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Considering I hadn’t killed anyone for months, life was good.
People say, “Do what you know.” I know killing people. This is not a skill accepted in great degrees by our society. If you’re good at killing people, you go into the military, or if you’re really good, you get into politics. Neither option appealed to me, so I had used my skills in an illegal fashion, encouraged by the embodiment of Machiavellian evil whom I had known as Pops. After the murder of my father by my hands and the murders of my family’s rivals by some helping hands, I was forced to live a life as straight as the owner of a bar-slash-emerging-night-club could.
I’d invested my time into making The Deep End a premier establishment. For awhile, Sheila— the only person who had ever really mattered to me— worked there, too. She decided to run with the moniker’s established water theme, and with the help of her talented and insanely attractive friends, customers began to show up. Sheila had proved essential to the success of the club and demonstrated an acute business savvy.
That is, until she left me.
Since our relationship had been built on an Everest-caliber mountain of lies and since she’d never truly be safe as long as she was with me, I couldn’t blame Sheila. Trust should be the foundation of a healthy relationship, not the knowledge that your girlfriend had originally dated you because she’d been hired to spy on you. Or that you boyfriend was not just the son of an underworld kingpin but a contract killer to boot. In short, our split was amicable. We knew it had to happen.
Our lives, however, remained complicated. I’d spent the last few months trying to simplify mine.
Simplification: stop killing people. Easier said than done if you’ve ever driven in the city.
Simplification: no new girlfriend. While Sheila had vastly improved my life in many ways, she had also confused it a great deal.
Simplification: focus on my job as owner of The Deep End. It needed to be more than just a cover but my tried-and-true nine-to-five. As in nine P.M. to five A.M. job. With Sheila’s help, I made it happen. If I could make money in a legitimate fashion, I knew things would work out.
And I had to admit, the work had its benefits. The thing about running a night club is that the dancers are quite nice, especially if you’re the owner of the club. The thing about not having a girlfriend is that I didn’t have to say no to them. I had learned that they liked to be called dancers instead of strippers. Sheila had attempted to explain the difference, but to me, it was all semantics.
I tried to remember the name of the dancer on her knees in front of me. It seemed like all dancers’ names fell into one of four categories: precious stones (Diamond, Sapphire, etc.), things in the sky (Star, Venus, etc.), cartoon animals (Bambi, Tweety, etc.), or sugary treats (Candy Lane, Candy Kane, etc.). This one’s name was Kandy… something. She slurped, spat out my erection, and looked up at me with caramel-colored eyes. In my experience, one thing that whores, strippers, and dancers all seemed to have in common was a natural ability at giving exemplary blow jobs. Her name came to me. Kandy Karnal. I liked the name, weird use of K’s and all. It fit her.
“Center stage, prime time, tomorrow night?” she requested, rubbing a soft, smooth cheek against my throbbing flesh.
Oh, yeah. Usually the good blow jobs come at a price.
“No promises,” I said and winked.
She gobbled me back up. I squirmed in my chair, the leather squeaking around me. Having left her wig draped on the corner of my desk, Kandy’s short, dark brown hair was mussed. Glitter covered her skin. Her eyes were heavily shadowed with dark purple make-up, and her glossy lipstick matched. You could probably guess at the color of her wig. Curvaceous yet hard-bodied, she was the kind of hot that drew in customers, so she probably would have been on center stage during the busiest hours, anyway. I figured oral sex from her was just icing on the Kandy Cake.
She stroked me into her mouth, lathered me with her tongue, and glared at me in lusty challenge. I sighed between clenched teeth. Kandy was good. Really good.
She stood up and said, “I’m soaked.” I didn’t have to ask what she meant. One of her hands was between her legs and showed me. She continued, “Why don’t you just tell me I have center stage, so I can take care of this?”
“The customers are liking Ruby lately,” I said. It was true enough.
Kandy frowned. “I don’t care if the customers like her. I want you to like me.”
Taking ahold of me with one hand, she lowered herself onto my erection. I admit to you, Dear Reader, that I liked her. At that moment, I liked Ms. Kandy Karnal a-whole-fucking-lot.
She began to ride me like I was the favorite in the Kentucky Derby. Her abs flexed, and her hips gyrated. I stared at her bouncing breasts, thinking that they were too perfect to be real. Either Kandy was the result of miraculous genes or her surgeon was sincan escort bayan an artist. Even with two squeezing handfuls, I couldn’t decide one way or the other. I tested them with my mouth, one, then the other. I sucked on her nipples, flicked them with my tongue. I remained undecided but hornier than ever.
