Meyers – Like a Violinist

She pulled the curtain back, watched him as he walked away. Slowly. So slowly in the fog. What a wonderful man.

The fog. Everywhere. Always. She’d given up blaming the staff for smearing her glasses. That was the look of it. Vaseline. On the lens of her life. He’d said it was the medication. That was when his sadness came. Kind. Sad. Strong. Enough to carry the sadness. And so kind. Had she said that? They said he’d visited before, but…The fog…

She glimpsed her finger. The curtain. How the white bloomed in the fog when the lights were up. He’d held her fingers. Four. Her thumb dropped away. The dead sister she’d joked. He hadn’t laughed. Why not? What did he know the fog kept away? He knew her fingers…

Fine fingers. Long. He’d known a violinist with fine, long fingers. She had the fingers of an artist, he’d said. A neurosurgeon. Harpsichordist. Potter. He checked her nails. Another one obsessed with her nails…

***

Fine, long fingers, he’d said. Like a violinist. Daddy wouldn’t hear of it. NO! Sausage is a living, Daddy said. Sausage is my life! Sausage is the life for you!

Life? For me? No! I could be…Her fine, long fingers. Daddy! There is no music in kneading fresh, ground death…Fresh. Ground. Daddy? Death had to be fresh for sausage. No violin. No potter’s wheel. Fresh death. Sausage…

Fresh. When the ‘fridge died, the sausage died, and everyone knew her sausage had gone off. My sausage! Daddy!

Sausage is death, Daddy…Death is sausage.

***

Uniforms and labcoats. Not my nails! Her hands. Plastic bags. Tape. NO! Her nails. Her lovely, long, blood red…NO!

They’d scattered for him then. And he sat with her. Calm. He seemed. Sad. Kind. Meyers, is it? He’d nodded. Waited.

Please, Meyers? He’d held her hands. Firm. Warm. Kind. She remembered that about him always. Kindness. Firm. Warm. While the labcoats and their scissors….Lovely, long fingers don’t need long red nails. Like a violinist, he’d said…

***

Detective Myers? Describe as best you can within the boundaries of good taste –

Good taste? They were fresh! Until –

Madam, please

Victims. Disemboweled.

By these?

Oh God…Her lovely, long, red, nails…They had them. Bagged like Cheetos bound for a lunch box.

Sharp as scalpels, he’d told them.

How could they be otherwise? Daddy preached. Dull is Dangerous. Daddy. Sharp. Piercing the thin, abdominal wall. Intestines. Fresh. Intestines were the key.

How long?

Her nails or the intestines?

Laughter and the gavel.

Long enough, he’d said.

He understood. Little ones were useless. Nails. And intestines. But to hold them? Let them drape through her fingers while they pulsed? The smell. Tasting the air, what they’d become…Fresh was the magic of good sausage.

Wine. Spices. Onions…an exquisite composition…almost orchestral in design

How delightful it sounded when he said it! What a wonderful man…

Detective Myers this is a court of law. We’ve no need of culinary instruction –

Human Andouillette? Detective Myers – You find the ‘sausage of death’ appropriate? Judge would you instruct –

Leave him, fool! He knows sausage. It’s all in the intestine. The big one. Where the shit lives. Like the French, not bastardized –

Madam! No more!

Victim’s DNA was found among this ‘orchestrally exquisite’ assortment of spice and vegetables that you were led to by a strong fecal – Yes, ‘fecal’, please, Detective Meyers, not –

Say shit, you worm! Go on. Say it! Shit! The best bags of doom reek of it! Shit! And death! He knows. Tell them, Myers! How fabulously pungent it was! Organic. Single sourced! Tell them, Meyers! Tell. Them!

Remove her…

her…

her…

her…

***

He was gone. Slipped too far into the fog. She smiled, released the curtain, slowly gyrated her hands. Fine, long fingers. Proper clipped nails. Befitting a lady, she’d said. He’d smiled then, held them. Cold against his warmth until she felt them glow. Like a violinist, he’d said. Not a butcher. Meyers understood.

She spread her fingers. Long, wide. Like a violinist. What a wonderful man.

Forty Pounds, Naked

Cambridge U.K., Wednesday, June 13, 1979

“What the fuck?” Deanna shook the satiny bathrobe Michael handed her after she’d set her purse down and taken off her jacket.

“Can’t have you spoil the illusion by ‘in off the street to nude’ in front of everyone.” He put a hand between her shoulder blades and gave her a gentle shove toward a DIY four-panel room divider made of old doors. “Did you get my message about loose clothes, no underthings?”

