Beyond a Reasonable Doubt Ch. 04byAdrian Leverkuhn©
Beyond a Reasonable Doubt
I was discharged from the hospital a couple of weeks later. "Persephone" had somehow, astonishingly no doubt to those of you following along here, been assigned to the hospital's home health care division and presto! – she came home with me. Again, I ask for leniency here; please do consider, despite your misgivings, that a boat can be a home – and anyway, she took to it like a duck to water. But I want to be clear: as I have never been particularly adept at housework I was glad to have the help. The fact that she had sworn a blood oath to serve me until my death? Hey, man; icing on the cake.
Now, don't get me wrong. You see, it's like this: having three heart attacks over the course of a week – while in a coma, no less – fucks with your head. You stand up from a chair too fast and you hear the grim reaper walking up behind you, his scythe whizzing through the air – right for your carotids, as a matter of fact. Which are already, you have good reason to believe, pretty well clogged-up after a twenty-five year binge on Quarter Pounders and Krispy Kremes. Having a nice, sexy-as-Hell blond-haired, blue-eyed nurse following me around begging to please me was – well, frankly – kind of unexpected, yet this was just one of the unforeseen perks accrued by hooking up with a bunch of homicidal sado-masochists. Hey, I've always said if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Who was I to question my own frayed logic?
Seph (and frankly, she hated being called that, but calling out "Persephone!" in a crowded grocery store will get you all kinds of unwanted attention) was a miracle. She was like Carnation Instant Love; add a few teaspoons of cream and she was all kinds of happy. She'd chosen this life. She even told me it was true, too. She wasn't some Central American or Asian kidnap victim sold into a life of servitude. No, she'd been a nurse for years and had met someone who knew someone and before you can say "beat me, spank me, make me write hot checks!" she was into the scene and loving every ass-smacking minute of it. Honestly, have you ever whacked a girl on the ass and had her fall to the floor in orgasm?
Well, neither had I.
Like I said, it was fucking with my head, and I think I may have mentioned my head was already pretty scrambled, and, well, everything about my life pretty fucked up. One day I went down to Central to fill out some paperwork and bang, just like that it was all over: I was a retired cop. I'd have had to turn in my badge but like Tate I signed up for the reserves. I week later I got a call; they'd had a bad one and wanted my help. Would I mind?
Would I mind?
Fuck. They even sent a patrol car over to pick me up! Limousine service! If I'd only figured this out sooner!
Seph claimed she preferred being chained to the floor by the foot of the bed but I wasn't having any of it. A cold teak floor? Am I heartless? No, I had her curl up behind me and scratch my back all night. I'd never had a wife do that before. What the hell was wrong with this picture? Sex? Don't ask... just command!
"Say baby, I'd like to screw upside down hanging from the top of the mast!"
"Sure thing, Woody. Let's go!"
It was every misogynists' dream come true, enough to make Susan B Anthony turn barrel-rolls in her grave. There was only one problem, but it was a big one. I hated it. Everything about it. When she asked me to get rough with her I cringed inside, then I hated myself afterwards. If I left a red mark on her ass I had to go into the head and somehow keep myself from puking. Let me be perfectly clear: I was not then and am not now wired that way. Causing pain or administering corporal punishment for supposed infractions did not make me happy, did not help me get my rocks off.
It was a means to an end.
I'll try to explain.
I'd made my decision the first time I saw Liza after I came out of the coma. I knew I loved her. I don't know how, or why, and anyway, I don't give a damn. When she walked into my hospital room the lights got brighter, my heart suddenly felt young and strong, I wanted to live – and live with her by my side. That feeling became bedrock.
But she, apparently, belonged to – if not someone – then something that made it impossible for her to just drop off the map and sail away. She let me know in no uncertain terms that there was no running from these people. They weren't limited to Seattle, to the Pacific Northwest, or even to the good ole U. S. of A. They were, she told me, everywhere. Literally. Senators belonged. Federal judges too. And – pointedly – chiefs of police belonged. FBI agents, CIA operatives, even a former President were regular adherents. I had no idea. My tax dollars at work! And here I'd thought all these years that politicians took no pleasure from screwing us over!
Just goes to show ya, huh?
The 'local affiliate' had been started years ago, she told me, by a bunch of hackers at Microsoft (hey, that figures); now, she said, hundreds of the most influential people in the area were already involved. They were always on the look-out for talent that could help in a pinch. She told me if I wanted to get an idea of what the group was like to watch Kubrick's last film. You know; the one with Tom and Nicole and all those nice people wearing leather beaks. She let me know these people were, however, just a touch meaner. Having been at two crime scenes and admired their handiwork I was prepared to take her appraisal at face value. If the cops and the courts were compromised, then what? If you took down a couple, or even a couple dozen, there were hundreds more buried everywhere ready to hunt you down and feed you your dick.
And the simple fact of the matter was you'd never know who to trust, or who not to. With that simple maxim as gospel, then trusting even Tate – maybe especially Tate – was out of the question. If you don't know who to trust, you trust no one. If there is any doubt, then there is no doubt. This arithmetic was simple, the kind I understand. If I was going to do anything, if I was going to extract my pound of flesh, it was going to be a solo operation. Either that or I could just go with the flow and enjoy Persephone and Liza and learn how to use a riding crop.
