I sometimes need a little button.
A little button on the back of my head.
I would reach back there,
Fiddling around though my hair,
Screwing my fingers around.
I would press it once, nothing.
No stress, warm sand between my toes.
No routine, the taste of ocean salt on the thighs of my love.
No responsibility, the bright sun warming my nearly nude skin.
I would press it once, nothing.
I know who I am.
I sat there, alone in my board room, looking out into the grey city. It’s a city that I once loved, more than anyone or anything. I loved this grey cold beast. The more I schemed, lied, cheated, stole, the more I gave in to my darkest side, the more the beast gave back to me. You don’t change that beast. It keeps changing you.
Now, at 40 years old, I wish I had chosen some other way to spend my life. Could I have been a farmer, probably not, I hate any sort of manual labor. Maybe I could have run a charity, but I was way too selfish for that.
“You have a look of regret on your face.” I look over to see a tall medium brown haired man with a light skin tone but healthy looking complexion talking to me.
“I’m sorry, who are you?” I ask.
He laughs a little before he says: “don’t be sorry.”
This fucker is going to come into my fucking boardroom, laugh at me, and engage in mother fucking word play with me but not answer my question. I look at the ground, take a deep breath, reorient my eyes back towards the man and say: “what is it that I can do for you?”
“I’m here for you Tim, whatever you want. I ask for nothing in return.”
“I’m supposed to be impressed that you know my name? I’m the richest man in this city. Everyone knows my name. Here’s the thing, I don’t do business with people I don’t know and don’t trust, so why don’t you leave, now!”
“I’ll leave when I’m ready,” he says, somehow without any tone of arrogance.
I pick up the phone to call security; it’s dead. I try to open the boardroom door, locked.
“What do you want?” I ask.
“What do you want?” He parrots back.
“Ten gorgeous clean hookers and an extra large pizza.”
I take a deep breath and close my eyes, out of frustration. As soon as my eyes are open again, there are ten beautiful young women, glammed up, wearing very tight business attire, and there is a God damned pizza in the middle of the table.
“What the hell?” I ask.
“I’m here for anything you want.”
“Pretty much. You can have anything that a human being has at some point in their life had, and if it’s something that can be kept, you can keep it.”
“This is where I’m supposed to ask for money?”
“If that’s what you want,” he replied.
“I don’t need any more money. Can you send me back in time?”
“No. Humans can’t time travel.”
I look at him curiously and ask: “how do you know?”
“There are magical hookers in the room. Trust me, I know.”
He grabs a slice of pizza, walks over to where three hookers are making out and begins to open his pants.
“I don’t want the hookers.” Just as I utter those words, they disappear, so I continue with: “and no pizza either,” and it too was gone.
He turns around with his erect penis exposed, attempting to tuck it back into his pants but not ashamed to show me while saying: “I thought you were going to be fun.”
“I don’t actually have sex with hookers.”
“How about revenge? We could get back at everyone who once wronged you.”
“Well…” I say while pondering it for a moment.
“I’ve been alive for longer than all of humanity; please take your time. I’m patient,” he says with an erection that is still somewhat visible through his zipped up pants.
“Do I have to make some sort of deal with you first? Do I have to give you my soul? I won’t do that.”
“You people and your contracts. There is no deal. There is no such thing as signing over your soul. I’m here for you. Whatever you want to do, we’ll do it. Then, I’ll leave. Simple, no contracts, understand?”
I worry that there is some sort of catch that I’m missing here, but if he is some mystical beast who can give me almost anything I desire, I would be a fool not to take him up on that.
“OK. Did you see my secretary on the way in?”
“Yes, she’s the nice lady who is hiding an obvious black eye by wearing too much makeup.”
“Yeah. Her boyfriend gave her that black eye. Can you take him out of the picture?”
“Just like that?”
“Just like that,” he said before walking out.
I guess that’s it. I guess I only get one thing, and I selflessly used it on someone else. I’m good with that. My life has been about making money, about taking what I want. Now, I did something for someone else.
I went home after that, poured myself a rather tall glass of port and binge watched Mad Men. After my day, I totally deserved it. I thought about calling up the neighbor lady to come over and have sex with me, but she’s married, and I’m trying to do the right thing now. Look at me, practically mother fucking Theresa. Maybe tomorrow I’ll start a charity.
Time to make a phone call.
“Hey. Is your mom home?” I ask.
“So, you’re alone?”
“You want me to come over?” I ask.
It’s the married ladies daughter. I know it’s wrong, but she turns 18 next month, and I deserve this.
It was a fun night last night, but I have to get back to business, back to the office.
I shout for my secretary, “Emily.”
The man with the magical powers comes in: “yes?”
“You again? I thought you were done. Where’s Emily?”
“Oh, she’s at home, mourning the loss and all.”
I look at him with screwed up eyes and say: “what loss?”
“I killed the boyfriend. You know they were in love, right?”
“I didn’t tell you to kill him. I told you get him out of the picture.”
“You can’t use word play with me. I’m powerful, damn you. I knew what your intentions were. I can read thoughts and emotions. You wanted him dead. He’s dead. Now, Emily is at home with her hands over her face, crying uncontrollably, while the police question her.”
“Why are the police questioning her?” I ask, angrily.
“You always suspect the girlfriend first.”
“This is not what I wanted. Fix it.” I said, in a very demanding voice.
“It’s what you asked for, and your actions have consequences. Like I said before, there is no contract. Life is a series of moments and choices, and when you make bad choices and bad things happen as a result, it’s on you. You are the sum of your choices.”
“So why are you here? You just want to gloat?” I ask.
“I met with a man this morning who found out about a week ago that his wife was cheating on him. He installed nanny cams in his house to catch her, to be sure. What he saw is one of his neighbors fornicating with his 17 year old daughter. When I told him he could have anything he wanted, he asked me to take that man out of the picture.”
After following my phone’s GPS like a subservient slave to my master of technology, Stain and I are taken to the apartment building directly across from the bank that Lily got shot in.
