The bartender asked, “What’s that, a walrus tusk?” Kate had been absently fidgeting with her good luck charm, a small ivory-colored spike with a number of grooves along one side. “Oh, no, it’s just a key chain,” and then nodding toward the other end of the bar, “I think someone’s trying to get your attention over there, though.” She looked away from him in an obvious display of boredom.
Dallas stood outside the club in the darkness, listening to the muffled music. He felt as if he had been doing this for a hundred years. Here we go again. He took a deep breath and walked in. A thickly muscled bouncer eyed him blankly, then lowered his head as he passed. Standing just inside the entranceway, he coolly surveyed the sea of people moving, laughing, socializing. A couple of girls were leaving and a frizzy blond with big tits bumped into him. “Oh, God,” she laughed, “Where were you before?” He frowned as the girls started cackling. Ugh... drunks. He slid past them and started moving through the place slowly, like he owned the night.
Kate was taking a sip of her drink when she felt a familiar twinge. She turned around on her stool and began to scan the floor. Then she saw him. She turned back to the bar.
It was as if someone had shined a flashlight. With predatory grace, Dallas began to slip through the crowd toward the location of the fleeting yet unmistakable eye contact. Even as he longed to feel the rush of the beginning of the chase, he was saddened by the dull sameness of it all. Huh? Someone lurched into him from behind. “Sorry, dude!” Dallas turned and glared silently at the rowdy circle of friends. They stopped laughing and began to disperse. After a cold pause, he moved on, toward the light at the bar.
As luck would have it, there was an empty seat. He took it as he asked smoothly to no one in particular if anyone was sitting there. Kate felt a chill as the tall, handsome man eased himself onto the barstool next to hers.
He looked at her but she looked away before he could make eye contact again. He casually looked around, then noticed she was fidgeting with something on her lap. Looking over her shoulder, he said, “Eh, what’s that?” She quickly closed her purse and demanded: “Do I know you?” Then, just as quickly, she laughed and turned away. He felt his face getting hot. Oh yeah? Let’s see you laugh if I hit you with a power-lock...
His flash of anger subsided and was replaced by the feeling of a fresh challenge, a real challenge. This was no ordinary barfly he was sitting next to – he had certainly sat next to enough to know the difference. He ordered a drink and nursed it patiently. He could see from the corner of his eye that she was alone. Maybe it won’t be a dull night after all. As the bartender passed, she asked for another drink. “No,” Dallas said flatly. She turned toward him. “Excuse me?” The bartender hesitated, unsure. “No, you don’t know me.” He looked at the bartender: “Her drink’s on me, okay?”
She smiled at him. God, he is good-looking. “Dallas? That’s your first or your last name?” He smiled back, “No, it’s my first. Last name’s Smith. Dallas Smith.” She looked at his hands. They were long, thin hands, delicate-looking, with lacquered, manicured nails. His skin was very pale, making it impossible in the uncertain light of the bar to see if there was a telltale no-tan line around his ring finger. How convenient...
She brushed a long cascade of wavy brown hair back off her shoulder with a casual flick of her wrist. He thought he saw a highlight of red, but he wasn’t sure. Studying her, he noticed the freckles on her wrist and forearm. And her neck. Oh, my. “And you are?” he asked.
She looked at him, batting her eyes. He said, “You know, like Smith, Dallas Smith?”
She laughed, “Oh. Smith. Kate Smith.”
“C’mon. Really?” She flashed a grin. “Really.”
They stayed at the bar together for quite some time. Their conversation was fresh and friendly, occasionally sparring, frequently laced with innuendo. She had a gorgeous smile. He was enjoying the fact that he was able to elicit that response, seemingly at will. As they drank and laughed, he felt a sense of power – his perception, his timing, his conversational skill – he was at the top of his game. Who needs cocaine? The thrill of the hunt!
Kate was aware that the longer she sat with him as if she was with him, the more she really was with him. You can’t keep taking chances like this anymore. It’s fun, but it’s sooo risky. The music was booming. She felt it pulsing through her body. But he is so good-looking. She excused herself to the ladies room. He watched her walk away, hypnotized by her shapely body.
As closing time neared, Dallas said, “Hey, would you like to…nah, never mind.”
“What?” She had been wondering how he was going to handle this inevitable moment. “Well, I was going to say, why don’t we go shoot pool, but...”
“But what?” She smiled with relief at the silliness of his offer. He looked uncomfortable. Or as if he wanted to look uncomfortable. “Well, you know, girls aren’t really good at that sort of thing. Pool is all angles, all geometry.” Having said that, he solemnly sat back. She said, “You’d be surprised what I know about geometry.”
“I’ve got a pool table at my place.”
“Oh, you’ve gotta be kidding.” She turned away, laughing as she shook her head.
As they hailed a cab, Kate was having mixed emotions. She wanted to just enjoy the moment but her interest was edged with anxiety. You gotta stop doing this. She was starting to think about protection…she hadn’t come prepared for this. They rode in the back of the taxi in silence. They hit a bump and her hand brushed against the outside of his thigh. He felt a tingle through his body as if nobody had ever touched him there before. Looking out the window, he smiled. He wasn’t thinking about protection at all.
The cab dropped them off in front of an elegant Park Avenue brownstone. The doorman nodded blankly, then lowered his head as they passed. The elevator, richly finished with stainless steel and mahogany, glided silently to Dallas’ floor.
When they walked into his suite she was overwhelmed by its dark magnificence, just as Dallas had hoped she would be. Right square in the middle of the huge salon was an ornate pool table. She stood there, entranced. Coming up behind her, he gently placed his hands on her shoulders. Slowly, sensually, he slid his hands down to hers, then clasped their hands together around in front. She eased back into his embrace. He felt her silky mane of auburn hair against his face. She tingled as his hands smoothly came up to her chest, brushing over her breasts. She offered no resistance as he gently slipped her coat off. She went to the pool table and stroked one of the cues admiringly. Dallas watched her thirstily, then turned away to hang up her coat.
He was feeling very pleased with himself when he felt the blast of pain explode through his body. The first thing he was able to move was his eyes. He looked down and saw the tip of the pool cue tearing through his chest. Bitch! With immense rage and power, he swung an arm backward at his tormentor, razor-sharp nails splayed out to eviscerate her. With surprising agility Kate sidestepped, using the pool cue to lever him away and down with perfect geometry. Dallas felt his blood turn to chalk as he crashed to his knees and as his consciousness slipped away for eternity, his last thought was: how perfect, how absolutely perfect this one was.
Kate held tight to the cue until the pile of rubble and bones stopped smoking, then she let it slip to the floor. She scanned the room, beginning her search for the coffin. This was always the worst part – now that it was over, as she was coming down, she was starting to feel the guilt. She opened her purse and absently retrieved her good luck charm. Then she took a nail file and slowly sliced another groove in the enamel.
But God, he was good-looking...
© 2003 Bob Cohen
Bob Cohen is a New York City Police Department captain who, when not crimebusting, writes.