Eighty Nine

We decided to keep going and happy we did, home is better. The dog slept with Zoe, she got up early to take the pup out and is playing yank the towel, puppy tail signaling her happiness, little growls that make Zoe giggle.
I make coffee, stir up corned beef, poach eggs, butter bread for toast.
Zero comes down, ‘Corned beef, smells good,’ the pup runs over for pats, gets them, then snout turns up towards me, she’s got the scent of beef, pokes me with her nose to make sure I know she’s down there and hungry.
‘Zoe, feed the girl.’
Zoe dumps a decent amount of food into the bowl, I fill a second with water and put it down. The mastiff slurps until it’s empty, most of it she drinks, the rest is slobbered on the floor around the bowl.
Then she starts in on the food, not a gulper, she actually chews the pebbles a bit. I put down a fresh water bowl. 
Toast is done, eggs on a platter, the other half corned beef, stack of toast.
‘Wash up Zoe, eat while the stuff is still hot.’
While we have breakfast, we discuss potential names, most seem too common and the dog doesn’t care.
Zoe, ‘CC and the twins will be home today, maybe they have ideas, when do they arrive?’
Zero, ‘Eleven, Commandant will collect them, you and I will stay here, too many people plus a dog.’
‘Did you tell CC?’
‘Nope, a little surprise. When you’re finished, look up Neapolitan Mastiff on the web and read up on them. I know nothing about dogs, Commandant, you ever have a dog?’
‘As a kid, a mutt my mother got from a pound. More hers than mine.’
Zoe, ‘Zoe will find out.’
‘Arrange to get her to a vet, no idea if she’s had her shots but I doubt it.’
Zero, ‘I’ll do it while you get the girls.’
Zoe, ‘Come on, girl, Zoe has to read about you.’
She goes to the couch with a tablet, the dog is uncertain about the leap to the couch, Zoe picks her up, the pup curls next to her and goes to sleep.
Zero moves next to me, mouths ‘upstairs’ and walks across the room to the staircase and up. I finish up the dishes, to my bathroom to brush, then head upstairs.
Zoe, ‘Have fun,’ I look over at her, she’s grinning, ‘we’ll be fine down here.’
Sheesh, around here we have all the privacy of Facebook.
Zero is on the bed, blanket fooled back, she’s nude, lovely, pure white hair spread behind her on the pillow. I stand for a minute, admiring, she cocks one leg out, her finger strokes the soft smooth. By the time I have my clothes off, the part she’s interested in is pointing in her direction. We take delightful advantage of each other’s lust.
As we lay side by side in post climax flush, Zoe comes in, the dog behind her.
She looks at my deflating man bit, ‘I don’t see how something that size gets inside a little boy,’ referring to the dork she killed yesterday.
‘It doesn’t, not without a great deal of pain.’
‘He won’t be doing it anymore.’
I roll out, stand, pick up my pants and shirt, then down for a shower. As I’m leaving, Zoe climbs in and scrunches next to Zero. 
I get the girls, drive home, they go inside while I collect luggage and the gun case. 
I hear CC shriek, ‘She’s so ugly she’s beautiful, let me hold her, where’d she come from? What’s her name?’
‘We couldn’t think of anything we liked, they were all common.’
Nikita scratches the dog’s head, tugs gently on the loose skin around her neck, ‘Morshchiny’.
Natasha, ‘Da, morshchiny.’
Zoe, ‘What’s that mean?’
Nikita, ‘Wrinkles.’
‘That’s it! How do you say it?’
‘Musheeney.’
Zoe giggles, ‘Beautiful Morshchiny, come on girl, time to go out,’ the mastiff follows her out, the backyard is fenced, five acres of it anyway, chain link four feet high, disguised from inside by dense shrubs. I own more acreage to the side and back, primarily oak and spruce, didn’t see the necessity of fencing the whole thing, my property abuts a national forest, not a hiking or camping destination, it’s true wilderness with no defined trails.
CC, ‘Where’d the dog come from?’
Zero relates the story.
‘And Zoe actually killed the guy?’
‘Twice, once in the neck, again in the forehead, she did well. Two shots because she was not happy with the dog being abused, if she had the chance she’d have tortured him first.’
‘I would have too, fucker.’
‘So how’d the job go?’
‘You haven’t seen the news.’
‘No, dog duty…among other things.’