Stain looks angry, fiercely angry. I’ve seen him sad, frustrated, happy, and just about any other range of emotion a man is capable of, but I’ve never seen him truly angry before, except when Lily was shot.
“Sappho, you had better not be messing with me,” Stain glares at me.
“This is the address BM sent me,” I say throwing up my hands as though it were a sign of innocence.
“If Big Money is messing with me, I’ll slit his throat from ear to ear with a fork. I don’t care how long it takes me. I’ll do it, and I’ll wash my face in his blood,” Stain says while his eyes widen and pupils dilate.
“BM doesn’t strike me as the ultimate prankster type. It’s probably safe to say that his actual friend lives here,” I raise my eyebrows.
I send a group text to Frank and Ben with the address and information, in hopes that they might be able to come to the party. BM will appreciate the extra guests, and Stain and I could use a couple of people with an outside perspective.
Stain looks like he’s having a small breakdown. All he can get out before we enter the apartment is: “I…I don’t want to.”
“What?” I ask.
“I just… I don’t want to.”
As a couple is coming out of the security door, I jolt ahead and open the door for Stain. “You don’t want to what?”
Stain walks in, almost out of habit, as though he didn’t want to be rude. I start walking towards the stairs because I hate elevators and like stairs. Stain stands still, frozen.
“Stain, let’s go.”
“I can’t. I can’t do it.”
“I can’t. I can’t. I can’t.”
“Stain. You don’t know that the shooter was in this building, and if the shooter was in this building, it was unlikely that the person was in this apartment.”
“I can’t,” Stain repeats.
Stain, if we go in there, we are one step closer to finding out who shot Lily. If we’re superheros, I mean true superheros, who deserves justice more than Lily?
“I…” Stain pauses.
“What do we fight for?” I ask.
Stain looks away from me, and with the determination of a herd of rhinos, heads straight for the elevator and presses the button. I saunter up behind him when the elevator door opens. Stain, me, and Joe, from Taking a Shirt, all get into the elevator.
“We fight for good,” Stain says, not even noticing that Joe has gotten on the elevator with us.
“Joe, hello,” I say, almost as though it’s a question.
“Sappho, Stain, hello mi amigos. You are visiting a friend here?”
Stain is standing in front of the buttons, waiting to press a number. I look at my earlier text message from BM and say: “number 10.”
Stain looks at Joe, waiting for him to call out a number, when Joe utters: “same.”
Before I had a chance to answer Joe, Stain shoots him a glance and asks: “so, you live here then?”
“I’m here for Jamie’s birthday party. Do you know Jamie?” Joe asks.
I half nod my head. “We’re here for that too.”
Joe exits the elevator, and Stain presses the close door button, keeping us in. He promptly presses number 9.
“So Jamie is it?” Stain asks.
We get off the elevator and head for the stairs.
“Can I go in on the present too?” he asks.
“Yeah, I already put your name on the card.”
“Cool. Thanks. So, what did we get Jamie?” Stains asks.
“You’ll see. Try not to act surprised.”
“We could meet the murderer tonight. We might have already met the murderer. It could be Joe,” Stain surmises.
“Stain, it could be anyone. Tonight we are only gathering information, so no giving away anything that we know. You’re too emotional on this topic. Listen and observe. I invited Frank and Ben. I figured they could help.”
I knock on the door.
“Fair enough,” Stain utters, almost under his breathe.
Big Money answers the door.
“Gentlemen, hello. Come in, come in.”
The only people in the room are me, Stain, Big Money, Joe, and a woman I’m assuming must be Jamie.
Joe and Jamie are laughing about something, so I take the opportunity to quietly say: “she looks like a 30-year-old Parisienne lesbian.”
Big Money gives me the oh really look and says: “don’t judge, I’ve seen what your cock has been in.”
“That’s nothing, he was trying to go mud diving with Joe over their earlier today,” says Stain.
Big Money has a serious look of concern on his face. “Wait, you guys know Joe?”
Stain casually says: “yeah, we met him at the t-shirt shop today when we were going to order our superhero t-shirts. Our little blue eyed boy here got lost somewhere in pec boys massive muscles. I assume the way he rolled his Rs probably added to the fantasy a bit.”
“I didn’t think you even noticed,” I say.
“I was trying not to,” Stain says.
“How do you know Joe?” I ask Big Money.
“He’s a friend of Jamie’s.”
“So, BM, you going to introduce us?” I ask.
Big Money takes us over to Jamie and points at each one of us saying: “this is Sappho. He’ll fuck you, your mom, and your dog, and he’ll make you think it was all your fault and walk away completely unscathed. Somehow no matter who you are, he’ll just shine those big blue eyes at you, and you’ll always care for him. This is Stain. You don’t have to worry about your mom or your dog, but he will fuck you if he gets a chance. You’ll regret it, but you’ll keep fucking him over and over again, until you finally hate him, yourself, and anything he ever touched.”
“This is true?” Jamie asks.
“Oh, yeah. He’s actually being kind,” Stain says.
I nod my head. “Big Money is being kind. The good news though, is that I never have sex with someone’s mother or dog on their birthday.”
“Big Money. Who is this?” Jamie asks.
I almost didn’t notice that Joe and Big Money are whispering back and forth.
Stain chimes in. “We have nicknames for people. We have one for you, and one for Big Money over there.” He points to Big Money.
“We also have one for Joe,” I say.
Stain looks at me. “We do?”
“Yes, we call him Alejandro,” I say.
Stain giggles a little, “Alejandro, from the t-shirt shop. Got it.”
Jamie looks over at Stain. “So, what is my name?”
I quickly shout: “hey BM, I hope you don’t mind me watering down this sausage fest, but I invited a couple of tacos.”
Big Money laughs, hard. It was that baby seal clubbing laugh again. Something about Big Money changed, but I’m not sure what.
“You have tacos?” Jamie asks.
I hand her the present we got for her, and she shakes it.
Stain says: “good thing it’s not breakable.”
“It sounds big,” Jamie pauses, “I’m so rude. Can I get you a drink?”
“Bourbon, neat,” Stain says.
