dave turner had a big dick and every woman in the world wanted to fuck him.
being a nice guy and a gentleman, dave was happy to oblige most of the time, but what dave really liked to do was track down and eliminate bad guys and threats to american freedom.
on the day it all began, dave was looking out the window at the morning rain, and the queen of somewhere or another, or maybe she was the hottest new star in hollywood - dave couldn't keep track of these things - was just waking up in the bed behind him.
"come on, sugar, one more time."
sure, dave thought, one more and then one more after that.
"i'd like to oblige but i have pressing engagements,"
"aww - what could be more pressing than me."
"killing bad guys."
"i see. well if you can kill bad guys half as good as you can rock a lady's g-spot with a steady roll, those bad guys are in a world of hurt, that's all i can say."
"thank you." suddenly dave's cell phone began to ring - to the tune of "the ballad of the green berets " played by the marching band of his old high school in craft creek, west virginia. he took it out of the pocket of his dressing gown immediately.
"you always answer your phone so fast? let it go to voice mail."
"it's the polite thing to do."
"of course. such a gentleman. just one more thing to like about you."
"turner here. no, you're not interrupting, but hey, i'll call you back in about twenty minutes. no, i'm interested. i'm always ready. later." he clicked off the phone.
"what was that all about? or was it - oh so secret?"
"nothing special. i got to go, though."
"another woman? or saving the world again?"
"just routine maintenance."
"what a great non-answer. you should have been a diplomat, my dear. i'd offer you a job as my foreign minister if i thought you'd take it."
he just nodded. so she was a queen - or maybe a prime minister.
"all right, go ahead. do you mind my staying here for a little while?"
"no, not at all." dave never kept any sensitive material anywhere except in his head.
"i'll call the embassy to pick me up. or the studio." so. she was a movie star too - or maybe she owned the studio.
fifteen minutes later, dave opened the door to ernie's diner, home of the best and greasiest hash browns on the east coast, a place he could go and never be bothered.
as he sat down , he noticed a young woman on the other side of the counter sipping coffee and reading a book about the exploits of that has-been, mack treacher.
"he might take a little talking into it, but i think he'll come around."
"his name is mack treacher. he's an ex-navy seal turned private eye, he's down on his luck, he's been hitting the bottle and his daughter who's a freshman at southern cal hates him - "
"what are you running on about? what the fuck do i care about this guy's daughter? are you fucking her?"
" - and he needs one last job just to get back on his feet - "
"he has a daughter in college? how old is this guy?"
"he's not as young as he used to be, but he's experienced. he's seen and done things too terrible - "
"not as young as he used to be? is he going to put geritol and viagra on his expense account ? what is this shit?"
"his ex-wife is giving him a hard time - she's a former porn star and now she's the lead homicide detective in san francisco - "
"i've heard enough. forget this asshole and get some young guy who will work cheap and wants to prove himself."
"but this guy is experienced, experienced like you wouldn't believe. with a little time i can talk him -"
"time? just do it and get it over with. i told you - get some young cocksucker who will work right away - and won't have a heart attack if he has to run down a flight of stairs."
"jeez, i guess you don't watch too many movies or read too many books these days - "
"you know i just watch fucking porn if i ever have time to do anything - which of course i don't."
"you never seen a movie where a guy comes back for one last job? maybe with charles bronson or lee marvin or somebody like that - "
"maybe. back when i had some time on my hands."
"i still think - "
"this discussion is over. get a young guy. and just do it."
"all right, it's your call."
"you're fucking right it is. and if you can, get a young guy who's connected, so i'll be doing somebody a favor. do i have to explain everything to you?"
"anything else, or should i start lining this up now?"
"ahh - do it now. "
"mack, it's benny - benny from the east side."
"mack - about that job i thought i could get you - you know the one?"
"um - i'm not sure - i've been in an alcohol-fueled despairing haze for - for - a fucking while now. i'm going to get back on my feet though."
"sure you are, mack. you can do it, kiddo."
"about that job - i talked to the big guy. i gave it my best shot - honest, mack, i went to the wall for you, old buddy -"
"who did you say you were again?"
"benny. benny from the east side. you remember, from the captain kidd teacup caper."
"uh - yeah, the alcohol-fueled green murk of time is dissolving just a little bit now. i remember, you saved my life - or maybe i saved yours -"
"you saved mine, mack, you saved mine. i'll always be in your debt, big fella, you know that. listen, i haven't given up - "
"that's right benny, never give up. that's the first law i've learned - and the last - learned the hard way - in a hundred dark alleys and glittering penthouses - from muncie ohio to palm beach to singapore - never give up!"
"i won't, mack. the boss wants me to get a young guy - some punk nephew of some backstabbing so called friend - but if it doesn' t work out, i'll return to the charge - "
"'return to the charge' - i like that. you sound old school, benny, whoever the fuck you are. "
"that's right. us old schoolboys, we take care of our own."
"damn straight. listen, benny, it's been great talking to you, but i got to get off the phone. i need a little hair of the dog, if you get my drift."
