“Cold Dish”

Rated PG-16?


9250 Words





The couple looked very out of place in the small waiting area.  The woman looked like someone straight off the cover of “Vogue” magazine ... and the man could have easily been a cover model for “GQ.”  Their postures and expressions signaled that they were all too aware that their surroundings were beneath their standards.  But that wasn’t saying much.  Not many people would have been comfortable there.  Most of the room was filled with old tire displays that were caked with grime and dust.  The paneling on the front of the service counter nearby was mismatched, loose and badly faded.  The coffee maker was covered with overlapping greasy fingerprints made by workers during their frequent breaks.  The windows facing the street were streaked from a poor attempt to wash them through the badly rusted security bars.  The windows to the adjoining shop were nearly opaque from the build up of greasy dirt.  There was only one clean area of glass and its purpose became obvious as the idle workers took turns staring in at the woman uncomfortably perched on the edge of the filthy, cracked vinyl cover of the waiting room couch.  She was trying to stay close enough to the edge of the seat to avoid having any part of her short, tight dress reach beyond the area covered by the cloth handkerchief provided to her by her companion.  The man sat in a nearby chair impatiently patting the knee of his expensive, tailored pants.  They didn’t seem in any mood to have a conversation and there was nothing else for them to do but to count the seconds until they could get out of there.  The television was broken.  The magazines in a pile by the coffee pot were old, ragged and totally inappropriate for any dignified individual to be seen reading in public.


The woman finally said, “Why do they keep looking in at me like that?  I feel like I’m a pork chop in a butcher’s display window and they are dogs lined up outside waiting for any opportunity to get at me.”


Nikki, the receptionist/cashier said, “Consider it a complement.  The shop walls are lined with calendars full of pictures of naked women, but they would rather look at you.”


The man said, “Admit it Julia, you love it.  You crave any attention you get.  You are only complaining as a sly way to get me to notice that they are giving you the eye.  You won’t be happy unless I fly into some jealous rage and beat the shit out of someone, will you?”


Julia said, “William, don’t be crude … and don’t use the ‘S’ word.”


William said, “Since when are you squeamish about foul language?”


Julia said, “I’m not.  I’m just trying desperately to not think about the ‘S’ word because I would rather die than use the toilet in this place!  And between you using that word and that broken water fountain going ‘tinkle, tinkle, tinkle’ continually, I’m scared I’ll have an accident.”


William said, “Then for God’s sake why don’t you walk back across the street and use the facilities in our motel room?”


Julia said, “Alone?  In this neighborhood?  I’d rather have an accident!”


William said, “In this place, no one would notice if you did.  You probably wouldn’t be the first either.”


Julia said, “You are so crass!”


William said, “Should I ask for my handkerchief back?”


Julia said, “You could ask.”


William turned to Nikki and said, “Why is it taking them so long?  It’s only one tiny leak in one bloody tire!  This is what you people do for a living, isn’t it?  How hard can it be?  Maybe if your men didn’t stop work so often to peek in through that window or come in here for coffee as an excuse for an even closer look … maybe then the car would done by now.”


Nikki said, “I’m sorry it’s taking so long.  I’m sure there’s a good reason.”


William said, “I think I’ll go out there and tell them to concentrate on getting my car off that rack rather than getting off by looking at the rack that Julia here so proudly displays at every opportunity!”


Nikki said, “Oh!  You’d better not.  Doug doesn’t like people going out there and interfering with how he runs things.  I’ll go out and ask him what the hold up is.  Please try to be patient a little longer.  Getting pushy with Doug will only make him push back!”  Nikki lifted a hinged section of the counter and scurried out through the door to the shop.  William gave Julia a small, wicked grin and licked his upper lip in anticipation of the confrontation he knew was coming.


Nikki returned almost immediately with a tall, muscular, heavily tattooed man who appeared to be in his late twenties.  The man said, “Sir, I’m Douglas Freeman -- the manager.  What seems to be the problem?”  Doug may have been speaking to William, but his eyes never left Julia.  And although he used the word “sir,” there wasn’t a trace of respect in his voice.


William said, “It was a simple job.  The tire bead needed resealed.  That was it.  You could have been done, gone out for lunch, come back and given my car a wash and wax job by now.  What the hell is going on out there?”


Doug answered, “Sir, all four of your tires are totally shot.  You are lucky to be alive after driving on them in that condition.”


William said, “Bull shit!  That car is practically new … and new cars don’t come with old tires.  You’ve picked the wrong customer to mess with.  No one rips me off and gets away with it!”


Doug said, “With all due respect, Sir, …” but again there was no trace of respect in his tone, “that car may be new, but by the condition those tires are in, it looks like it has been rough-ridden on a daily basis.”


Julia giggled and said, “Lucky car!”


Doug gave Julia a big smile then continued talking, “If you insist, I will replace only one tire – one that had a puncture in it.  But if this lovely lady gets hurt due to your negligence and cheapness, it will be on your head, not mine.”


William said, “Not even one of those tires needed replaced … but go ahead and replace the ONE tire you claim is punctured if it will get us out of here and back across the street to the discomfort of our motel room in twenty minutes or less.”


