People came and went all the rest of the day on Christmas day. I walked across the street to deliver my gifts for Vlad, Anya, Leon, and the Dancer. I had a empty feeling when I passed those two empty units. I had been putting off dealing with those since my shooting. I found them a low priority, but still they sat there mocking me.
When I returned to my Downtown House, I searched through the list of messages on my computer. I was looking for one from Kate the realty slut. She had messaged me that she had a call from someone interested in the lesser priced unit in the Drugstore building.
It was the first day after Christmas when I called Kate to make the arrangements for her to show the unit. She came for the key about noon on the same day. The working couple was interested in the unit mostly because of the neighbors. The husband and wife were college professors at the Tryon branch of the state university. All that was according to Kate at least. Aster was getting a rep as having a high concentration of Euro Trash, which obviously appealed to some folks.
I also found a message which invited Sylvia and I to attend a New Years Party on a private estate in upstate New York. The invitation was from a US Senator no less. The invitation had been forwarded from the controller. They were posing as my social secretary for that crowd at least.
The message from the controller was that I had accepted. They just wanted to know, if they should send a Dress for Sylvia as well. I waited for Sylvia to arrive while Kate showed the unit. I drank coffee and tried to think of some way to spend the remainder of my day.
“Maxine,” Kate said as she stood at my front door with a slightly less than middle aged couple beside her. “This is Samuel and Rachael Wilson, they just walked through unit two of the drugstore condo.”
I already knew that but I didn’t comment. “Well good, so what did you think?” I asked.
The place has the coolest funky view I have ever seen. The unit feels like it is sitting on top of the building next door. The views are all rooftops as if it were in Paris or something. Just too damn cool,” the man said.
“It actually has some of my favorite views. My own best view is the second floor view of main street. Its the same view you have of main street. It is just gorgeous at night. Small town main street at night is something unique. Then there are the shadows from the other roof tops nearby at night. Just beautifully eerie.”
“We are going to make an offer, but Kate here says to deal with her. We just wanted you to know we want the unit, if we can come to terms,” Rachael said.
Samuel was a dark athletic looking man, while Rachael was a pudgy fair skinned woman. They were far from a beautiful couple. They were more the real average American couple.
“You guys put your heads together and let’s see if we can’t work together to make this happen.” I suggested.
“We are hoping that since we met, we can all work together to make this a reality,” Samuel suggested.
“Sounds like a good idea to me.” I agreed. They didn’t seem to be in any hurry to leave but I did finally get them out of the house.
I called Sylvia at home since she hadn’t shown up. “Hey Sylvia what are you planning for New Years Eve?” I asked.
“I don’t have any plans. You told me to stay flexible we might get a party offer.”
“Yes and we have. We have an invitation to the New Years Party of a Senator from upstate New York. Some little town on the Great Lakes called Oswego. He has some kind of summer place up there. They also use it for a big party over New Years.”
“Is it going to be like that last party we attended?” Sylvia asked.
“I don’t know, but I wouldn’t be surprised,” I suggested.
“My first inclination is to say no thanks. Do you need me to go?” she asked.
“Not at all honey. If you don’t feel comfortable going, then just say no. I won’t be at all upset. This is not a job, it’s social.” I assured her.
“I do appreciate it, honest. I would never get the chance to go to fancy parties any other time. I’m still amazed by the last one we attended.”
“I can put off ordering the dress for a couple of hours. Why not let me know by noon, if you change your mind.”
The day after Christmas proved to be filled with movement on many fronts. Bristol Peace was at my rear door within minutes. I opened the door, but I didn’t invite him in. “What can I do for you?” I asked.
“I just wanted to let you know that I’m going to fuck you up,” he said menacingly.
“You are kidding right?” I asked. “You might want to rethink that, you are a small town thug. I have had some really bad ass people try that. As you can see I’m here, but they are not.”
“You don’t scare me bitch,” he said.
I could have reached up and closed my hand around his throat and ended it right there. The problem was I would have had to kill him. Calling me a bitch, which was really true, didn’t rise to the level of a capitol crime. Even so I needed to convince him that coming after me was a death sentence, so I went with the box opener to his throat.
I did it with one clean almost ballet like move. The box opener came from my hip pocket and the razor slid from the case as it moved toward his throat. He was against the wall as I spun his bigger body around. He had to be surprised by my strength. I didn’t use an unreasonable amount. Before he really knew what was happening I had him against the wall and the razor against his throat.
