Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Bounty and Beauty

“You’re so dramatic” she said.

He cast a look quickly and then back down, careful not to smile. She chuckled and he hardened his face to counter.

From the front seat of the black Coupe he had a very nice vantage point of her cleavage via discreet glimpse at the rearview mirror. She was handcuffed from behind, police style. Her red three-button polo was agape from the collar to the bottom button. She boastfully yet subtly arched her back to improve the show, both because it worked well and just for funsies.

It was a kick for her, playing him like this. One of the few she had left that could really get her blood pumping. He tracked her down; she escaped. Time and again. If the jails couldn’t hold her, he shouldn’t have had a chance. In her younger days--though she was the first to tell you forty is where you start--she wouldn’t have slowed down enough for him to catch her. But, she was getting older, no matter how vibrant and lethal she still was. Oh, she could’ve outrun him. She outran everyone else.

That should have sent up a red flag for him, but it didn’t. Ah, the male ego. How plentiful are thy tricks. He was one-hundred-thirty for one-hundred-thirty and keeping honest record; if he let her get away, he just wouldn’t have felt right calling himself the best bounty hunter in history.

Tired, crisp green eyes strung from crows’ feet hung above his dark stubble-filled face. He wore a dark grey suit over a white shirt, (loosened) black-and-white striped necktie, and oxblood wingtips with a white band crossing the top beneath the laces. He looked as if he might well have stepped out of one of the film noir classics he’d raised himself on.

In the interest of fairness, Grady wasn’t exactly getting younger, and he ought to have been chasing after more realistic goals. While his machismo helped him bury it, deep down he knew he shouldn’t have been able to catch her this point in his life.

It would have helped if she didn't do things like saying “I was wondering where you were,” as he found her standing beside the apples at the outdoor Farmers Market. There she was: a lifer, a well-known fugitive, armed and dangerous, FBI’s Most Wanted, and she was talking apples with a farmer in front of God and everyone. No one any the wiser as she just walked around anonymously. And, she was eating free apples no less. Guess it’s nice to have a body like that.

Now, to say Lenor was smashing would be unduly flattering to smashing people everywhere. She was a lady top to bottom, through and through. Even her crimes were classy. When your rap sheet includes robbing a museum with armed guards for an 18th Century masterpiece, well… You don’t exactly belong in the pen with the hard-nosed missies who bashed in their baby daddy’s head with a rock. Not just because she exceeded them so thoroughly in grace, either. Any one of them try the same on her, that rock’s coming right back at them and it won’t be nicely. And what’s more, if it came to that and she had to do some bashing somehow she would’ve done it with class. She was in a class all by herself; the last of a certain type, but a whole new breed.

The British tabloids had dubbed her Dame Desperado after the footage of her shaking hands with heads of state at a White House event--she walked out with over three million dollars in jewelry that night. She liked that title a lot. So did he, it added significance to the bust. Bringing in “Lenor on the Lam”--as the city boys had once called her--would never satiate his thirst for fulfilling his delusions of grandeur. Bringing down “the Dame?” Oh baby.

“So,” she said with a flirty shake of the head that wiggled her big round sunglasses low enough that she could peer over the top. She leaned forward and caught his sight in the mirror, her brown eyes getting through his defenses like machetes. “You’ve got me. Now what are you going to do with me?” She curled the right side of her mouth. Age had made its mark on her once-flawless skin, but she made it work in spite.

“You’re going to jail, Lenor.”

“Where else?” she said, increasing the smile to reveal her top teeth, which she clamped gently onto her lower lip.

He snorted defiantly. Not again. He looked back at her. She reclined so that her eyes were again hidden behind the shades and her breasts were back to work. She released her lower lip and ran the tip of her tongue back and forth along a small portion of her top lip, making it look like she didn’t even know what she was doing. Yes. Again.

He looked at her in the mirror. “You tell me,” he sighed. His blinker was already on, as he maneuvered for the next exit toward Mexico.

“Thank you, dahling,” she said in her most majestic English accent, with a bow of her head.

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