Doug was enjoying how Julia was smiling at him.  He said, “I always say that any job worth doing is worth doing well.  Just like I would be ashamed to spending less than an hour making love to a woman, I would feel almost as bad spending that little time on an expensive car like yours.  That car must have set you back more than the cost of my house.”


William said, “If you spent so little money on a house, that must have been entirely by your choice.  You must be able to afford better accommodations considering your posted hourly rate and the way you pad your work.  Look!  I’m not waiting here another hour.  My wife needs to freshen up a bit and she can’t wait that long.  She won’t go across the street to our motel room alone.”


Doug said, “I’d be happy to escort her back to the safety of her room if you want.  I’ll even make sure that the room is safe.  I’ll check out every nook and cranny until she feels absolutely satisfied … that she was safe … before I come back here.  While I’m doing that, my men will give your car the kind of service it deserves.”


William said, “If you simply do your job that won’t be necessary!  Look at all those men standing around out there doing absolutely nothing.  Why don’t you put more of them to work on my car and be done with it?”


Doug said, “You can’t put a lot of men on a single task like that!  You must be the type of man that thinks you can put nine guys on a woman and get a baby in a month.”


Julia laughed and said, “Nine men on a woman?  If you have eight other guys built like you out there, we could give it a try.  It might not work, but it would certainly make this customer satisfied.”


William shot Julia a nasty glance and said, “I very much doubt that!  I know bloody well about your locker room exploits.  There isn’t a man or group of men that could put a dent in your appetites.”


Julia said, “At least there are still men out there that are willing to try.”


William said, “Finishing school was wasted on you.  Am I going to have to start putting a gag on you in public too?  When will you learn your place?!”


Julia said, “There’s no point in trying to please you.  All you ever do is look for excuses to punish me!”


William said, “Just shut the hell up, for Christ’s sake!”  He turned back to Doug and said, “Now that you have had your cheap thrills for the day, when the HELL will my car be ready!”


Doug turned to Nikki and said, “Hey sweet cheeks, go out in the shop.  Tell them to replace only the tire with the puncture in it.  And tell them that I want the new tire balanced and mounted in ten minutes and off the rack and ready to roll in fifteen.”


Nikki said, “Why don’t you tell them?  Aren’t you going back out?”


Doug said, “Not quite yet.”


Nikki said, “The guy are getting all worked up out there over what’s in here.  I’ll need hazardous duty pay for all the ass pinching I’m bound to get if I go out there without you being out there too.”


Doug said, “You know from hard experience that there are things far worse than getting pinched.  Just make it easy on both of us and do what I tell you to, okay?  Something’s caught my eye in here and I want a much closer look.”


Nikki said, “Whatever.”  She went back out the door to the shop.


Doug walked up to Julia, leaned over her and said, “I couldn’t help but notice and admire your ring.”


Jill held up her left hand so Doug could get a better look at the huge diamonds and the platinum setting.  She said, “I’ve learned that some men compensate for their inadequacies by giving expensive gifts.  It’s nice, but it doesn’t make me warm inside.  I couldn’t help but admire your watch.  Is that really a Rolex … or is it a knock off?”


Doug said, “It’s real.  Is yours?”


Julia straightened her posture proudly and said, “Everything about me is real … or close enough to be real … even when you’re really close … if you know what I mean.  Would you mind if I have a closer look at your watch?”


Doug slipped the watch off and handed it to her saying, “Look as close as you’d like.”


Julia looked at the back of the watch and said, “Lovely inscription … but I thought you said your name is Douglas.”


Doug said, “It is.”


Julia asked, “So why does the inscription say James?”


Doug said, “I picked up the watch at a pawn shop.  I guess James wasn’t worthy of the watch … or was down on his luck and valued cash over sentiment.”


Julia said, “I admire you for that … for finding a way to get what you want.  The men I always seem to end up with feel the need to pay full price.  I like a man who knows how to keep an eye out for the things he wants in life.  Sometimes people don’t know how precious what they have would be to someone else.  They start to ignore and neglect what they possess.  If a person simply keeps an eye out for what is available, sometimes the thing they want most comes easy.  The person simply needs to know when to reach out and take it.  And things really belong to the one that appreciates them and knows how to take care of them.  Isn’t that true?  So just keep watching for those opportunities to open up for you Dougy boy!”  Julia held the watch in the open palm of her hand then lowered her hand onto her lap.  She said, “Here’s your watch, Doug.  Take it if you want it.”


As Doug reached down, Julia spread her legs enough to cause her short skirt to ride up.  She moved her hand a little lower.  Doug’s hand touched her forearm.  He lightly traced a path down her skin with his fingertips until the watch was in his grasp.  He smiled at Julia as he put the watch back on his wrist.  He jumped slightly when he heard Nikki behind him say, “The boys want you to check out there work, Doug -- the work on the car, not the job they did to my butt.  You’ll probably be happy to know that I won’t be sitting down on the job for at least two weeks.”


Doug said, “Give it a rest, Nikki.”  Doug turned to William and said, “Your car should be off the rack within five minutes.  Nikki should have the paperwork done by then … despite her injuries.”


After giving Julia another smile, Doug left the waiting area and returned to the shop.  William said, “I think I’ll go make sure that the job is done to MY satisfaction.  Yes … I will have MY satisfaction.”  William followed Doug out into the shop.


