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B. B. Riefner

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· The Ultimate Hit Contract - Part IV: And It's Not In The Index

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· The Ultimate Hit Contract - Part I: Initial Contact

· Nightmare By Enlightenment

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The Ultimate Hit Contract - Part II: The Devil Is Not In the Details
By B. B. Riefner
Posted: Sunday, September 26, 2010
Last edited: Sunday, September 09, 2012
This short story is rated "R" by the Author.

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Recent stories by B. B. Riefner
· The Ultimate Hit Contract - Part I: Initial Contact
· Swiss Francs From Heaven
· Five Lives in the Water
· Immortality and the Boom-Pa Factor
· Truth in Nakedness
· Slices From The Pie
· Nightmare By Enlightenment
           >> View all 18
The assignment is accepted. Details are avoided. Love replaces passion. The hunt is on.

The ultimate hit   Part Two:

 The Devil Is Not In The Details

 

It was completely dark when Clifford Dickerson sat up, stretched, and offered, “Hey, time to eat. Dinner’s on me.” He stood, looked out the windows onto the view he always loved. As he did he addressed the descending Mexican blackness. “I hope you can’t make contact for … Never mind. That was really great, outrageous.”

“It was exactly what I didn’t expect.”

“That good?”

“I think your word outrageous sums it up. And you bet dinner’s on you!” As she sat up there was burst of parrot squawking from the palm forest just beyond their windows.

“They must ah been peeking,” he laughed, but silently he admitted just that simple movement brought a certain stiffening to particular parts of his anatomy.

“It doesn’t look like I did a proper job.”

“Ignore him. It’s.been some time.”

“How about if I give you something else?” she smiled as she leaned forward and reached for his crotch. “Dinner can wait. At least the one we can get down stairs.” She rose, still holding him so she could lead him to the window seat and sit. “Little closer and by the way what the hell is your real name?”

“Cliff,” then he pointed to the part of him she was holding. “And he’s Saint Francis. Always ready to give a helping hand.”

“Funny. So move over here and let me show you something I didn’t learn in the Corps.” She reared back slightly, inspecting and her smile was approval. “Cliff’s. a nice name. Mine’s Melba. And unless you’re really something special I’m about to make this guy into a limp hunk of toast.”

“Do I get any odds?” Her laughter told him he hadn’t a chance of surviving.

It took Melba Jean Kittrich three days to make the initial contact. In the mean time he wined and dined her, and also showed her the better points about Acapulco, avoiding both the cliff divers and the casinos. He was thinking about renting a car and revealing the wonders of the coast from here north for a couple hundred miles when a cab pulled into the hotel she got out, nodded and motioned him to join her in her room. He mounted the stairs to a ripple of Ole’s and soft whistles from the Beach Bums.

“We fly in three hours. Can you get ready by then?”

 “Sure if you let me alone for fifteen minutes. Don’t need much and what I don’t take I can buy on the way since I got unlimited expenses. The important gear comes as I need it”

“You got unlimited lots of things, Clifford Dickerson. But you got to say yes and you haven’t…yet.

“I don’t want this to be just another roll in the hay. How about you?”

“I’m hoping you’re gonna ram rod this deal. Be where ever the hell I’m gonna be.”

“Maybe. That’s up to them. I’ll see you down stairs when you’re ready. We can stop off at Philippe’s for one last perfect Margarita. How’s that for a start?” He nodded and walked down the balcony surrounding Hotel del Sol to his room. Before he began sorting out what he wanted to take, he made a phone call. He was assured his equipment would be where ever he wanted in ten hours after he called.

As he poked about in two leather shoulder bags, his thoughts weren’t centered on either packing or what kind of a deal he was facing. He was thinking, It’s sure as hell is a new world. None of the old criteria matters. That’s no good or bad come to think of it. Now it’s get in bed and then perhaps get to the biography, and maybe the bank account. How many worlds ago was it when it was the reverse? Two? … No … At least four. Four sounded fairly accurate but he didn’t bother listing them.

The Margaritas were perfect, just as perfect as the First Class seat’s contours and cushions. He ignored the glass of no name champagne Melba stretched, gave one of her half contented sighs and whispered, A It’s fourteen hours to London, five fast forward time zones and nine hours of actual time.”

“Been there … Over and over, wake me when it’s over,” he interrupted, turned slightly away from her and closed his eyes.

Customs at Gatwick Air terminal was a breeze. Since she hadn’t divulged their destination, he let her hail the cab, and was silently amused when she informed the cabby their first stop was Thames Ditton. A few years back he spent almost an entire summer there, discovering how little he and a lady from Columbia had in common once they got out of bed.

