“Does this place have fried chicken? I’m in the mood for a cheat.” Aaron scanned the menu in a futile attempt to satisfy his stomach’s primal urge to stray from the wheat grass protein smoothie he enjoyed a few days earlier.
“Ummm…this an Italian restaurant.” Katy knew by now not to be surprised by anything that came out of Aaron’s mouth. “Order yourself some damn Fettuccine Alfredo if you wanna cheat.” She shook her head and buried it back into the menu to pick something from the 600 Calorie & Under section. “Filet medallions with roasted veggies looks like a good choice.”
“Nah. Alfredo sauce gives me the farts,” warned Aaron. “The real saucy kind of farts that linger heavy in the air and shrivel the nostril hairs. You sure you want me to order that?”
“You’re disgusting.” Katy peeked away from her menu and gave Aaron the same exact look she used to give her little brother when he made strange noises with his hand and armpit.
Aaron lowered Katy’s menu so he could see her face. “You are quite the enigma,” he said. “Why are you here with me? I’m like a pus-filled zit on the tip of your nose, yet here we are.”
“Well, you do have your quirks but I think you’re a funny guy. And besides, I wanna rub hot oil all over your sexy chest later on,” said Katy.
“Really!?” Aaron perked up in more ways than one.
“Oh my God, you gotta know I’m kidding, right? This is our first date. Calm down, bro.” Katy laughed. “I do think you’re funny, though.”
“So the hot-oil-on-my-chest thing is out of the question?” Aaron had hope in his voice. Katy stared back at him with a scolding look.
“Never mind,” he said. “I’m going to order a filet with asparagus and a side of mashed. But it’s gotta have gravy.” Aaron looked at Katy and spoke the word gravy with a wink and smile, as if it were code for let’s get freaky.
“Unnnnbelieveble.” Katy shook her head and giggled at Aaron’s frivolous innuendos. Just then, her cell phone rang. The 10-digit number on the caller ID popped up with all zeros. “Excuse me, I have to take this call,” she said anxiously.
Katy got up from their booth and headed outside. The sun had already set and the warm, California breeze gently tousled her brunette hair. It was much more comfortable outside than in the restaurant’s arctic blast setting of the air conditioning. She sat on an empty bench intended for patrons who were willing to wait excruciatingly long for a table on a Saturday night. Good thing it was Tuesday.
“Hello? Yes. I’m with him now…. No, I haven’t determined that yet…. I know, but…. but I honestly don’t think… Listen, he can’t be the guy. ”
Katy held the phone as she got an earful from the man on the other line. “Yes, I understand,” she said. “I’ll make sure it’s done, but I may need more time to….okay, okay. It’ll get done. I always do.”
“Shit,” Katy whispered to herself as she pressed the END button on her phone and walked back into the restaurant. Aaron had already ordered their meal and was now slumped down in his seat playing the Words With Friends app on his phone. He was stuck with six vowels and the letter Z for tiles. Damn.
Katy approached the table but she didn’t sit down.
“Listen, how about we get this meal to go?” she suggested. “Let’s head over to your place. We can have our dinner and…,” she leaned in close to Aaron. “And then you can show me where you keep the oil.”
“You serious?” Aaron had shock and excitement in his voice and as he un-slumped himself from his seat with a grin.
“I’ve never been more serious in my life,” confessed Katy. “Pull your car around and I’ll ask them to wrap up our food. Dinner’s on me.”
It was a decent meal despite the food reaching lukewarm temperatures on the way back to Aaron’s place. He later wooed Katy into two slices of homemade apple pie that his girlfriend made. She ate both pieces then slipped into a food coma while the Bullets played the Sixers on TV. Bullets were up by 10 points.
When Katy woke up her shoes were off. She briefly considered Aaron may have some sort of fetish for women’s feet. Could be. Maybe not? Quite possibly.
“Oh my goodness, what time is it?” Katy scrambled for her phone and saw 3 missed called from the mystery number with all zeroes. The time on her phone said 10:39pm. Two hours had gone by. “Can I use your bathroom, Aaron?”
“Sure girl,” he said. “Go light it up in there. Don’t be shy. There’s extra toilet paper under the sink.”
“Wow, really? I don’t have to take a shit,” insisted Katy.
“Yeah, riiight. Everybody poops,” teased Aaron.
When she came out of the bathroom Aaron was on the couch with his shirt off. He nodded his head towards a small bottle of oil sitting on the coffee table.
“You did promise,” he said with a smile and unapologetic shrug of his shoulders.
“I suppose I did.” Katy was perfectly willing to fulfill her promise. “We should go to your bedroom. Is it this way?”
Katy walked down the hall past the bathroom. Aaron was quick to follow without saying a word. He sat on the edge of his bed.
“Can I rub your shoulders first?” she asked. Katy climbed up on the bed behind him and gripped his shoulders firmly to massage them.
“Do you like this?” she asked.
“Ohhhh. Yes. Yes I definitely do,” replied Aaron.
She leaned in to the left side of his face and gently kissed his cheek. “Let’s play a game,” she spoke to him softly.
“Anything you want, Katy.”
She removed the belt from his waist and secured his hands. A tie hanging on his closet door was used to blindfold him. Aaron didn’t object.
“I’ll be right back,” Katy promised.