Nikki turned to Julia and said, “Be very careful!  You’re playing with acid!”


Julia asked, “What are you talking about?”


Nikki said, “I saw what was going on.  You weren’t trying to hide it as far as I could tell.  Doug is a very dangerous man.  I’m not kidding!  He has some friends in high places – friends as dangerous as he is.  More than that … he has a lot of people that are scared shitless of him … including me!  He is very rough, but I make a point to never refuse him anything.  That man can get away with murder … LITERALLY!  From the outside, it may look fun … it may sound exciting, but it just plain isn’t worth it.  I’m looking for my way out, but I have to be sure I successfully escape when I make my first attempt … or I’m dead.  Hopefully, it’s not already too late for you.  Get out while you can!”


Julia said, “Don’t you worry about me, Dear.  People who know me well would tell you that I am very capable of taking care of myself.”






As his car was being lowered to the floor, William tapped Doug on the shoulder.  Doug turned around and said, “Sir, … this area is off-limits to customers.”


William said, “Is it?  Well, I don’t think you are in any position to be talking about crossing limits – especially considering that you are in my employ!  Do you think I am deaf, dumb and blind?  I don’t appreciate the moves you were making on Julia – not one bit!”


Doug said, “Of course I knew you were watching.  I also knew that you couldn’t do a thing about it.  I could have put my hand all the way up her skirt and you wouldn’t have done a thing about it.  All it takes to have a fancy suit like the one you’re prancing around in is money … but balls are something that you can’t buy.”


William said, “Too bad.  Because you might be needing a new pair in ten seconds.”


Doug smiled then laughed.  He turned to his men and pointed at William to mock him then quickly turned and swung his fist towards William’s face.  William bobbed his head and easily avoided Doug’s fist before landing a series of punches to Doug’s rib cage.  Without pausing a moment, William raised his knee and landed a devastating blow that landed Doug in a heap on the floor.  Try as they might, the crew couldn’t help but laugh at the sight of the well manicured, older man towering over the fierce giant that everyone feared.  The men quickly remembered the consequences of laughing at Doug’s expense and the work area became deadly quiet.


From his pants pocket, William pulled a gold money clip that was strained from the wad of hundred dollar bills that it could barely hold together.  William pealed off three of the bills and threw them in Doug’s direction saying, “That should cover the cost of your so-called work.  If there is any change, keep it and see if you can find a replacement set for your jewels.”


Julia walked into the shop and said, “William, what happened?  What did you do to him?!”


William answered, “Nothing compared to what I’ll do to you if you ever embarrass me in public again, you slut!”


William took Julia roughly by her upper arm, dragged her to the passenger side of the car and pushed her inside.  He rounded the car, got in the driver’s side, started the car and quickly backed it out of the garage.  He made an abrupt turn, crossed the street and pulled into a parking space in front of a motel room.  Doug got off the shop floor just in time to see William dragging Julia to the motel room door.  After William opened the door and as Julia started to go inside, William slapped Julia’s backside so hard that the sound echoed across the street.  To say that Doug was angry would be a gross understatement.






A few hours later, William returned to the garage and shouted for Doug to come out.  Doug came outside and said, “What’s the problem now?”


William said, “You know the problem.  All of my tires have been slashed!  I demand that you replace them!”


Doug said, “I had nothing to do with that.”


William said, “Like hell!”


Doug said, “Listen to me.  That happens a lot to anyone who parks too nice of a car around here.  People get jealous of what they can’t have and slash the tires.  That’s why I do a good business here.”


William said, “If that is the case – that they were jealous, why the tires?  Why not key the car?”


Doug said, “I can’t answer that … but hear me out before you say another word.  I’m sorry about what I said earlier.  After I cooled down a bit, I realized that you had every right to do what you did to me.  It certainly proved me wrong.  You do have balls and I respect you for it.  To make it up to you, I will replace your tires for the money that you have already paid me.  Will that be okay?”


William said, “Fine … I guess.  How soon can you get the tires on it?”


Doug said, “Tomorrow morning.  I don’t have enough tires to do it today.”


William said, “That’s bull shit!  Just a couple hours ago, you wanted to sell me four.”


Doug said, “Yes.  I had four tires and sold you one.  Three tires won’t do you any good unless you want to use your spare.  Otherwise, I’ll have a tire here by 8:30am and have you out of here no later than 10:30am.”


William said, “I hate spending another night here … but … okay.  Fine.”






After closing the shop for the night, Doug went out for dinner and a few drinks.  But that evening he returned to the shop with a twelve pack and sat in the darkened waiting area sipping beer and staring out at the door to one particular motel room.  When the door to that room swung open and revealed a shapely silhouette, Doug quickly got to his feet and put his face close to the window.  The fabric of whatever Julia was wearing was so sheer that the light from the doorway passed easily through it.  By the time Doug unlocked the front door of his shop and made his way outside, Julia was opening the trunk of the car.  Her head and upper torso seemed to disappear as she bent to rummage through the contents of her trunk.  Doug kept his eye on Julia’s swaying butt as he quickly made his way across the street.  When he got immediately behind her, he lifted the fabric of her dress with one hand while running his other hand up her inner thigh.  Without stopping what she was doing and without turning around Julia said, “Not an inch higher!”