Her warm, wet pussy milked me with swift strokes. Kandy’s hazel eyes bore into mine, and a smile curled her lips. She said, “You like my hot cunt, don’t you?”
I decided to not admit that I actually liked Ruby’s “hot cunt” more. Kandy might be a close second though. Instead, I murmured something unintelligible and met her bouncing gyrations with synchronized pelvic thrusts of my own. Kandy’s eyes rolled into the back of her head.
This was not my first rodeo, despite the fact that this woman was treating me like a wild bronco. Knowing I wouldn’t be able to last if she kept up her pace much longer, I decided to take charge of this little cowgirl.
I lifted her and set Kandy’s back onto my desk. Her long, lean legs wrapped around me. The heels of her feet prodded my lower back. Her hands reached to cup my ass cheeks and pull me deeper inside her. I wrapped my hands around her breasts and squeezed.
“Fuck, yeah. Fuck, yeah,” she repeated, a lusty mantra. She squirmed gloriously under me. I sucked air between my teeth as I began to fuck her, slowly, and then with gaining intensity. Our bodies began to clap as they met, were separated, then met again.
“Fuck, yeah! Fuck, yeah!” she chanted. Her “fuck yeahs” sped up with my thrusts.
I closed my eyes and imagined she was Sheila. Sheila’s bobbing blonde hair. Her fair but usually tan skin. Her toned, athletic body. The mischievous, challenging grin that she had on her face whenever we had sex. The gleam in her eyes, knowing that she completely owned me.
That ended it.
I pulled out of Kandy, and my cock exploded. Thick, milky spurts of cum roped out and splattered over Kandy’s abdomen, running down the sides of her stomach and pooling on the desk. I gasped, then stroked the streams to a dribbling stop. My dick in my hand, I blinked, breathed, and waited for my heart to slow.
“Damn, that’s hot,” Kandy said. I guessed she was talking about my cum. She was rubbing it into her glitter-speckled skin like some kind of perverse body lotion. Her eyes flicked up at me.
“Center stage?” she asked.
I shrugged. “Like I said, no promises.”
She made a pouty face. I have to admit it was cute, but it didn’t move me. She said, “Asshole.”
“You nailed it.”
She offered an impish grin and returned, “Actually, I think you did.”
In the parking lot, my uncle’s car idled. It was a shiny, black Cadillac Seville, and behind the wheel, I could make out the broad and ugly features of Mikey “The Squeeze” Tutone, nicknamed for his habit of bear-hugging the breath out of anyone stupid enough to vex him. They called him “The Squeeze” since there was already a Mikey “The Bear” who was buried in an unmarked grave somewhere on Long Island. Since “The Bear” wasn’t officially dead, it was “The Squeeze” for my uncle’s Mikey. I guess that’s the con of having as common a name as Mikey and as unoriginal of friends as his.
“How’s it squeezin’?” I said as I passed the open driver’s side window. The Squeeze just grunted, proving himself to be as adept at conversation as he was at the Sudoko puzzles he always had in front of him but never managed to finish. A second, pinched-faced henchman held the back door open for me, and I got in the car.
The only man who had ever filled me with fear sat on the backseat. Uncle Victor, or as some called him, “Victo-maniac”. While my father proved to be a cold, manipulative schemer, my uncle was his mirror opposite— a ruthless, unhinged psychopath. Pops was a known quantity, predictable to a degree. Uncle Victor was unquantifiable and could never be predicted, which in an ironic way was the only thing predictable about him. You had to be on your guard and ready for pretty much anything, especially explosions of unwarranted violence. For instance, it surprised me that The Squeeze had lasted as Victor’s number two for so long. Most of Victor’s men ended up with bullets in their faces from Victor’s own gun, a gold plated Walther PPK pistol. Uncle Victor had a flair for the dramatic and was, obviously, a James Bond fan.
“Allow me to give you a ride home,” Victor said to me, his eyes blazing their usual mad blue. He said it as if I had a choice, but I knew better. My apartment was walking distance; the last thing I needed was a ride.
“I’d be obliged,” I answered and like a good citizen, buckled my seatbelt.
Tanned and fit, Victor wore a dark green golf shirt and khakis. He was probably on his way home after a quick nine. I’d heard that he’d thought up his most heinous crimes while putting on the seventh green, just one of those rumors that the drunks conspiratorially whispered over their beers to me. I guess they thought I’d be interested eryaman escort since Victor was related. I wasn’t. The less I knew about my uncle, the better. Especially now that he was in charge of the family business(es) after the death of my father.