“He’ll have a beer, and I’ll take a glass of red wine, please,” I say.
“Of course,” Jamie says while walking off.
“Nice way to change the subject from me telling her the nickname,” Stain says chuckling.
“What nickname?” I ask.
“3PL,” he says.
“3PL?” I ask.
“Yeah, 30-year-old Parisian lesbian,” Stain says.
“I hope Ben and Frank get here soon,” I say.
We walk into a shop called Taking a Shirt, which I imagine people think is cleverly named. Their logo is a man squatting with a balled up shirt on the ground under him. Inside, I hear Candy Shop playing, that old 50 Cent hit. Behind the cash is a very muscular Latino man. He looks to be almost six feet tall, probably around 220 pounds, and I would guess no more than 7 percent body fat. Despite his obvious size, he’s wearing what must be a medium sized t-shirt, which spans his rippling body muscle like a second skin, forcing his bulging muscles to stick out even further. Pictured on the shirt is a large rooster and a smaller Eiffel Tower.
Stain doesn’t notice that I’m frozen in a homoerotic fantasy when he walks straight up to the guy and says: “I need two superhero t-shirts.”
Stain and the man that I can only imagine is named Alejandro continue their discourse, but I’m stuck in some super gay other world, where I see everything happening in slow motion. Alejandro’s thick lips move slowly, and his tongue curls and vibrates like only a native Spanish speaker can. I’m fixated on his gentle brown eyes.
In my head, I imagine a conversation.
“Alejandro, do you have a washroom I could use.”
“It’s in the back, I’ll show you.”
As we walk to the back room in super gay fantasy other world, my shoulders begin to tense up.
“You are tense, yes?” Alejandro asks.
Alejandro pulls out a chair from the lunch room table and pats in roughly with his large hands. I promptly and excitedly sit down. He removes my shirt, grabs some olive oil and begins to massage my shoulders and back.
“Do you feel better?” he asks.
“Much better,” I say with an excited tone in my voice.
Alejandro removes his shirt, lies face down across the lunch room table and says: “my turn, yes?”
“Oh, yes,” I say while releasing a big breath of air, while beginning to run my olive oil greased hands across his large v shaped backed. He moans like an 18 year old making love for the first time.
He turns over, unbuckles his belt and says: “time to make Alejandro happy, yes?”
I wake up out of my super gay other world daydream when Stain turns around and asks: “size man? Size?”
“What?” I ask.
Stain shakes his head, looks back at Alejandro and says: “it’s been a crazy couple of days. My friend Sappho here is a superhero.”
“Oh really?” Alejandro asks with an intrigued voice, uttering light sprinkles of a deep sexy Spanish accent.
“Oh yes,” Stain says with a bragging tone. He continues on: “Sappho has the ability to get women to take their shirts off.”
Alejandro smiles at me and asks: “are you large?”
I walk up to the counter, to where Alejandro and Stain are standing. I laugh and smile back at Alejandro, resting my hand on his massive forearm, and I say: “yes. I’m a size large. Sorry about that earlier. I was not in this moment. I was in a dream somewhere.”
Alejandro smiles larger and offers no sense of discomfort from my hand touching his arm. He glances down at me, below my belt and offers up: “you are large. I’ll make sure you get what you need. The order is placed. I just need a phone number to follow up with you.”
I write my number down on the sheet. Although I thought it not possible at this point, Alejandro smiles even bigger and says: “I’ll call you when it comes.”
“I’m Sappho, by the way.”
He puts out his hand, which is strong, yet soft and well manicured. “I’m Joe.”
Although his name offers great disappointment, as we are walking out the door, Joe lifts his shirt showing his massive bald chest, and carefully sculpted abdominal muscles, saying: “perhaps your superpowers are not only for women.”
Stain looks at me with a sense of shock and confusion, while asking: “do you know what this means?”
“It’s not really like that. I mean, it’s more fantasy. I like girls.” I would continue to fumble, trying to explain myself, but Stain just interrupts.
“Your superpower might be twice as effective as we thought it was.”
I sigh loudly after the door to Taking a Shirt closes behind me, and in the same breath, I utter: “Oh, Alejandro.”
Stain looks at me with his head half cocked. “You ok? Who is Alejandro?”
Before I could answer, my phone rings. “It’s Big Money,” I say.
If ever there was a person that you wanted to hate, wanted to screen, but just couldn’t, it was Big Money. He’s loud, arrogant, rude, and domineering, but you somehow always end up owing him your life.
I answer: “BM, sup?”
“Listen, I got a friend who has a birthday party tonight, and I’m recruiting guests. Can you come?”
“Ah, do I know your friend?” I ask.
“No, but she’s breathing, so I figured you were in.”
“Can Stain come?”
“Yeah, whatever. I don’t care.”
“Wait, why don’t you just invite her friends?” I ask.
“She doesn’t have many friends. You know cause she’s French and all.”
“Why does it matter if she’s French?”
“Look man. I don’t know what it is. Don’t ask me the philosophical question, but you know how those people are?”
“French!” I say with an obvious tone of disapproval.
“Exactly. So you’re in?”
“Text me a pic of her nude,” I demand.
Big Money starts laughing, but it’s like he’s trying a new laugh on for size. It sounds more like the kind of laugh you might anticipate on a global warming denier who has a suit made of government and big business slush fund money, and he likes to sport it while wearing alligator boots and clubbing baby seals with wood made from an endangered thousand year old redwood.
Big money responds with: “I’ll text you the address. See you at 8pm.”
Stain looks at me perplexed while we walk, slowly, much slower than usual, and he says: “aren’t we always walking.”
“Yeah, sure. We’re always walking.”
“What does it mean?” he asks.
“Walking? It doesn’t mean anything. We just walk a lot because we like to.”
“No. What we’re doing. What does it mean?” he asks.
“Stain, man, are you asking me the meaning of life?”
“Yeah, I guess I am.”
“That’s cool man. I know this one.”
Stain looks at me as though he’s waiting for the actual answer.
I stop the first man I see walking down the street. “Excuse me sir. What’s the meaning of life?”