Thames Ditton is a post World War I suburb with its streets laid out as straight as a Roman Army camp. The majority of homes were duplexes built in Fax Victorian. However, the cab continued through that until it reached the river and turned west. Within two minutes they were passing large individual homes which got larger with more property every block or so.

Their cab eased by its sign advertizing a pub established in 1509. Cliff could see the abrupt end of the street when the cab turned and paused before a closed ornate iron gate he estimated to be at least twelve feet tall. He liked the brass acorn toppings on the posts. Without a sound or her doing a thing, the gate opened. The lawn looked like golf green, and the flower beds were filled with perfectly matched roses, whose hues changed with each new bed. After a couple hundred yards, they rounded a slight bend and passed a tall line of slim expertly trimmed and groomed cedars. Then the well concealed house reached out and clubbed him right between the eyes.

Melba’s entire torso jerked at Dickerson’s wild busting laughter. “Jesus H. Christ! I thought only newly rich American Robber Barons hadn’t any taste! Maybe there’s still a glimmer of hope for this mad house we’re living in!”

When she frowned, and turned her puzzled eyes in his direction, he shook his head and

added, “This place has got to have fifty rooms. Beautiful stone and brick work. Glass is in the right places, right height.” Then his laughter smothered the rest.

“Fifty-nine rooms actually. It’s gorgeous! Why the hell are you laughing, Cliff! It’s made every major home magazine in the world!”

“It’s only an expensive imitation of at least five chateaus along the Loire River in France. The front is Blois with its double stairway. The east side is Chambord with all its lovely chimneys, and the west is a direct copy from Angers. I’ll bet the farm the back is Fontainebleau. If they got to copy, why the hell didn’t they use England? Hampton Court across the Thames is a damn good place to start; sans brick of course.”

“Because you’re about to meet men who have no countries Clifford.  And don’t mind if I’m just a little in awe. Who would ever guess that a man of your profession would have a background in art?”

“Thanks. But I’m disappointed you finely got to that crap. Ever since I played high school football, most of you always assume a guy the size of a bear has to have the brain of a … College was worse. There’s no way a starting corner back could be anything but a moron. And God knows never expect a jock to write publishable poetry!”

“I apologize! Up until fifteen minutes ago, I hadn’t been introduced to this guy! Write a poem for me. Never met a man who had both creativity and energy and did you know they are irresistible to either sex?” She pecked him on a cheek. “And have you really been all those places or just got a good memory and read a lot?”

 “All my girls have been intellectual prostitutes. You know five grand a night, arm candy, who’ve had Ivy League educations, always standing half naked in expensive hotel lobbies.” He made no effort to filter the vicious sarcastic tone, and Melba’s smile got warmer the longer his rant. So he decided to quit. By then they were at a full stop, half way around the circular drive, directly dissecting the double front doors whose only rival for at least their height would have been Saint Peters in Rome.

She waited until their few bags were unloaded, and the driver tipped, before she took his arm to lead him to the doors. “Someone will get our bags,” she offered when he was about to shoulder his. “Just draw yourself up to full bear height and try not to get into too much trouble the first five minutes. Okay?” That got a smile.

The left half of the door swung in without her touching the well polished brass knocker, and true to her words, a young man stepped from behind the livery attired doorman to retrieve their luggage and follow at a discrete distance.

“Good afternoon, Miss Kittrich. Doctors Kim and Langford’s planes are running a trifle late. Bad weather over Germany as I understand.” The butler sounded exactly like someone out of the casting department at M. G. M. in the late nineteen forties.

“Thank you Thomas. We are a bit fatigued. Can you have Russell take our bags up to the West Suite?” Without so much as a nod, Thomas led the way to a small oak door hiding an elevator and bowed as they stepped in. Melba waited, expressionless as the door was closed she pushed the gold encircled four and Dickerson decided not to comment on the swift adjustment in her speech. When the elevator opened on to the West Suite, she waited silently until she closed the door.

“Okay. I’ve got an image to maintain. No more American accent. And you don’t have to be nice. To hired help. I caught that little smirk.” Cliff spun slowly, taking a three sixty of the room. There were five double sets of windows reaching from two feet off the floor to the same for the ceiling. Two sofas, a pair of lounge chairs, rested on a huge Oriental rug, centered at the front of a hearth whose mantel was at least a dozen feet long. The bed was ultra king sized, four posted with canopy and matching side curtains. He didn’t need to open the three folding sets of doors to know he could live in the walk in closet lying behind them.

“Reminds me of home,” he offered. “Except the bed’s a bit smaller and...”

“Oh go to hell in a hand cart!” she laughed and sat in one of the chairs.

“Do you always lift your skirt up high enough so a guy can...”

“It’s none of your business. Just be grateful the invitation is there Clifford. It’s been a long flight.”He stepped over a few paces and glanced into the bath. The tub was built for four and the mirror above it left no doubt that it was not simply for bathing.

