“I’ve been a bad boy, Mama,” moaned Svoboda.
“How bad?” asked Kaitlyn.
Svoboda rattled his handcuffs against the brass bed rail in a mock-effort to escape, “Real bad.”
“Have you--“ if the Spanish Inquisition were being held at the Marquis du Sade’s Chateau, Kaitlyn would have been dressed impeccably “—been revoltingly evil?” She poised the cat o’nine tails above her head.
“Yes,” said Svoboda.
Eight of the tails in Kaitlyn’s whip were knotted black corduroy, only the ninth was leather. But during an hour or two of bondage, mock interrogation, and flagellation one leather thong was enough to rip an adult diaper to shreds. Her voice muffled by the leather mask she wore, Kaitlyn repeated, “How bad?”
“I’ve been depraved. Abdominal.”
“Perhaps you mean abominable?”
He rattled his cuffs again, “What’d I say?”
“Abdominal.” She pointed at the cut-out-oval-midriff of her skin-tight inquisitor’s outfit. “Abdominal. You know, tummy muscles?”
“Is this a vocabulary lesson?”
Kaitlyn stung him across the gap between his diaper and his stuffed lilac brassiere. His abdominals. “This lesson,” said Kaitlyn, “is what I say it is.”
Svoboda bit his tongue. Kaitlyn was good. Those MAMMOGRAM bimboes have no imagination and that guy in Reno charges $200 a session.
KA-WHACK. “You were smiling. Mistress Kaitlyn does not tolerate smiles. Only one expression of joy is permissible.” KA-WHACK.
Svoboda started whimpering.
Kaitlyn extracted a phallus-shaped pacifier from her bustier and jammed it between Svoboda’s pursed lips. Policeman Bill squinted his eyes and sucked like a famished goat at the TRAINTOWN! petting zoo.
He complied and Kaitlyn KA-WHACKED away at his back and legs and booty until Svoboda could personally attest to the absorptive powers of this particular brand of adult incontinence appliance.
Even after it had been flogged to shreds.
They reclined in Svoboda’s hot tub, eating the Princess Vegetable Sauté with chopsticks from to-go containers adorned with red pagodas. Kaitlyn speared a water chestnut and scooped up some eggplant. She lifted her head back exposing a profile that would have attracted attention on Cleopatra’s barge.
“You’re gorgeous,” said Svoboda.
Kaitlyn chewed and swallowed. “One of these days you should get really kinky, I mean down-and-dirty and try it missionary style.”
“I’d miss hearing you talk dirty.”
“How can wearing a Depends turn you on?” The afternoon sun burned through the latticed patio, creating a checkerboard effect on Kaitlyn. Today’s brief, intense rain brought no relief; just a momentary respite from the spring inferno. “If you get promoted to the FBI do you graduate to a dress, like J. Edgar?”
“Do not mock this country’s finest—“
“Cross dresser?” She bent a chopstick and launched a mushroom at Svoboda. Wide right. “Seriously, what do a bra and diaper do for you?”
“I wear a uniform all day. Even without it, everyone in the county knows who I am. If I’m out with a woman, or hire a hooker, I have to screw like The Man. The Boss. Wearing a diaper makes everything feel right.”
“You sick, deluded bastard.”
“What’s in it for you, Kaitlyn? Sexually?”
“It’s not sexual. I get to see a man I don’t like or respect humiliate himself.”
“Is it the power?”
“More power than you know.”
“I didn’t like the way you said power.”
Kaitlyn dipped her chin, blew bubbles, and said, “What would you say if I told you I know who killed Wanda Marie?”
“Say she was in on this Future Glue thing—“
“Future Glue scam.”
“—and she wanted out.”
Kaitlyn sat up and crossed her arms, “Because it meant the death of one of the principals. In the scam.”
“One of the principals.”
Svoboda said, “Rooster?”
“Rooster was the big loser, J. Edgar.”
She smiled, “You and I both know that Woody will probably live forever.”
Svoboda smiled; it was his professional interrogation smile. The practiced, non-committal cop grin. “Why are you telling me this?”