“Yes, but…” She turned around and had to walk backwards because he was right there and kept coming. “But I hate braless, all bouncing around and cold and everything. Unless I’m just home or something. And no panties? I mean how gross is that? I mean it, what the fuck, Michael?”

“Tight clothes and elastic leave lines where a discerning eye would rather none.”

“So? I’m not a nude model.”

He pulled one of the end screen panels almost to the wall in front of himself to enclose her, stuck his head in. “You are tonight.”

“I am not! I don’t do the nudist thing. I did that once on accident water skiing and lost a sixty-dollar bikini. And six weeks of a summer with someone I was in…who was important.”

He pulled the screen panel open, stepped right into her face. “Shut it. Now. You took the forty. To model. What did you think they wanted to see? A skinny yank in out-sized clothes? You’ve nothing special to keep hidden away. On a right day you’re no more than a knackered mop stood on end.” His scowl intensified for a few seconds before it vanished when he glanced at the clock on the far wall. “They’re setting their places. Clothes or no clothes, on the stand or down the stairs, as you will. Six minutes.”

At seven-thirty she stepped around the edge of the screen of doors in the satiny robe, scared, timid, shaking and determined. Knackered mop? Insulting her pride to get her naked? Another gamey asshole trick. Mother fuc— she flashed the Miss Popularity smile that she had resurrected by necessity, stepped up onto a homemade riser covered in a worn-out oriental rug and topped with a faded Victorian bench. She slid out of the robe in a move she’d seen in some old black and white movie. Godammit, she couldn’t smile like this all night, and big-bottom Michael needed to turn the heater up. Way up. “Summer” in England was a lie.

Cambridge U.K. 9:30 PM Wednesday, June 20, 1979

A room full of male and female pensioners, the mildly sadistic pervert professor Dr, David Childs and Michael had enjoyed spending three hours spread over two ninety-minute sessions with a bit too thin, starkly attractive, non-speaking naked young girl so frightened that you could see it in her eyes. She’d presented them with a vulnerability rarely seen in nude models, something Michael had captured with a camera so that he could paint her himself when he had time, and sell the snaps around a small network of dirty old men, other painters and a few women who were into that sort of thing. The perv professor had logged that child-like fear as well.

While easels were cleared, paintings stored in racks, brushes set in jars of water or solvent Michael caught Dr. Childs attempting to slip away.

“No, David. Not yet” Michael shook his head slowly and spoke like he was dealing with a four year-old. “You knew the deal. The Fifty is for the ring to come and have a look, the forty covers what I’m out for getting her here and I’ll have it now.”

“You are aware of my delicate financial situation, Michael. Couldn’t we —”

“Ninety, David. Or I call Lady Childs for it and your financial situation will indelicately vaporize.”

David counted out the ninety, slapped it into Michael’s outstretched hand. “Beastly excuse for a man you are.”

“Comes with the under compensated instructor’s crown, you know that well enough.” Michael folded the bills and shoved them in his front pocket.

“She’s a bit of Bohemian, that’s something different. But I have several on my list ahead of her. You will keep her just between us?”

“Our own private Bohemian rhapsody, David. I’ll let you know how she goes.”

Michael put his hand on David’s shoulder and ushered him out of the doorway he’d blocked with his lingering, said “Good Night” to his last pensioner and locked the door from the inside. Unlike Dr. Childs, he didn’t have a rich wife, a title, or a list of girls to work his way through before he got to this one.

***

“Michael?” Deanna tossed the robe over the top of the screen in another old movie move. “Are we going to talk about the cross curriculum symbolism? I made some time for us, and a list.”

He unzipped his baggy cords, shoved the room divider open. “Knob bob time best served before wordplay, Miss Collings. I’d ask to have at down below but that’s a right lion’s head you’ve got between your legs.” He reached for her, the cords hit his ankles. Her jeans were only halfway up when she let go of them to slide out the backside of the screen. She shuffled to grab her purse, book bag and coat. Michael almost tripped backing out of the screen. He grabbed the back of a chair, hop danced his feet out of captivity, lunged and caught her. She spun away from him but her feet, still bound by her jeans, didn’t follow. He caught her by the upper arm, dragged her to the riser and tossed her like a rag doll onto the ratty upholstered Victorian bench she’d modeled on. She bounced off the bench onto the riser, rolled to its back edge feet first then off. She tried to stay up but her momentum, balance and sock feet were at cross purposes. She clutched at an easel for balance. When she knew it was hopeless and she was on the way down, with or without it, she heaved it at one of the tall glass windows in the second story studio. The sound of the window shattering seemed to last for hours.