Doug asked, “I don’t intend to stop until I’m about two inches higher and ten inches deeper?”


Julia said, “Really?  And are you intending to ask my consent or are you just going to help yourself?”


Doug said, “It’s not my job to ask. Your body is doing the asking.  Its begging for what I have to give.  Waving your butt in the air in this neighborhood is an open invitation … and you’re about to get my RSVP.”


Julia spun around and smiled.  She said, “Oh.  I thought it was sneaky, old William trying to apologize to me for being an ass … or I would have just kept my mouth shut and let your skilled hands do whatever they wanted.”


Doug said, “It’s not my hands that are calling the shots right now.”


Julia asked, “I did hear you say “inches,” right?  William is always thinking in metric.  He says inches but I always get short-changed.  Ten inches huh?”


Doug said, “Feeling is believing.”


Julia said, “All joking aside, it’s been really fun flirting with you, but I’ve got a favor to ask, Doug.  Could you do something for me?  If it is ever possible for a man to be honest with a woman, be honest with me now.”


Doug said, “I’m sorry, Honey, but I wasn’t flirting.  That was foreplay … and I NEVER go halfway.  And honesty?  I’d say or do anything I have to right now to get what I want from you.  But let me warn you, the saying time is about over.  The doing time is about to start.”


Julia said, “All I want is to know … what you want?”


Doug said, “You have got to be kidding!”


Julia said, “If you won’t be honest with me, at least be honest with yourself.  You don’t really want me.  A man like you can get laid whenever he wants to.”


Doug said, “Well I certainly want it now.  Actually, I’ve wanted it since I saw you sitting on that handkerchief in my waiting room.  I never envied a piece of cloth before that moment.  I’ve waited all night for this … hoping you’d take a dip in the pool so I could take a dip into you.  I even let Nikki go home at quitting time for a change.  I’ve saved it all for you.  But I’m not going to wait much longer.  I feel like I’m about to explode.”


Julia said, “You don’t really want me ….”


Doug grabbed her roughly both arms and said, “You’ll know in a minute just how wrong you are!”


Julia said in a nervous voice, “I know what you really want.  You want vengeance.  Believe me. I know what it’s like to want vengeance.  But what makes it sweet is the WAY you get it.  Improperly done, it can be an empty experience that makes you even more miserable.”


Doug said, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”


Julia said, “You may want me a little, but what you REALLY want is to humiliate William for what he did to you.”


Doug said, “You underestimate yourself Honey.  You are the hottest thing I’ve seen on this side of town in months.  I can tell you’ve got what it takes to make me scream.”


Julia said, “I hope that’s true, but it doesn’t really matter to me why you want me.  This isn’t a test.  You get the prize no matter how you answer the questions.  I’m just trying to determine how to get the biggest bang for the bang – to maximize the experience for both of us.”  Doug lightened his grip on her and smiled knowing that he was about to get exactly what he wanted.  Julia said, “Let me guess how you would like this to go.  You don’t want our little interaction to be discreet, do you?  You want William to know every thing you do to me.”  Doug’s smile faded.  He didn’t say anything.  Julia continued, “For him to find out about us after you’re finished with me … that might be what you’re thinking.  But I have a feeling that you would like it a lot more if he had to watch what we do … as we are doing it.  You would like that, wouldn’t you?”  Her face lit up in a big smile.  She said, “I know I would!”  Doug returned her smile.  Julia said, “Is that a gun in your pocket or is that the ten inches you promised me?”


Doug said, “All me, I’m afraid.”


Julia said, “I was afraid that it wasn’t.  Do you have a gun?”


Doug said, “Not on me.  I won’t need one to handle William.  I’m pretty good with this.”  Doug let go of her, pulled a knife from his pocket and extended its blade.


Julia said, “Will is well trained at hand to hand combat.  Believe me.  I have spent a fortune in make up to cover up the marks he has left on me.  The last man William caught me with was trained in martial arts and he had to be hospitalized after William was finished with him.  We shouldn’t risk making William angry if all you are going in there with is a knife.  Here.  I keep something in my trunk in case William gets out of control with me and goes too far.  The man turns to jelly at the sight of a gun!”  Julia handed Doug a brown paper bag.  He looked inside and pulled out a chrome-plated revolver.  Julia said, “Want to trade me for the knife?”  Doug dropped the bag, put the gun into the waistband of his pants and handed her the knife.  She threw the knife into the trunk of the car.  Julia squatted, picked up the bag and threw it into the trunk saying, “I may be sexually uninhibited, but I have a thing against littering. … OH!  I have something else for you.  These are old but I’ve been told that they are very good shots of me.”  Julia handed Doug a small envelope.  He opened it and looked inside.  There were a half dozen photos of Julia.  A couple of them were close-ups of her face.  The others were a little more personal.  She said, “It would make me feel very warm and fuzzy if you would put those in your wallet.  Doug pulled out his wallet and put the photos into it.  He crumpled the envelope and almost threw it on the ground.  But he stopped, smiled at Julia and threw the wad of paper into the trunk.  Julia asked, “Do you have a condom in your wallet?”


Doug said, “Yes, I do.”