"sure, mack. i'll keep in touch, don't you worry."
this is it, thought maitland as the "children" approached - what good does all my cool do me now - all the talks i gave to bored communications consultants - all my brilliant post-chomskian analyses of the complete meaninglessness of language - my devastating synthesis of post-foucaultian counter-dynamics...
he remembered his mother and sister singing hymns back in the little church in guyana - he remembered them singing but could not remember the words or music...
yes, you thought you had it made, didn't you, maitland? ha ha ha ha ha....
it all comes back to you now, doesn't it? it all began on that night in georgetown... the stars were shining brightly in what seemed to you at the time a virtual parody of a carribean moonlit night... you were bored... but then you were born bored, weren't you? dempsey sat beside you at the table outside nick's italian restaurant - your favorite, insofar as you could be said to have a favorite... of anything...
there, there, i will stop teasing you... what difference does it make now,anyway? but we know what happened .... how "inevitable" it all seems now, doesn't it?
"this carlotta person i was telling you about, you remember?" dempsey began tentatively.
"carlotta? i am not sure that i do remember, " maitland replied with his habitual air of evasiveness, as he stared out over the barely rippling water.
"the one who came here to work for poor forester. got left high and dry after his unfortunate demise."
"oh yes. well, what about her?"
"she might have something in your way." dempsey lowered his voice, although there was no one else on the patio.
"my way? i didn't know i had a way."
"you said you were bored - "
"i did? well, i am always bored. i shouldn't talk about it - what could be more boring than talking about being bored, eh? my apologies, old fellow."
dempsey ignored this and continued in an even lower voice. "and you said you were looking for excitement?"
"i did?" maitland blushed slightly. "oh dear, i must have been quite smashed altogether to say such a thing. " he had in fact, been smashed quite often since his breakup with jeffrey and marian - a circumstance he would have ascribed to boredom rather than heartbreak.
"in any case," dempsey pressed on, "carlotta has a plan that involves some excitement - and some money of course, always the main thing. she was looking for an accomplice and i told her i might know of someone. i didn't give her your name, of course."
"of course," maitland answered absently. "but why not yourself? not exciting enough? not money enough?"
"they want someone with experience of firearms. and i have none to speak of."
"experience of firearms?"
"yes, didn't you tell me you used to be quite the amateur marksman?"
"i was, but i was shooting at targets, not people."
"no matter, at least you know which end the bullet comes out of, which is more than i do. and where the safety is, and all that sort of thing."
"you said 'they' wanted someone - so she already has someone - at least one accomplice?"
"oh, yes. just the one - i think. i think that is why they are looking for someone."
maitland looked out over the water. "and for what exactly? did she give you any indication? please don't tell me they are planning to rob the casino."
the lights of the casino, though miles away, could be seen on the other side of the bay - the casino, last bastion of mammon, guarded by all the remaining firepower and most of the remaining centurions of the collapsing black holes of "western civilization".
and the last thing on earth functioning twenty four hours every day,
"oh, i don't think so," dempsey answered maitland. "this fellow seemed much too - too level headed for that."
"so you talked to him?"
"once or twice. i have seen him here and there, at benway's, at chatterton's, places like that. before carlotta mentioned her proposition to me, you understand."
maitland blinked and yawned. "it all sounds a bit vague."
"isn't everything? when was the last time anybody guaranteed you anything?"
"i still have this drink in my hand. it is only half finished. i think i can guarantee i will finish it."
dempsey rolled his eyes. "are you interested in carlotta's offer or not?"
"this level -headed fellow - anything else you can tell me about him?"
"not really. calls himself purvis - of course you can call yourself anything you please these days. when i said he was level headed i meant he didn't seem like someone who would do anything not to his own immediate advantage - or like someone you would want to cross."
"oh? bit of a ruffian?"
"a bit? the roughest of the rough, i'd say."
for the first time maitland showed some interest. "the roughest of the rough? he sounds like he might be just the man for me. is he good looking? how old is he?"
"um - i really don't think you will find much in that line here."
"i will be the judge of that, my dear. so is he good looking?"
"i don't know - wouldn't stand out in a crowd, i suppose, except for the mean look on his face. as for his age, i really can't judge such things, especially in men."
"hmm. then i shall have to find out for myself. tell carlotta i am interested - very interested."
and that was how it all began. ha ha ha! yes, i said i wouldn't laugh, but i just can't help it, when i see the look on your face now, maitland. were you trying to shock poor dempsey? he wasn't the least bit shocked, was he? and look at you now.
of course, who can say that things might not have turned out the same in any case? you might have found some other reason to stay, back when there was still a chance to flee - when the fleeing was good - or you might have stayed behind out of sheer laziness?
and those who fled - like jeffrey and marian and mrs axelby and colonel faraday and the count - who knows what happened to them? where might they be now, eh?
the pale sun glinted off benway's half filled glass as he continued to hold it high in salute to the apparent "leader" of the pack of feral children.
