ignore, to suffer that, but because we send SOLDIERS, They probably won't feel as though they've lived up to their brownie P.oint acquisition R.atio unless they punch a great 'Secret' fuckin' Air Service stamp through the middle of it. Winged dagger my ass - winged bloody size I2 more like. And that means non combatants, d.etectives, journalists and ancillaries. This he may certainly not allow with impunity. So you say 'the nest and the self addressed should be covered' and quid pro quo if the House have been informed of the existence of this el CAPITAIN then someone in the F.uck O.ff omitted to tell 'Defense, presumably because of some cogent enjoinder that this MarSud is a P.rotected S.pecies, presumably, again because of some pre-existing under the table agreement or service or Knowledge, not forgetting the CAPITAL Services He has and May (unofficially) have performed in the past. Or May be performing, or May be waiting or sleeping to perform in the little future or the Big Future. The French probably asked the Foreign Office not to damage this MarSud and what happens? He goes straight to the top of our hit list. Brilliant! Since you told little 'Bimbo' Laragh here to make SECURE any Americans she should Bumble across you might aswell have told her of the fortunate (un) geographical angle or of the G.I.g or RUMBLE or whatever it is or going to be, is is that with ROQ (the perfect PARK for Krouts) jusque down the ROUTeWAY and MAL, malheursement, is an international ENTERway after that, will it, is it, has it or will it have gone INVITATIONAL by the time we get there before or after the sister's agents or Mr. Marsud have gone ACTIVE, and if Someone has gone, how dirty will the waters be for the SHOOTER i.e. me, I, So. And if the water is MIRKY with DETECTIVES who will they be looking for and or annoyed with, and god forbid BLAME! God Forbid! And what about Joe Stalin eh"

...[195 missing??? - ed]

would finish what they started by soiling the temple skirts 3)CRUSH THINE ENEMY clause; them, their women and children, then their allies and then their friends. And then their neighbours in the Middle East? 'The Elimination Game.' They win.
"If you sniff a Yank - tell So - So call home.
If you should, in the unlikely event sniff a Ruskie - hope he's just another budding entrepreneur. Leave 'em, 'im or 'er to it. Hope for the best.
A.n.bodies, autro nationales PREPARE could be INVITATIONAL MUSCLE. E.and o.e. Right Silas."
In short huh "Right So." Clever dick.

Laragh pipes up: "Is he good looking?"
Chorus: Drives, Silas, So "Who?"
"MarSud - of course." Idiots. They're so Big into things, intrigues, forces simple Questions pass over or through their heads without meating anything!
"It never occurred to me to... GORgeous. Why?", Silas.
"I should think it was bloody obvious - it can just be easier to make a mark if you'd be interested in him anyway. You know. Less chance of an act being spotted.
Oh well.... I'm sure... it doesn't matter.... I'm sure that the grubbers will find a hide for So to stoop from, making me redundant."
"Are you sure? I wonder if you'll be right. It is not always possible to rent or ENFORCE a place from someone," (and that's always risky what with neighbours calling and all) "a place with the right aspect. You know.
Well I think that's all. Here Laragh take the tickets. Don't come home without him.
And here, here's some money - some cash for you to spend.
You like cash.
You like spending cash.
You do.
Don't you.
You're good at it.
You can share the money with So but for God sakes don't give it all to him at once - he'll slip you."
"Yea. So?" So.
"So... so nothing. Look after him.
Good bye So. I'm sure you'll sort it all out.
Good luck."
"Luck doesn't come it."
"O.K. So, I believe you, if you insist." Cocky dick.
"I do."
"You see - married to your attitude. Quite extraordinary in a man of your inteligence."
Walks over to the bed locker, slides out the top drawer and withdraws his ever faithful pistol. Goes over to the door, stands to the side, unlocks it and yanks it wide to him. he is not there. my demon isn't. isn't even hiding in the gloom of the hotel corridor. i'll sneak up on him one day and that should scare it away. perhaps. perhaps not. maybe it could be killed. maybe not.
Driver slickly closes the door as Silas's passed out. He takes So's arm and looks him directly in the eye. which few people do.
"If bringing the woman really bothers you we don't have to go."
"What are you saying? I've already agreed that we'll do the gig. You didn't object."
"No. I know I didn't. It is not my place.
What you say goes. I just mean... that you don't have to go on my account."