“Now you make one fucking move and I will slit your throat. It will be inconvenient to dispose of your body but I still remember how. Body in the back of my pickup with a blue tarp over it. A drive to the river roll you ass in, then take your car down to the Barrio and drop it off. I’m sure you have more enemies than me.”
“Please don’t,” he begged.
“Peace, you need to be out of town by morning. If I see you here after that, I am going to do some serious thinking about my own safety. If I decide that it is me or you, guess who it is.”
“I get it. Honest I get it,” he said.
When I turned him loose he was gone in a flash. The old me would have been shaking from the Adrenaline rush. I had the same high, even in the new body, but I didn’t shake. I just enjoyed the warm glow. I still felt that it was fun to put it on the line. I had my new issues but some things hadn’t changed.
I was feeling very good about myself, when Sylvia called. “I thought it over and decided that I really would like to go to the party. I am not obligated to have sex with anyone am I?” she asked.
“Now you know better, you have no obligation at all. The only thing you have to do is look pretty and smile now and then. Anything else is totally your call, just like last time,” I assured her.
“Then count me in after all,” she said.
“I’ll make the arrangements then let you know what we are doing. You do know that Peter is not invited this time.” I informed her.
“I didn’t think he would be. We need a break to be honest, that’s part of it,” She informed me.
I was more than a little surprised that Jen was in her office on the day after Christmas. “Maxine I got an offer on the number two unit in the Drugstore townhouse,” she said over the phone.
“They were by here earlier, I was sure that you were going to get one. The question is how bad is it. They were trying like hell to make a good impression, so that I would give them a break.” I answered.
“Your asking price was 200k, the independent appraisal is 189,999, They are offering 175k. They said it was the best they could do, since they were teachers.” Jen said.
“Jen they are both college professors. I think they can afford more than that. Tell Kate I said 185k and I do nothing toward closing. They can file for first time buyers assistance, if they are eligible, but I’m not participating.”
“Did they strike you wrong?” she asked.
“They are teachers, not my usual cut throats,” I said.
“Well, I think they will go for it,” Jen said.
“Who knows but tell Kate I’m through dicking around with it.” After I said that I was ready to do something fun, I just didn’t know what.
“So what are you doing for New Years?” Jen asked.
“I have been invited to a party on an Estate in New York. It’s on one of the great lakes. What are you and Bob doing?” I asked.
“Maxine, I’m not really sure. Bob has been acting strange. He either has some really cool surprise cooking for the first, or he is going to kill me.” she laughed.
“You do know that if he kills you, I will kill him. Trust me, he will suffer a hell of a lot more than you do.” I said it while smiling because I knew I would look forward to it. I never did care much for Bob. He was a prick who rode on Jen’s coattails.
“My you are getting absolutely blood thirsty.” she said giggling.
“What the fuck to you mean getting. You know I have always been blood thirsty.” I said it with a laugh.
Jen hung up with things still up in the air about her New Years plans but it didn’t matter I was committed to mine. The message from the farm informed me that I would be driving up, because I couldn’t fly commercial and pig shit airlines was busy as hell for the holidays. Lots of super secret shit was going on or some such nonsense.
I sure as hell didn’t trust the pickup I had just bought to make a trip like that and it would be terribly uncomfortable at the very least. So it looked as though I would be renting another car. I called to make a reservation for a car to pick up on the 30th of December and return on January 2nd or 3rd.
I would bet my ass that Peter would be thrilled to come along and help with the driving. I decided to let everything just lay till the last minute. I could easily do all the driving myself. Even after I finished the drive, I could hike fifty miles. Since I would plug the MP3 player in while I drove, I would arrive as fresh as when I left. No one else could say that for sure.
It was suddenly the night after Christmas and all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a bot. That’s how it was when Bristol Peace opened my back door.
I live in a very high security building and I don’t sleep, so I was watching him from the time he touched my rear door handle. I have no idea where he parked his car, but he walked up to the door. There were no strange cars anywhere.
He pried the rear door and came in hot. He obviously had not cared for the feel of that razor against his throat. I had dealt with an intruder a month before. I had shot an armed robber a few days before, so I had a problem. How would I justify the killing of Peace. If I didn’t kill him tonight, I would just have to do it later. I really felt that I had no choice.