He gives me a dirty a look and keeps walking, so I stop a woman. “Miss, can you please tell me the meaning of life?”
“What?” she asks.
“I want to know the meaning of life,” I say.
“I don’t get it,” she says while shaking her head.
I giggle a bit and say: “I saw you coming and was just trying to get you to talk to me. I apologize, but I’m not a great conversationalist.”
“Oh, well . . . that’s ok. I do have to get going though,” she says.
“My name is Sappho.” I hold out my hand in greeting.
She shakes my hand and says: “I’m Poubelle.”
“Really? That an unusual name,” I return.
“It means beautiful and louse in French. Pou and Belle, louse and beautiful. It’s like Yin and Yang. The best and the worst. It’s balance.”
Stain starts laughing out loud. I get it now.
“Get what?” Poubelle asks.
“The meaning of life,” Stain returns.
“What?” Poubelle asks.
I look at Stain and say: “life is like Poubelle’s name. The person living with it can never really understand what it means, but they can always make it into whatever they want it to be.”
Stain laughs again. “No. It’s just garbage.”
Stain and I start walking away, Poubelle looks back at us and shouts: “I have a boyfriend.”
I laugh. “You didn’t a minute ago.”
Stain looks back then at me: “I was about to call her a bad name, but I think I already did.”
“This is pretty cool Stain. This is pretty cool. This’ll be my new test for friends and more than friends. I’ll ask them what the meaning of life is.”
“What if they don’t know?” Stain asks.
“They don’t know is the only answer I’ll accept. Well, either that or it’s whatever you make of it.”
“Why am I not wearing a brand new Sappho t-shirt?” I ask.
Stain walks up to a shop, opens the door and gives me a hand gesture to go in. He was leading us to the t-shirt shop the whole time.
I arrive at the bank to see Frank, Ben, and Stain, all standing around in a high school sort of circle. They haven’t noticed me yet, so I walk up behind Ben, give her the two handed kidney grab and squawk loudly like a chicken. Ben jumps, almost out of her skin then turns around and starts punching me in the chest with the back of her fists. The punches turn into slaps and the slaps turn into a rough rubbing action.
Stain looks over at us. “Guys, enough foreplay. I think I know what happened here.”
Ben backs up, and Frank comes over to hug me. She gives me a big squeeze then slowly backs up, looks down and says: “oh my, I see he likes it when Ben plays rough.”
Ben shoots a smile at me, and I smile back.
Stain points at the window, as though his finger is a gun and says: “Sappho, Ben, Frank, come stand next to me.”
We all gather around Stain who makes shooting noises with his mouth.
Ben gives Stain a queer look and says: “this seems like bullshit to me.”
I have to agree when I say: “more like hippo diarrhea.”
Frank lets out a little laugh, but she gently touches Stain’s shoulder and says: “he is definitely on to something. Let’s give him a chance.”
Stain looks at me and says: “look we were inside the bank. We assumed the cops shot in because their guns were the closest thing to us.”
I answer back. “Right. Plus, no guns went off in the bank, and we know based on how the glass broke that the bullets had to come from outside the bank.”
Stain places his thumb and index finger on each hand together then pulls them apart slowly while he says: “right. What if we assume that the cops didn’t do it?”
I shake my head. “Look, we could shift the paradigm here, but why would we assume that the most obvious guys and the only other guys with guns weren’t the guys that shot in?”
Frank looks all excited for a moment. “Wait, wait. Everyone shut up.”
Ben looks over at Frank. “What?”
Frank says: “shhh. Shut up.”
There is a long moment of silence where I look at Ben, and she just shrugs her shoulders. Stain eagerly awaits the moment.
Frank speaks up again. “If the cops didn’t do it, we know the shooter couldn’t have been in the bank. We know the shooter couldn’t have been directly behind or beside the cops because he would have to be 10 feet tall to get the bullet over all their heads. If the shooter wasn’t a cop, he would have to be up in that apartment building across the street.”
I look at Frank. “That’s a weird scenario. Why does a shooter take out an innocent woman in a bank during a robbery when there are tons of cops outside?”
Frank looks at me. “Let’s explore every angle then we can ask why later.”
“Fair enough,” I say.
Frank asks: “how many shots were fired?”
Stain answers: “there were two shots. The first one went into Lily’s head. I had just taken both rifles from the robbers, and Lily and I were in an embrace.”
Stains eyes begin to tear up, and Frank grabs the back of his head, pulls it firmly towards her very large chest and rests it down between her cleavage. She strokes his hair in a very motherly sort of way then asks: “so, Stain was holding both the weapons when Lily was shot?”
I see what she is getting at. “Yes, they were spinning around in a circle, so the shooter could have easily been going for Stain.”
“What about the second shot?” Ben asks.
“The second shot went into the wall, almost right behind our heads,” I answer.
“So the only way to be sure is to find out if the bullet was traveling mostly straight or slightly down,” said Stain.
“The police haven’t released any of that info yet,” I respond.
Frank looks at me. “But it is possible that the shooter wasn’t a police officer.”
I nod my head. “It’s not only possible; it’s likely. Stain and I didn’t belong in the bank. We created a diversion to get in. Then Stain ends up holding both weapons. If one of the cops shot in at Stain, he could have just said that he did. Stain and Lily would have looked like the bank robbers at that moment. It would have been a clean shot. Instead they said the shots came from inside the bank, which isn’t even close to being believable. They must have thought it to be true.”
Stain is still enjoying the pillow effect of Frank’s chest, while she giggles and says: “I think we’ve solved it.”
Stain asks me: “how was your date with Emily?”
“There was an awkward moment where I was going to have sex with a cab driver cause I thought Emily stood me up, but instead I offered Emily a threesome after she broke into my house.”
Ben looks at me with a disgusted look on her face. “You had a threesome today?”
“No. They both left,” I say.
Frank smiles a bit and says: “well you could have a threesome today.”
Ben rolls her eyes.
“Frank, I would love that, but I think I’m going to give up sex for a little while.”
