The bar was nothing like I expected. Windows filled the front face of the building from street level to the roof, behind which could be seen the patrons, all fairly well dressed. It could have been a bar filled with lawyers and wall street bankers on Madison Avenue.
The Maitre-d, a young lady, met me at the door catching my interest. About 29 I figured, enticing looking. Nicely shaped breast with hips rounding gently from the waist to the thighs which I imagined were supple and firm.
“I’m here to meet Jerry DeBann” I said.
“Yes sir, follow me, he’s waiting for you” and she motioned for me to follow. I undressed the young woman with my eyes as she walked me to the table. She was hot with an intelligent look about her. Someone I wouldn’t mind spending time with. I didn’t notice when we stopped she was watching me watch her ass. She smiled because she was paid to, “Mr. DeBann has been waiting for you.”
“Thank you” I said, and looked quickly into her face, but only as a gesture that I wanted her to think I wasn’t as bad as she was thinking.
She walked away, I watched the smile slip from her face without a problem.
The man sitting at the table looked as unexpected to me as the bar from the street. Neatly dressed in a good suit, clean shaven. Tall. Good looking. Fit.
“You would be Roger” the man at the table said. “Am I correct?”
“Yes, yes I would be. You don’t look anything like I expected, and this bar, I figured it would be some seedy dump.” I said and jerked the chair from the table, almost taking the table linen with it and bumping the table leg. The drink near his hands sloshed at the motion causing it to spill. It would have toppled had he not been so agile in stopping it with his hands.
“Please, sit down Roger” he said, “can I order you a drink?” DeBann took the silverware bundle deftly from the table, gracefully removed the forks, spoon and knife and used the napkin to wipe the drink from his wrist that I had spilled onto his suit.
“Sure, I’ll have what you’re having. What is that, whiskey? I could use a stiff drink.”
I pulled a thick envelope from my jacket pocket. Put it on the table, and started to slide it to DeBann.
“Yes Roger, its whiskey. Roger, put that away.”
“I wanted to let you know I have the money, I’m serious.”
“I assumed you were serious the moment you sat down and spilled my drink on my suit.”
“Sorry about that. A little nervous I guess.”
Another beautiful young lady came to the table. “May I get you a drink sir? Mr. DeBann? A refill?” She said.
DeBann looked at the woman “Yes, a refill here and a fresh one for Roger there.”
I had been busy imagining her naked in my mind as she took our order. I didn’t notice, but I’d been busted again, she caught my stare, so did DeBann. She looked like she didn’t give a shit if she got paid to smile or not, DeBann looked like he didn’t approve of my wandering eyes either.
I didn’t care what either of them thought. In twenty-four hours he would have his money, done the job, and I would be free. Maybe I’d even come back here and try and get into the Maitre-d’s pants. It was worth a shot, a celebration of sorts.
DeBann looked across the table at me, “So Roger, let’s make sure this is something you really want to do. I’ve known people to regret the decision later, that’s not good.”
“My mind isn’t going to change.”
“You never know Roger, and if you do then it could spell trouble for both of us. I just want to be sure.”
The drinks arrived, the good looking waitress set them down on the table, DeBann’s first, then mine, shooting me a not so approving look and forcing a smile. “Is there any thing else I can get you?”
I pictured all the things in my mind she could get for me, none of them on the menu. “No thanks good looking, I’m good. Really good.” I picked up the drink, but instead of looking suave and sophisticated I ended up spilling it down the front of my chin. She smiled more broadly, turned on her heel and walked a way.
“Not gonna happen.” I said to DeBann, “there’s to much life to be living to do and I’m tired of being shackled to the bitch.”
“Okay then Roger, let’s get to business.”
I was sitting on the sofa watching T.V. when Dianne got home. I heard the door open and the jingle of her keys as she tossed them on the hall table. I watched as she walked to the kitchen off he living room where I was sitting. Her arms were loaded with grocery bags. One ripped as she put it on the counter-top. A second earlier the bag’s contents would have been scattered on the floor.
“Clumsy as usual I see.” I said.
“You’re home early, easy day at work today?” She collected the cans that had begun to roll around the counter top, placing them on end so they couldn’t roll away.
“Sure, easy day. I thought I’d come home early and maybe we’d go out to eat dinner tonight.”
We hadn’t been out to dinner in over a year, the idea of being out with her was as foreign to me as making love to her had become. Since the baby there wasn’t much I wanted to do with her, or the baby for that matter. Boat anchors in my opinion. But she wanted the kid, I couldn’t change that.
