“Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.”
~ Sun-tzu, “Art of War”
Pauley closed the bathroom door and hung the dress Millicent gave her on the hook on the back.
Sitting on the closed toilet, she leaned back against the tank, running her fingers through her knotted, bed-head hair. Shutting her eyes against the antidote headache that was still raging in her temples, she thought of Butch.
When or if she ever saw her boss again, despite her distaste for close work, she pondered strangling him with her bare hands.
At the mercy of Cruella, or Millicent as she seemed to prefer, Pauley could only play along that she knew Butch and he sent Millie to rescue her. Using the canine-esque diminutive made Pauley smile, which made her dry lips crack, adding yet another ache to her already abused body.
She needed to get her pistol back, though she doubted the clip would still be loaded.
Millicent was moving around in the room outside still humming that annoying song. Pauley tried to think, tried to figure a way out.
Leaning forward, elbows on her knees, Pauley worked to remember what happened, how she got into this predicament. Then she remembered Ross, and all those glasses of Merlot.
And, the elevator.
How did Millicent get her away from Ross, and a better question, what happened to Ross? If he was dead, didn’t they have to worry about the police and linking the man’s death to them, the last people seen with him?
So many questions, and not enough answers were making her head hurt even more.
“Do you need any help in there,” Millicent rapped on the door, but didn’t try to open it.
“No, I’m good,” Pauley sat up, looking at the dress. A T-shirt and jeans kind of girl, Pauley didn’t even own a dress. She shook her head, cursing her boss anew.
Pushing off the seat, Pauley grabbed a wash cloth from the rack and threw it into the sink. Steadying herself against the edge of the bowl, she gripped the sides and studied her face in the mirror.
Hair disheveled, eyes red-rimmed and bloodshot, skin paler than usual, her lips thin and colorless. Turning the cold water on, she cupped her hands under the steam. Taking a mouthful, she swished it around in her mouth, then spit the foul liquid into the tub. Filling another handful, she took great gulps of water, marveling at how good it tasted.
Pulling the wet cloth out of the sink, she wrung out the water then applied the cool rag to her face, wiping off the grime and sweat from the night before. Was it only the night before? She needed to ask what day it was, or just what time of day.
Rubbing the cool rag on the back of her neck, Pauley was startled when Millicent knocked on the door.
Ignoring the intrusion, Pauley rinsed out the cloth and re-wet it, working on her arm pits. The knocking got louder and more insistent.
“I said I was good,” Pauley yelled, turning the water on stronger, trying to drown out Millicent’s rapping.
“Gawd, Millie leave me alone! I can piss all by myself, I’m a big girl,” the retort did nothing.
Turning off the faucet, Pauley stomped to the door, and yanked it open. Millicent stood outside, Pauley’s phone in her right hand, and the Walther p22 hanging from the trigger guard on her left index finger. Her expression was one of disdain.
“It’s Butch, he wants us both to stay here until he arrives,” Millicent held the phone out to her, then drew it back quickly when Pauley reached forward. “Don’t call me Millie.”
Taking the phone and weapon, Pauley turned the gun over seeing the magazine still in place.
“Don’t worry, I didn’t tamper with your toy,” Millicent turned her back and nonchalantly walked away.
Checking the safety, she tucked the gun into the back of her pants’ waistband. Pauley turned her attention to her phone, Butch’s ugly mug displayed on the caller ID.
“Butch! You son-of-a-bitch, what have you got me into this time?” Pauley snarled out the words.
Her boss’ sardonic, Jersey twang oozed out of the phone, “I’ll explain it all when I get there, so stay put. Millicent said she was attempting to glam you up some. Take her advice, you’ll need it later.”
The further adventures of Millicent and Pauley, female assassins created by Lance, and me. A summer (and beyond?) series published semi-weekly here and at My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog: Hustle and Cuss. What has gone on before…