Frank shakes her head no. “Oh no, you should never give up sex. Very bad things will happen if you do that. Sex is good for you.”
I shake my head no back at her. “I haven’t had much luck lately. Every time I try, I get interrupted. I haven’t reached the finish line the last several times I’ve tried.”
Ben starts poking my chest. “If Frank wants the three of us to fuck, then the three of us are going to fuck. Don’t act like you don’t want it.”
I smile at Ben and Frank. “Believe me, I want it. I just want to do it in a private place with someone I have feelings for.”
Ben gets angry, lifts up her shirt and bra and starts yelling: “some one? We helped you solve your bank robbery shooting. Now, you owe us. I don’t care if you have to fall in love with the two of us, but you’re going to shoot your cum all over us whether you like it or not.”
Ben grabs me below the belt and says: “that’s mine now” then walks away.
Frank gives Stain one last hug and says: “it was nice seeing you gentlemen again. This was fun. Sappho, I hope you can fall in love with us. I think I could fall in love with you.”
Frank kisses me on the cheek then on the lips. We kiss again, and it feels right, as though we’ve been lovers for a long time. I hold her hips while we kiss again and again. She holds the top of her shirt open so I can look down, smiles at me and says: “I’ll see you soon.”
Frank runs off while saying: “thanks for the adventure boys.”
Stain looks at me with a curious look, the look a baby makes when he’s trying to push out a poop. He adds a little brow furl on top of that and says in a Ringo Starr with cotton balls in his mouth sort of way: “gee Sappho, what do you want to do tonight?”
“Same thing we do every night Stain, try to fight for a better world.”
Stain lets out a little laugh and retorts: “I don’t think that’s the line.”
“Indeed, but we’re men, not mice.”
Stain looks concerned for a moment, like he’s had an “aha” moment of clarity.
“What are we going to do for money?” Stain asks.
“Since when do you care about money?”
“I don’t, as long as I have a place to crash and food to eat, but how are we going to do the superhero gig full time if we have jobs, and if we don’t have jobs, how are we going to eat?”
“I got the money thing covered.”
Stain pauses a moment and looks at me, but I give him a little nod. The cool thing about Stain is that he really doesn’t care about money. I can tell that he’s accepted my answer, and if my answer means that he has to sleep on a parquet floor in a bachelor apartment without a blanket or pillow, he’s cool to do that, as long as he’s getting fed.
“I don’t mind getting a part time job, to help cover bills and that,” Stain offers.
“No, no jobs. The money is covered 100%. Food, shelter, and gear are all covered. From now on, this is our job. We fight for good.”
I put my fist out.
Stain punches it. “We fight for good, but first, I want to get some t-shirts made. I mean, you can’t fight evil without t-shirts.”
“That’s true, but I’m supposed to meet Emily.”
“Who?” Stain asks.
“Emily, the waitress.”
“Right right. Cool. You hook up with Emily, and I’ll grab the t-shirts.”
“That’s awesome, yeah, come by when you’re done then?”
“See you in a bit,” Stain says.
Stain heads over to the t-shirt shop, while I hop in an Uber and make my way home. It occurs to me that I haven’t heard from Emily yet, and she has no idea where I live. I’ll send her a text.
“I’m on my way home now. You done school?”
While I wait for a response, I begin chatting with the driver. She’s a bit older and a little heavy, but there is something about a large breasted older woman that makes me want to pull down my pants and scream out come and get it mommy.
“So, are you almost done your shift?” I ask the driver.
“No, I just started. I go until around ten, sometimes midnight.”
“Your husband or boyfriend or whatever doesn’t mind you being gone all night?”
She looks at me in the rear view mirror and smiles. “I’m not married, never was. I don’t have a lot of boyfriends either.”
“I find that hard to believe.”
“Yeah right,” she says.
“No really. I mean, you’re an attractive woman. I’d love to have you over sometime.”
“Now, don’t play around with a woman’s emotions like that.”
“Oh, I won’t. I promise.”
There seems to be an awkward silence the rest of the car ride home. I think I’ve made her feel uncomfortable. I suppose I took things too far too fast. I get out of the car, and just in case, part with the words: “I would love some company if you can spare a moment.”
She says nothing, so I walk towards the door of my place. Just as I’m about to go in, I feel her grab my hand, even though she still looks a bit nervous and weary, she comes in with me. I smile.
In a dark corner of the room, I see Emily, wearing very expensive looking lingerie and warming herself up a bit. The cab driver looks shocked, but I just smile at her and say: “this could be fun.”
Emily gets up, starts poking the cab driver in her giant sweater meat and says: “who are you? That’s my man. Nobody goes around with my man and lives to tell about it, nobody.”
The cab driver lady’s eyes bulge out of her head when she says: “I’m outta here” and walks out the door.
“Emily, how did you know where I live?”
Emily puts her hands on her hips and gives me a killer glare while saying: “I don’t think you understand what you’ve done here. You’ve made a very powerful enemy and . . .”
“Wait, wait, wait, wait,” I interrupt. “Are you serious? Is that a movie line or something? You’re like 4 feet tall with no money, no resources, and quite frankly you think you’re a lot smarter than you actually are.”
She’s yelling now. “I’m not short! I’m not 4 feet tall. I’m 5 foot 2. I’m really smart and really pretty, and people love and respect me. Did you think you were just going to fuck that fat old lady then stick your cock in my mouth so I could suck off her pussy juice?”
“There wasn’t really a plan in place. It was thoughtless though and perhaps disrespectful as well. Emily, I’m sorry.”
Emily starts crying and saying: “that’s ok. I just tend to attract the losers.”
Emily walks out of the house wearing nothing but her lingerie.
“Uh, Emily. Don’t go…”
Emily interrupts. “I’m going, and there’s nothing you or anyone else can do to stop me, but mark my words. I’ll be back, bitch.” She slams the door behind her badly strung together movie lines. I was going to tell her not to go without putting some clothes on, but I suppose she’ll figure it out at some point.
I write out a text to Stain. “Remind me next time, t-shirts are better than sex.”
I get a text back. “No t-shirts. Figured out bank stuff. Are you done with the girlfriend?”