Michael picked her up, propped her on the riser. “Are you done?”

“Yes. No! I’m finished, not done. I’m not a fucking cake. Are you?”

“A cake? No, I’m not a bloody cake. Well done I am, thanks to you.” He looked through the hole where the window, they both heard the approaching doo-dah doo-dah of British sirens. He pulled on his baggy cords and reloaded his shirt tail. Maybe it was an artist thing., but Deanna had never heard so many different emotions in the word “shit” before.

She looked around the room while she pulled on her jeans. The glass shards, the mess of spilled brush cleaning jars, the collapsed room divider, the satin robe. Her lack of undies. She knew from her studies and old presentations how this sort of thing, tagged to nude modeling, usually ended up being the woman’s fault.

“‘Shit’ is no shit right.”

***

“No ma’am. Really. I mean it, I didn’t ‘fancy’ him. At all.” Deanna had been through the interview six times and wanted to go home. She leaned her head next to the police woman’s and lowered her voice. “He’s got a big butt, for a guy, you know? I don’t know about you, but my dream guy isn’t shaped like a pear.”

The WPC taking Deanna’s statement snorted into the back of her hand so hard she dropped her pen. “Very well. You’re not being formally charged with anything, Miss Collings. If you change your mind about him,” she tilted her head slightly in Michael the horny goateed art teacher’s direction, “give us a ring.”

“I’ll change my mind if we can lock him in a room with ten or twelve other girls he’s pulled this on.”

“Arrange it, I’ll stand watch on the door to see you’re not disturbed.” She handed Deanna her business card, checked in by eye contact with the Officer in Charge who nodded. “Pick up your things, Miss Collings. You may go. Mind you, quietly.

Deanna draped her red London Fog over one arm, glared out the crazy assed vagina pelt hunting art pig before she shouldered her way around the swearing, red-faced and demonstrative arm waving lorry driver whose windscreen had gotten smashed by the easel she’d sent through the second story art class window. She turned and slid sideways between two bored uniformed policemen talking soccer, slowed a beat as she passed a no-nonsense looking man in a lightweight tan jacket leaning the door jamb. He reminded her of someone, vaguely.

***

Michael said “Good night” again, this time to the police contingent, found himself alone with the no-nonsense man who had volunteered to help tape cardboard over the broken window.

No-nonsense used his teeth to tear a piece of duct tape from the roll he was holding, held it up to the wall while Michael pushed the cardboard into place. “Busy night for an art teacher.”

“Bloody stupid, skinny fucking cow. Forty pounds to stand about naked, not a thank you of any kind. And I’m done for the window.”

“Insurance will have the lorry’s windscreen, Cambridge city fathers will have this all under the rug to keep you from being the big bad wolf on their payroll, and unless there’s a copper with their hand out to the morning press you’re off light I’d say. For chasing a lass about, trousers around your ankles and all, who wasn’t up for being your Wednesday’s casual. I’ll have the film roll, if you don’t mind.”

“You’ll be?”

“Meyers.” He ran the strip of tape down the side of the cardboard in a quick, smooth motion.

“Well, Meyers,” Michael held the right side of the cardboard up, watched his helper eyeball and tear the tape a perfect length and swipe it across the top in the same smooth motion. “I do mind. I shot it, it’s mine and I’ll have my forty again and more out of her, one way or another.”

“Or…One way or another I’ll have the film. Day’s end, Michael? This window of yours was all needed breaking on a Cambridge summer’s eve.”

Michael took in Meyers out the corner of an artist’s eye. A deceptively offhand, nonchalant, Marlboro man sort. Sandy hair, hard, gray eyes that could have come from Michelangelo’s David set in an outdoorsy tanned face and whose deft economies of movement snapped Michael to the fact that nude photos of the girl, and possible extra income from them, weren’t worth a trip to the emergency room. Michael patted down the dozen or more pockets of the paint splattered hunting vest he wore in place of a smock. Nothing. They swapped out holding the cardboard and Michael took a couple of steps to a cluttered desk where he rummaged around, located his camera, popped the film and tossed it to Meyers.

“She was just another nude model who turned out to be a bit of bad idea. Who is she to you?”

“I’m told someone across the pond has concerns. Wasn’t sure I wanted the job at first, seemed like babysitting.” The film disappeared into Meyers’ pocket. “That said,” he tore another piece of tape with his teeth, offered it with a mildly amused expression. “So far she seems a girl who can turn a bit of bad idea into a right shit grenade, eh? Tape?”