“How about a nice soothing tub; the one in there is almost big enough to be a lock on the Panama Canal.”

“Yes I know.” That stopped him for a couple of breaths. “But we haven’t got time enough for that. And I have to freshen up. Why don’t you take a shower and we’ll see about something less time consuming.”

A knock at the door brought Thomas who informed her that the planes were further delayed and could she wait dinner for them? She nodded, closed the door and turned with a smirk

“So I’m on hold while my creds are checked.”

“Three times dear. That’s over.”

“Okay same me some time. What’s the deal?”

“Shouldn’t do this until you’re signed sealed and delivered. But it’s the same old same old same old. Just the size of the earth changes darling.”

“So I’m getting rid of someone who’s a threat to their bank accounts.”

“Sort of, but the A Bomb made it a different world. Until it came on the scene, the rich controlled things and the politicians were just mouthpieces.”

“Still are, aren’t they?”

“Not really. The bomb complicated things. Until it war, any war, was always good for the rich.”

“Until someone can blow their carefully constructed economic fief to bits, then war sucks.”

“Exactly So, as soon as Russia and China got a few, the guys hiring you decided it was time to consolidate. No more Free Enterprise globally. Combine banks manufacturing and lace them all into international networks so any atomic activity threatens everyone.”

“But the politicians didn’t they see it coming?”

“Didn’t catch on until the doors were nailed shut and they hadn’t any control except …”

“Threats, saber rattling and curses.”

‘Exactly again,” she nodded toward the sunken tub on its raised marble platform, “ That thing can hold a … Okay.” She sighed, I’ll finish this. I can see your mind’s in control.” After a frown which punctured her disappointment she continued.“Given your druthers, knowing this planet is going to Hell in a hand cart, don’t you think the industrial giants have more to lose, so they can still change things around?”

“I don’t give a damn, Mel. Ask me, they’re the number one cause for the hand cart.”

“Yeah, guess so, but they’re terrified and want to reverse the process.” There was a knock on their double door. Melba answered, nodded and smiled as she shut it and turned. They’re really delayed. If you touch the switch under the first light by the vanity, you=ll find a bar and I=ll have a very large Grand Marnier.. As he complied and returned with a huge sniffers for both, she ventured. AI love oranges. Anyone ever tell you, you=ve got so much acid in your body they can taste it when the run a tongue over you?.

            “So even at five million, I’m still hired help. So, tell me the rest of the B>S>”

“The major problem is the emerging nations, the stagnant lands. They’re so corrupt they take the bribes and ignore …”

“Well, who the hell’s to blame for that? We led the world with that shit.in Central and South America for over a century.”

“Water down the toilet killer.”

“Lay off that.”

“Sorry. Promise,” She kissed both cheeks. “The troubles double. This is where the low wage worker and untapped natural resources are.”

“Gotcha! Labor costs are the only one management can control”

“B-plus dear. So if the place stays absolutely corrupt, the torch for a better life is never lit.”

“So Robin Hood and Chi stir things up which keeps the capital out that’s needed to develop new factories at slave wages plus getting hold of new cheaper resources.”

“A-minus but an A for the course; now, how about that tub?”

“Hold on. Remember I don’t put out on first dates. What about the cartels? The drug lords? That gig could really get expensive.”

“Whenever we want to we legalize and that will end that Now the tub!” She took the last sip from her sniffer, and smiled. AAnd that=s enough. How about that bath? From here it looks like I got your dander up?.

AI never had it called that..She laughed and led the way until there was another knock. She only exposed her head at the door. Cliff did notice that a new face but still in the same livery stood at a respectful distance as he informed them, A Doctor Kim and Langford have refreshed themselves and would like you in the study as soon as possible..

That was exactly twenty-two minutes. Thomas stood sentry duty. He opened the door and gave a slight nod. Cliff wasn=t really prepared for his first glance at the interior. The room was abnormal size, book cases stretching from waist height to the fourteen feet ceiling. And the shelves were packed, in fact almost overflowing with various sized, colored editions. But there wasn=t any of the frilly leather covered trapping he expected. From the second they pulled in Cliff had labeled the entire place a phony movie set done by an appetence designer. At least the study met all the qualifications to be exactly the opposite..

Doctors Kim and Langford were also exactly what he didn=t envision.

AAh, good evening Melba. It=s been so long, my memory=s almost erased your beauty.. Langford offered as he rose. Cliff judged he was no more than five feet five inches, and at first glance, he guessed the good doctor topped off at about an even one hundred pounds. He wore a three piece, Cambridge Gray Harris Tweed suit which made him look even smaller. His sharply shaped facial features reminded Cliff of his Father=s offering about people possessing Langford=s facial endowments.  ANever try to sell anything to a man or woman with pointy noses, and beady eyes, Clifford my boy!. That was one of his favorite battle cries. He also had to suppress a grin when he visualized Langford in bed with Melba=s ten inches or five feet. Melba gave a slight bow. Then again, Langford didn=t seem the type to engage in abnormal anything.