Nikita, ‘CC did the kill from five hundred yards, one shot, peerfect.’
Zero smiles, ‘Good shooting girl.’
‘Thank you, Nikita spotted, a slight breeze but otherwise clear day. His Dishonor was giving an outdoor speech, typical setup, stage, podium. He was droning on, we couldn’t hear it but the news said it was his pat crap about law and order.’
I ask, ‘How do you want to divide the fee?’
Natasha, ‘CC did the kill, whatever she thinks.’
CC, ‘Goes in the investment pot, I see no reason to separate yours and ours, Commandant pays for everything anyway.’
‘Nikita? Natasha? You want your own accounts?’
They look at each other, what they do when they talk telepathically.
Nikita, ‘Nyet, add to any account for eenvest. Sisters never buy anything, CC buys our clothes, Zero other things, phones, computer, even toothbrush, shampoo and soap. We appreciate.’
I nod, keeps it simple. 
‘On another topic, what about the newest addition when we travel?’
Zero, ‘She goes if the rest of us do, or we could get an auto-fill food dispenser and water, she needs a doggie door anyway. Zoe won’t like that much, not until the pup is grown. Another alternative is one of us stays home with Zoe and Morshchiny. Trips tend to be short, we like to get the target quickly and get gone.’
‘Good enough, we can decide by trip, distance, anticipated level of complication. She’ll need training, we can go slowly, but it’s better if she understands basic commands, dogs like to know what they can and can’t do.’
Zero, ‘Zoe is infinitely patient, she’ll get the pup up to speed soon enough. I already told her to get the dog used to doing her biz in one area of the yard, along the back right fence, the gate is on the left side, even though we only use it occasionally we want to avoid doggie bombs, particularly from a dog that’s going to run upwards of one thirty.’
CC, ‘They get that big?’
‘A female, males can bump up to one fifty or more.’
‘We need to invest in a dog food company.’
‘Don’t forget the vet.’
‘She goes tomorrow, let me and Zoe handle doggie matters.’
Natasha, ‘I will teach Zoe commands in Russian, as time goes by, we will teach her not to accept food from anyone but us, to stay, guard, attack and hold, attack and kill, like that. She will be a good companion for Zoe, and a good bodyguard.’

Ninety

There’s no future in the past
(Lyric used in dozens of songs) 

Little girls and big dogs have a natural bond, I don’t know why, the dog senses something, vulnerability maybe, a protective instinct in the animal takes over and the girl gravitates to that security.
It’s been three months, if we see Zoe, we see Morshchiny. Zero got a giant dog bed, it’s located at the foot of Zoe’s, a better alternative than letting the dog sleep in Zoe’s bed. There’s a second downstairs, Morshchiny is a fan of naps. When we watch TV, Zoe lays on half the bed and uses the mastiff’s side as her headrest. I’ve become the treat sucker. If I’m cooking, I can count on a snout poking me, a not so subtle hint that any extra food should be dropped her way, it never hits the floor. When I tell her that’s all, she huffs her frustration, goes off to find Zoe. 
Zoe still trades most days, now she has a companion that lays on her bare feet while she stares at the stock symbols. When she spots a trade, we hear, ‘look Morshchiny, a green one, Zoe buys,’ the dog’s response is to raise one ear, then go back to sleep.
Now, we’re having tea, a regular part of the late afternoon wind down, usually around four or four thirty. 
CC, ‘I was reading one of your books, Zero, about now, versus past or future. Is there a now? I mean, things keep moving along, the now I mentioned a few words ago isn’t now anymore, now is now…how long is now?’
Zero, ‘It’s a convenience meaning to stay with the moment, even when the moment shifts to the next moment. In reality, now is all moments, eternal.’
I ask, ‘What do you mean, now is all moments?’
‘I’m not crazy about the term spacetime, which confuses people into thinking clock time is involved, it isn’t. Time by the clock is a convenience for humans, we meet at five, or the show starts at seven. In terms of the universe, clock time has no meaning, what time is it on Jupiter, or the Andromeda galaxy? We see light from stars, but it’s ancient light, light emitted thousands or millions of years ago. The starlight we see is always from the past, the light emitted by the star right this moment is in the future as it relates to us. An explanation on Wiki is:
In the context of special relativity, time cannot be separated from the three dimensions of space, because the observed rate at which time passes for an object depends on the object's velocity relative to the observer. General relativity, in addition, provides an explanation of how gravitational fields can slow the passage of time for an object as seen by an observer outside the field.’
