One Hundred Forty One 

There's no lack of void.
Samuel Beckett

It all boils down to nothing.
Daphne Sylk

Flying dishes, what next? Some Shadows use telekinesis, why not Alice or Fin?
Our collective was brought together by the mystery of Zero. I suppose, after over two hundred years in one body or another, she’s learned a thing or two. How to make nothing work for her, even choosing a name defining her lack of definition, a definition without boundaries, the void, alive with possibility.
Self-help salesmen say, do what you love, and the sappy corollary, then you’ll never work a day in your life.
You might love to surf, you still have to tote the board to the beach, learn how to stand on it without slipping off, paddle yourself out to the break, all of which sounds like work, at the least exertion. It also helps if you know how to swim.
We love to kill, although we aren’t much for the word love in relationships, it’s acceptable as being fond of what we do. Is it work? There’s preparation, practice, stalking a target, that’s effort. Or is it only work if you get paid for it? The difference between work and play is who pays and who gets paid. The twins get paid to assassinate, the payment is ancillary, they’d kill for fun. They prefer to have a designated target, a conflict to resolve, a challenge. Find a specific person, figure out the best way to swipe left and avoid getting caught. Random murder fails to utilize their considerable skills; it’s too easy.
Our other outlets are sexual predators and Shadows. Considering our deep indifference to other people, why do we bother, take the risks?
The question is the answer, risk, going to the edge, leaning over and not falling, overcoming vertigo like Indian iron walkers fifty stories up, no net. Yes, I said Indian, as in Native American, even though Columbus called them Indians because he didn’t have Google Maps and thought he’d landed in India. I don’t know if Indians mind being called Indians and I don’t care. The country is awash with PC silliness, complaints of cultural appropriation, demanding safe spaces, choose a gender or make up one, rainbows. Then right wing reactionaries vote in a Nazi narcissist. Now that I think about it, all the demands not to hurt anyone’s feelings is more fascism than freedom. A Bill of Rights isn’t good enough, now they want a Bill of Wrongs. In effect, laws are already a Bill of Wrongs, and there are a million times more laws than there are rights. 
Tonight I’m on my own bed-wise. CC and Zoe are together, Alice takes Zoe’s room. Fin snagged Zero for a tryst. 
I walk out of the bathroom in my sleeping non-attire, Natasha and Nikita are on my bed. Even better, kissing each other, even better, nude.
Nikita looks me over, ‘Sisters want to find out about sex wiz Commandant. The others come to you from time to time, they must find something in it. We will also find out.’
‘I’m honored.’
‘Sisters don’t need to honor, bring that thing over here and we will play wiz to get hard, leek and suck, then you will fuck us.’
Like I said, I’m good at following orders.
I really don’t have much to do, then I do. They had no trouble getting the boy up, that was done before I hit the sheets. If you haven’t had the shaft licked by gorgeous twins, I strongly suggest you find some, try Amazon, they have everything else.
Nikita straddles my tummy, the shaft eases in, Natasha straddles my face and tells me to do the obvious, I think she just likes giving orders. Sublimely lotioned, smooth as the proverbial cue ball, a luscious appetizer.
They swap, I keep after it. Nikita rolls off, Natasha climbs on and rides, a trot, not a gallop. When she’s satisfied, Nikita takes the reins, Natasha is over my face for another go. All girls like to have their sweet thing licked, the twins like it twice as much.
When they settle from climax squared, Nikita says, ‘We will haf cum now.’
I may have enough manufactured for a quart jar, well, a pint, a cup anyway. And in nothing flat, it’s spread over two mouths and four cheeks. It must be okay, they lick the excess off each other.
‘Ees good, thanking you for best fucking, goodnight Commandant.’
They roll out and head upstairs to their room. I get up and fetch a glass of cold water, then a second. Good thing they went up, another go might have killed me.
As I’m rinsing the glass, I feel a sprite behind me.
‘Thirsty Alice?’
‘Yes, pour me a glass,’ lots of orders, I may be back in the army.
When I turn to hand her the glass I see she’s nude on a barstool with her legs crossed, she sips, grins, ‘Passed the twins upstairs, they seemed dreamy, kind of like you look now.’
‘I know people have sex. I had just finished buzzing myself with the silver bullet CC gave me. Which is why I wanted water.’
‘You like it?’
‘I may lock myself in until I’ve used the batteries and the spares.’
‘We’d miss your company.’
She yawns, hands me the glass. One foot lifts so her heel is on the stool, leg cocked to one side. I admire the view, Alice smiles, puts her index finger under the head of my cock and flips it up. It’s resting, there’s no bounce.
She giggles, takes it in her hand, ‘Take him to bed, the twins have used him up for tonight,’ she releases it, her fingers slide along the bottom of the shaft, damned if it doesn’t start to swell and rise.
She stares, smiles, a little screech, ‘I’m doing it with my mind.’
‘Go to bed Lolita.’
She looks up, coy, bats her eyes, already learning to flirt, or maybe flirting is built in from birth, or maybe she’s an erection prodigy. Another slow stroke, it’s erect and full, how in hell?
‘Night Commandant.’
‘Goodnight Alice N.’