ADoctor Kim, Doctor Langford, may I present Mr. Phillip Lambert.. At this Doctor Kim rose from the divan. He was at least three inches taller than Dickerson=s six two or so. His head was large enough for some to suspect he was a hydro-syphilitic, and its complete, total baldness enhanced the assumption. Langford >s dark wavy perfectly set curls, almost forced him into at least a muffled chuckle, and he could feel Melba awareness.

“Doctor Kim,” he reached for the un-extended hand. A A pleasure sir, and Doctor Langford,. he turned and confronted an extended hand, which he slightly dropped his and shook. Another surprise, The Imp had a very strong grip.A Also a pleasure, sir.

AYou come highly recommended, Mr. ... I=m sorry, but it=s time to meet whomever you really are..

“Dickerson …. Clifford Dickerson..

AGood.. He waved at a large sofa. AFor you and Melba.. It was instantly obvious to Dickerson that Kim was the spokes-man. He also assumed that more than likely Langford was The Decider and major player.

What took place for the next hour or so was a long extended dissertation of Melba’s summing up he spent most of it staring at her body and wondering when it would all end. There were three false starts but the lecturer’s tone suddenly indicated the real thing was at hand

“So Mr. Dickerson our group has decided it is essential, better yet, imperative for the survival and progress of our race the politicians either fall into line with our thinking or ....

A Step aside..

AYes. And we have a very important step aside..

AWhere?.

APeru..

AWell, that=s a pretty safe place for me to operate..

AA major reason, which is why we’ve chosen you.. There was a long silence, a deep exhaling, followed by half an apology.ABut if you don=t mind, we=ll conduct your briefing tomorrow. Our journey was exhausting.. Langford stood, Kim smiled, and the initial interview was over. So was his interlude with Melba. Her luggage, intoxicating aromas and persona were gone when he came out of a long hot shower. He decided he needed his Glock under his pillow as he reluctantly accepted her absence and climbed beneath the silk sheets alone.

Kim and Langford made only a token appearance when he was conducted into a huge solarium with a magnificent panorama of the Thames River and Hampton Court Palace on the far bank. After introducing George Casovides, a tall, thin with a very dark complexion which did not fit a middle aged guy who could not disguise his East European accent. They each shook Dickerson=s hand and left.

Casovides provided basic details. He would have to locate his target in the Peruvian or Bolivian Alta Plano. The last visual contact had been Puno, a small city on the shores of Lake Titicaca. But Casovides hastened to add, A Bernardo Jonas roamed the entire highlands. He=s also been sighted for extended periods in the Huancayo and Ayacucho regions. I=ve been told you are very familiar with those regions?.

ABeen there. Hate >em. No roads. Old buses. The beer freezes every night and the sun will sear your lips in an hour unless you got protection..

Casovides shrugged this off. A I hate the cold.. Cliff asked for some of the man=s sins.

AAs far as I can tell from the briefing notes, Mr. Dickerson, he=s disrupting the entire economic stability in that area.. That got Cliff=s interest.

AHe sets up cooperatives with the weavers. Uses that start up cash thing to get women invested in the economy. There=s a whole new group of daily markets which didn=t exist five years ago. He=s behind all of them. And lately he=s beginning to encourage some local farmers to turn off their cocaine production and begin raising crops like barley ... even fruits and vegetables in green houses..

 Cliff soon discovered a few more of Bernardo=s sins and crimes. He was also responsible for elementary schools sprouting in villages whose inhabitants waved at jet air liners but had never seen an automobile or truck. Dickerson was only too aware the number of those places so remote there actually were no roads to them. At this point Cliff stopped listening. He=d heard enough. He just wanted to get this done, get the other half of his fee and go hide. Well, not quite. He did want Melba to reappear into his rapture.

Less than twenty-four hours later, his basic gear arrived by private jet and late that afternoon he climbed aboard another Leer after receiving an additional hundred thousand dollars for incidental expenses. They refueled in the Azores and again in Belize, Brazil. Twice he smiled and rejected the stewardess= invitation, even after she assured him her talents and services were part of his package.

End Part Two


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Reviewed by Joel Sattler 9/26/2010
A Step aside..

AYes. And we have a very important step aside..

AWhere?.

APeru..

AWell, that=s a pretty safe place for me to operate..

AA major reason, which is why we’ve chosen you.. There was a long silence, a deep exhaling, followed by half an apology.ABut if you don=t mind, we=ll conduct your briefing tomorrow.


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