Julia said, “Well if you need room for the photos, throw that thing out.  I don’t have any diseases and I find condoms very impersonal, don’t you?”  Doug leaned forward to kiss her.  She pushed him back and said, “Wait for your reward until we’re inside … when William is watching.  It will be so much sweeter then!  Listen.  I’m going back inside now.  I won’t be very careful about getting the outside door closed all the way, if you catch my drift.  There are two pair of handcuffs on the dresser and some other things that William uses to discipline me.  Those handcuffs are the real deal – not the kind of cheap stuff you get at some sex toyshop.  I think it is high time that William gets to feel what it is to have those things used on him.  I’m going to take a quick shower so you and William can have some time alone together.  I’ll wait in the bathroom until you have William in his chair and ready for tonight’s entertainment.  I hope you’ll be coming inside very soon.  Oh, before I forget, there is a big favor you can do for me.  I’m going to act more than a little reluctant to do what you tell me to.  I want you to rough me up a bit.  I won’t mind … really.  I kind of like it.  If I seem too willing to cooperate, believe me, William will do far worse to me than you could possibly imagine the next time he gets the chance.  Tell me that you will slap me around a bit.  Please!  Otherwise, I might accidentally lock the door.”


Doug said, “If you want me too.  Like I said earlier, I’m willing to do what I have to get what I want.”


Julia gave Doug a final smile then turned and strutted seductively back to the door of the motel room.  She didn’t quite close the door behind her.  Outside, Doug could hear William yelling at Julia for staying outside so long.







The five minutes that passed before Doug walked to the door seemed several times that long for Doug.  He felt a mixture of nerves and excitement as he pulled the chrome-plated gun from his waistband.  He pushed the door open and pointed it at William.  William froze like a statue.  As Doug walked closer to him, William quickly apologized for hitting Doug.  When Doug continued to hold the gun on him, William told him where he was hiding his money and credit cards.  Doug told William to sit in the chair next to the bed.  Doug glanced at the dresser and saw handcuffs, keys and a strap designed to serve as a gag.  Doug pocketed the keys and threw one pair of handcuffs to William.  William understood and secured one wrist to the chair.  Doug went over with the other pair of handcuffs and secured William’s other wrist.  William shouted, “What do you want from me?”


Doug said, “Just your undivided attention as I have some fun with the fair lady Julia.”


William said, “If you as much as touch her, you had better kill me!”


Doug punched William in the stomach, knocking the wind out of him.  Doug said, “Be careful what you wish for.  I might decide to take permanent possession of her.”


Doug went back to the dresser and got the strap.  He fastened it tightly around William’s head so that he couldn’t make much noise.  Julia came out of the bathroom wearing a silk slip and robe.  She said, “William, what’s going … OH MY GOD!”  She turned and headed back into the bathroom.  William rushed over and kicked the bathroom door back open as Julia started to close it.  Then he dragged Julia to the bed and threw her onto it.  She jumped off the bed but he gave her a hard, back handed slap and she fell onto the mattress and made no further attempt to get up.


Doug walked over to her and, with one hand, held her head to the mattress with her face pointing towards William.  He pointed the gun at William with his other hand and said, “If you don’t do everything I tell you to do, I will kill him.  DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME?!”


Julia said, “Don’t hurt him!  DON’T HURT HIM!”


Doug couldn’t help but laugh at how good of an actress Julia was.  With a wicked grin on his face, he said, “No matter what I do to you, you’d better make me believe that you love it … that you love me … or your precious William is a dead man!”


Julia said, “I do whatever you want me to.  Just don’t hurt him!”


Doug said, “Now sit up and take off that robe.”


Julia did what he had asked.  She said, “We have money -- lots of money.  If you leave now, you can have it all … and we won’t tell the police or anyone what happened!”


Doug slapped Julia again and she slumped to the bed and began to whimper.  He said, “Don’t you get it?  I OWN you now.  You are mine to do with as I please.  If I want the money, I’ll take it … but not before I am finished doing what I want with you.  Now roll over or he’ll die … and I’ll have you anyway.”


Julia laid down.  Doug took off his shirt and got on the bed so that Julia was between him and the chair where William sat struggling against his restraints.  In this way, he could be enjoy Julia and watch William at the same time.  He pulled Julia close and began kissing her on the neck while keeping eye contact with William.  As he threw a leg over her he could feel her breathing getting heavier.  He ran a hand between her breasts and felt the rapid beating of her heart.  He whispered in her ear, “You really want this, don’t you?”


Julia said, “More than you could possibly know.  I think it’s time for me to stick it deep inside!”


