Tuesday, 10 January 2012

A Pain in the Ass by Phil Beloin

I was just about to scratch my butt when this middle-aged fellow strolled through the door, making smart about my office being above a Chink dry cleaner and a Ghandi Mart.

"At least my shirts stay pressed," I said, "and I’m well hydrated.”

He started off with his name, Rory Hancock, and surmised that his wife, Lola, might be cheating on him. I expressed sympathy, hoping it played sincere. Then he showed me a snapshot of his blonde honey. Christ, she was a generation younger than him and had dips and curves that spoke of a gymnastic ability on a Serta.

Hancock intimated that he worked too much and might have taken his darling for granted. Oh, really? Then he took off, leaving behind a mushroom cloud of cologne and a check for five days of peeping on his soul mate.

First line on the expense account: daylight film stock. Housewives snuck around in the mornings and afternoons and then scurried home, trying to beat their hard working hubbies back to the love nest. How did Hancock glean that his dear Lola might be unfaithful? Not from a lack of conjugal delights, he had said, but from too many crock pot meals.

On my third day of trailing Mrs. Hancock, she met this natty dude-who was younger and more handsome than my client-at a hip al fresco place. Click. Click. Click. Three finger prods, twisting the lens into focus, each shot zoomed in, the last capturing a wet lippy smooch. After munching on veggies and fish, they took off in separate hotrods, reconvening at a sleazy motel to munch on each other.

Lola’s beau left the room first, and I snapped some shots of him skipping merrily to his roadster. She stayed a while longer, exiting the pleasure dome with damp hair, tooling home, I gathered, to check on her husband’s mushy dinner.

***

I returned to the office and sipped some hooch. I picked up the phone to call Sir Hancock, but a disagreeable thought cracked my rock-solid ethics. I still had two more days of my client’s money to spend, and it certainly could take that long for the rolls of film to be developed.

When the perfectly pleated and foul smelling Mr. Hancock returned to my office, I showed him pictures from the first few days of following his better half around. Shots of her shopping. Exercising at the club. A lunch with a girlfriend.

"Shall I keep on it?" I said.

"Absolutely."

"I’ll need another check."

I picked up Mrs. Hancock’s shapely tail again and this time she and her lover didn’t bother with the caloric foreplay, meeting at the same motel for presumably the same hootenanny.

I meandered over to the motel’s center to see Joey, who never suffered from any quandaries about increasing his clerk’s meager income. I slid over a frowning Ulysses and Joey slid back a name, Edward Jones, and a spare key to their room.

I waited for "Edward" to leave, which he did, by himself again, and then I walked over to the door, letting myself in. Lust had turned over chairs, twisted bedding, knocked a lamp asunder. The shower splashed from around a corner.

I waited behind the bathroom wall until Lola came out. She was birthday suiting it across the room when I grabbed her from behind and we landed on the bed, me atop her backside.

"Oh, honey, what a surprise," she murmured.

"Uh-uh," I said, my nose caught in her wet hair.

She tried to squirm free, but I held her tight. "What do you want?" she said.

"Guess."

Looking back at me, something sparkled in her eyes. "Hurt me," she said.

Her ass wiggled against my crotch. I reached down to undo my pants.

***

We refrained from the post-coital cuddling and moved straight into pillow talk.

"I’ve been following you,” I said.

"Then you got what you wanted,” she said. “Now go.”

"I got something you’re gonna wanna buy, Lola." I told her about the pictures I had.

"You’re gonna fuck me twice, huh?"

***

I waited outside the bank. She had fifteen minutes before I would drive to her husband’s office and show him my photo album. She came out in twelve and we made the exchange.

While I counted her money, she perused my negatives. I had the prints under the seat, but I neglected to mention them. When we were both satisfied with the exchange, I offered her a ride back to her car at the motel. What I really wanted was her in that room again.

She slid out of my seat. "I’ll catch a ride."

I drove downtown and parked in a garage next to a white office building. I locked the five large and my camera in the trunk before I went inside and up to the third floor. The cutest little birdie greeted me as I walked through the door of Edward Jones, Investments.

"I’m looking for one of your brokers," I said. "I met him at lunch the other day and misplaced his card." I described Lola’s lover.

"Oh, you mean, Mr. Ewell," she said. "Let me see if he’s available."

He was not available. Didn’t surprise me-not with the length of his lunch break. I took a seat and an hour later, the man I had seen with the lovely Lola Hancock walked his client through the waiting room and then approached me, hand out, smiling with perfecto teeth.

"Richard Ewell," he said. "How can I help you?"

I pumped his hand and spoke softly. "I know where you’ve been banging Mr. Hancock’s wife."

His grin, the handshake froze. "Excuse me?"

"Let’s take a walk."

When we reached my car, I told him what I had and what I wanted.

"You’re scum," he said.

"Like you ain’t?"

And then Ewell shocked me. His fist had some meat behind it, knocking the wind from my gut. I fell to my knees, and he treated my chin to some fine Italian shoe leather.

***

When I came to, I had a smidgen of a headache. I kept pills in the car. I opened the door and learned something else about Mr. Ewell. He was good at ransacking stuff. First the hotel room and then my car. The prints under the seat were gone. He had not opened the trunk.

Ewell worked late that evening. First his noon tweaking and then I came along to mess up his schedule. I followed him at a discreet distance. His house was one of those suburban monsters with an acre of wasted space around it. There were kids frolicking on a swing set. His wife greeted him at the front door with a peck on the cheek. If I hadn’t been looking through my zoom lens, I mighta’ puked.

***

"Hey, there, Dick," I said from my cell phone the next day. "Remember me?"

"I talked to Lola last night," he whispered into the phone. "You gave her the negatives and I destroyed the prints."

"Dick, do you think I’m that stupid?"

"I’m hanging up."

"Oh, good," I said. "That way I can turn into your driveway and show your beautiful wife these photos I took yesterday around lunch time."

"You son-of-a-bitch."

"Really nice place you got, Dick. Your price has doubled to ten thousand."

***

I waited in the dark, near the bed where I got Ms. Lola to grit her teeth. The door opened and I saw Ewell, in shadow, holding a gym bag. He flicked the light switch, but I had unscrewed all the bulbs.

“Shut the door and come in,” I said.

“I’m dropping the bag,” he said. “Toss me the negatives.”

Shooting Dick would have been problematic, but nevertheless, I drew the hammer on my sidearm.

“I want to count it,” I said.

The door closed and he came forward, tossing the gym bag on the bed. I was behind him then, my barrel against the back of his head.

“Pull your pants down,” I said.

“What?”

I dug the barrel into his skull. “So you’ll never forget me.”


***

Rory? I thought about hitting him up for another week, but his cologne was torturing my sinuses. When I told him Lola was as faithful as an angel, Ewell might have been fucking her sideways.

Or not.


REWIND << This story first appeared on the original Pulp Pusher website.