Ah Drives you're almost fulfilled of your missions aren't you. Soon you won't be coming back to visit old So Sa. "Don't worry.
I don't mind. I just didn't like the thought of having to use a hand gun in place of a rifle. We did some mad things in the past which ......
I remember.
But we were young then. We didn't have any choice then.
We do now!" I'm nervous. Too many unqualifieds.
"Drives you'd better go. He'll be waiting. .
Pick us up at the airport. And do try and get us some decent kit.
Cannibalise it if you have to. I don't care.
Oh and you'd better get Goldie Locks a pea shooter asweil, as it seems she's to be a partner - pardner."
"O.K.. But no, I'm not going to be in the same province as that gung ho little hooker if she has a fire arm."
Percussion should be reserved for full timers - lifers. What am i saying, I'm almost out.
"No Way. She can have a nice knife one that will impress her - even in a side show - the Spaniards are bound to have a nice blade."
Huh. "O.K. Drives get My li'le Lady a fancy tooth pick - if that'll settle your nerves."
"I'm sorry... So... I didn't mean ......
"It's O.K. Drives - no offence i no how you.... It's good to have someone even more cautious than me along." If that's possible? "Always.
Now you'd better run along He'll be waiting in a tizzy, standing out in the corridor All alone, trying valiantly and silently to pretend not to be able to find his key.
Go. Friend.
In Almeria.

So looks again in the spy hole. It's only Silas. Waiting impatiently. Confusticated. He swings the door to himself, weapon raised at Silas's head again. Spite. Pure.
Some day I hope to be able to do you a serious disservice you infantile little pup.
Do you really get such a kick out of taking the piss out of me?
It is so easy to take a rise out of him. Driver passes out. So pulls the door to after watching Driver's back down the corridor. Mates. He realises he's been standing partially out in the corridor with a gun in his hand. How strange and how foolish of me.
you were not there.
Closing the door softly So lets his head drop onto his chest, "why do I always feel so exhausted when I've been talking to that man?" Si.La.s.
Laragh takes off Almost all of her clothes and gets into bed - there are a couple of hours to kill before the flight is due to take off. She will rest or not. So puts his iron away and offers to kiss Laragh. She accepts it and kisses him back. So extricates himself from her invitation and goes to desk, crumples into the chair and begins to write, if he has sex now it will take away from his edge:

And she looked around her
And there was daylight in her eyes,
And they were DAZZling eyes.
And the darkness
Fell into being of jealousy with the warmth of her.
But where she went;
Where she went
The light and the spring went too.

So gets up from the chair and gives Laragh what he's written. Dedicated to her.

Then he goes back and recites for himself, whispering between his lips poetry he's read somewhere. Because it reminds him of the other half of the circle

Belly crawl, hide,
Sit, stand, kneel, lie.
Be still,
Blink sweat from eye.
No scratch,
No bevel
From uncomfort.
Keep them ig'orant,
No to let them feel the' fear,
No to panic the prey,
No to stampede the herd.

Dream figures wander In my glass,
Cross - hares pin dummies
To the ground.
Surreal clockwork people
Under sight.
Butt to shoulder tight.
Light, light finger on;
Ready gentle squeeze -
Delay the shot unti...
Rise up with her,
Fight her down.

Smoke clearing.
Ear ring.
Did we 'it?
Man down.
Give ‘im one
Body jump.
Body still.
One more kill.

So is the word of the sniper.



Chapter three will be published shortly
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