My uncle had spent nearly half of his forty-eight years of life behind bars. Those were the years of my life when I felt relatively safe. Now he sat beside me, grinning, and I wondered how much he knew regarding Pops’ and my contract-killing arrangement and the circumstances of Pops’ death. If Uncle Victor knew I had been the killer, I wasn’t sure whether he would shoot me or thank me. Maybe both.
“So things going well with your… club?” Victor said, making the final word sound distasteful. I suppose to him it wasn’t as glamorous as drug running or whoring.
Victor said, “It’s good to see you being productive. You were always an odd young man. Always… getting into things. Always… ending up with… dead things. I know your father was concerned about your well being. Your mental well being.”
Coming from Uncle Victor, I wasn’t insulted. It was more a case of the pot calling the kettle black. I resisted an urge to shrug. Victor indicated a newspaper on his lap. Handing it to me, he said, “Read the latest headlines.”
I glanced down. The headline read: “NEW JACK RIPPER STRIKES FROM HELL“. Pretty torrid for front page news as well as a corny as hell header. The newspaper wasn’t the Times but was still too respectable for melodrama of that caliber. Probably they were just desperate to sell hard copies in the digital age. Under it, the subhead stated, “CITY PD NO COMMENTS AS ANOTHER BODY LAID FOR DISPLAY“.
“We all have urges,” Victor said. He rubbed one hand along his clean-shaven chin. He liked to keep his face baby-bottom smooth whenever he wasn’t in the can. I guessed it was a hygiene thing since Victor could be a little OCD. His eyes, icy blue, met mine and held their attention, cutting off my thoughts. “But now, with things being a little unstable due to your father’s death, we might need to resist them.”
It took me a moment to realize that Uncle Victor was insinuating I might be the New Jack Ripper. Holy shit, what had Pops told him? Uncle Victor must have known enough to know that I had an affinity for killing, but I’d never been Jack the Ripper. I wasn’t even Dexter. Killing was a job, and I was good at it. I hadn’t killed for months. I could quit anytime I wanted.
What I couldn’t help was laughing in Uncle Victor’s face. Between giggles, I managed to say, “Seriously, Vic? You’re giving me a ride to tell me this? You think I have something to do with this?”
Victor’s face hardened. The corner of one mouth twitched. I guessed the gold PPK might make a guest appearance, but Victor held himself together and said, “Like I said, there was a time when we worried about you. But I suppose, I should know better. At least, you didn’t sell out.” He allowed a meaningful pause. “Unlike your sister.”
My sister was the black sheep of the family. We rarely spoke about her. A successful criminal lawyer in Chicago, she was as straight as you could get without being a ruler. Pops and Uncle Victor considered her a disgrace to the family name.
“Here’s your stop,” Victor said. I knew this was my official dismissal. The Squeeze had braked so smoothly, I hadn’t even felt the car come to a stop. I gave Uncle Victor a parting laugh, shook my head, and got out.
As the Seville pulled away, I found myself thinking about the New Jack Ripper. He’d indirectly made trouble for me, and I didn’t appreciate that. Maybe he was a problem that would require a helping hand from yours truly. Maybe it was time to give Cynthia Skye a call.
“Absolute drivel,” Cynthia opined and tossed a copy of the very same paper which Victor had shown me onto the ivory-colored island in the middle of her kitchen. “To think this idiot is the competition.” The blush that burned on her cheeks nearly matched the dark, red wine color of her hair. Cindy was an attractive woman, even more so when she was pissed.
I replied, “So it must have outsold your story.”
“Asshole,” Cindy shot at me, and I knew I was right. “His name’s Grayson Cox, and his brother’s on the force. They feed each other information. Supposedly off the record.”
“A bunch of Cox,” I replied.
“Huge, stupid Cox,” Cindy agreed, without smiling. There were a lot of places in life in which I did not want to find myself. Being on the bad side of Cynthia Skye was one of them.
One of the most intelligent people I know, Ms. Skye— Cindy to her friends— could be mercilessly ruthless when necessary. We’d met during my dealings with the late Dreads, Pops’ old nemeses, and struck up a friendship, a friends with benefits thing, but the benefits teetered out due to my whole “girlfriend” situation at the time. However, even after Sheila and I were done, for whatever reason, Cindy etimesgut bayan escort and I had kept our friendship a (mostly) platonic one. Probably, we knew it would never work out between a contract killer and a successful, widely-read journalist. Even Clark Kent and Lois Lane had their problems, and Superman was a good guy.