She had started putting the canned goods into the cupboard. “Wow, dinner. I can’t remember the last time you took me out to dinner. I figured you weren’t interested in that kind of thing anymore.”
“Well maybe it’s time to turn over a new leaf. Make a new start. That kind of thing. We could get a sitter, maybe try that new Brazilian place downtown.”
Closing the cupboard door she looked across the room at me. I could see something about the idea satisfied her. She put on a coy smile like I hadn’t seen in sometime. It turned me on in a way, but it was more about knowing what was about to happen that made me curiously excited. Weird stirrings in my groin and gut started making me think about sex, power, and control. I was getting hard, I wanted to choke the life out of her then and there while I had my way with her across the counter. I could see it clearly. Maybe DeBann would let me play a bit before he turned of her lights. Maybe he would want to join. Hell, why not. He was a killer after all.
The paper bag she was folding crumpled in her hands bringing me out of my fantasy. “That sounds good.” She said. “An unexpected surprise.” She finished folding the bag, putting it into the drawer under the counter with the others. “I can call Sue’s daughter Jamie. She could use the extra cash.”
In the summers watched our neighbors Sue and Jamie both by the pool. It was easy to see where Jamie got her good looks and knock out body, her mom still had it going on. Sometimes I would peer out the bathroom window watch them together, thinking about what it would be like to have them both. Suburban mom and daughter fantasy, I was sure every woman would like that. They had to. How could any woman look at another woman and not want it. It was natural, more natural than men. I would finish my business and move on, but thinking about those hot summer days always brought my mind back to the fantasy I enjoyed so much.
“Sure, that sounds good. I haven’t seem Jamie in a while. How is Sue doing these days. We haven’t had her and Don over in a while.”
DeBann was sitting across the rain soaked street from the Fogo De Chao when we finished dinner. I spotted his baby blue ’76 Olds 98 as we walked out. Down the dreary street from the restaurant I noticed what I figured to be DeBann’s partner step out from one of the shop entrances. He wore a trench coat, a bit of melodramatic overkill I thought.
DeBann’s baby blue Olds shimmered past us under the lamp lights kicking up a fine mist from its tires as it worked its way up the street. He turned the corner the same time Dianne and I did. Suddenly the back door of the Olds opens wide and the man behind us gives a quick run shoving both Dianne and me into the back seat. The man shuts the back door jumping into the front seat next to DeBann slamming the passenger door shut.
“What do you want with us?” I asked aloud, feigning a decent impression of strength with a touch of fear. The plan was to make it look like a kidnapping and ransom. I would do all I could to get Dianne back, but of course her family and I wouldn’t be able to meet the demands on time and she would be found murdered. It wouldn’t be hard to imagine it could happen that way, she was a high profile executive from a high profile family.
It was no secret her family wondered how she ended up with me, I was a piece of crap in their eyes. It would be hard to convince sincerity at first, but I didn’t care. The plan was rock solid. DeBann had made sure of it. His idea’s were criminally brilliant, an expert at his field. Uncaring, unflinching, but with a touch of class which surprised me. It was amazing that I found him so easy. Actually, that he found me. But there would still be problems with Dianne’s family. I would be suspect number one.
But I would find the strength to help them with the investigation as the loving husband. DeBann and his crew would rough me up pretty good adding to the drama and then toss me on the street. I would stumble to a phone and call police. The morning news stories would be filled with her picture and the shock of a successful, young, rich woman kidnapped. Her husband beaten, her child potentially motherless.
Of course I would be suspect for a while, but the details of events dovetailed nicely. The cops wouldn’t find anything to incriminate me. DeBann and his crew would get their money and slip off to where ever they go between jobs. All I had to do was play along convincingly enough for Dianne to see I was in as much jeopardy as she.
“You won’t get away with this!” I added, “My family is well connected. They’ll find you and you’ll spend the rest of your lives in jail!”
The rain started coming down in heavy, plucky thuds on the roof and thick splats of water against the Old’s windows. DeBann put the wipers on high to clear the rain away as we drove into the night.
I reached for Dianne’s hand, keeping in character. She shoved it away.
“You’re one shitty actor.” she said, grabbing a cigarette from her purse. The man who jumped into the front seat turned around and lit it for her, smiled at me, and flicked his lighter closed before putting it into his coat pocket. In the rear view I saw DeBann’s eyes grinning back at me.
“Lousy weather tonight Roger, don’t you think?”