Edited to remove references to people and events not in evidence

Sonic Boom

Brian at Bonnywood Manor wrote a post with a great scene in it (See #4) that I plugged into a throwaway chapter. Thank you, Brian. I might turn it into a series. Meyers – Mercenary Detective? Nah. It was a dark and not so stormy night…

Cambridge, U.K. – Early October 1982

Meyers checked his watch, thought about a cigarette for the hundredth time in the last half hour. And food. Food would be good. But he’d have to step out of the phone box and into the drizzly Cambridgeshire soup. It didn’t look like much, but it got right through everything but a wharfman’s oilskin and right down into your bones. His not so new, or all that clean London Fog was perfect for playing the “Mercenary Detective” on his business card. Or baby sitter, which was what he was. On this job, anyway. Regardless, the overcoat wouldn’t keep him dry, and he had to wait for his charge to appear. He’d stay smoke and food free for a while, pick up what he needed walking in the shadows behind her if she ventured back out tonight. Assuming she made it home in one piece.

Why anyone gave a rat’s ass about a skinny American girl who could get knee deep in her own shit simply walking down the street going to Cambridge for a grad degree was beyond him. Was she pretty? He’d seen pictures. She had a Gran’s porcelain doll look to her. So yeah, before the hair cut with pinking shears, and back when she maybe ate occasionally. The American who handed her off said it would help if she didn’t dress like Redneck Lesbian Barbie most days, all in thrift shop men’s clothes that she threw an oversized old lady dress over. He’d been told she was smart, too. Couldn’t prove it by him. He was starting to question his own judgement to take up station in the phone box and wait for her to make it home. The silly cow was always getting into –

“About bloody time.” He rubbed a peek-a-boo hole in the fogged glass of the phone box so he could see her, checked his watch again.

Deanna fumbled with the door latch. She knew it was going to piss her off, like always. Dammit. Everything in England was a hundred and fifty fucking years old, at least. And that Stonehenge thing? Don’t even. How could anyone not know how it got there? Like it just appeared in some farmer’s back yard? Jesus. How stupid was that? Someone had to know. And Blake’s house on Molton Street in London? It was a fucking bar. With French sandwiches, which really meant yukky, fatty English ham, tasteless hydroponic tomatoes and runny mayo on a croissant. And sweet, colorful drinks. She’d been. Once. Gotten thrown out. That had been a long afternoon. She’d met a lot of nice police women, but that was it.

“Come on. Godammit, open.” The cold drip from the useless, narrow awning over the door was going straight between her collar and her neck. She looked around for a place to set the paper bag full of off-fresh veggies she’d bargained for at the green grocer’s, settled on the basket of one of the half dozen bicycles on the tiny strip of sidewalk in front of her flat.

Meyers’ gentleman instincts kicked in, but there was nothing he could do to help her. “Let her screw up until it gets dangerous,” the woman had said. “Stay out of the way and off her radar. If you need to show some horny, overly enthusiastic asshole the big book of manners, do it in the background.” What the hell. The girl drew her fair share of ‘Bohemian Babes are for me’ horn dogs, but none of them were very dangerous. Questionable taste in women, maybe, but not dangerous. He didn’t get it. The people who hung around colleges. Forever. He was starting to feel like one of them. It paid like a real job, though. He stuck a stick of gum in his mouth, hoped it lasted longer than two minutes, checked his watch. Again.

“If you don’t –” She bumped the stubborn door with her hip when she twisted the key and the solid wood door with a thousand coats of paint banged open, dropped her into the flat on her hands and knees. She straightened her legs, butt in the air, brought the rest of herself up like a mechanical mime and stepped out into the soup to grab her veggies. When she turned back she kicked the door and yelled “Cock sucker!” loud enough for Meyers to hear it inside the phone box.

His handler had told him that back in the States she’d grown up with a brother who played linebacker in the NFL and she had lived with a musician. She had a mouth on her to prove those up. And despite dumping the musician on her way to the airport bound for England’s green and pleasant land she was still in love with him. “Poor bastard,” he’d said. The woman said not to feel too sorry for him, he was getting a well deserved vacation and that he was the only bloke who could wrangle her. Meyers could use some advice on that shrew wrangling. The girl was a bad judgement accident magnet with feet.