Julia shifted her position.  Doug felt a sharp pain in his back.  At the same time, Julie moved her head and sank her teeth into the top of his shoulder – breaking skin and drawing blood.  He pushed her back and got to his knees on the bed.  He stepped off the bed and tried to pull out the knife that was lodged in his back.  He felt the first bullet rip through his chest.  Julia was seated on the bed pointing a small revolver at him.  She smiled and said, “I told you that revenge is sweet!  I hope that having my husband’s watch was worth all the pain you’re feeling now, asshole!  … Actually, that’s NOT true … and this, after all IS the moment of truth!  I’m hoping that it wasn’t worth it.  I’m hoping that you have finally come to regret being an inhuman monster.  Too bad your Momma never taught you to leave what belongs to other people alone!  Well, I’m you’re Momma now and I’m teaching you a lesson that you won’t live long enough to forget!”  Julia took careful aim and fired three more shots designed to inflict as much pain as she could.  When Doug fell to the floor, she got off the bed and stood over him for a second before putting a bullet through his head.  She leaned over and raked the fingernails of her left hand across his right cheek.  Then she put her gun in the other hand and scratched his left cheek with her right hand.  She quickly pulled the Rolex watch from Doug’s wrist.  She looked at the inscription on the back of it and softly said, “James … I did it, Honey.  I did it!”  She kissed the back of the watch then hurried over to William.  She laid her gun down on the bed, put the watch on his wrist and said, “You did a great job Will.  I’m hiding this in plain sight like we discussed.  Remember, the watch isn’t one of the perks of the job.  I trust you’ll remember to give it back to me when this is all over -- especially since you know what I’m willing to do to get it back.”  She smiled at him and he winked at her.  She ripped her slip and noticed her looking at her exposed breast.  She said, “Consider that a tip.”  She picked up her gun and headed to the door.  She began screaming hysterically as she went outside.  She ran across the parking lot to the motel office.  The police arrived within ten minutes.






Neither Julia Winchester nor William Clauson had requested a lawyer be present while the police questioned them about what had happened.  They were taken to separate rooms to have their statements taken.


Detective Harris reviewed Will’s statement and asked, “What exactly is your relationship to Julia Winchester?”


Will answered, “I’m her body guard.”


Detective Harris asked, “Nothing more?”


Will answered, “Nothing more.”


Detective Harris said, “Yet you shared motel room with one bed.”


Will said, “What can I say?  She’s cheap.”


Detective Harris said, “She’s loaded!”


Will said, “How do you think rich people get rich and stay rich?  Some of the wealthiest clients I have are the stingiest people I know.”


Detective Harris said, “I know exactly how she made her money.  She married into it.”


Will said, “That’s not exactly the case. She wasn’t exactly a pauper when she married.  True, James Wincester’s family fortune was considerably more than Julia’s, but her parents had given her enough money in trust that she didn’t need to work for a living if she was careful how she spent her money.  But she did work and she did live frugally and, even after inheriting everything James had, still saves a buck when she can.  And the thing about getting a room with only one bed in it … she was scared being in this neighborhood.  She liked me to stay close … and if you got a look at her, you’ll understand why I don’t object to sharing a bed with her.  I’m not such a gentlemen that I wouldn’t take advantage if she got an urge and decided that she wanted a little bit more from me for her money.”


Detective Harris said, “Did that ever happen?”


Will said, “No.  And considering the attempted rape and my inability to stop it, I am more likely to lose my job than to share a bed with her again.  I want you to understand something.  James Winchester was the love of Julia’s life.  Yes, he was wealthy, but I have no doubt that she would have married him even if he was penniless or deep in debt.”


Detective Harris said, “So, did you know James Winchester?”


Will said, “No, but spending time with Julia makes you feel like you know him … because his ghost is always there in the room with her.  Knowing her is knowing him.  He is part of the fabric of her life.”


Detective Harris said, “So did Mrs. Winchester hire you to investigate the man who killed her husband … and set him up for the kill?”


Will said, “Whoa, whoa, whoa!  I’m her bodyguard.  That’s it.”


Detective Harris said, “You’re a private investigator – a private investigator with quite a reputation.  Former Navy Seal – highly decorated.  Former professional kick boxer.  Very impressive.”


Will said, “Not impressive enough to keep me working steady.  I need to take an occasional job like this one to keep the rent paid.”


Detective Harris said, “Some of the people from the shop where Douglas Freeman worked said that they thought you and Mrs. Winchester were a couple.  They said you bickered like an old married couple.”


Will said, “Mr. Freeman’s friends?  I’d suggest you take whatever they say with a grain of salt.  But I will admit that Julia and I can get on each other’s nerves.  She’s my boss, but we are with each other around the clock.  I have to remind myself constantly that we aren’t friends and to keep it professional.  And she has to remember to limit her demands on me to the kind of things that an employer can expect of an employee – nothing more.  Then add to that the flat tire and getting stuck in this neighborhood longer than she expected -- the neighborhood where her husband died.  Given the situation, a little friction is only natural.  Also, I thought it would be a good idea to not let anyone know that I was just her bodyguard.  If people thought we were a couple, all the better.  She didn’t want the kind of attention men would give her if they knew she was single.  In her heart, she is still married to James.  Plus, if people knew that I was trained to protect her, I would have less advantage if someone should try something.”


Detective Harris said, “That theory didn’t seem to work, did it?  So, why was she here?  You said she was scared to be here.  If she wasn’t here looking to settle a score with Douglas Freeman, why did she come?”


Will said, “She wanted to continue her husband’s business.  It was part of who he was and, to her, keeping the business alive was like keeping a part of James alive.  His business brought him to this area occasionally, so it brought her here as well.  She wanted to do him proud.  She came here despite this being where he died – not because of it.  But she isn’t as brave as she pretends to be, so she had me come with her.”


Detective Harris said, “Her mistake.”


