Wednesday, April 07, 2010

The Streak - 72

Evan sat beside Thelxie at a low, round table that was as deep in the shadows as possible. Joe and Matt were seated at the bar with wires, plainly visible, extending from earpieces in their ears. They stared fixedly at the mirror, twin tall glasses of Sprite before them. Evan shifted and felt his shirt brush against the copper wire taped to his back.

"Who are those two guys?" Thelxie asked.

Evan sighed. "Who knows? Lotsa security all over town I guess."

"That's kinda what I wanted to talk to you about."

"Yeah?"

"Promise you won't get mad?"

Evan, abstracted, was gazing at the soup of ice and whiskey at the bottom of his glass.

"What?"

"I don't want you to get mad when I tell you this."

"You can tell me."

"Some guys paid me to blow you." She paused and made a hangdog face.

"Some guys?!"

"Don't get mad," she implored. "I'm telling you because I like you, Evan. I really do."

"Why did they want you to blow me?"

"I was supposed to text them right before the act."

"Then what was supposed to happen?"

"They were gonna land their helicopter on the roof."

"Land their what?!"

"They were circulating in the night sky. Waiting."

"What happens after they land?"

"I propped the roof door open for them. They were gonna come down and surprise us. It was important that at the very moment they burst in, your cock be in my mouth. This was specified in my instructions."

Evan felt dizzy. He tried to pay attention.

"Oh, and also they gave me something to put in your drink." She ducked into a sheepish crouch, eyes peering pleadingly at Evan, and sucked her Stoli Vanilla and Diet Coke through the swizzle stick.

"Poison?"

"Something to put you to sleep."

"Then what were they gonna do?"

"Subdue you? Let you thrash till you collapsed. Catch your cock on video? Then wrap you in a blanket, maybe. Take you away, I guess. I'm only guessing."

"In the helicopter?"

Thelxie nodded.

"What for?"

"They told me they were working on a celebrity kidnapping reality TV show."

"Really."

"But I dunno now."

"Did they pay you?"

"Ten thousand dollars," she replied guiltily. Suddenly her eyes widened with a thought. "I'll split it with you if you want!"

"No, no..." Evan was shaking his head. Thinking.

"Anyway, now that I think about it I'm not too sure. I saw that man on TV. Who wants to take away our most beloved stars?"

"Yeah, yeah. Moo."

"Maybe these guys, they're working for that guy."

"How did they look? Terroristic?"

"I never saw them."

"What did they sound like?"

"I only ever texted with them."

"How did they pay you?"

"Your phone does that now."

"How did they give you the pill?"

"It appeared one evening in an envelope under my door."

The waitress came around and Evan ordered another scotch.

"You want another whatever?" he asked Thelxie.

"I'm alright."

Evan sat back on the banquette and clasped his hands atop his head. He closed his eyes. He wondered whether Thelxie would still be there when he opened them. She was.

"Do you have their names? Numbers?"

"There were two. Or maybe one who kept switching names."

"What were their names? What were his names?"

"Don and Walt."

"Numbers?"

"The numbers kept on changing. I have them in my phone."

"Is there anything else you can say about them?"

Thelxie thought about it for a minute.

"Yeah, they texted kind of funny."

"Funny how?"

"Like, they texted with an accent."

"What kind of accent?"

"Foreign."

They sat in silence again. Evan felt a pressure in his head. A thousand thoughts and apprehensions, ballooning for want of sharp examination. So it seemed.

He managed to catch Joe's eye over at the bar. Joe gave Evan a furtive yet affirming nod. Then he gripped his glass and tilted it back and forth on the coaster, letting the ice slosh around the soda. Was that some type of sign?

Evan had a sudden inclination to act.

"C'mon, get up. I'm going to introduce you to someone," he said.

Thelxie was startled. "Who?"

"You'll see. C'mon."

He led her across the room and to the bar. Standing beside Joe, he indicated Thelxie with his hand.

"Hey guys. I think it's about time you met this young lady," he began.

Joe and Matt stared straight ahead. Impassive.

"Come on, guys. I played my part. You wanna talk to her, don't you?"

No response from the two men. Matt took a sip of Sprite and swallowed hard.

"I'm standing here, guys. I'm talking to you. I'm addressing you."

Joe shifted almost imperceptibly on his stool. Thelxie burst into mirthless laughter.

"Forget it, guys. Drop it. Look, Thelxie–" Evan turned his back to her and lifted his shirt, revealing the wire extending up out of his pants. "See that? These guys were listening to us through those things in their ears."

Evan stood there, shirt untucked, as Thelxie scrutinized the men with some awe. Still they did not react. Very discreetly, under a cupped hand, Joe seemed to be writing something on a cocktail napkin.

Evan tapped Joe on the shoulder. "Matt! It's me. It's your pal. Evan."

Joe did not turn his head but his lips plainly mouthed a word. Evan could see it. The word was "Joe."

"Joe! Joe, Joe, Joe, Joe, Joe. It's Evan. Evan Benjaminson. Of the New York Yankees."

Something trembled in the men's demeanor. As though it were about to break.

"Joe, Matt," Evan continued. "Evan. Thelxie. Here we are."

Suddenly Matt turned to them with a radiant smile.

"Evan Benjaminson! Why! Joe, will ya have a look at that? It's Evan Benjaminson. Who plays third base."

Joe turned and gave a look of delighted surprise.

"Evan! We've heard so much about your exploits on the field!"

"The field of play!" added Matt.

The two men scrambled off their stools.

"Too bad we have to go, though. Don't we, Matt?"

"We sure do, Joe. Gotta go."

"Evan!" said Joe. "Great to see you! Great to meet you!"

Joe shook Evan's hand and pressed the balled-up napkin into his palm.

"And you! Whoever you are!" Joe said to Thelxie.

"Have fun tonight!" Matt exclaimed as he backed away.

Evan and Thelxie watched as Joe and Matt scurried out of the bar and across the lobby to the elevators.

"Well I'll be goddamned," said Evan. "Want another drink?"

"Sure."

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