Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A Twist Of Noir 318 - Malachi Stone


Another Chapter From Malachi’s Novel HEARTBALM

“I thought for a minute somebody’d forgot to pay the light bill,” Grimm said.

“That you, Tiny Tim?” Drey hollered in greeting from across the room where she was standing.

“Hey there, K-Mart,” Grimm grinned. “Lookin’ better than ever.”

“I don’t go by K-Mart no more,” Drey said. “My new nickname’s Drey, for my special friends. You like it?”

“Drey,” Grimm mused. “Yeah. I like it. Kinda exotic and that. Like an exotic dancer name. It suits you.”

“See how you are?” Drey flirted.

“What’re you doing hanging around with these yahoos?”

“Aw, they ain’t so bad. Fact is, me’n Ricky’re whatchacall your fuck buddies—”

“Drey!” I protested weakly.

“What? Caint lie to the po-leece, Ricky—and Harold here just dropped in to make it interesting.”

“Looks like Harold’s got your fuck buddy interested as hell.”

Drey glanced at me with mild impatience. “Boys will be boys,” she shrugged.

Turning to Snug, Grimm demanded, “What’re you doing back here already? Hell, it hasn’t been four hours since your Assassins girlfriends sprung you. And quit playing with his cock while I’m talking to you.”

“Free country,” Snug retorted. He glanced at me and winked before withdrawing his hand.

Grimm shook his head disgustedly. “What the hell’s the goddamn story, Counselor?”

“What do you mean?”

“For starters, why wasn’t that MILF wife of yours invited to this party, as if I didn’t know? It was her that called us, you know.”

“Now we’re gonna get raped over the coals,” Drey said. I didn’t correct her.

“Lucky for you I happened to be working late and caught the call. Lucky for me you left me a key to keep an eye on the place. Lucky for all of us there’s still a few shots of booze left in that bottle.”

“Help yourself,” I said.

“I intend to.” From my desk top, Grimm took the misshapen clay cup Wolf had made me back in preschool for father’s day, dumped out the paper clips it held and poured himself a strong one. “Counselor, you and me are a couple of lucky guys, don’t you think? Two really lucky guys.” He continued staring at me standing there nude while he drank off a slug.

“How do you figure?”

“Well, let’s analyze this: I catch a pain-in-the-ass missing persons distress call from the lovely and charming wife of a prominent local attorney—an attorney well-known to the department for his suspected involvement in a series of embarrassing incidents that shall remain unmentioned—”

“What’s he talking about, Ricky?” Drey asked.

“It’s nothing,” I said.

“—culminating in him and his beautiful and talented wife Diane being found naked and in a drugged stupor in a minivan illegally parked facing the wrong direction on the Poplar Street Bridge with their four youngsters, mercifully oblivious to the extreme peril of their situation, fast asleep in the back. Despite what appeared to have been hasty removal efforts, there were traces of red ocher on Diane’s voluptuous body. I don’t know if you’ve ever studied anthropology, but from time immemorial primitive cultures have used red ocher in what you’d call your devil worship rituals. That’s your fuck buddy, K-Mart.”

“Drey,” she corrected, “and I already heard about all that shit at the meetings.”

“Ah, yes, the meetings,” Grimm replied. “It seems the Counselor here has friends in high places. Favors were called in. The whole thing was glossed over; he lost his driver’s license for a year and had to go to meetings. He abandoned a lucrative and promising career in personal injury for a do-gooder practice in the field of child welfare. And he’s no do-gooder, not our Counselor—matter of fact some say he’s a no-gooder. Yeah, we know all about the Counselor here. We got his number. There are those well-placed in the department positively salivating, waiting for him to fuck up again. And now it looks like their wish would have come true at last, except that luck thing must have been working overtime tonight, right, Counselor?”

“Call me Ricky.”

“Call me Lieutenant Grimm.”

“Mind if we get dressed, Lieutenant Grimm?” I asked.

