I’ve always had a thing for snakes. They terrify the hell out of me, but I can’t help being fascinated by them. And the deadlier their reputation, the more I’m drawn to them. There’s probably a flaw in my character. Yes – another one.
Bungee jumping is another one of my fascinations, and scuba diving, off-piste skiing, white water rafting and jumping off cliffs into deep water. My husband thinks I’m weird. He might be right.
Now, I know someone is asking – what’s the point of the above diatribe? What does it have to do with my twisted, semi-boring life? Well, the first part is because, from where I’m sitting there is a man, who, from the neck up is the image of a Desert Horned Viper. His bulging eyes appear to be on the side of his face; he has a huge flat nose, and his greying crinkly hair is styled with pointed tendrils sticking up like antenna on either side of his head.
The rest is just a little peak into my character, which might explain some of the things, of which I have yet to tell.
….after mission impossible 8….
I rang Christian from the car to check that he was still at his studio.
“Where’ve you been,” he demanded. “I thought you’d been caught, arrested and thrown in the clink.”
“I went for a walk to clear my head,” I said.
“What about my head? I’m nearly bald with worry.”
“I’ll be there in an hour,” I said, and hung up before he could start quizzing me for details.
“Hole-e-e shit, woman,” Christian said when he opened the door of his studio and saw me. “I wouldn’t have known it was you if I’d passed you in the street.”
“That’s the whole idea of a disguise,” I replied. “Now shut up and give me a drink.”
“I said a fucking drink! Not a beverage!”
He raised an eyebrow. “What? So early in the day?”
I pealed the wig carefully off my head and tossed it on the sofa, running my fingers through my shorter hair.
“You should keep it on, babe,” he said wryly, “I’ve always had a thing for blondes.”
I walked over to the window and looked out at the car-park, expecting any moment to see a squad of police cars come racing up. “I thought you were into muscular plain chocolate types, with shiny bald heads,” I said trying to keep the quiver out of my voice.
“Oh, I certainly am… but he’s out of town for a few days, so I have to make do with what I can get.”
“Any port in a storm, eh?”
“Any port-hole darling; anyway, enough of my charming perversions. Tell me how it went.”
“It went, that’s all.”
“All? Give me details, woman. I want to know everything.”
“There’s nothing to tell, since nothing really happened. It all went exactly as planned.”
“I thought something had happened when you didn’t call or come over. I had a vision of him coming back and catching you, and you shooting him stone dead.”
I lowered myself onto the sofa, suddenly very tired. “Sounds like an episode of one of your American cop shows. I got in, found the photos, deleted the ones on his camera and left.”
“What did you do with them?”
“They are now a pile of ashes,” I lied.
“And the key?”
“It’s at the bottom of a very deep pond, somewhere on the other side of the city.”
“I suppose, you didn’t liberate one or two paintings while you were there, now that you’ve officially joined the dark side?”
“That’s not funny – I’m not laughing and let’s not go there again. I’m not in the mood for anything except alcohol, some killer weed, and food. I’m bloody starving.”
“The first one I can supply,” he said, walking over to a small pewter-grey fridge. He opened it and took out a large bottle of white wine. “This is all I’ve got. I don’t cook, so we’ll have to go out to eat. And the weed is back in my apartment. I take it you’re still not expected home tonight?”
“No, I told him I was spending the evening with my gay lover.”
He handed me a nearly clean glass and filled it to the brim. “What did the hairy ape say to that?”
I took a long drink. “He told me to guard my pretty ass from ram raiders.”
“Charming, I don’t know whether to be offended or pleased that he thinks I’m a sodomite.”
“I’m sure he means it in the nicest possible way.”
“I’d be surprised if he knew anything about ass-fucking – he’s so bloody straight. Or has he sampled the delights of your fleshy goodness.”
I swallowed the rest of the wine in my glass. “You’re right, he is straight……and long…..and fat…..fills me right up.”
“I didn’t mean that.”
“I know. Now pour me another. I feel like getting good and plastered.”
It was around eight when the cab stopped outside the Chinese restaurant in Soho. That afternoon we’d sunk a bottle and a half of the cheap Riesling at his studio, and then gone back to his apartment, where I’d had three gin and tonics, and smoked a really good joint. At some point in the proceedings I’d drifted quietly off to sleep.
The skinny Chinese owner recognised Christian immediately. “G’evenin’ Mr Christian,” he said, his toothy smile giving us a flash of a butter gold top tooth. “Nice t’see you again so soon. We ha’ your table jus’ ready. Coma – thisa – waya.”
“You’re obviously a regular,” I said, after we’d been handed menus and left to choose.
“I’ve spent so mush cash here over the past year, Chou Li is thinking of reserving my table permanently.”
“It’s time you settled down with a good man and bought a cook book.”
“There are so many good men, how does a poor white boy choose just one?”
“What about your present light of love? Isn’t he a keeper?”
“He might be, but he’s too beautiful to be trusted. And he fucks like an Olympic champion. Having a pretty face is a real trial. You should know that, look at the trouble you got into.”
“And out of,” I added, “Anyway, never again. From now on I’m staying away from galleries and Italians.”
“What would you’ve done, if he’d come home and found you today?”
I shrugged. “I don’t know, probably ripped off all my clothes, thrown myself on his mercy and taken my punishment lying down. Then I’d have confessed that it was all your idea, and that I only did it to save your financial bacon.”
“All true, and I love you for it.”
“Which means you owe me an expensive meal at the Ritz; plus, a weekend at a spa, to recover from the stress.”
“That’s fair, I suppose.”
Not much more to go, but unfortunately I have to go. I am still a working girl.