Friday, January 9, 2009

A Twist Of Noir 036 - Naomi Johnson


Fuckin’ Dan Winterburn. I never liked that asshole and now I’m dying because of him. Smug, arrogant motherfucker.

I had spent my lunch hour plus a little more at Bergdorf’s, buying a gift for Doreen. Doreen was a walking wet dream, she made Marilyn Monroe look like as juicy as a turkey carcass on the day after Thanksgiving. Curvaceous, funny, easy to be with. In other words, nothing like my wife.

So I’d picked out this pink silk slip, one of those full slips with the lacy brassiere built in. Major retro and with some designer’s name on it, it cost almost as much as my car payment but what the hell. I was imagining it on Doreen then me ripping it off her when that asshole Winterburn appeared out of nowhere. Like I don't get enough of his shit at the office.

He greeted me and then said, “A gift for Velma?”

Fucker. He’d met Velma and he knew she was the last woman in the world any man was going to buy designer silk for.

“Ah…” I said, repartee not being my forte.

“A friendly bit of advice, Bill,” he clapped me on the shoulder and gave me his special brand of grin. A supercilious, knowing, leering grin. I don't how he manages it. “Always buy a gift for the wife when you’re buying one for the other woman. If you don’t, then when you get home the guilt sets in. You feel guilty and it shows. The wife sees it, starts to wonder. Don’t want that, do we?”

The asshole drifted off in the direction of the perfume counter where I hoped the fumes would induce a fatal asthma attack. But I had to admit he had a point. Velma was like a bloodhound and Doreen was a bone I didn't want to toss her. I’d spent the entire hour lingering over my gift to Doreen but it took all of three minutes to settle on Velma's gift: A girdle with more armor than a naval destroyer. I took both items to the counter and paid for them, asked for them to be wrapped and delivered. I filled out the address cards and went back to the office feeling a little holier than Dan Winterburn. The feeling even lasted through the phone call to Velma to let her know I'd be working late.

Bergdorf’s service is always excellent so I was looking forward to seeing Doreen in pink lace when I let myself in to her apartment after work that evening. And I was right, the slip had been delivered. The box and wrap and ribbons were in a tangle on the floor when I opened the door. Problem was, so was the slip.

No, the problem was sprawled on the sofa, one heavy leg dangling over the sofa arm, a meaty arm tucked behind her head. An unfiltered cigarette dropped hot ash onto her upper lip. Velma.

A shudder ran right through me and I never wanted to pee so bad in my life until I saw the gun in her hand. You've heard that expression about bowels turning to water? I'm hear to tell you it's the God's honest truth.

“Jesus, Bill, you're late,” she rasped. “Thought I might fall asleep waiting for you. That's been the routine for some time now, hasn't it?”

I looked from Velma to the slip on the floor.

“What have you done, Velma? Where's Doreen?”

She gestured with the gun. “In there, hon. You go on in and get your goodbyes over with.”

I went in and saw Doreen lying on the bed, the evening sun pushing between the window louvers and slatting across her naked body. A small black hole marred the perfection of the valley between her breasts. Her eyes were glassy and bulged a little, as though she was choking on the object partially stuffed into her mouth. I stared at it for what seemed like days before it dawned on me that it was the girdle I'd bought for Velma.

Sick, I staggered back to the living room. If I was going to throw up I wanted to it be on my wife. Velma sat up and held out a piece of paper to me. Two pieces, the address cards I'd filled out at Bergdorf's. One was to Velma and one was to Doreen. Oh, Christ. The address on both was the same. Mine. Velma's.

I looked up in time to see Velma's paw tightening on the gun. I didn't really hear the blast, I was too busy coping with the sudden punch of a piledriver to my chest. I had to lean against the wall and when that didn't help I sort of slid down it. Velma came and stood over me, straddling my legs.

“What'd you say, Bill?” She leaned closer, the gun to my head.

I whispered, “Fuckin' Dan Winterburn. I never liked that guy.”

BIO: Naomi Johnson is a retired financial analyst with an unused degree in Criminology. She lives in Columbus, Ohio. Her friends deny all responsibilty.


David Cranmer said...

Naomi, Well written story with sharp dialogue. I'm looking forward to reading more of your work.

Anonymous said...

Don't think I like Dan Winterburn, either! Tight dialog, great job.

Unknown said...

Good story, the personalities were spot on!!

Joyce said...

Slick stuff, Naomi. Really enjoyed this one. Like the matter-of-fact style of it--very cold and dispassionate--perfect.

Unknown said...

Too many Dan Winburns in this world, not to mention too many Doreens either. GREAT story!!

sea minor said...

you certainly know how to do the 'chubby checker' with your stories. i love the way you have me to the end, then pull the rug from under my feet. your descriptions of the two women, opposites as they are, is superb.