“Mind if you get dressed? Why, this party’s just getting started, Ricky.” He looked at Drey standing naked beside my globe, the one Diane had bought at a yard sale for three bucks. “Oh, I get it,” he went on. “Where are my manners? I’m making you all uncomfortable, like the only guy wearing clothes at a nudist camp. Well, here goes.”

Grimm was the kind of guy who keeps his shoes and socks on while he undresses. He turned out to be a hairy, muscle-bound bastard. When he had stripped down to his skivvies, black socks and black spit-shine military shoes he hesitated.

“I got small feet and a smaller peeder; it’s why they call me Tiny Tim. Only thing big about me is my appetite. So don’t anybody laugh when you see my baby dick, all right?”

Nobody felt like laughing. Grimm pulled down his shorts and stepped out of them. He was definitely the Tim of the celebrated online amateur video May I Giss The Bride.

“What are you going to tell Diane about this?”

“Haven’t decided.” Grimm stroked his chin. “Let me ask you something, Ricky,” he said, “now that you and me’re on the subject of wives: you ever like to talk wives with another man while you’re both naked?”

“Never tried it.”

“No time like the present. My wife’s name is Suze and she’s got her a low-hanging pair of tits with worm nipples you gotta see to believe.”

“Sounds hot.” I folded my arms across my chest. “Your idea; you start.”

“How about you, Harold? You down for a little naked wife talk?”

“Depends,” Snug said.

“You see, Ricky? Unlike you and me, Harold here has set some standards for himself, some boundaries for his personal behavior. For Snug, it depends.”

“Hey guys, remember me?” Drey said. “I’m the barenaked hoosier woman in the room with you all.” She took a step forward; her left ass cheek eclipsed the eastern Atlantic and the horn of Africa.

Ignoring her, I said, “So how do we play this game exactly?”

Grimm said, “Simple: we all three jack our cocks while each of us takes turns telling how he’d like to do the next guy’s wife. Drey here can watch, or join in if she wants.”

“Hey, Ricky, can I tell how much I’d like to eat Diane’s pussy?” Drey laughed.

“Won’t make me mad,” I said.

“If you’re a gambling man we can even place penny ante bets to make it interesting,” Grimm added. “First one to cum wins the pot, like a circle jerk. Betting stays open. Guy feels himself getting close, he can always raise the ante, throw down however much he wants into the pot. The others have to match it or fold. Winner take all. Agreed?”

I nodded, but Snug seemed unsure.

“What’s that big-titted wife of yours’s name again, Harold?” Grimm asked him. “Heart, isn’t it?”

“Fuck this!” Snug roared. He gathered up his leather and chains and got dressed while Tim and I worked out how much a paper clip was worth. As soon as I heard the front door slam I hurried out and locked it again, then rejoined my other guests.

“How much you wanna bet them Hades Assassins are nothing more than a jack-off club cleverly disguised as a motorcycle gang?” Grimm sneered. “Bunch a faggots, you ask me. Oh, well, you up for a little two-handed, Ricky? Little ones a quarter, big ones a dollar, and them big black clips’re a ten-spot.”

“I’m in.”

“And no fair using your hands, Drey; this is between just us guys.”

“I notice you ain’t said nothin’ about usin’ my mouth.”

“No female to male body contact of any kind. Them’s the rules. You want to make yourself useful you can be in charge of the betting. Once we get going, each guy will call out his bets and you can take paper clips from his pile and put them in for him. That way it frees up our hands for other things. My advice is that we move that big executive chair of yours off to the side, take up that plastic carpet protector thing and spread it between us.”

“You got this all figgered out, ain’tcha, Tiny?” Drey taunted. “This what they do to pass the time on them lonely nights up in the squad room?”

“You’d be surprised.”

“I tell you what,” she said, “this is way funner than goin’ on the casino gambling boat.”

“Open for a dollar,” Grimm said.