Will said, “Pardon me?”


Detective Harris said, “She hired a man to protect her who allowed someone to slash the tires of her car – a car that was outside the window of the motel room that he was in -- a car that had a state of the art security system that mysteriously failed to sound an alarm.  She hired a man who, according to your own statement, allowed Douglas Freeman to do anything he wanted with her.  You didn’t try to stop Mr. Freeman because he held a gun on you – a gun filled with blanks.  Then you allowed him to secure you to a chair with magician’s handcuffs that you should have been able to get out of at any time – but didn’t.  She hired you, but you were useless to her.  She had to defend herself.  Isn’t this what I’m supposed to believe?  It’s what you described isn’t it?”


Will said, “Not quite.  I didn’t describe the blanks because I didn’t know the gun was filled with blanks.  I have no way of knowing what kind of bullets are in a gun that’s pointing at me.  If you know a way to know what kind of ammunition is inside a gun from across a room, Detective Harris, please let me know.  That trick might come in quite handy.  I didn’t describe the handcuffs as magician’s handcuffs because I didn’t know that they were.  Even if I had known they were magician’s handcuffs, I don’t have a clue to how to open them.  It’s not as if the handcuffs were mine … not as if I had read whatever instructions that might have come with them.  Look at the abrasions on my wrists.  I tried my best to break free!  Maybe you should try them on and see if you can get out of them!  What else did you say?  Oh.  The security system on the car.  It had obviously been tampered with when it was in the shop.  I made the mistake of relying on it when it wasn’t working.  Also … this is hard … the man was pointing a gun at me.  I thought he had a grudge with me.  I was aware that he might kill me.  I thought he might settle for just robbing us and roughing me up.  But I never for a moment thought that he intended any physical harm to Julia.  If I had known that, I would have taken a bullet for her.  For HER, but NOT to protect her money.  You can’t imagine how I feel now knowing that there were only blanks in that gun.  That means that what we went through was totally unnecessary.  Yes … yes … YES!  She did make a mistake hiring me.  I don’t know what I can say to her.  I have gone into battle without flinching … but I’m dreading the next moment I spend alone with her.







In another interrogation room, Detective Edwards paced back and forth as another officer stood by as witness to what was being said.


Detective Edwards asked, “You had no idea that Douglas Freeman was the man that killed your husband?”


Julia answered, “No … not until … he wanted me to know before he … before he ….  He showed me the pictures of me that he had taken from my husband’s wallet – personal photos that my husband had taken of me at private moments.  He said he recognized me when I came into his shop.  He said that he had spent months fantasizing about me and that he was going to fulfill all his fantasies.”


Detective Edwards said, “So … he showed you the pictures … then he stopped and put them back into his wallet … before proceeding.  Very tidy.”


Julia said, “Yes … that’s what he did.  I don’t know why he did what he did and I don’t care.  All I know is what he did and I told you … I told you it all in my statement.  He disabled my car’s security system so he could slash my tires and keep me there long enough to do what he did.  I tried to talk him out of it.  I told him that he would go to prison for hurting me and Will.  But he just laughed and said that his friends would testify that I had flirted with him and seduced him … that Will had paid me him to service me.  That I wanted him to hit me.  He said his employee Nikki would testify that she was there in the bed with us the entire time.  He said he would get away with it … just like he always had gotten away with doing whatever he wanted to do … just like he had gotten away with robbing and sticking a knife into my husband James!”


Detective Edwards said, “The witnesses all said that James Winchester tried to force his attentions on Nikki Adams.  Douglas Freeman asked your husband to back off and your husband attacked him with a knife.  Mr. Freeman defended himself and your husband died.”


Julia said, “My husband was not aggressive … he wasn’t violent.  He was different than anyone I had ever met.  Some would call him clueless … but I would describe him as pure and innocent – as timid of a man as I have ever met.  He was different … special.  I had to make all the moves to get his to date and then marry me.  I had to initiate any intimacy we every had … and before you ask, we had a very active and healthy love life.  He was too embarrassed to ask even though I constantly told him that I would do anything to please him -- anything.  He was devoted to me.  We were devoted to each other.  He would never think of forcing himself on another woman.  No.  Not my James!  And he never got into a physical fight with anyone in his entire life.”


Detective Edwards said, “All the witnesses said the same thing.”


Julia said, “Since when is truth decided by a majority vote?”


Detective Edwards said, “At least since the jury system was developed.  That’s the way the justice system works in the free world.”


Julia laughed, “Justice!  What a concept!”


Detective Edwards said, “Maybe there was a side to your husband you didn’t know.  Maybe he didn’t hold other women in the same esteem that he held you.  Maybe he wasn’t as timid with other women or afraid to tell them what he wanted.  Maybe your husband got drunk.”


Julia said, “Check your records.  He had no alcohol in his system when he died.  He didn’t drink.  He didn’t!  EVER!  Not even an occasional glass of wine.”


Detective Edwards said, “This is all irrelevant anyway.  We aren’t here to discuss your husband’s death.”


Julia said, “You brought it up.”


Detective Edwards said, “Because it is a motive.”


Julia said, “A motive for what?  For getting beaten and raped?”


Detective Edwards said, “Why did you have a knife on your night stand?”