One Hundred Forty Two

I care…just not about you
The Psychopath Code

I’m having coffee, some days it seems like I’m always having coffee, at least until cocktail hour, Natasha comes down.
‘There is Shadow activity Midwest, south of Chicago, a big city with a bigger metro, this is maybe a suburb, or township.’
‘What’s he doing?’
‘Amusing himself, a Shadow could be a woman, but this sounds like something a juvenile man would do. There have been a series of accidents at intersections, six or seven in a month, all head on, one death, no seatbelt. Most minor injuries, air bags and belts saved them. One woman was trapped when the dash squeezed her, broken legs. Then a dozen speeding and reckless driving citations. A person sees a police car, speeds past and cuts them off, then tries to getaway. They are all caught in a minute, no high speed chase, drivers insist they had no idea what came over them.’
‘Sounds Shadowy, they can’t control unless they are nearby, once the car is thirty or forty feet away, the spell is broken. Cop lights them up, they slow down and pull over.’
‘What I thought.’
‘How do you propose we catch him, or her? I have to assume they’re pedestrians…oh, duh, of course, traffic cams.’
‘Da, I hacked and found the same man at three of the accidents, nothing on the speeding, he could have been anywhere, as long as it was near a patrol car.’
‘Same man, any idea what he looks like?’
‘Fat, dark complexion but not black. Same style jacket every time, there’s no color on the cams but the jacket is dark. He was smoking in two of the videos, a cigar.’
‘Hat? Beard?’
‘Beard, groomed but not short, one of those stupid hats, I looked it up, an Ivy cap.’
‘Flat with a short bill.’
‘I have no idea what posses a man to wear those, some are called flat caps, others are newsboy caps, they’re all idiotic.’
Nikita comes along, ‘Sisters can fly out today, gain a couple of time zone hours, start searching.’
‘All the intersections were different?’
Natasha, ‘Good question, two showed up twice, one three times, one once. He appeared in three, twice at the same intersection, once at the one with three accidents. He changed position or was doing it from a parked car.’
‘Go look for the same car at the accident sites, a plate would help.’
Natasha, ‘I should have thought of that, good catch, Commandant.’
‘I was inspired by twins last night.’
Nikita, ‘Da, we are good for inspiring, girls always slip into room for inspiring.’
‘Understandable, I won’t slip in to your room, if you get the urge, you’re welcome to slip into mine anytime.’
‘Sisters will slip again, we enjoy sexy time wiz Commandant.’
‘Then I am twice blessed.’
Zero appears, ‘You scored the twins, or did the twins score you?’
‘It was a shared experience.’
‘They are an exquisite experience.’
Nikita, ‘We will find car,’ twins go upstairs with their Assam, black tea for grownups.
Zero, ‘Where’s our chefs?’
Zoe is at the top of the stair, ‘Coming. Alice crept in at three, she was so snuggled between CC and me I didn’t want to move and wake her. She’s up now though, making CC take care of her, the little brat. At least she brushes her own teeth.’
‘I recall you getting valet service from CC.’
‘I still do, now she slaves for two girls. CC is good with hair, makeup, clothes, and she dispenses lots of kisses while she does it. I gave up trying to clean the bathroom, or make my bed.’
‘Do we need to add a room for Alice?’
Zero, ‘Yes, the roof is full, you added to ground level a year ago.’
Zoe, ‘At home, give her the RV. It’s plugged in to power and water, sits under a canopy, we can roll out the shade and make her a little patio. I’m no mechanic, but it seems having it used is better.’
‘Ask her and see if she’s agreeable.’
CC and Alice come down, they, like everyone but me, are encased in slinky David Archy t-shirts that almost reveal, but not quite. I don’t know if the girls are teasing me or each other. Doesn’t matter, it’s all good, eye candy is better than chocolate.
CC, ‘Didn’t mean to hold up breakfast, Alice N wanted to add to her photo collection.’
‘What’s she collecting?’
Zero, ‘CC nude, photos and video.’
Nikita, ‘We haf partial plate, sister searched and found the car, only one came up with the letter and numbers. It was at two of the accident scenes, windows were dark, couldn’t see if the driver was the same man, but we haf name and address.’
‘You look up the address?’
‘Da, small house een common neighborhood. We will fly out in two hours, someone can take us to airport.’
Alice, ‘Where are you going?’
‘To Chicago, not the city, a smaller town nearby.’
‘What for?’
Zero, ‘There is a bad man there, hurting people for no reason other than to amuse himself. There are more like him, people who can take a mind and make them do whatever they want, or she, sometimes it’s a woman. We call them Shadows.’
‘Why do they do it, or why do we call them Shadows?’
‘I meant Shadow.’
‘Natasha and I can read auras, the energy filed that surrounds every living creature.
Yours is white, with shades of yellow, it means you’re happy. Shadows auras are black. The effort it took them to learn broke their minds. They take it out on other people, steal their money, make them do ugly stuff. They can’t be fixed. You can do what some Shadows do, move things with your mind, but you can’t capture someone’s mind.’
‘If they can’t be fixed, what are the twins going to do?’
‘Kill him.’
She thinks this over, then, ‘He deserves it.’