Proving my admiration of her intelligence to be well-earned, Cindy’s eyes narrowed, and she asked, “Why the sudden interest?”
Cindy smirked. She ran a hand through her hair and said, “You heard what that did to the cat.”
“I’m no cat.”
“Exactly. They’ve got nine lives. You’ve only got one.”
Cindy eyed me as she slid upon a steel stool next to the island. She was the kind of woman who had an answer for everything. I allowed a noncommittal shrug and returned, “Do me a favor and satisfy it. My curiosity, I mean. Know anything about the Ripper that hasn’t made the papers?”
Cindy’s eyebrows went up. She said, “You’re not thinking of doing anything… unruly, are you?”
“Interesting that you’d fall off the wagon for someone like this. You have a connection to him?”
I shook my head. “No, not really. He’s just had the misfortune of being brought to my attention.”
“Then as the beloved philosopher Mr. T once said, ‘I pity the fool.’ Of course, the Ripper can’t be that much of a fool since he’s not been caught yet,” Cindy said, sighed, and thumbed through the paper before her. A faraway look stole into her eyes, a telltale sign that she was about to become lost in her own head. “Something not in the papers, huh? The police think the bodies were placed strategically in random locations after death. He kills them somewhere else and then moves them. Let’s see, what else? All the victims are prostitutes.” She tapped one finger on wood of the island top.
Some of this was already in the papers. The Ripper’s proclivity for hookers is what earned him his moniker. Cindy was thinking aloud, and I let her, without interruption. A swath of crimson hair had escaped from her ponytail and brushed the side of her creamy white neck. I tried not to let its adorableness distract me.
She continued, “The police haven’t been able to connect the dots yet, but I have a credible friend who says these girls tend to work in the same part of town but on a kind of rotation system. The girls use it to throw off undercover cops. Not sure if it actually helps, but ironically, it has thrown some smoke in the eyes of Cox, that guy I mentioned whose brother is a reporter? Yeah, somehow he’s netted the lead on this case.”
“Bad for you,” I said, but only because her pause indicated that she expected either sympathy or a smart-ass remark.
“Bad for him. Because now you’re getting this information from me instead of the other way around. I expect his next case will be another homicide. That is, if you’re going to do to the Ripper what I think you’re going to do.”
I smirked and replied, “You never know. Might be we just share a friendly cup of coffee and compare body counts.”
Cindy frowned and shook her head like a scolding mother. At times, her sense of humor could be as sterile as her spotless, all-white, ridiculously expensive yet no-frills apartment. It was the kind of place that only a guy like Howard Hughes could feel at home. She said, “You’re a sick man.”
“Thanks. I love you, too.”
Cindy blinked. It was meant as a joke, but the words had thrown her. I decided to change the subject.
“So, how’s Sheila?” I asked. I knew that Cindy had kept in touch with my ex. Over the last few months, they’d become close friends, bonded by the common, traumatic disaster in their lives known as me. I loathed to think of what they probably discussed over coffee.
The corner of Cindy’s mouth twitched. She rediscovered her mental fortitude. She said, “You know you’re not supposed to ask that.”
I shrugged and said nothing. Sheila and I had agreed to cut ties totally for both of our sakes but especially for her safety. Knowing me could be perilous and being romantically involved with me, even more so. Cindy patted me on the arm and gave me a sympathetic look with her twinkling eyes. I thought she might toss me a pity fuck, and I hated the thought of it. I didn’t want to hurt her feelings, but I knew I’d have to reject it if offered. In my book, there’s nothing more pathetic than having a woman sleep with you because she feels sorry for you.
“Let’s get to work on this New Jack Ripper thing. You’ll be distracted, and you’ll be offering the city a service,” Cindy said.
I smiled. “Now you’re talking.”
Cindy did most of the legwork, and while I didn’t like the idea of her putting herself in harm’s way, I also knew she could take care of herself. She’d faced plenty of hairy situations during her tenure as a Times reporter, and she would have most likely been getting her hands dirty whether I involved her or not. After all, she wanted to get back at those huge, stupid Cox(es). Also, Cindy said the “girls” (i.e. hookers) would be more likely to open up to a female. I wanted to respond it depended on which part a girl wanted to open up, but as that would have most likely warranted a slap to the face, I kept my mouth shut.
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