“Jennifer called. She said you wanted to put an offer in for the Hart property.” The only slightly chubby Realtor suggested.
“Do you realize that it is 9:15 in the morning, and you just showed up at me door. You could at least say good morning.” I replied.
“Jennifer said that being this early wouldn’t be a problem. She also said, if I caught you half dressed that you wouldn’t mind that either.”
At that point Kate smiled at me. It was one of those smiles. The old me might have done things differently, but the new me wanted a cup of coffee more than to have sex. Of course coffee was the only option with Kate at the moment.
Oh I could do her, but I had the feeling Kate wanted romance, not just to get off. Romance required an openness which I wasn’t physically up to at that moment. It seemed that the creator had miscalculated my value at gathering pillow talk. At that moment I realized that all those brilliant nerds and none of them realized how complicated the relationship between lovers or even pretend lovers really was.
Since they knew my every thought they knew how complicated it was at that moment. I supposed that I was a learning experience for them as well as a work in progress. I should wear a sign around my neck, ‘men at work’.
“Come on in Realtor Whore, I can at least give you a cup of coffee. I can microwave you a bagel sandwich if you like. Helen dropped them off last night.” What I didn’t say was, If you don’t eat them, they are going into the trash untouched. Unless of course some homeless guy walks by this morning.
“If it’s no trouble,” she said. “I would love the coffee, but I just came from Helen’s.”
“No trouble at all,” I said pulling one of the ceramic cups from the cabinet and running hot water to rinse the dust off it. “ Do you want some of that fake dry creamer, which I keep around for guests.” That jar must have been a year old and had made at least one move from house to house with me.
“No black is fine. Do we need to talk about Martin?” she asked.
“Hell no, I expect that he comes to see you when he is in town,” I admitted.
“He does, I asked Jennifer if that is why you call me Realty Whore. She told me that it wasn’t . It was because you really liked me. Is that true?” she asked staring into her coffee cup.
“It is Kate, but you have to understand people come into and go out of my life all the time. I don’t give most of them pet names. Only the ones the stick in my mind for one reason or another. In your case it was because I knew we would be doing business together from now on.
“Good, then I don’t mind,” she said.
“Honey for the amount of money you are going to make off me it would be best to go along with whatever the golden cow says,” I replied.
“Don’t make me sound so calculating please,” she said. “You know that I saw you at the Cop Out just before you got shot. I wanted to speak to you then but I was afraid.”
“Why because I haven’t been calling you. That phone thing works both ways you know. Also I really haven’t been my loving self for a while. I might never have really been my loving self. With me it’s probably always going to be just short trysts, not real relationships,” I admitted.
“Okay, “ then she changed the subject. Jennifer told me the particulars of the offer, but let me go over them with you before I write it up,” she suggested.
“Fair enough,” I admitted pouring more coffee in both cups.
“The offer is for forty houses. Ten that back up to the mill and ten more that all face onto Spruce Street. Then an additional twenty more that face onto Cypress Street. The offer is for forty houses in the condition they are right now. You are offering $500,000 contingent on the mill being sold,” she said.
“That is correct, you might want to put an expiration date on the offer. I want to use the money for something soon. Jennifer is all hot for me invest, while the realty market has bottomed out,” I said.
“Well I can have the offer it writing and fax it over to the Hart family’s Realtor by noon,” She had been writing as we spoke. I signed her screen copy of the offer and she was ready to leave.
Then she did something unexpected. She gave me a very friendly goodbye kiss on the lips. I kissed her back of course without thinking. The kiss back was the kind of thing the creator had expected from me. They had to be proud of me at the farm. The thought came into my mind from the controller. “We are.” They were always in my mind. I had to remember that.
After the Realty Whore left, I went back on minimum power which automatically put me on free electron charge. I didn’t need it but some power had been used in out meeting that morning and this new body liked to be fully charged as often as possible. I agreed since one never knew when one might be called on to perform real work.
I sat around doing nothing for only a half hour. At ten I went to the mall to walk. I saw Tiny Dancer there of course. I was a little surprised that Leon wasn’t providing her with all the exercise she needed.
“Maxine, I wanted to thank you for the bicycles. It was a nice gesture,” she informed me.
“I just thought some of you might like the exercise. There are just two, so you it will be a first come kind of thing.” I said.
“Well, I rode one over this morning. I’m afraid I misjudged the weather but once I got started I warmed right up,” she said.
“Yes bicycle are like that,” I agreed. Then I walked off in a different direction. She always walked counter clockwise and I always walked clockwise. I enjoyed the solitude before my resurrection and I did even more after.