***

Deanna decided to come out again, looking almost female. Meyers dutifully followed her to a posh, second floor flat further north up the Cam. There were no convenient phone boxes so he decided to drink cheap wine while doing his best to blend in at a party of obviously not very discriminating people of varying ages. Who were only there to drink some rich Spanish kid’s free, sweet, shitty white wine. And eat his free, greasy, shitty oven-fired hors devours that kept popping out of an oven somewhere around a corner before being put up on a table strewn with paper plates, balled up dirty paper napkins and empty plastic wine glasses. The greasy bites were delivered by a thin, underage pimply faced boy who, if he were to wash his hair more than once a month, would see his complexion miraculously clear up.

Meyers was reaching for some Americanized eggroll looking thing when he was jolted out of his shampoo reverie by a sonic boom that had probably been heard across the channel.

Everyone was staring at the balcony sliding glass door, and Deanna, as her face slid down the glass. The slow trip pulled her upper lip off her teeth in a comic snarl and left a smeared streak of icing from the piece of cake she had been eating in its wake. Meyers waited to see if she slumped, or got up. She stayed down. Dammit. He set his wine glass with fifteen others on an end table whose varnish had long since worn away and took a step, stopped and picked up his wine while he still knew which glass was his. Sheridan, the gay theology guy in the clergy cassock with contrasting white button trim, who followed her and other attractive female misfits around for reasons unknown, was already on her.

“Deanna? Dee-anna! Miss Collings?”

“Mmmphhh?”

“Good. You must stand up Miss Collings. Please. This is, um, unbecoming. Please.”

“Mmmnguhhhphhhumpin?”

“Yes, exactly.” He put his hands under her arms, straight and stiff, karate chop style, to avoid a couple of handfuls of her boobs. More for show, Meyers thought, but it was decent of him. Gay and soon to be priestly. Or making a good show of both until he got out into a pasture full of sheep in need of shepherding. Smart lad, and well played if that was his game.

Deanna stood, dazed, with what little lipstick she wore in a red line from the left corner of her mouth to up under her eye. Her upper lip and both nostrils were covered in blue and white cake icing, which had also managed to find her eyelashes and eyebrows. Picasso clown meets Sixties movie vampire. In pastels.

“Didn’t you see the door?” Sheridan wiped a finger of icing off her left eye lid, sucked it off his finger.

“Mm-hmm. Fuck me yes I saw it. Up close, didn’t I? Where am I? Whose house is this?”

“Dimas. From Spain? Early Shakespeare, last spring?”

“Dumbass? He had a party?” She rubbed her nose. “Ow. Fuck me.”

“You’ve said that, love.”

“Said it again, Father Fag, ‘love.’ And no one’s taking me up on it, are they?” She shook her head, looked around, cleared her eyes and pushed back a step from the glass door. “God. What an idiot…” She put her hand on the aluminum frame, stuck her head around the side of the glass door.

“Dimas! Hey! Dumbass! Motherfucker put some little stars or butterflies or unicorn sticky thing decals on this door, ‘Kay, asshole?” She rubbed her lip, came away with a touch of blood from her nose mixed in the icing, held it up. “Jesus, you know? I could have fucking killed myself.”

Meyers heard the mumbled “Don’t we wish” comments from members of her various study groups float around him like gnats on a moldy orange. Good thing she knew she couldn’t drink or she’d be a right mess.

He reloaded his wine while priest-to-be fawned all over her, working the icing out of her nose with a paper napkin wrapped pinkie finger. She was swatting at him, telling him to fuck off, rubbing her lip and nose looking for more blood, giving anyone who stared at them too long the finger. Meyers checked his watch. She’d be in bed soon enough after this little number, and he’d have an early night of it. This job did have its perks. Decent hours. Occasionally chatty girls on the periphery of whatever Deanna was getting up to. Unless tonight was the night priest-to-be offered to bathe her. That would fuck everything up, having to be discrete about knocking him into the shrubs or the Cam with enough force to send him back to gay for a while. He’d keep his head down, blame the fog for his bash into the black frock. He’d run off with her swearing at him, the priest —

There she went, wiping cake all over the priest-to-be’s frock and calling him a boob honking pervert for trying to wipe the cake off the front of her dress. Shit. What he needed was a standard issue who’s shagging the other divorce case. Motel rooms, half empty champagne bottles and forgotten panties instead of a profane, clumsy female grad student who rarely shagged anyone. And if she did she never left him flat, room temperature champagne. Or her panties.

She was getting her raincoat, and the priest-to-be was staying. Good. He glanced at his watch again, and at the greasy, disgusting, thumb sized cold egg roll thing making his fingers shiny. He flicked it out the open patio door and over the balcony rail like it was the butt of a cheap cigar. Which reminded him that he still needed a cigarette. And food. Real food from a reasonably attractive, friendly and zit free waitress would be good.