‘How does that translate into now is all moments, or that now is eternal?’
‘Think of it this way, what we mistakenly call now is only a view from our limited perception, but spacetime stretches above and below our narrow field of vision. In effect, everything that happened is, to our view, in the past, and everything that will happen is in the future, but only relative to where we are. In actuality, past and future are both happening now.’
Natasha, ‘From our perspective the starlight reaches us now, from the star’s perspective the light we see is in its past, the light it emits in its now is in our future.’
‘You may say so.’
‘Too bad we can’t widen our field of perception.’
‘You can, it’s called enlightenment, awakening, awareness, realization.’
‘Wait…you’re saying the enlightened can see the future?’
‘Perhaps, I see sparks and flashes, but not consistently or with clarity. And my example is only partial, incomplete. The causes and effects are infinite, and if the background of reality is eternal, what does that imply? I have no answer.’
Natasha, ‘Seems like that implies determinism, an unchangeable fate.’
‘Good point, I’m unconvinced though, about determinism. I think the whole point is chaos, that everything that can happen has happened, but there’s no predicting when or what portion of it we can experience. When we observe we collapse the wave function to particles we can see, hear, taste, touch, smell.’
‘Everything has happened, we just haven’t gotten to those future happenings.’
‘Don’t get wrapped up in logic, there isn’t any. Think of it this way, there’s a quantum world that does not obey Newtonian physics. Electrons move, not according to the laws of motion, they move chaotically, bouncing all over the place. Newton’s laws require certainty, quantum laws, if we call them that, obey nothing. Quantum activity is probability, it’s highly unlikely that the chair will collapse, or that I can put my hand through concrete, but it isn’t impossible, only improbable.’
‘Zoe, what do we have for dinner?’
‘Takeout menus, Zoe didn’t prepare anything, caught up in training Morshchiny, trading, and trampoline.’
‘Not to worry, Chinese or pizza?’
Our usual two takeout options, today Chinese is preferred, I call in the order.
‘I’ll hustle over and collect it.’
CC, ‘I’ll ride with you, Zero can concoct your drink and keep it in the freezer.’
We’re back in thirty, bags of styrofoam boxes and two soups, won ton, hot and sour. Shrimp with garlic sauce and the reliable General Tso chicken, a double order of steamed vegetables, we won’t starve.
‘Feed Morshchiny?’
Zoe, ‘Yep, good girl ate it all, she should get a fat shrimp.’
‘Take one, make sure it’s not hot.’
Zoe does a finger test, warm, not hot, she tosses it to her pal, it’s gone with a swallow.
‘That’s it Morshchiny, find a place to lay down.’
‘Huff!’ the beast trundles over to her bed and flops down.
‘Zoe made fifteen thousand today, two greens.’
‘Wow, you normally do a couple thousand, what happened?’
‘Zoe bought more than usual, not just three or four thousand shares, today twenty thousand in each trade.’
‘What stocks?’
‘Zoe doesn’t know, they are just symbols, she has no idea what they do.’
‘So much for analysts and fund managers looking at earnings projections.’
Over dinner conversation turns along the lines of the tea conversation.
‘Zero, is there a way to, what am I asking…a way to investigate our limited perception?’
‘I think so, the first step is understanding just how limited it is. We’ve talked before about the brain disregarding information it perceives as irrelevant, enough to come to a conclusion about what we see, hear, taste, smell, and ignores the rest. The second step might be to realize how quickly we label things, red car, blue sky, garlic, dog, boy, you get the idea?’
Natasha, ‘So that there is nothing for the brain to make associations between what our senses tell us now with past experience, every experience is new, like a baby.’
‘Yes, excellent, I hadn’t gotten that far. So, can we drop labels? Not everything all at once, but say, for instance, opinions. Anything that isn’t a fact is a belief, an opinion. Zoe is already taking one approach, she refers to herself in the third. Takes her ‘me’ out of it.’
CC, ‘Have you discovered anything Zoe?’
‘Not yet, Zoe hasn’t been doing it very long though. Zero says to stay with it, that people want something epic to happen after a few weeks, or even a few months.’