"poor boy you've got to die... danny deever in the morning... all the sad young dogs... heh, heh..... heh.... ..... heh..."
benway's hitherto inexhaustible fund of boozy cheer finally faltered under the boy's pitiless eyeless gaze. he coughed , like a parliamentary speaker testing a microphone.
"well, then, i guess you don't want a drink."
the boy continued to stare - if that was the proper word - through, or with, the white bangs falling over and covering his eyes.
"in that case, " benway continued, with the air of the host of a party who suddenly realizes the guest he has been desperately trying to amuse does not speak his language and is actually a police agent come to arrest him. "i will drink it myself." and he started to raise the bottle to his lips.
"don't drink it." the boy finally spoke. in an accent that would not have been out place in the winners circle of the derby.
the sound of the boy's voice seemed to revive the doctor's good humor. "and why should i not drink it?" he enquired, in the voice of noel coward.
"cause me and my mates might just care to drink it, that's why." the boy laughed. "we be thirsty - right thirsty." for the first time he looked back at the smirking "toady" behind him, as if for approval - or to check on his loyal reactions.
"oh, dear me," benway chuckled. "i believe it should be "cuz" and not "cause". 'we be' is a completely inappropriate transplant from the african-american. and 'right thirsty', though not completely off key, sounds like 'quite thirsty' because of your dulcet oxbridge tone." and he began to raise the bottle to his mouth again, in a hearty jack the lad manner.
"here, i said don't drink that."
benway lowered the bottle again, with his best telly game show host smile.
"so," the boy continued, "what yer saying, is, i am not altogether authentic, is that what yer driving at, mate?"
"well, that is putting a bit crudely - " the doctor began.
"do you think anybody gives a toss how crudely it's put - or how bloody anything it's put, or about anything you think or say about anything, you senile fuck?"
"here now, no need to take offense - mate..."
"no need to take anything from you, is there , mate ... chum... buddy.... you bleeding cunt....?"
"heh, heh, i was only attempting polite conversation ..."
"it's authenticity you'd be having, is it now? i have news for you, father william, authenticity is being rubbed out and sent down the shitter, along with language, civilization, science, religion, truth, justice, freedom ... " the boy turned back and looked at the sharkily grinning toady " .... am i leaving anything out?"
"the rights of man, maybe?" the second boy replied.
"right-o, the bloody fucking rights of man," the whitehaired boy snarled at benway.
"and wit, and charm, and common courtesy, and polite conversation , no doubt... " the unflappable benway replied.
"common courtesy! ha, ha, ha! you are old, father william, if you can remember common fucking courtesy! "
"yes," benway answered with a touch of sad asperity, like a savile row suited mullah sentencing a woman to be stoned, "where is courtesy now? o tell me, where is kind treatment now?"
"i will tell you where, " the boy replied, "it has been washed away with a thousand shopping malls and a million coffee shops - down swollen rivers of mrs blankenship's collection of african masks - long ago dog whistle lobster claws of unseen sunsets -
whispering galaxies of abandoned airport parking lots - badgers and baboons battling for bragging rights in the dark recesses of the duke of devonshire's wine cellar - ain't that right, sternby?"
"that's right," the toady replied, and he stepped up and moved closer behind the whitehaired boy, " crocodile eyes watch impassive as the last 747 circles the overgrown airport behind the last mongolian space center -
galaxies laughing on corn chex and sugar free venezuelan cocoa - collapsing universe forgot to put extra starch on my dress shirt - please leave a message at the beep - "
"you see," the whitehaired boy said, looking at maitland for the first time, "sternby knows the score. how about you, mate, do you know the score?"
maitland, who had thought to slip away unnoticed as the boy harangued benway, was now struck as dumb as a princely lover in a lithuanian fairy tale.
"cat got your your tongue, chum?"
and now, perhaps at some unknown signal. or perhaps for no reason at all - blind nebulas writhing in weeping galaxies like strait-jacketed finance ministers in a bombed out housing project on easter island - the other "children" started moving forward - silent laughter in a darkened pawn shop 1937 belgrade -
battle-scarred chimps selling bootleg dvd's of bruce willis movies in praetoria 2003 -
"what's the score, buddy?"
closer and closer they approached - the empty swimming pool whispered sweet nothings behind him - oh harold i never knew you were so naughty -
marble columns of bombed out libraries in the purple moonlight - a feral chihuahua takes a shit on an overturned bust of robert browning -
nobody left to beat the frog pond - even faithful jeanette has run away with the second coachman - the frogs chase them across the mountains and the swollen rivers to the abandoned streets of montparnasse - cafe tables overturned in the gleaming rain -
torn posters of belmondo and francoise hardy flapping in the wind -
it's all up, rogers - every bugger for himself now - the children and the giant spiders pour through the broken stained glass windows and over the barricades of file cabinets -
this guy came at me with a knife - i showed him a trick -
you can do some damage with this motherfucker - just make sure to keep it a 36 degree angle -
please henry you are not fooling anybody - now or ever
a clever fellow, burnaby - but i never did trust him, and now we can see why -