I looked him in the eye. He was already furtively playing with himself. “Match it and raise you ten.”

“Hoo wee, big spender!” Drey whooped. “I thought you said you didn’t have no money, Ricky.”

“Just a warning,” Grimm cautioned. “One time me and some guys were playing this, and one fella come up short when time rolled around to cover bets? He wound up having to give all the other guys blow jobs to settle up.” Grimm’s face was flushed, and not just from the booze. “You ever been to a jack-off party, Ricky?”

“Not until now.”

“I ain’t talking about this here. Whole bunch a guys. Got called out to one at a fleabag motel on the edge of town a while back? Dozen or so fellas horsing around in their underwear, all crammed into one single room, looked like some kinda Olsen and Johnson cluster fuck. The dot head running the place called us worried about the occupancy laws or some damn thing. After I overcame some of their initial reluctance, them guys finally admitted to me they’d been meeting together regular here and there for months, telling their wives and girlfriends it was an investment seminar. Even had fake brochures printed up, in code, like? Thought maybe a guy like you might of run into something like that.”

“First I’ve heard of it. What happened?”

“That night? I cooled the dot head out with the seminar shuck, wrote it up as a fire code warning. And just to show you I ain’t married to the job, I admit I broke down and took in a coupla seminars myself since then. You want, I could add your name to their mailing list. Trust me, them brochures’re so slick your old lady will never suspect a thing.”

“Sure. Go ahead.”

Drey shot a wry disapproving look at me.

“Take it from me, you owe it to yourself. I’ll have them send it to the office so it’ll look like any other junk mail. Wanna flip that coin now? Heads it’s Diane giving me head, tails it’s Suze giving you tail.”

Grimm won the toss. And the pot. Undeterred, I excused myself to take another little blue pill.

“Been meaning to try them cock starchers myself,” Grimm said. “Is there anything to that four-hour warning? I always had it figured for an advertising shuck.”

“Try one of mine,” I offered.

“You sound like one a them old cigarette commercials used to be on television,” Grimm said. “Don’t mind if I do, though. Gotta keep the game even.”

“You don’t take alpha blockers for angina, do you?”

“Hell, I don’t even know what that is. Occasional aspirin is all,” Grimm said, accepting the pill I offered him and washing it down with Bushmill’s. “Say, ain’t that the shits how when we were kids they advertised them coffin nails all the time on TV, and now them’re banned and instead we’re seein’ penis enlargers and pills to make your dick hard? I guess you call that progress. How long’s this dope take to kick in?”

“Why? You goin’ somewheres?” Drey teased.

I won the next toss. My storytelling prowess of my imagined exploits with Suze proved to be such that Grimm won the next pot as well. Drey said, “I wanna play too!”

“How’s that gonna work?” Grimm protested. “A man can’t tell whether a woman’s cumming or faking it. Especially where there’s money involved.”

“Ain’t that a sad commentary?” Drey observed. “Still, Ricky can tell when I’m cumming, can’t you, Ricky? I get this here rash all over my belly like prickly heat, my toes curl and my calf muscles jump like a frog’s. That ain’t something you can fake too easy.”

“It’s true,” I said, not knowing whether it was or not, but simply wanting to watch Drey join in.

“I ain’t playin’ this with no woman,” Grimm said. “Unless of course the exquisite Diane would care to join us. What would you say to that, Ricky?”

“I’d say fuck both a y’all,” Drey grumped. She struggled out of a squat—farting audibly in the process—collected her clothes and began to dress.

“Well, don’t go away mad, K-Mart,” Grimm smirked, dick in hand.

Red-faced with anger, Drey re-tied her uniform apron and said, “Ricky, whenever you get done fooling around with this jack-off, it’s five dollar Jell-o twat shot night at the Fox n’ Sox Lounge. Kinda chilly slidin’ in, but ooh la la. Most men I’ve met are partial to the wild cherry.” Receiving no response, she stalked out. I heard the front door slam.