Zero, ‘And that’s what kills most exploration, like when people meditate for a few weeks and when there’s no perceivable reward, give up. We can rewire our brains, but it isn’t like taking a pill, it takes time for old neural connections to weaken out of disuse, and more to wire new connections, and even more to make sure the new connections are strong.’
Natasha, ‘Synesthetes have built in cross wiring, numbers or letter have colors, always the same color for an individual synesthete, but not all synesthetes see number one as red, or the letter h as blue.’
‘Zoe sees colors on her machine.’
‘Yes, but I do not think that is synesthesia; first, it is only green or red and it applies only to stock symbols. Whatever she is doing is more like Zero seeing someone’s aura, Nikita and I see the black aura of Shadows, but no other auras. Zero’s ability is more finely tuned.’
Life does not come from events but from us. Everything that happens outside has already been. Therefore, whoever considers the event from the outside always sees what already was, and that it is always the same. But whoever looks from inside knows that everything is new. The events that happen are always the same, the creative depths of man are not always the same. Events signify nothing, they signify only in us. We create the meaning of events. The meaning is and always was artificial. We make it.
Liber Novus, Carl Jung

Ninety One

Zoe is outside circling the property with Morshchiny, the mastiff isn’t a runner, but she will lope along, then to the bucket of fresh water Zoe fills. Once a week she endures a hosing and brush, best to keep the skin folded inside the wrinkles clean. A good shake, then a couple of bath towels to finish drying. 
Morshchiny is primarily Zoe’s, but she’s also family oriented, we’re her pack as it were. If someone is gone, like the twins on a trip, the dog wanders through the house, down then up, searching for her missing companions. Morshchiny still does a sniff check every morning, first to CC and Zero, then the twins, then downstairs where I sleep.
Zoe, ‘She searches the twins’ room, even the closet, Zoe reassuring her the two girls will be home soon.’
CC, ‘She’s so funny. When the twins are here, Morshchiny looks from one to the other, sniffs each, she seems mystified by two people who look identical, and apparently have identical pheromones. I can sympathize, when I’m having intimacies with the both of them, I can’t tell which one is which.’
‘A nice problem for a nymphomaniac.’
‘I’m not complaining.’
Zero, ‘We have an opportunity, a contact on the abuse site. She isn’t being physically abused, she’s being stalked, relentlessly if we accept her version.’
‘She describe the guy, does she know him?’
‘No guy, a woman.
‘A woman stalking a woman, sounds like a contemporary TV series, you know, male stalkers are old news, a lesbian stalker is a new take on an old problem.’
Nikita, ‘Why ees person following around someone who ees not eenterested?’
‘The easy answer is they can’t take rejection, maybe convinced themselves the stalked are playing hard to get. Or they had a relationship, one side wants out, the other can’t handle it. People get obsessed when hormones rule over common sense. Like there’s no other person in the world to date. I never noticed any shortage of available women or men, but the obsessed can’t get past their obsession. Doesn’t matter, we need to warn the woman off, it isn’t a killing offense, not yet anyway.’
CC, ‘If we leave her above ground, do a bit of torture instead of killing her, does it heighten her obsession? After she’s suffered for misguided passion, could she feel even more entitled?’
‘Good point, let’s snoop around and see if the complaint is real, and if it is, then we decide how to handle it.’
‘Who’s going?’
‘It’s drivable, less than six hundred miles. The twins will not tolerate any bullshit excuses, they’ll just kill her and be done with it. Suppose I go with Commandant, the rest of you can stay home and work on individual projects, all of us have one or another thing going on.’
Nikita, ‘We will go to gun range, spend a day or two shooting. Zoe can practice also.’
‘What about Morshchiny?’
‘CC and the dog go as well. It will be good for Morshchiny to get used to gunfire. She will stay in the car at first, less noise, then maybe take her fifty yards away, move her slowly closer so she will not anyway be afraid.’
‘Zero and I will take the Nissan, glad you decided to keep it, it’s plain, black, doesn’t stand out. Take the Hyundai, room in back for Morshchiny and the guns. We’ll leave tomorrow, assuming we got details about the stalker.’
Zero is reading a message, ‘The contact sent enough, now we know where the stalker works, what kind of car she drives, the contact is unsure of the stalker’s residence. When they were dating, the woman came to the victim’s place, never the other way round.’
CC, ‘So they had a relationship.’
‘Yeah, all moonlight and red roses, until it turned into darkness and black ones.’