And believe me, there were times I thought that was an attractive proposition, too. How fast we fall.
The first time Liza came down to the boat after Seph joined the crew was, well, interesting. Like every red-blooded male in America my favorite fantasy involved making it with two women. Let's ignore the fact that I had never known two women at the same time that I'd have even been tempted to do that with; now I had two women who, simply stated, were more than willing. Way more than willing. The biggest problem now was I'd recently had three major coronary vapor locks: my V-8 was now an inline four. Viagra was a major league no-no. What would I do???
But did that stop these two girls? My two girls? In a word: No.
They were gentle, at least at first, and not very demanding – which was highly appreciated. Remember, all it took to send Sephie over the edge was a good smack on the ass. Liza was simply oral, like Linda Lovelace was oral; apparently her tonsils and clit had merged years ago – to wondrous effect. The only thing she liked more than giving head was receiving a little. She could lay back and take a llicking for hours at a stretch, too. Fortunately the only thing I enjoy more than receiving is giving, so we were perfect for each other. And face it, all either of us had to do was smack Sephie on the ass every now and then and we were all three in carnal heaven. Hard to do on a boat, believe me, but we managed.
And this went on for months. Whoever or whatever this organization was, they were content to sit back and watch and listen for any signs that I might be trying to plot my revenge. I, however, was equally content letting Liza and Sephie clean my clock three or four times a week. And the poor guy on the boat next to mine?
Everytime I poked my head out into the sunlight the guy bowed at me like I was Krishna or the Buddha. I never really considered that sound carries. Our exploits were becoming the stuff of urban legend. So, like I said, I was retired now, and in goods hands. An equitable exchange, don't you think?
I thought so too.
So, life took on all the aspects of a comfortable routine – but things in truth were not quite what they seemed. Once or twice a month the department would need me and someone would come for me and I'd go do my cop thing for a day or two. Tate joined me from time to time, then he sponsored me and I got my P.I. badge and bought my own Nikon. I went out with him every now and took photos of philandering husbands and cheating wives; the rest of the time Sephie and I puttered on the boat: I taught her to sail and believe it or not I taught her how to love. Someone paid her salary, everyone left us alone, and three or four times a week Liza came over to spend the night, and along the way she taught me how to love, too. It was a real trip.
I think after a year of this routine I'd have been quite content to live out the rest of my days doing this and only this. Tottenham's murder receded into a dim and hazy past, dreams of sailing south to the tropics began to feel unnecessary, even narcissistic. I was content, even happy. I hadn't made any wave and all indications were that I wouldn't.
In short, they had me right where they wanted me.
And I was counting on that, too.
It was right before Christmas, more than a year later, when the call came.
They were apparently sentimental characters and wanted me to attend their annual Christmas get-together. Liza told me the Satanists in the group tended to boycott the affair but it was, generally speaking, a rather low-key orgy followed by the ritual sacrifice of a few goats and a seminar or two on the proper use of riding-crops. Everyone there would be masked, except of course, me. I would, if I chose to attend, be examined, judged, and if found wanting, killed. By Sephie. Who would then be killed.
No pressure or anything. Just your average holiday get-together. Mistletoe over the spiked punch and all that jazz.
"Don't we, like, exchange gifts or anything?" I asked. This could be fun!
"Woody, get serious."
"I am. It's Christmas, for Christ's sake!"
The girls laughed at my naiveté. They had no idea how naïve I was, or am – for that matter. Still am, I guess you'd say. Old dogs and all that. I mean, come on: I like Christmas, always have. I still get the warm-fuzzies when I watch A Charlie Brown Christmas. I like it when the Grinch finds his heart is still pure. I love watching kids open their presents on Christmas morning, and don't mind opening one or two of my own. So shoot me! How rough could a bunch of homicidal sado-masochists be?
It was the thought of spiking the punch that first intrigued me. How could I do it and not get caught? And what could I spike it with that might drive the point I was trying to make home? More to the point, what could I spike it with that would break no laws but really fuck with them where they lived?
Acid? I mean LSD, not hydrochloric: geesh – cut me some slack, wouldya? Anyway. No. Too common.
An overdose of Viagra? Naw, I could cause a couple of heart attacks that way, but even so the idea of a hundred or so men turning up at local ERs with permanent hard-ons did have a certain "use it or lose it" appeal.
No. What I was looking for was the anti-Viagra. Something I could give these guys that would make it impossible for them to get up for a long, long time. Permanently would be even better, but hey, do you think I'm a heartless son-of-a-bitch? Even better, to keep them from killing me I could allude to having an antidote, and my remedy would of course be the only way to restore potency.
Fuck me! This might even be fun!
But alas, this was not to be. A nice daydream, maybe, but I'm no biochemist and anyway, these guys probably had half the physicians in Seattle in their pocket.
Maybe I was just going to have to play their game. Maybe I'd just have to be content to live with two beautiful women for the rest of my life.
The choice seemed pretty obvious to me. Go along and live, or refuse their offer and die.
What would you do? What would you do if there was no third option?
End Chapter Four