“I’m done with the bipolar stalker forever.”
“For now anyway. Come to the bank,” Stain writes.
“On my way.”
I hop in my car, and begin driving downtown. My phone rings.
“Is this Sappho?”
“Yes,” I answer.
“Hi. This is Frank. Ben and I were wondering if you were free tonight.”
“Frank and Ben, my favorite taggers. I do have plans, crime fighting stuff, but if you and Ben want to join, that’d be cool.”
“That sounds like a lot of fun. Where are you fighting crime?”
“We’re trying to solve a shooting. You know the bank that got robbed downtown?”
“Yeah, I heard something about that,” Frank says.
“Cool, well I’m on my way there. Maybe text me when you guys are in the neighborhood. Stain will be there too.”
“Sounds cool. I’ll see you then.”
A man with an obvious swagger applies powder to Stephanie’s face before he comes over to us, puts a bit of powder on my nose and says in a lisp: “looks like you’ve been working hard.”
I look up to see his bald head.
Stain shakes his head at me again. “Sappho, you mouth banged the makeup guy who is engaged to the woman interviewing us?”
“Yes, it would seem that way.”
“Oh, another thing. I had my cell on me the whole time.”
“So, I had my cell on me the whole time.”
“Oh, no. You’re traceable! They know exactly where you were the whole time.”
“Major flaw in the plan Sappho!”
“No. The plan changed. We were going to be on the run together anyway, so I didn’t have to ditch the cell until after you got out.”
“Right. Plus Big Money wouldn’t have been able to get in contact with you if you didn’t have your phone. This is a situation.”
Stephanie is ready as she announces: “with me today, we have two average looking men that go by the names Sappho and Stain.”
I interrupt: “actually we go by Stain and Sappho.” I point to Stain then to myself.
Stephanie continues. “Why the aliases when your real names are…”
Stain quickly interrupts: “they aren’t aliases. We don’t go by different names. We don’t have a set of aliases. We’ve abandoned our former names permanently in favor of our superhero names.”
Stephanie looks curiously at us. “So you both really think you’re superheros?”
I jump in by saying: “No. We are superheros. It’s not a thought. It’s the action that you take, everyday.”
Stephanie arrogantly shakes her head at me: “so everybody could be a superhero then?”
Stain calmly glares at her head, almost as though it wasn’t there when he says: “everybody could be, but almost nobody is. The world needs superheros, and if everyone were a superhero, the world would be a better place. The fact that there might only be a handful of superheros on the planet, makes it difficult.”
I chime in while looking at Stain then back at the camera: “Right right, but even if there were only one superhero on the entire planet, it would still be a better place then if there weren’t any.”
“So you guys honestly believe you have superpowers, like you can run really fast or see through my shirt or something?”
I giggle, but Stain continues on unaffected. “I have no intention of revealing our particular talents, as we want to keep that secret to use when it’s advantageous to us. We certainly don’t think we can fly or anything like that. When we talk about superheros and superpowers we’re not talking about a rich guy with a bunch of gadgets, a mutated genius, or a guy from another planet. We’re talking about people that have unique human talents and are willing to use them for the good of society without getting a pay cheque for it. I’m sorry if that damages your greed based view of the world, but that’s how it is.”
Stephanie looks at me as though she didn’t even hear the words Stain just uttered. “So, Sappho, when you were molesting that old lady in a hotel parking lot, was that the superhero thing to do?”
I give Stephanie my unimpressed look and say: “I didn’t molest anyone. There was a bit of a misunderstanding.”
Stephanie fires back again at me. “There were also reports of the two of you getting in a fight with a man and his wife.”
Stain gives a blank look, as though he doesn’t even remember, so I answer with: “no no. That man tried to attack Stain, but Stain chose not to fight until the guy came after me. He simply tackled the man then we left.”
Stephanie pipes up again. “It sounds like you have an excuse for everything don’t you?”
I don’t hesitate on that. “No. We have reasons for being wrongly accused of things. Isn’t that why you’re questioning us? Aren’t you supposed to be an impartial interviewer? Why have you judged us guilty when we’ve only tried to do good?”
Stephanie looks more angry than ever when she says: “I’m just asking for full disclosure, and I think you’re telling the good citizens what you want them to hear. You’ve been on a crime spree. You’ve assaulted cops, interfered in a bank robbery, and possibly caused a woman to die.”
I point at Stephanie, raising my voice: “now, Stephanie…”
Stain puts his hand on my arm. “Allow me.”
I look at Stain. “Are you sure?”
Stain looks at me: “it’s OK.” He looks back at Stephanie: “Stephanie, being engaged, I’m sure you can understand how important and fragile love is. I fell madly, deeply in love with Lily the one you refer to as a woman. I would have given my life to protect her, but I didn’t have the option. Someone shot her, as you know already, it was someone outside the bank. We protected everyone from the bad men in the bank. If there were two more superheros outside the bank, perhaps Lily…” Stain begins to choke up. “Perhaps Lily would still be alive.” Stain’s eyes well up, but no tears run down, as he swallows, choking back the pain and holding back as much as he can.
Stephanie’s temper isn’t calmed at all. She looks fierce when she asks: “well, if you guys didn’t do anything wrong, why were you arrested?”
I smile at Stephanie. “You know that’s not true. You know I wasn’t arrested, and if Stain did anything wrong, he would still be behind bars, not a completely free man.”
Stephanie grinds her teeth at me. “The jury is still out on that one.”
I smile even wider at Stephanie. “There is no jury on us.”
“Why is that?” Stephanie asks.
Stain very stoically adds: “Because, we fight for good.”
Stephanie yells at the cameraman: “that’s a wrap. Cut it at the jury’s still out.”
Stephanie storms off, while Stain and I walk towards the exit where we run into Big Money.
I look at Stain and Big Money. “Guys, I’ll be right back.”
Stain stops me by wrapping his arms around me. “Good to be back.”
“Yeah man. It’s good to have you back.”