‘Ask her if she can pass by the stalker’s office and get a plate number, lots of cars look alike, we don’t want to have to guess, we need to stick a tracker on it, much easier to follow inconspicuously.’
Zero, ‘Will do, let’s get packed up, we can at least get to the town, six hundred miles, what’s that in time?’
‘Ten hours minimum, we can stop sooner if the driving is driving us crazy. It’s only nine thirty, if we keep going we can be there by seven.’
CC, ‘Do you guys want to go to the range now? We get in a few hours, range is only a thirty mile drive. Go again tomorrow if we want.’
Plans made, Zero and I are on the road, she’s got a collection of audio books, good for passing time on a long drive. 
Zero plugs the phone into the usb port, we listen to Jack Reacher hitchhike, drink coffee, beat up men, and have sex while correcting one or another evil.
After coffee stops, gas and swapping drivers a couple of times, we get to Hotel Ennui, which was going to be a chain except the owner is too lazy to bother. We’re in the Vague Uneasiness Suite, the ceiling is painted in dark clouds, a set of speakers plays the sounds of a thunderstorm, the lighting is dark red throughout, one wall is a mural, Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Conquest, War, Famine, and Death. A psychopath’s dream team.
Zero, ‘She sent us a plate number and a photo of the car.’
‘Good, tomorrow we’ll track her down, maybe find out where she lives. You have a plan for dealing with her, assuming the story holds up?’
‘Sort of, first we need to know that it’s not baloney, some sort of revenge thing where the contact wants to create problems for the target.’
‘We’ll find out tomorrow, right now, a large vodka.’
‘I want a shower.’
‘Me too, I’ll save the vodka for after.’
Fifteen later we’re clean and shiny, I’m sipping a drink, Zero has a glass of white. We didn’t bother to dress, we’d only have to take it off to go to bed.
Zero has her wine in one hand, my erection in the other, long fingers feel exquisite as she slow strokes up and down.
Zero giggles, ‘You could get a hard on in a hurricane.’
‘If you were there, doing what you’re doing now.’
As you are imagining, one thing leads to another, the sweet sound of Zero’s orgasms, we’re blissfully content until we’re blissfully asleep.
Morning, I blink awake, roll out and do morning things, brush and flush. Zero comes in and duplicates, while she brushes her teeth she pokes the prick, then holds it, ‘Get back in bed, I’m not done with you yet.’
Zero does me on top, I love to watch her tummy ripple while she rides, my hands roam smooth diamond hard thighs. She shivers and shudders, then eases off, works her way down and licks her lotion off the shaft.
‘Give it up now Commandant.’
Her soft hand offers the right stimulation, then she gets what she wants, swallows while the second burst coats her lips and one cheek.
She grins and giggles, swipes the excess into her mouth, ‘I’m going to wear it all day, the articles are right, your goop is great for my skin. I wore last night’s all night, keep it up I’ll be as gorgeous as CC.’
‘You’re already as gorgeous as CC, I know, I’ve examined both of you closely.’
‘I’m practicing humility.’
‘CC knows nothing of humility, you can pretend if you wish, I know better.’
 ‘Well, I do have a couple hundred years on you, I’m clear on what I want, primarily to be surrounded by beauty, the girls are inspirational…society would say they’re insane. It’s actually quite the opposite, the girls are hyper-rational, society is insane.’
‘I suppose we should do what we came here to do.’

Ninety Two

Our target is a drone at a call center, not the bottom drone, the first layer of work interference called management. She’s got a red, what else, Dodge Drudge, made for first level management that has climbed as far up the ladder as they will ever get. License matches up, one thing confirmed.
Zero, ‘I’m going to stick on the tracker.’
She walks over two rows, then down one, I see her head disappear and pop up. I drive to the end of the row I’m on, Zero comes along walking casually. The idea is nothing to attract notice, white hair tucked down the back of her shirt, watch cap and sunglasses. With loose fit jeans, sneakers and a pullover, she could be a guy or a girl.
Zero, ‘Cameras cover the parking lot, but I went for the back bumper strut, so if a cam caught anything, some person was walking past. Even if it caught my bounce down and up, the easy conclusion is I dropped something and picked it up.’
‘It’s good, nobody looks at those feeds unless there’s vandalism or a mugging, this isn’t a rich area, but it’s hardly a ghetto. They spend their energy monitoring how many calls the drones can handle an hour, then post the numbers so the bottom tier understands why they’re getting fired.’