She grabbed the bottle of oil and walked back through the living room and into the kitchen. After rummaging around in a drawer, Katy found a silicone baster brush. She poured the oil into a small pot and heated it to boiling on the gas range, then she returned to the bedroom.
I’ve warmed up the oil just a little bit,” explained Katy. She held the pot in her right hand. The baster brush in her left hand was dripping oil onto the floor. Aaron was still on the edge of the bed with his eyes covered by the tie.
“Oooo. That’s nice. I’m ready for it.”
“Okay then. Here it comes.” She flicked oil-soaked brush into his direction. Oil spatter hit his chest and face.”
“Oh my God, what the hell are you doing? My fucking face!”
Katy dipped the baster back into the oil and flicked it at him again. Aaron writhed in pain. He tried to stand up but fell onto the floor and hit his head on a displaced kettlebell he now wished he had put away earlier.
“You bitch! Stop it, you fucking bitch!”
Katy kneeled down onto the floor to be sure Aaron’s hand were still secured behind his back. She was gracious enough to remove the tie to uncover his eyes, but then used it to bind his feet instead. Katy pushed him onto his back and put her hands on his chest.
“Here’s the rub down I promised you. I always keep my word.”
“Get off me! Don’t touch me!” Aaron screamed. “Help! Somebody help me!” He directed his voice towards the closed bedroom window.
Katy stood over him with her legs straddled and slowly tipped the pot over his head, allowing just a few hot drops to spill out and run into his eye.
“Please stop. Why are you doing this?” he whimpered.
“Why do they want you dead?” asked Katy.
Aaron’s breathing was erratic. Forehead sweat mixed with hot oil ran down his face. “Please don’t hurt me. I…I don’t know what you mean.”
“But you do know. And you’re going to tell me.” Katy was calm, yet insistent.
“Please don’t kill me. I have information. I can give it to you. You can use it for yourself,” offered Aaron.
“Ohhh. So you are the guy after all? You had Katy fooled. Shame on me. What information are you talking about?” she demanded.
“There. In my top drawer.” Aaron used his shoulder to motion toward his nightstand. Katy glanced in that direction, then focused back on Aaron.
“Let me help you up.” Katy got behind Aaron and helped him sit up on the floor. “I know I hurt you,” she whispered in his ear. “But pain is sometimes necessary. We all have pain, Aaron. Luckily for you, your pain is only temporary.”
Katy ran her hands through his oily hair as she spoke. And then she snapped his neck.
Aaron’s limp body fell back onto the floor. Katy stepped over him to retrieve whatever information it was that he promised to empower her with. His nightstand drawer contained condoms, a cell phone charger and a blue file with the Tangent Pharma logo on the front.
She thumbed through the file for a second, then pulled out her phone to make a call.
“It’s done.” Katy spoke without feeling. “There’s an all night coffee shop about a 1/4 mile from my current location. You can pick me up there.” She ended the phone call without a goodbye.
Aaron’s empty gym bag was lying in a corner of his room. Katy grabbed it and put the file inside. She walked back into the living room to collect some more things into the bag, including the plate and utensils she ate dinner with. On a side table she noticed Aaron had a copy of the same magazine that fell out of her own gym bag a few days earlier. She picked it up and turned to page 12.
Recipe by Katy Andersen
It wasn’t her recipe — just a random someone with the same name that she used. Katy did have a knack for baking, however. It was a hobby with the potential to put her into the spotlight, much like that other Katy in the magazine. But the dark work she did for Tangent was a career that must be done in secret and the shadow of darkness. There was no having it both ways.
She added the magazine to the bag and exited through a back door to make the trek to the coffee shop. A black Chevy Tahoe was waiting when she got there. After Katy made herself comfortable in the back seat of the SUV, she pulled off her brunette wig, took out her brown-eyed contact lenses, and stuffed those things into the gym bag as well.
“Here,” she threw the bag into the front passenger seat. “Make sure these things get burned.”
“Mr. Parker isn’t happy with you,” the driver responded. “It’s not your place to question who is or isn’t a worthy hit, or to defend the life of a target.”
“Oh really? You need to shut up and drive, bitch!” Katy snapped back. She shook her long red hair free from the wig cap. “Where’s my package?”
He handed a large clasp envelope to Katy in the backseat as he kept his eye on the road. She snatched the package from his hand. Inside was her identification, a plane ticket to Philadelphia and pocket change to travel with — roughly $3,000.
She rummaged through the package for something more. Something was missing.
“What the HELL! Where the fuck are my gummy bears? There’s no gummies in here.” Katy was pissed.
“Oh those things? Well you took longer than expected and I got hungry,” the driver fessed up nonchalantly.
“You ate my gummy bears? I should kick you in the damn teeth right now!” threatened Katy.
“What’s the big deal about some stupid gummy–”
Katy kicked the back of the driver’s seat repeatedly. “You derelict ass-hat of a human being!” she screamed. “Just get me to the airport. If I ever have the displeasure of coming back to this stinking, rotten town again, you better not be driving.”
“Yes, Ms. Andersen. Of course.” The driver finally experienced firsthand what he had previously only known about through rumors within his circle. Katy Andersen was a loose cannon.
She sat back in her seat and closed her eyes for the remainder of the short to the airport. On the plane ride home Katy thought about Aaron’s apple pie. She should have taken another slice from the fridge before she left.
LET’S BE FRIENDS!