“Just in case.” Kaitlyn blew more bubbles, “And because you like to take naps.”
Svoboda joined his hands and made circles, like a riverboat’s paddlewheel, with his thumbs. “Naps?”
“Cute little naps in your delightful bra and a Depends that looks like its been through a Pentagon paper shredder. Handcuffed, with a little smile on your lips that are wrapped around the tip of your silly plastic willy.”
“So? We’re consenting adults.”
“And this adult,” said Kaitlyn, “like most, owns a camera.”
“When in doubt,” said Jeff, as he HUFFED out another rep, “bench press.” Despite the acquisition of over fifty-six thousand dollars for twenty hours worth of computer work and a visit to the casino, Jeff felt sad. Most people would have described the feeling as shown up, but Jeff didn’t draw succinct distinctions between degrees of emotion. He’d certainly felt embarrassed, chagrined, mortified and devastated, but to Jeff they were simple variations of sadness.
And right now, Jeff was sad.
First, the six-hundred dollars—fucking desk, fucking tree—he let Rooster skim off the top. Second, he couldn’t do leg presses, squats, or the Stairmaster ‘cuz his foot HURT.
The first thing Jeff did after moving to this Godforsaken pimple on the butt-cheek of Nevada was enroll at the Sagrado Shapemaker Spa. Like the piece of shit town, it was a piece of shit gym: museum quality barbells, one lousy duct-taped bench press, and showers that spit lukewarm water.
HUFF, HUFF, HUFF. His fifth set almost pressed Rooster’s image from his mind. Jeff liked repetition: in his job, in his workout, in his life—it soothed and sustained him. It wasn’t confusing or contrary.
Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
Jeff smiled and reclined for another set, but he leaned back onto a size eleven combat boot. The voice belonging to the boot said, “Why not give someone else a turn?”
Jeff swiveled to face the idiot in combat boots: Typical fifty-year-old asshole: When I was your age I could bench press a cow, two pigs, and a tractor. Assholes, the older they are the better they were. This dork wore white knee socks under honest-to-shit combat boots, baggy cutoff fatigues and a GO NAVY! sweatshirt. The only flesh you could see on the guy, besides his face was an inch of bony kneecap between the bottom of the cutoffs and the top of the knee socks. “What?”
“One more set.”
“I’ve been waiting and you’re done.”
Cyndy and Joan, stretching nearby, overheard. “Such repartee,” said Joan, “Extraordinary.”
“Hey SILICONGRAM,” said Jeff, “shut up.”
“What?” said Joan.
“You heard me.”
“I’ll give you,” said Joan, “one chance to apologize.”
“Blow me,” said Jeff.
“C’mon Cyndy,” said Joan. “There’s a little too much testosterone for me to handle.” They exited, matching strides in their Pink and Yellow leotards.
“You were rude to those gals, Buddy.”
Jeff said, “What’s your name?”
“That’s a fag name.” Jeff stood and placed his hands on the barbell, next to Vergil’s.
If Oliver Stone had filmed this bench press showdown the camera would swivel and spin around Vergil and Jeff as they jutted their jaws and inflated their chests and inched forward toward a confrontation. But Frank Capra, who found humor in the midst of despair and a displayed a lifetime of brotherly love in the close-up of a handshake, would have caught the subtle psychological brutality of the scene. Instead of a head-butt or any number of pressure-point holds at his command, Vergil simply leaned forward and kissed Jeff on the lips, then turned and walked away.
Jeff, stunned, stood holding onto the barbell. His world, built on unquestioning service to himself and America—as long as hetereosexual, male, white people were in charge—had been shattered. As long as he could remember, calling someone a fag ended up with Jeff fighting and winning or the other guy running away: time-after-time that was the way it was; the way it had to be. Now this old fart kissed him! Jeff couldn’t swing at him or move. This was just wrong.
“Hey sonny, you done with that bench press?” said a frail and ashen old man who had somehow avoided being crushed to death by the leg press. “I mean shit or get off the pot.”
Jeff, shoulders slumped, walked away.
Now he was real, real sad.