‘I’m really glad you made so much money, I don’t have to work, come to think of it, I’ve never been old enough to work.’
‘They had child labor all over two hundred years ago, even a hundred years ago.’
‘Let me clarify, I was never in a home where children worked, I managed to snag relatively wealthy households. The darling adoptee, sometimes ward, I even had a couple of governesses and a few nannies.’
‘So being spoiled comes naturally to you.’
She giggles, ‘There were households with perverts, or relatives that were, neighbors too. I was only trapped a couple of times, maybe three, no four. We call any child fondling rape, so I was raped, but not intercourse.’
This is new information, ‘I’d say I’m sorry, that doesn’t help, what happened, not the rape, what happened to the rapists?’
‘They met with tragic accidents. One bumped into a cabinet and was horribly disfigured when a bottle of acid fell off and broke on his head. Another was cleaning his spear gun and the spear went straight through his neck. A third slipped on an icy trail and fell eight hundred feet to the rocky coastline below. The forth was crushed against a wall when his Bugatti Ball Buster mysteriously slipped into gear while he was checking something under the hood.’
‘Bad luck.’
‘Stuff happens.’
‘I’m rather fond of fondling you, should I anticipate tragedy?’
She laughs, ‘CC and I came after you, and we’ve trained you to perform at the highest levels, not that much was required, it was evident you had significant experience. We consider that a bonus.’
‘Glad to be of service, ecstatic actually.’
‘We skipped breakfast, it’s ten, want to round up an early lunch, a fastie will do.’
She finds a nearby drive-thru, they serve breakfast stuff all day, we get the English muffin bacon egg thing, and Diet Cokes. Hash browns are included, they make the dumpster intact with our otherwise empty bags and cups.
‘Let’s park, put on one of the books.’ 
We listen, a crime novel, a gruesome death, detectives speculate and argue, ‘the brass’ is putting pressure, buried body, forensics jargon, a man with powerful connections interferes, the female protagonist has an on-off relationship with a lawyer who used to be a Marine, cop banter in the station, locker room guy stuff, you know, the common thriller-mystery-police procedural where most of the force are either drunks, on the take, divorced, or all three. Oh, and the rookie has to throw up on his first sight of a mangled body.
Zero, ‘Formulaic, nothing much original, but the female detective is interesting, tough and resourceful, so a few redeeming qualities.’
‘A novel needs to be interesting, informative, or entertaining, preferably all three, but that’s not so simple. At some point, an overwritten subject like crime becomes cliché.’
‘I recall our having a similar discussion about science fiction. A planet far away, or a spaceship wandering around, make up strange names, have the aliens look weird, in the end it’s all about conflict and resolution, or failure to resolve, which generally becomes an excuse for book two.’
‘Or reverse science fiction, like Game of Thrones, I needed a cheat sheet to remember who was king of what, mix in a spunky young girl, an evil king, a pinch of incest, Shakespeare regurgitated.’
Zero laughs, ‘I tried Shakespeare, I lose track of what’s happening because the language is almost indecipherable in parts. But, yes, as you said once, everything after the Greeks and Shakespeare is plot plagiarism.’
‘I decided the only thing to do is to read the story, or listen to the audio version, without the critique, or even an opinion. Even then I frequently can’t slog past the first thirty or forty pages, particularly when a new character is introduced every page.’
‘Car is moving.’
‘Too bad, dissing the state of current literature is fun, but work, work, work, track the stalker.’
We trail along behind, we have a description but can’t see the person driving the car to match it up. The red car is bright enough to be tracked from the moon. She turns into a typical suburban neighborhood, homes are new, the lack of trees confirms. Developers cut down the trees to make access easier, then the new homeowner is left to landscape, many fail to plant trees. I don’t know why, trees enhance value.
Zero’s read my mind, ‘I suspect they spent most of their ready cash on a down payment, not to mention window treatments, furniture, house stuff.’
‘I wonder why she’s going home in the middle of the day…oh, duh, she’s junior management at a call center, open twenty four seven, she’s on one shift or another.’
Zero collects the listening gear, set-up, dish pointed at the house.
‘We’re exposed out here, wait, is that a for sale sign? Yeah, good, back in a minute.’