Julia said, “The tires on the car were slashed so we couldn’t go out to a restaurant.  So we had to have food delivered.”


Detective Edwards said, “What take out place provides metal silverware?”


Julia said, “They don’t.  I hate eating with plastic.  I always pack my own silverware.  And I always clean my silverware before putting it back in my suitcase.  I hadn’t gotten around to cleaning the silverware so it was still on my nightstand.  It’s just one of my quirks.  I won’t use plastic – especially plastic knives with those useless little bumps of the edge that won’t cut through anything.”


Detective Edwards said, “Or anyone.  … Very handy.  Just like having a revolver under your pillow.”


Julia said, “I was frightened to be in this town … apparently with good reason.”


Detective Edwards said, “But you had a bodyguard!”


Julia said, “I wanted to be sure I was safe.  I didn’t know if I could count on Will … and it turned out that I couldn’t.  Plus Will is a man.  I couldn’t trust him not to try something with me some night.  I needed that gun.  It’s registered and I have a license to carry it.”


Detective Edwards said, “You had a gun … why did you stab him?”


Julia answered, “It was under my pillow … and I was on the pillow … and he was on top of me.  He didn’t move when I scratched him.  He just slapped me.  He didn’t move when I bit him.  He just slapped me again.  When my hand touched the nightstand, I felt around and found the knife.  I stabbed him.  He could have shot me.  Instead, he got off me and gave me the opportunity to get the gun and defend myself.”


Detective Edwards said, “You emptied five bullets into him.  At first I wondered why you didn’t use the sixth bullet.  Then it dawned on me.  You weren’t going out in that neighborhood wearing just a torn slip.  You wanted that last bullet just in case someone tried to take advantage of your situation before you could get to the motel office.  To me, that showed planning … showed that you were thinking before you pulled that trigger.  Someone acting on an impulse while frightened out of their mind wouldn’t do that.  What you did was coldly calculated and brutal.”


Julie pointed a finger at herself and said, “Me?  Brutal?  Look at what he did to me … and he had just started!  And since he had just let me know that he was capable of committing cold-blooded murder without a trace of remorse, I didn’t take any chance that he would get up and finish with me.  My Daddy always told me when he took me hunting, “Don’t wound an animal unless you are willing to kill it because that animal won’t show you the same kind of sympathy when it has the chance to kill you.”  And, make no mistake, Douglas Freeman was a vicious ANIMAL!  I am the victim here!  I apologize that I didn’t count the number of times I shot that bastard.  He tried to rape me.  He murdered my husband!”


Detective Edwards said, “The witnesses all said ….”


Julie said, “Did you believe them?!”


Detective Edwards paused for a moment before answering, “No.  But we have no choice but to go by the evidence.”


Julie said, “Do you believe what Will and I wrote in our statements?”


Detective Edwards said, “No.”


Julie stared coldly at him and said, “Then you have no choice.  You have two witnesses to what happened that say the same thing.  I suggest that you look at what evidence you have and go from there.”






No charges were ever filed against Julie Winchester or Will Clauson in the matter of the death of Douglas Freeman.





















My stories intentionally lack a lot of description.  That leaves the reader room to use their imagination.  But with this story, I tried to give a little more detail.  Still … how old was Julia, what was her figure like, what was her hair color and what color dress did she wear in the waiting room?  My wife read something recently that a story shouldn’t have any element in it that doesn’t directly relate to the outcome.  I think people who follow that rule create mysteries that suck.  If you see a character, you know that he is directly involved.  It isn’t like real like at all.  Last night I saw an investigation into an aircraft explosion.  They found traces of plastic explosives on the plane.  The plane blew up due to an overheated fuel tank.  The plastic explosives were put there by police during a dog training exercise!  That’s the way life is – not too clear cut.


I wrote the overview for the story a few weeks ago.  I knew the entire story in my head, but I am so exhausted and busy now that I didn’t want to go through the trouble of writing it.  I wanted Julia to be sure that Doug did what she wanted and didn’t get what he wanted.  She in no way wanted to please him and she didn’t want him to decide to have sex with her when she wasn’t prepared to keep it from happening.  I imagined her having an anti-rape device inside of her that they market now (not too smart) that will tear up a man that enters a woman.  In my opinion, wearing one of those would only end up getting a woman killed.  I also was concerned that Doug would hurt Steve too badly for him to be able to help Julia if she needed it.  I thought about having Julia have some injuries that she either self-inflicted or had Steve give her that she could claim were made by Doug.  That still could have happened.  I just don’t spell it out.  Everything that Julia and Steve tell in the story is a mixture of truth and lies.  The truth isn’t clear.  Did Doug slash the tires or have someone do it?  Or did Steve slash the tires and blame Doug?  Doug probably had one of his men do it.  Did the security system on the car actually not work when the tires were slashed or did Steve simply not respond to it and sabotage the system after the fact?  I very much doubt that Doug decided to slash the tires until the car was already out of the shop.  The only way that it makes sense that he sabotaged the security system would be if Julia’s lie had been true – that he had pictures of Julia and knew that Julia was James’ wife when he first saw her … and planned to rape her.  I wanted the lag time between the fired shots and Julia’s screams to be minimal too.  I thought the police might comment on that.