One Hundred Forty Three

Psychologist: Can we not do more than just help the maladjusted individual return to society?
Krishnamurti: Is society healthy, that an individual should return to it? Why should the individual adjust himself to an unhealthy society? If he is healthy, he will not be a part of it.
J. Krishnamurti, Commentaries on Living III

CC and Alice take the twins to the airport, back in an hour.
Alice, ‘We stopped to pick up flank steak, CC says it’s really good when Zoe does it on the grill. And fresh broccoli, cauliflower and mushrooms for frying. Is that enough?’
Zoe, ‘I’ll make pasta, drizzle olive oil and garlic on it, I think there’s fettuccini in the pantry, or maybe a cream sauce, Alfredo.’
Alice, ‘What’s in it?’
‘Heavy cream, garlic, cream cheese, cilantro, thyme, a tiny dash of oregano. Some recipes call for basil and rosemary, but I don’t want the mint flavor. We’ll skip parmesan cheese, that’s what we sprinkle on the fried vegetables, I’ll use gruyere, it’s a soft cheese and blends well.’
‘That sounds good.’
‘It is, and we’ll do it over a low heat, just a simmer, if it boils, it’s garbage.’
‘Are we making lunch?’
‘Sandwiches, brioche bread, pepper turkey and chipotle chicken slices, chips.’
‘I’m going to trampoline.’
‘And I’m going to trade for an hour or two, get a run in later with Morshchiny. It’s a beautiful day, eighty degrees for a high, good day to take a little sun. Commandant and Zero are out there now.’
Alice goes upstairs to change, from jeans and a t-shirt to nothing. The sunbathers are always nude, tan lines suck. Alice bounces for a half hour, then Zero gives it a go for a second half. Alice takes her spot on the lounger, Fin comes out with CC.
I get up, an hour is my limit, thirty a side. Open the big umbrella over the patio table.
Zero, ‘Alice, enough sun, time on the trampoline counts, let’s take a chair under the umbrella.’
I go in for a shower before lunch. As I’m rinsing shampoo out of my hair, I hear Zero and Alice in the bathroom next to mine. There’s a short hallway, a doorway between that’s almost never closed. Like the other doors, it slides into the wall, saves the dead spot behind an open door.
Lather the rest of me, then let the rainfall showerhead wash that away. Dry and dress. I hear Alice.
‘All the way in….ahhh, feels delicious, a little more, sooo good.’
I don’t need to know, move on to the kitchen and main room, Zoe’s down and organizing lunch.
‘Any trades today?’
‘Only one, the market was almost at a standstill. Got a red, shorted, made fourteen hundred in a minute and a half. I watched the symbols crawl another hour, no red or green.’
I turn to look at the dinner board, shrimp and okra gumbo, ‘I don’t think we’ve ever made gumbo.’
‘There are a zillion recipes, have to make a roux.’
‘What’s that entail?’
‘Lard, or any oil really, or even butter, but Zoe is using lard. Melt in a skillet, add flour and under low heat, stir, and stir, and stir. It burns easily, flour is like that. Once golden brown, it becomes the base for gumbo, or any number of dishes. It’s a base used in a lot of French dishes. In many Cajun dishes, the first order of business is make a roux.’
‘A Cajun is a Frenchman that got lost in Canada and found himself in south Louisiana. I knew a couple in the army, chock full of bullshit and would take your last dime.’
Alice comes in, then Zero, they don’t have clothes downstairs both are buff, Zero has the towels they used, brings them to the laundry room then upstairs.
Alice climbs a stool, makes sure I’m looking at her, pulls one ankle up under her other leg. When I shift my gaze from her little softie to her face, she’s grinning.
‘You may kiss me,’ she turns a cheek up, I kiss, then the other.