I walk past the house, it’s empty of everything, I can see through the front window to the sliding doors to the patio out back. Return to the car.
‘Let me get the car better situated.’
I pull away, front into the driveway, now Zero can climb in back and point the dish from the rear compartment. It’s overcast, the sun doesn’t light up the interior, further dimmed by dark tinted windows all round.
Zero has the device up, we can listen through her phone, the machine also records any sound it picks up.
Nothing much, then, as we’re prone to do when we’re alone, she starts talking to herself.
‘If that bitch thinks a fucking restraining order is going to protect her ass, she’s in for a nasty surprise. Like I’m going to disappear so she can play house with another stripper.’
Zero, ‘Our anonymous contact must be a stripper, the target has a day job that is sometimes a night job.’
‘Strippers, the good ones, make the most money after nine at night, work weekends, at least Friday night and Saturday, catch the bachelor parties, bunch of drunk twenty somethings buying lap dances for the groom. Goes from the fun and freedom of bachelorhood to the drab confines of marriage, house, baby, minivan, bigger house, soccer practice, dance recitals, birthday parties, parental bliss until the kids are teens, then family entropy.’
‘Glad to hear you aren’t getting snared in the jaws of matrimony. We learned a little, the contact is a dancer, we don’t know if she’s high on the list, or a newbie that gets afternoons, not experienced enough for the hard core crowd at night.’
‘The girls who sell the most outrageously expensive bottles of cheap sparkling wine, watered down booze, and lap dances get prime time. And the top clubs ship girls around the country so the regulars don’t get bored with the same girls. It also prevents attachments, guys who think they’re in love with Candy Apple or Sweet Virginia and become a nuisance. Or attachment the other way round, a girl who convinces a customer he’s the one, gets married or pregnant, no longer available to pump up the revenue. Not to mention, it’s a job with a short half life, girls get older, fall back into prostitution. Unless they saved a fair amount of money, invested in real estate or stocks, they end up crawling truck stops selling twenty buck blow jobs.’
‘Eeeewww, I’d rather eat road kill.’
‘I hope I’m not road kill.’
She laughs, ‘Don’t be an idiot, you have the body of a god, are always squeaky clean, no body hair, don’t wear ball caps or spit snuff into an empty beer can, your name isn’t Earl or CJ. The prostitutes would pay to give you a blow job.’
Talk starts up again, ‘Wait until the cunt gets my package, I knew these videos would come in handy, her perfect little girl laughing while the dog lucks her pussy, or on her knees licking mine. What’s she gonna do, take it to the cops? So every perv in the department can enjoy the kiddie porn, starring her brat. Ignorant slut totally in the dark about what the kid and I got up to. While I was babysitting her daughter, mommy was grinding her ass into nasty men’s cum soaked laps. Well, well, cunt whore, this gets mailed in the morning, no prints, don’t even lick the fucking stamps.’
‘How does she think this will…no, of course, she’s no longer interested in getting her former back, she’s into hurting her, a sicker form of revenge porn.’
‘We need to knock on the door. You go, she’ll answer the door for what she thinks is a twelve year old girl. I’m going to move the car, get her under control, I’ll be along shortly.’
Zero racks a fresh nine into the Glock chamber, sticks the gun in her waist holster, I help with her sport coat, she gets out and heads down the block. I crank the Nissan and ease it down the block and around the corner. Check my gun, get out and go to the house.
I try the door, unlocked as I anticipated, go in. There’s a near empty living room, I hear voices own the hall, follow the sound. The woman is sitting on a couch, Zero’s Glock out and touching her forehead.
The woman is dyke, dyke, poster dyke, butch bitch, close cropped hair, no makeup, the house stinks of cigarettes. The only dyke bit missing is boots, she took those off at the front door. 
There’s a nude on the wall, not particularly interesting, an older woman with too much tit leaning against a dresser, another younger girl, much younger, on her knees licking the bare puss. You are your art, at least in this case.
‘Who the fuck are you?’
‘Donald Trump, I’d say Epstein but he hung himself.’
‘Fuck you.’
I’m know Zero’s in my head, I think, got the video?
Zero holds out her free hand, there’s a thumb drive, ‘Mailing box on the counter.’
Woman, ‘So fucking what? You want to watch?’
‘Any more kiddie porn around?’
‘Ain’t my stuff, some asshole gave it to me, I was just about to destroy it.’