Nothing of any significance happened for the rest of the day. So I played dead laying on my bed watching old TV shows in my minds eye. There was a terrible fight going on in the conference room at the farm, I later learned. They were trying to form a consensus as what to do with my new found pleasures. The question before the committee was, did they care what made their computer with a human brain happy. It could be that I was just a tool like a hammer. I wasn’t privy to the conversations so I had no idea how it was going. Hell at the time I didn’t even know they were going on.
My late evening visitor was Vlad. “You want some coffee?” I asked as he walked in from the street entrance.
“Sure you do make excellent coffee,” he said.
We were seated at the metal table in the kitchen when he spoke next. “I got a call from an old enemy this afternoon. He asked me to give you a message.”
“Oh really, not another warning I hope?” I asked.
“Not at all, this time it was to inform you that they will take care of Rosanda. She was told not to conduct business in Aster. She chose to do it without the blessings of the people who need to approve such things. The message is, ‘we will find the Nanny Cunt and see that justice is done. You can trust us in this matter.’ Vlad didn’t look happy to be their messenger.
“Can you get a message back to them?” I asked.
“Of course, the secure phone goes both ways,” he said.
“Tell them I said, ‘I wouldn’t even trust my friends in this matter. It is personal as well as business’.
“They expected that Maxine. You will know when justice is done. But she is on the run, so it will take a while to find her.”
“I will give them a chance.” I said quietly.
“You do know that it is about the truce here since they have people retired here as well as the other groups and agencies. It isn’t just about you.” Vlad said.
“I know, but I am the one she tried to kill,” I said.
“She tried to kill Anya and I as well. She just came closer with you. We have also agreed to let it rest for a while. By the way I heard the Nanny Cunt’s boyfriend is dead. I am disappointed that we didn’t do it. I am sure whatever happened was for the best.”
“I have no idea what you are talking about,” I said with a very small smile.
“Of course,” he said with a smile of his own. We left it unsaid, that the walls have ears everywhere.
The next days were more of the same. After about two more weeks of inactivity, the cloak and dagger was ready to open. It was a good thing, I was about to go nuts hanging around the house playing with my new computer generated orgasms. I wanted the cloak and dagger to be a success, so that I could just walk across the street to get home. No I couldn’t get drunk, I just wanted control of my environment.
Jennifer had been responsible for the invasion of retired operatives, so I put her in charge of the membership invitations. My contribution was going to be the clubhouse and the jukebox. There was no initial cost to join, but there would be a jar by the door for people who came into the club. No matter if it was once or ten times, the use fee was the same. Ten bucks a visit which went toward paying for all the drink mixes and the electric and heating bills. If nobody used the place, it wouldn’t cost me any more than it did sitting there empty anyway. At least with the use fee, I might recover the cost of the cokes and the electric bill. I had determined that I would be losing the renovation costs anyway. The use fee was voluntary and if anyone stole from the jar we might have to do something different, but I doubted that anyone would.
Jennifer surprised me. On opening night she showed up to help. I figured it might me Vlad, Anya, Leon, the dancer and us, but I would have been wrong. They were lined up at the door. The city parking lot between the back door of the drugstore condo and the next bock over was filling up fast. Jennifer checked the customer’s names off her list.
She said to one couple, “I’m sorry you are not on the list. I can’t let you in. It’s the rules.”
“Do you know who I am?” the man asked obviously trying to impress the woman with him.
The man in line behind him said, “You are the man, who is going to get back into his car and go somewhere else, or who is going to the hospital.” The man also smiled. He spoke with a terribly thick Arabic accent.
“I will never come back here,” the interloper said.
“That is the idea,” Hakeem said quietly.
“I see you are on the list,” Jennifer said to him without ever asking for his ID.
From the first night the Cloak was always full and there was never any trouble. These people know when they had enough to drink. Even bitter enemies a few years before, drank at tables in the same room. They still might not have been friends, but they would have defended each other without question.
Even though they had to be invited guests of a member, I had a hell of a time keeping Jennifer and her friends out of the place. At least a couple of times a week she could be found hanging around the club. Bob, her husband, never joined her. We also made an exception for some of the local cops. The cops had to be sponsored by Blevins or Anya. I wasn’t out to cripple the Cop Out Club.
We had a jukebox with music from several different cultures, but the most popular songs were American country and western. Well there were also the classics of the 60‘s which got played a lot. Any member was free to bring music which we gladly added to the free digital jukebox.