Zero comes down wearing our home uniform, she’s carrying a set for Alice, pulls the shirt over her head, Alice stretches her legs out, Zero slips the socks on, Alice crosses one smooth leg over the other.
‘CC and Fin are showering, be down shortly.’
Zoe, ‘Alice, get the platter from the refrigerator, condiments too.’
She hops down to help, I go to the couch to give them room. Zero brings me a Coke Zero and sits next to me.
‘I may have created a monster.’
‘I heard Alice making some…something.’
‘I was bathing her, she likes that and CC has spoiled her with it. I was washing little tush with a soapy finger, she told me to slide it in a little, actually she said clean inside. I slipped it in fingernail deep, then she wanted more, and back and forth. That’s what you heard.’
‘Anal stim feels good, girls can have orgasms from it.’
‘Fin likes our backside strap-on, so does CC., they get off every time.’
‘Think I’ll leave that up to the girls, they like what they like.’
‘Heard from Nikita?’
‘Nothing, they’ll be in touch when there’s something to be in touch about.’
Fin joins us, ‘Can I take Alice to the range after lunch?’
‘She wants to go?’
‘Her idea.’
‘Then go.’
Zero, ‘I’d like to go as well, did you ask CC?’
‘She’s going, Zoe wanted to stick here, she’s taking Morshchiny for a trot and wants to tan.’
Zoe, ‘Lunch.’
We build our sandwiches, with the twins gone we sit at the kitchen island.
CC, ‘I’m bringing the Ruger, I need to keep my sniper skills honed.’
Alice, ‘I’m going to get center at twenty five yards. If I can do it every time, Natasha said she’d show me how to shoot the star.’
Fin, ‘That one has been a challenge for me, that’s what I work on today.’
‘Zoe is grilling flank, dinner at seven thirty. She’s putting together gumbo for tomorrow.’
Fin, ‘We’ll be home before cocktails, I’m getting fond of vodka cranberry, haven’t graduated to Commandant’s level. He does vodka rocks, splash, I do cranberry rocks, splash of vodka.’
‘Any telekinetic progress?’
‘Alice is going to start sitting with me, maybe her power will leak into my head’
A paper napkin floats out of the wire rack and lands next to Alice’s plate.
‘Show off.’
Alice, ‘I looked up exhibitionist, it’s me. Is that bad? It doesn’t feel bad, it feels tingly.’
Zero, ‘We don’t exactly set an example, either all the girls are bad, or it’s no big deal.’
‘All of us are bad, it’s still no big deal, I relish being objectified.’
Alice, ‘What’s that?’
‘Feminists think women are seen as objects, not as people. I have no problem with being an object, a body is an object, mine is a uniquely gorgeous one.’
Alice, ‘I think so,’ she strokes CC’s thigh, ‘smoothie.’
Alice knows the girls have intimacies, and they aren’t shy about little things, stroke an arm or leg, a gentle kiss. CC is particularly enamored with Zoe, small wonder she’s smiling all the time, the recipient of CC’s infatuation. Girls in soft shirts, long bare legs drawing eyes and hands.
Alice soaks up the attention she never got in her former life. Being here, she quite naturally wants to be part of it all. They load up the gun cases and the Ruger, boxes of nines, the specialty ammo for the Ruger, all in the Mercedes and off they go.
Zoe and I are in the kitchen, she’s made the roux, now stirs in water, gumbo filé, made from dried leaves from the sassafras tree, shrimp, lump crab, and sliced chunks of okra. She turns the heat low, hardly a simmer, lid on the pot angled to create a bit of opening on the one side.
‘There, let it gently heat, I’ll crank it up more towards the end, and make the rice tomorrow,’ she strips off her t-shirt, ‘now, show me a good time.’
Easy, I undress in my room, Zoe slipped under the sheet, but folds it to one side.
‘Go down on me first.’
I grin, I love to lick, I could be a lesbian.

One Hundred Forty Four

Morality? Whose morality?