‘Mailing it to someone is hardly destroying it, and mailing it to a woman whose child you raped is beyond redemption. There’s more, where is it?’
‘You’re talkin’ out your ass.’
‘If so, my shit’s raining down on you,’ I nod to Zero, she knows what I want, she shoots Dyke in the foot, I cover Dyke’s mouth with my extra large hand. The screech is nothing but a muffled growl.
When she settles, I ask, ‘Ready to behave, she’s got more bullets, and a rather sharp knife.’
Zero whips out the SOG, swipes it across Dyke’s forehead, not deep, a ribbon of blood turns into drips.
Eyes look up at me, not anger, fear.
‘Well?’
A nod. I remove my hand, ‘Where?’
Her head jerks towards the hall, ‘First bedroom, with the desk.’
I walk down, laptop on the desk, I open it, blinks on, password. For the heck of it, I type 1-2-3-4, damn thing opens. I search video files, a half dozen, then pictures, another file, open it. Photos of a dozen different kids, appear five or six to eight or nine. Christ, primarily girls doing what you’d expect in kid-porn photos. I do a search through the desk, don’t spot any thumbs or other external drives, the second bedroom has nothing obvious related to children, the bathroom has a variety of vibrators and a couple of strap-ons.
I go to the living room, ‘Check the video files, see if the girl is on them, the photo collection is from other rapists, she’s no doubt swapped for what she created.’
Zero holsters her gun, I take out mine, sit on the couch and point it at Dyke, Zero goes down the hall.
Dyke, ‘What’s your beef, it isn’t your kid.’
‘You were stupid, stalking the girl’s mother after she tossed you.’
‘For a fucking skank stripper.’
‘You mean as opposed to a bull dyke who rapes children.’
Apparently we’re done chatting.
Zero’s back in ten, holding her Glock. Dyke takes a round center forehead, falls away from me, head lands on a throw pillow.
Zero, ‘I deleted the girl’s video, which was mild by comparison. The others had…ugly things, one with two girls and a boy torturing another boy, think razor blades.’
‘Fuck. Okay, leave it open, you double checked the photo file?’
‘You were right, the girl’s not in the photos. We’ll destroy the thumb, the cops can draw their own conclusions about the junk on her laptop. I downloaded Ccleaner and ran it, more thorough wipe than simply clearing the recycle bin. They won’t find the girl’s video.’
No need to wipe prints, we wear latex gloves, ‘You touch anything before putting on the gloves?’
‘Nope, had them on when I knocked. After I parked her on the couch she was busy being shit scared and babbling questions I didn’t answer.’
‘Good enough, let’s go, car is on the cross street left.’
I go first, crank the Nissan, Zero comes along a minute later. We take off. 
‘Already two, I think we get halfway and find a hotel, even pushing the speed limit we can’t get home until midnight at best. Text CC, they’ll want to know things went well and won’t be looking for us until tomorrow.’
She does, then makes an anonymous 911 call from one of the burners we carry. 
We make half the drive, it’s seven, stop to pick up dinner, supermarket chicken fingers and coleslaw, we have wine and vodka left from last night. I check in, we’re at the Hotel Narcissus, a one bedroom suite. Each of the two rooms has one entire wall covered in mirrors.
‘I guess that explains Narcissus.’
Zero, ‘This would be CC’s dream suite, she could admire herself everywhere.’
‘CC is most admirable, I admire her frequently.’
‘Like the rest of us, CC has an infinite capacity for adoration, now I’m getting worked up thinking about her…admirable.’
‘Anything I can do, to relive your fever?’
‘Wash my hair when we shower, then drinks and dinner, afterwards I’ll put you to good use.’
I think, we need to travel more often.
Zero giggles, ‘You’d be satisfied with just me?’
‘Of course.’
‘Liar, if we couldn’t get our hands on CC, life would be incomplete. And I’d surely miss the twins, double delights. They haven’t made any moves towards you, don’t know why, we never talk about it.’
‘Strictly lesbian perhaps.’
‘Come to think of it, Nikita did say once, ‘What ees like wiz big deek in you?’
‘What did you say?’
‘That it’s different from toys, toys don’t get off, they do a good job, but I’d miss the enjoyment of getting you off, not to mention the creamy nutrient you supply.’
‘I’ve found if I focus on giving the girl what she wants, I wind up getting more than I gave.’

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