The blood fell from my face plunging through my stomach taking it with it to my bowel. I tried the best I could, but I couldn’t stop it. I shit my pants. I turned to look at Dianne. She shot me a disgusted look and then slapped me hard across the face. Then the guy in the seat behind DeBann Grabbed me by the arms locking the m behind my back. The guy in front got a black jack from his coat pocket and started beating the shit out of my face.
I came to with blood crusted in my nose making it hard to breath, but that was secondary to the splitting numb pain in my mouth and straight up shots of electric agony shooting from my rib cage. I could barely see the room through swollen lumps of flesh passing for eye-sockets in my face and blinding light in my eyes. I could make out a number of teeth on the floor in front of me, from the jagged surfaces I felt with my tongue I figured they were mine. I didn’t think it odd I couldn’t feel my hands, you really never feel your hands unless something is seriously wrong with them. What was odd were the unnatural angles my fingers made with each joint.
The chair someone had tied me to pinched body with tingle pricked pain from blood deprivation, DeBann was sitting at a small table in front of me. He was having a drink, the same I supposed as the one in the upscale bar where we met the day before.
“I’d offer you a drink Roger, but I don’t think you’re in a position to hold a glass.” DeBann raised his drink to his lips and took a long, slow pull. Setting his glass on the table he let loose a hiss through his pursed lips as the whiskey found its way through the back of his mouth into his throat. “Too bad too, Dianne has great taste in whiskey. Wish I could say the same for husbands. How did she end up with a piece of shit like you?” With that thought he stood up and let his fist rip into my face. “Just for good measure there Roger.”
A woman’s heels clicked smartly across the concrete floor. The bright lights and swollen eyes making it difficult for me to see who she was, but I assumed it was Dianne. When she stood there in front of me, plunging her heel into my foot, I recognized the face, but not the actions. Who was this woman? She was not the person I had been married to for five years.
“Dianne, what’s happening? Why are you…” she slapped me hard across the face. I know it was hard not because of pain, but the sound. My face was numbed by the impact and the fact my face had no feeling at this point anyway.
“Shut up Roger. I’ll just be a minute, then you can finish your business with Jerry here.” Dianne stood between my chair and the bright light behind her. If the situation weren’t so sad I’d say it was a shot out of an old detective movie. All I could see was Dianne’s outline, all I could hear was the echoing silence of the cinder-block warehouse and some steady drip of a leaky pipe somewhere in the distance.
“I thought it interesting the plan you had with Jerry. Of course it wasn’t yours, you cant think like that. You’re an idiot. Having us kidnapped and me ransomed, just stupid enough for you I guess. I’m glad I suggested it to Jerry. Glad you thought it was a good idea too.”
I tilted my head back and instantly wished I hadn’t. Sparks of pain shot through the base of my neck into my shoulders. I winced. Through busted fat lips I asked “How did you know?”
“Oh Roger. I’ve known for a year you’ve been trying to figure out how to get rid of me, this life you hate so much. But what’s to hate Roger? Am I not good looking enough for you? Am I not rich enough for you? Not good enough in bed? I appreciate you may not like any of this Roger, but a simple divorce would have sufficed. Killing me for insurance? How cliche. Is your imagination that drab? Causal sex with the neighbor and cheap dime-store novel ideas?”
“I guess thinking about it, you’re right. How about we forget about all this. Give it a new start. I think we can work things out. Really Dianne, there’s no reason for this.”
DeBann got up from the table again, I guess the whiskey was setting in. He grabbed the back of my head by the hair and jerked my head back across the chair. My neck crackled like packing material bubble wrap. “You are one stupid shit Roger.” DeBann walloped me across the head. “Are we ready to do this Dianne? I’m sick of listening to this slime-ball.”
Dianne spit in my face. “It’s a shame you ended up being so stupid Roger, I actually liked you. I thought you’d be a good father, not some piece of shit. Guess I’m not a good judge of character after all. Should have listened to my family.”
“You can’t do this Dianne, they’ll find out. You’ll go to jail for the rest of your life. What about the kid? They’ll find my body, then what?”
“You are such a dumb shit Roger. What did I ever see in you. See that barrel of acid in the corner there. Oh, I’m sorry, you may have a hard time seeing it right now. But trust me, its there. And you’ll be bathing in it pretty soon. My only dilemma is if I have you killed first.”
I watched Dianne walk over to DeBann and give DeBann a juicy kiss. “Do what you want. I’ll see you at dinner, right?”
“Yes. 7:00 pm.” said Debann.
“Don’t worry Roger, they’ll never find you.” Dianne said as she walked out of the room.
DeBann grabbed a scalpel from the table.”Okay then Roger, let’s get to business.”