“Looks like it’s down to just you and me, Ricky,” Grimm remarked.

“Looks like it.”

“Two men with but a single thought.”


“Who needs her anyway?” Grimm said. “It’s like some anonymous shithouse poet wrote on the wall over one of the pisspots down at the station:

Pussy is sweet but so is honey; Fuck your fist and save your money.

“Truer words were never spoken, huh, Ricky?”

Now that Drey had left I found myself growing tired of Grimm’s presence. “So what are we going to tell Diane about tonight, Lieutenant?”

“Well, now that’s an interesting question. You think she might want to join in, for real?”

“There’s no way.”

“Too bad. Let’s analyze the remaining possibilities.” Grimm counted on his fingers while he ticked them off. “First, there’s always the truth: I caught you three ass-naked in the dark and interrupted you in the course of committing an unnatural act with a known felon. Think she’d like that one?”

“Doubt it.”

“Didn’t think so. Well, we could say I found you dead drunk passed out in a puddle of your own vomit. Don’t know as that one would go over any better, what with your twelve-step involvement and shit.”

“Still, it’s more palatable than the truth.”

“Most lies are,” Grimm agreed. “Of course there is a third possibility I’m considering. Matter of fact I kinda like it best of all.”

“What’s that?”

“I could always leave out the unnatural act, put everybody’s clothes back on and eliminate Drey’s presence, tell Diane we checked the phone lines and the woman’s voice she thought she heard answer was a wrong number. That leaves Harold “Snug” Robbins to be accounted for.”

“Why can’t you eliminate him like you did Drey?”

“Oh, I plan on eliminating him, all right,” Grimm said. “Only not the way you mean, because that’d be official misconduct or subornation of perjury or some other happy horseshit. No, I want to nail this troublemaking prick once and for all, put him away so he’s off my radar for a good long time, so that maybe when the boys at the station are throwing me my surprise retirement party years from now and they’re cutting into the cake I’ll start reminiscing over a long career and say to myself: ‘What was the name of that seven-foot asshole, the one that broke into that lawyer’s office years ago not once but twice, the second time beating the shit out of the lawyer and dislocating his shoulder in the process?’ Ever do any wrestling in high school, Ricky?”

“Only in gym class. Got my ass wiped most of the time.”

“Figured as much; you don’t have the build for it. I wrestled in high school. Went to All-State but damned if I didn’t get my shoulder dislocated in the semi-finals. Not a day goes by it don’t hurt. Piss away a fortune on that roll-on shit they sell on television. Wanna know what it feels like having your shoulder dislocated, Ricky?”

“Not really.”

“Hurts like a fucking bastard.” Without warning, Grimm leaped at me and in a split-second had me in a hold. I could feel his naked body pressing close against mine, leveraging me into position for whatever it was he had in mind. His body hair felt like a horsehair blanket with the horse still in it.

“The Greeks and the Romans wrestled naked, did you know that? That’s where we get the word gymnasium. See, gymnos is Greek for ‘naked.’ It means like, ‘naked-asium.’ Get it?” He squeezed harder; I felt my right shoulder joint tighten, then start to give.

“I get it,” I gasped in pain.

Grimm spoke calmly, gripping me more tightly and inescapably than any schoolyard bully. “Now anybody asks you, it was Snug that done this, right? It was Snug that come back to your office and overpowered you while you was working late on a Saturday, Snug that threatened to kill you and your whole fucking family if you testified against him, and Snug that beat you within an inch of your life, get it?”

I nodded rapidly. Grimm’s chin clamped over my left shoulder like a vise while he murmured words in my ear with a voice soft as a lover’s. “Public interest lawyer, my ass. You ain’t fooling anybody. I’ll bet you’ve fucked half the clients that come through those doors, haven’t you, cocksucker? Meantime, your sexy wife sits home ignored while a missing link like Snug Robbins plays with your cock in the dark. You some kind of faggot, or what?”