I hear the shooter girls pull in the garage, it’s close enough to the cocktail hour, I open red, make Fin and I a vodka.
Fin comes in, ‘Thank you, I’ll take it upstairs…no, in the freezer, it will just get watered down while I shower.’
Alice is grinning, ‘I got the twenty five, four out of six, then again, then five out of six and, then…all six, how cool is that?’
I lean over and kiss the soft cheek, ‘Now you are perfect in every way.’
‘I’ll be more perfect after I hit the shower, we smell like gunpowder, sun, and dust.’
CC, ‘Come with me precious one, we’ll lather together.’
‘Can I sleep in my new room tonight?’
Zoe, ‘I made up the bed, the AC is set to seventy four, you know how to work it if you want a different temp?’
Alice, ‘Yes, Zero showed me.’
CC, ‘If you wake up and want to come in, that’s fine, pick a bedroom and crawl in.’
Girls get shiny, we’re around the dining table having beverage of choice. Alice has a white wine spritzer. A shot of white in a tall glass of seltzer isn’t likely to wind up with a twelve step program.
Zero, ‘Nothing from the twins?’
‘No, but no bad news, or any request for more of us. I think they’ve stalked the target and found out there’s more than an asshole amusing himself by causing accidents.’
‘Remember when we thought there was one Shadow, and it turned into a quad of Shadows?’
‘Maybe text them?’
Just then, her phone dings. She reads the message to us.
‘3 termed sisters injured not serious natasha hit by a ceramic pot i have cut no reason to come here we are resting home tomorrow flight is for nine’
Zero replies with got it, ‘They are two hours ahead, flight is four so in by eleven. I don’t know if I’m anxious or relieved, I’ll go with relieved, anxious doesn’t fix anything.’
Alice, ‘Three? I thought they said one.’
‘It didn’t make much sense, one Shadow playing traffic games. I can see a Shadow doing it once out of boredom, or to try something different, but not six head-ons and however many speeding tickets. They can do almost anything with mind control, why stage accidents when you can walk in any bank and have the teller smile while she empties the till. Or get women, men or children to perform any act you can dream up.’
Fin, ‘Maybe it’s like an arsonist, starts fires just to see things burn then hangs around to watch.’
‘You make a good point, Shadows are crazy, we have experience with them but not tons of it, we can tack on create havoc to the list of other crap we’ve caught them at.’
Time to flank, the flat steak is cut in strips against the grain, au jus over the strips. Fettuccini Alfredo accompanies.
Fin, ‘Dang girl, this is unprintable good.’
Dittos around the table.
Zero, ‘Didn’t you have bread?’
Zoe, ‘Duh, forgot, I was warming it.’
The oven door opens, one loaf floats out and lands on the dining table, oven door closes.
Fin, ‘Alice, can you sit with me again, beam that skill into my head?’
Quiet evening, a little tension because we don’t really know how badly the twins are injured, they must be functional or they wouldn’t be flying in the morning. Zero unearthed an older Australian series called Miss Fischer’s Murder Mysteries. It’s not bad, although I suspect the relationship of Fisher to the police detective will prove to be annoying. You know how it works, he tells her to stay out of police work, she worms her way in and unearths clues that ultimately lead to the killer’s arrest. Set in the twenties, the nineteen twenties, Fischer’s outfits are quite original. 
Fin, ‘I love how she puts herself together, I could get into her style.’
CC, ‘You going to start overdressing instead of a t-shirt and socks?’
‘Not around here, I mean when we go out.’
‘You would make them look snappy, but it won’t do for our other projects, or for going to the range.’
‘No, you’re right of course. Maybe I’ll do hats, hats and a bit of jewelry, add some splash to the t-shirts.’
‘That would work. Let’s get online tomorrow and shop.’
Alice, ‘CC, I’m sleepy, put me to bed.’
They go out to the RV, the rest of us to our rooms. I sit in bed with one of Grisham’s legal mystery/thrillers. I’ve learned not to analyze, to enjoy a book it’s necessary to put aside incongruities and simply accept what happens.
A half hour passes, I hear the patio door open and shut, CC comes in to my room.
‘She going to be okay?’
‘She loves it. I don’t think she’s worried about being in there alone, Alice isn’t timid, she’s seven but mature. She plays with the silver bullet, is that maturity or immaturity?’
‘She came to us with sexual tendencies, I don’t know if that was environment or her nature. Some children have sexual feelings long before puberty.’
‘She sees us being casual about dress and sex, that encouraged her innate temperament.’
‘Yes, and it may be that we’re the best outlet for her, if she’d wound up in a strict environment, she might act out in other ways, always being made to feel guilty, or that something is wrong with her. Do we do anything if she gets more…active?’
‘That’s a Zero question.’

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