I feel a little grab of my rear end. I give Stain an odd look, but he just laughs. I laugh back and run over to Stephanie’s dressing room. As usual, the door is unlocked. I go in to see Stephanie and Rick calmly talking.
“Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to interrupt.”
Rick motions me to come in: “you’re not interrupting. It’s OK.”
Stephanie yells: “get out. I never want to see you again.”
I close the door behind me and quickly say: “I just wanted to apologize, to both of you, really. I never meant to do anything to hurt you or your relationship.”
Stephanie yells again: “well you did. Asshole!”
Rick is much more calm. “It’s us who used you. Stephanie and I both knew who I was, who I am. We just never admitted it.”
Rick holds out his arms, so I give him a hug. Stephanie grabs my hair in her hands yanks it towards her and kisses me on the lips. Things escalate fast while Stephanie and I start touching each other frantically. Rick unzips my pants and puts me in his mouth, while Stephanie disrobes completely and bends over the couch. Rick pulls me out of his mouth and, with his hand, guides me directly into Stephanie. At that exact moment the female security guard comes in.
“Holy mother fucking Jesus fuck. What the fuck is wrong with you fucking people? Sappho, the boss wants you.” She closes the door but stays in the room, waiting for me.
I continue thrusting into Stephanie, while Rick is giving me the “we shouldn’t be doing this look.”
I look back at the security lady. “As you can see, I just need a few more minutes.”
I take Rick’s hand and spank Stephanie with it. She lets out a little gasp. Then I push Rick’s face towards Stephanie’s backside. He gets the idea. While his tongue is servicing her backside, I reach around and give her the right kind of stimulation. Stephanie grabs Rick’s soldier in her hand.
“Seriously, we gotta fucking go, and if I don’t fucking come back with you, the boss is going to fucking yell, then he’s going to rip out my fucking heart and eat it while it’s still beating.”
I pull out of Stephanie, put my clothes back on and begin walking out with the security lady. “I wouldn’t want you to get in trouble or anything, but I really could have used a bit more time.”
I look back and Rick has taken my place. It’s a beautiful site. A homosexual man and a heterosexual woman. How could two people be more in love?
Rick is really thrusting hard when he waves at me and says: “thanks Sappho. Hey Stephanie, if we did get married, would you pee on me?”
Stephanie looks back at Rick, “oh yeah, as long as you eat my ass while I’m doing it. That feels good.”
I close the door behind me and walk away with the security lady. She looks down at my pants: “do you need a minute?”
“Are you sure?”
“Fucking nasty. Listen, despite what I just walked in on, I think what you and Stain did at the bank was really cool.”
“Thanks. Thank you.”
I see Big Money down the hall. “Hey B.M. what’s up?”
Big Money looks at my pants. “What’s up with you? And where were you two for so long?”
“Chill out man. What is she your niece or something?”
“Whoa! Sorry B.M., nothing happened.”
Stain shakes his head at me.
The security lady speaks up for me: “he was with Stephanie.”
Big Money lets out a little laugh. “Again?”
The security lady says: “and Rick, and they left the door unlocked.”
Big Money lets out a big old baby panda eating laugh and says: “you gotta learn to knock. Davis, you sick sick bastard.”
I look towards Big Money, while I see the cop that Stain first assaulted walking out of the building, and I say: “so, what did you need me for?”
Big Money shakes his head. “Don’t worry. He had some questions about the terrorist attack, but I think we cleared them up. We let him know where you were.”
Stain yells out. “Officer, you dropped your phone.” Stain holds it up in the air.
The cop inspects it thoroughly, gives Stain a snide look, utters “mmhhhmm” and walks out.
I look at Stain. “He looked tired.”
Stain answers: “yeah, he’s had the day off, not sleeping well, I guess. He’s actually off duty right now, so nobody knows he’s here.”
“Oh,” I answer back.
“Thanks again Big Money,” I say.
“Don’t mention it. You guys go fight some lesbian crime and come back when you have a story.”
Stain and I walk out together. Stain smiles at me. “Hey man, as it turn out, you dropped your phone too.”
Stain hands me my phone. It’s definitely my phone. I confess: “I don’t get it?”
Stain smiles again. “You hungry? I could go for some chips?”
I smile back. “Gotchya, but won’t they just know that the phone’s chips are switched?”
Stain shrugs his shoulders. “Chain of evidence, plausible deniability, blah blah blah. At the very least, it’ll throw them off until the media stops allowing the police to call it a terrorist attack.”
“Yeah, optics are everything for them.”
Stain nods. “Optics are everything. That’s why we need a brand.”
I laugh. “T-shirts.”
“T-shirts,” Stain returns.
I pop my finger in my mouth. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm, lemon and honey.
I head over to the TV station, since I’m already downtown. I discard the prison break backpack and all the gear in a dumpster along the way. The grappling hook is still hooked on to the police roof. Unfortunately, I couldn’t figure out a suitable way to retrieve it after climbing down. Lucky for me, I never let the schweinhund get my finger prints.
At the TV station, I walk up to the security desk. I look up to see security cameras everywhere. I bet they’re time stamped too. There’s a man and a woman behind the desk, both very young, beautiful, and in great shape. The woman is chatting with someone on her cell, while the man is looking around in a very paternal sort of way.
“Yes sir?” The security man asks.
“I’m Sappho. I’m here to see Stephanie.”
“Sappho. I don’t see your name on the list.”
“What about Davis?”
“Davis? Yeah. I have a Davis, but not until 12:00pm with the boss. It’s only 10am.”
“Right. I’m supposed to meet with Stephanie first.”
“I don’t have you here until 12:00pm.”
“Stephanie asked me to come in before hand.”
“Is it a pre interview? I could call her up.”
“Uh. Your discretion is pretty important here.”
“I’m going to see Stephanie, and give her a little pre interview…” I motion forward with my fist.
“Ah, sir?” The security man looks confused.
“I’m going to play some reindeer games.”
“Sir, I don’t understand what you’re getting at.”
I whisper: “I’m going to say hello to her tropical zone with my North pole. Then, I’m going to continue with the polar warming in any other zone she’ll allow.”