“How many kinds are there?” I whispered.

“Suppose I was to fuck you up the ass right now and find out?”

“Let me go,” I pleaded in a voice made tiny as a child’s from Grimm compressing my chest.

Grimm’s arms were iron bands around my body. He did something that moved my right arm into a crazy angle. “It’s these goddamn steroids, is what it is,” he said. “Keeps me young and in shape for on the job but shrinks down my peeder and balls at the same time. Oh, well, everything in life is a trade-off, ain’t that right, Ricky? By the way, you right-handed or left-handed? In the game just now I coulda sworn you was right-handed. I’m right, ain’t I? Correct, I mean.” He let up on the chest pressure barely enough to let me speak.

Struggling for air, I said, “You’re a trained observer, Lieutenant.” I thought about how convenient it would be for me with Snug put away; how grateful Heart would be to have him out of her life and safely ensconced in a distant penitentiary for decades like the other men in her life. All I had to do was lie under oath and make it happen.

“You gonna remember what I said, Ricky? About how Snug come in here and did this to you?”

I nodded and tried to speak but no sound came out.

“Because if you try and tell it any different, I’m all of a sudden gonna remember the truth about what went down here tonight, everything I saw. And I’m gonna tell Diane and everybody the truth, the whole truth and nothin’ but the truth. We don’t want that now, do we?”

I shook my head.

“I can’t hear ya, Ricky. Do we want that or don’t we?”

“Anything but,” I wheezed. Maybe it was the wrong answer to a poorly-phrased compound question because, at that moment, Grimm jerked my right arm. A crazy jolt of agony shot through my shoulder, into my neck and down my arm. When Grimm let go, I could no longer feel my right arm; my hand was pins and needles and I didn’t know whether I would ever be able to move the fingers of my right hand again.

Back in the day when my practice had been concentrated in personal injury, insurance adjusters could be counted upon to poo-poo mere shoulder dislocations as “soft-tissue injuries,” and open their offers with specials and a taste; in other words, not much over the medical bills for pain and suffering. I had listened to client after client relate their stories of ongoing pain, stiffness and multiple complaints from injuries no different from the one Grimm had deliberately inflicted on me—the first step in being drawn and quartered. And now here I was sitting naked on my office floor and couldn’t even begin to dress myself with one arm hanging dead and useless. The weight of the arm I couldn’t feel tore away at my shoulder joint like a twisting knife blade.

“You could say he forced you to strip naked to humiliate you, maybe even tried to rape you; I’ll leave that part up to your discretion,” Grimm went on. He was getting dressed, pulling his suit pants on over his shoes. “Lay it on as thick as you want, I don’t care. Long as you tell it right in court and Snug goes away for good. I’ll call it in, but first let me get rid of all this booze.”

Grimm straightened up the office; I lay on the floor and tried not to move. From that point, I don’t know how much time went by. All I remember is that Grimm returned and stood over me.

“You want what Kevin got?” he said. “You got it coming, you ask me.”

“No. Please.”

He appeared to weigh my request for a few seconds and then said, “Fuck it. You’re Kevin’s lawyer; you’re getting the same as he got.” The toe of Grimm’s black military shoe crashed into my left eye once, then again and again.

Fireworks went off in my head, and in the center was Grimm’s face, a big leering man-in-the-moon. An announcer’s voice crooned over lush orchestral swells, “With the stars Art Carney.”

Crash went the shoe. “Audrey Meadows.”

Crash again. “Joyce Randolph.” More fireworks.

One final crash, hard enough to change the channel. Almost pleasant this time, distant thunder. “And Jerry Mathers as the Beaver.”

I must still have been whistling the happy theme song to myself while they strapped me onto the gurney and wheeled me out to the waiting ambulance parked in the alley.

BIO: Malachi Stone, hard-hitting attorney by day, prolific novelist by night. Check out his website INTERMINABLE CONVERSATIONS WITH A SILENT MAN for other stories and more.

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