“Sir, you’ll need to be more straight forward. I don’t understand what you’re saying.”
I speak loudly out of frustration. “I’m going to take Stephanie, tear off anything that covers her beautiful milky white skin, taste anything that opens, and put myself in every wet spot that she’ll allow. Then after she screams my name as loud as she can, I’m going to pull out and explode all over the place. We’ll both be covered in each other’s juices when I run my hand through her hair, kiss her lovely soft pink lips, and tell her how beautiful she is.”
The security man is just staring at me. The security woman, who still has the phone up to her ear, isn’t talking anymore, but she is staring at me with her eyes bulging and her mouth gaping open. Other passers by have stopped and are looking at me too. I hear a baby panda eating laugh then I feel a slap on the back. It’s Big Money. He ushers me out of the lobby, towards the dressing rooms.
“Davis, you need to be a bit less public about Stephanie. She’s very private about her private life, or at least she was until you came along.”
“Sorry Big Money. I was trying to be discrete, but the security guy was a bit dense.”
“Yeah, he’s my nephew.”
“I’m so sorry B.M. I didn’t know.”
“No no, it’s fine. My nephew is an idiot, that’s why he works here. I can’t imagine that anyone would employ him anywhere else. Oh, and why did you start calling me B.M.?
“B.M. for Big Money.”
“That’s not what B.M. means. Here’s Stephanie’s dressing room. You can hang out until we all meet. What’s that smell? Is it some kind of incense or something?”
“Nevermind. Davis, if you need anything, call up the assistants, they’ll get it for you.”
“Thanks Big Money, again.”
I go inside, close the door, take my shoes off and lie down on the couch. Stephanie doesn’t seem to be around, so I nod off to sleep.
“Wake up. I said wake up.”
“Sappho. Wake up.”
“Yes, it’s Stephanie. This is my dressing room.”
“What are you doing in here?”
“You’re in my dressing room! Get out!”
“Five more minutes.”
“I’ll be back in an hour. You better be out of here before then.”
I nod back off to sleep.
I feel a wonderful sensation. My little guy has grown big, and it feels warm and wet. I feel a mouth working my popsicle. I move my hands out to run them through Stephanie’s beautiful blonde hair, but all I feel is skin. I open my eyes to see a big bald head bouncing up and down on me. Stephanie’s bald? Oh, that’s not Stephanie. Oh, that’s not a woman! He looks up at me smiles, while he chokes on me. I hear the door knob turn. Please be locked, please be locked, please be locked.
The door opens, and I hear the Big Money’s baby panda eating laugh, followed by Stephanie yelling at him. “Don’t laugh. That’s not funny.”
Big Money looks at me, barely able to hold back his laughter. “I see you’ve met Stephanie’s fiance.” The bald man keeps bobbing up and down, while Stephanie watches, devastated but transfixed.
Big Money looks at me. “You sick fucker. Time to meet. Oh, and by the way, Reggie is a free man.”
Stain walks in and shakes his head at me.
I push the handsome bald guy off me, run over to Stain and give him a huge embrace.
“Ah, Sappho, you’re poking me, and you’re getting that guys spit all over my shirt.”
I awkwardly tuck it away into my pants, doing up my zipper and belt.
Big Money has trouble not laughing when he asks: “how long is it going to stay like that?”
Stain looks at Big Money and says: “a long time.”
Big Money looks at Stephanie. “Stephanie. Be ready in 15 minutes to interview Reggie and Davis. Oh, and make sure the cameraman knows to shoot above the waist only. Oh, Davis, you sick fucker you. Reggie, Davis, come with me.”
Big Money walks us to his office, practically laughing the whole way.
“Big Money, why didn’t you tell me she was engaged?” I say with my eyes bulging directly out at him.
“If I told you, would you have stopped playing around with her?”
Stain and Big Money both look at me and say, in unison: “no you wouldn’t have.”
“You don’t know that.”
Big Money laughs again. “Look, I was just sparing you the guilt. Now, Stephanie and her fiance Rick are forced to see what they’ve done to each other, and you’re forced out of the situation. Everybody is happy, and nobody had to make the wrong choice to continue to lie and cheat.”
Stain gestures toward me. “Big Money has a point.”
I put on my best frowny face. “Yeah, maybe on the top of his head.”
Big Money brings us into his office and closes the door. “All right now. No hard feelings. Listen, I brought you guys here . . .”
Big Money looks distracted and stops speaking mid sentence. Then he looks at Stain and starts sniffing him.
“Stain, What’s the smell on you?”
“It’s smoke, from the police station.”
Big Money shakes his head no. “That’s not smoke. It smells like incense or something.”
Stain looks at me out of the corner of his eyes. “Right, it’s smoke, from the terrorist attack at the police station this morning.”
I give Stain a very questioning look. “Terrorist attack?”
Stain gently looks back at me. “That’s what the cops are calling it.”
Big Money raises his eyebrows at me. “How is it that you both smell the same?”
I shake my head at Big Money. “Don’t ask questions you don’t want the answers to.”
Big Money touches Stain’s shoulder. “Did anyone get hurt?”
“No, as it turns out, I don’t think it was real smoke.”
Big Money picks up his phone and dials a few numbers. “Yes, please bring me all security video, including any backups from this morning.” There’s a short pause. “I don’t care about procedure. Just do it and do it now. Everything from before 11:00am.” Another short pause occurs. “Now!” Big Money slams the phone down.
A surprising calm washes over Big Money. “Gentlemen, it looks like the security videos from this morning have permanently gone missing, so if anyone, for any reason were to ask what time Davis came in, I would have to tell them that to the best of my recollection, he showed up around . . .”
Stain quickly adds in “8:30.”
Big Money finishes by saying: “he showed up around 8:30am.”
Big Money tosses me a signed baseball that sits on a mount on his desk and says: “looks like I called you just in time.”
I toss the ball back to Big Money and admit that “yes, you called me just in time.”
Big Money opens his office door, puts his arms around us, ushering us out. “Gentlemen, it looks like we have an agreement. Lets go do this interview.”