I received an interesting email through my page. Not this page that y’all are reading this on. The one where people tell me who they want killed. It’s an exclusive group of petitioners made up of people who have found the site and those who offer some serious cash.
So, anyway, I met a guy online, but I’m not sure it’ll work out. I’m a Pisces, and he’s an asshole. I’m just kidding. Even if my personality and fate were exactly the same as everyone else born in a particular time period, I don’t even have a birthday. I don’t mean I was grown in a tube or anything like that. I just wasn’t allowed to know it, and any attempt to celebrate it would have been met with a gunshot to the head. It sounds bad, but it’s a heartwarming tale that made me the man I am today.
And occasionally, I have very vivid dreams of that time period. While already awake. Sometimes I wake from them covered in blood, but that’s ok. I know how to get bloodstains out of fabric: more blood. It hides the original stain, so people suspect no wrongdoing at all! All this useful information floating around in my head, but they give shows to low-ranking criminals like Martha Stewart instead.
Instead, I received a request for my services from a man calling himself Mr. Gold. It’d be a perfectly reasonable alias in my circles. He stood out because he offered to talk over terms for an ongoing campaign after flying me out to his private sea nation.
That part interested me. It interested the President when I let him know. I let myself in with an unscheduled appointment at his office. Specifically, I tied my bed sheets to the balcony rail and swung down, smacking into some very strong glass and sliding down to rest on the office balcony. He swung the window open, knocking me over, and asked, “Problem, friend?”
Believe it or not, there wasn’t. “I think the guy you’ve been fighting wants to hire me to attack you.” I said, holding vodka ice cubes against my forehead in a rag. “He says his name is Mr. Gold. I don’t remember you ever telling me your guy’s name, but this guy wants to invite me out to his place out in the ocean.”
The President puffed away on his cigar, then blew out a trio of circles with the last two later ones small enough to fit inside the circle that came before. I think it formed a bullseye. “I do not believe I ever asked you what you thought about the idea of sacred hospitality,” the President said at last.
Two days later, a sea plane carried Carl, Moai, and me over waters of a different region of the ocean, bringing us to see this majestic seasteader utopia. Carl kept tapping his foot against the floor. “Nervous?” I asked. “I know sea travel hasn’t exactly been kind to you, but I thought you’d handle the air a little better.”
“I wondered what I’m doing here. There hasn’t been a lot I could help you out with lately.”
I nodded. “I get that. But luckily, I have just the thing in mind for you.” I pulled out a bag I brought along. “You’re going to be my spy.” I glanced at the pilot. He was way up at the front and we were way at the back. And if Gold happened to bug his own plane, I’d just have to deal with it. On the plus side, he’s hopefully cowed enough by my reputation to not risk me finding a bug.
It’s a risk, sure, but lots of great plans come with risks. Like barricading one part of a road with a firetruck on fire. Maybe the cops will decide, against all protocol, to take a slower route by heading through the oncoming lane. But they’ll probably just pick a nearby parallel route that won’t slow them down dealing with cars coming the other direction.
“Aren’t you better at that?” he asked.
“Yeah, but they know that, too. That’s part of why this Gold guy invited me along. And Moai’s too conspicuous. I need someone they won’t pay attention to. I don’t know what the scene’s going to be like there, but I figure none of them are likely to pay attention to you as long as I say you’re hired help. Also, I have gadgets for you.” I pulled out a pack of cigarettes.
“I don’t smoke,” Carl said, taking the pack from me and examining them.
“Good, those things will kill ya. Literally. If they have a red line between the filter and the cigarette, they’ll explode two seconds after being lit. It’s enough to kill someone if it’s in their mouth. If it’s in their hand, they won’t be fully disarmed, but they will be dishanded. Or is that unhanded. The President’s people helped me with those. They’re similar to the cigars the CIA tried to use on Castro.”
Carl looked over the Surgeon General’s warning, which mentioned that smoking was deadly and could lead to increased risk of death. “Anything else?”
I handed him a flask. “You don’t want to drink that. It’s not deadly or anything; it’ll dissolve before you can do anything. A few drops of that will react to the air and generate a thick cloud of smoke. That’ll come in handy for keeping people from seeing things or breathing as easily.”
“Wouldn’t this have worked better in the cigarettes?” Carl pocketed the flask.
“Don’t be ridiculous. Cigarettes that create smoke? That’s just what they would have expected.”
I shook my head and slapped my palm with the back of my other hand’s fingers. “Think it through. If people see an area with a lot of smoke, some of them might get clever and realize a guy with cigarettes may have caused it. What will they find when they test your cigarettes? Explosives, but nothing that gives off smoke. They’ll have to realize you couldn’t have done it.”
Carl raised his hand. “What if I already blew someone’s head off with the cigarettes?”
“Well then you’re fucked. And speaking of fucked,” I reached in and pulled out the item that every one of my dear readers knew would show up in a gadget. I slapped the dildo into Carl’s hand, causing it to jiggle a bit. Carl started to drop it, but I held it in his hand and closed his fingers around it. “It’s ok. This is important for you.”
“Boss, is this another joke?” He looked uncomfortable holding a dildo with another man. See, this is where it’d be easier if I was a woman. I mean sure, men control the vast majority of legislatures, executive offices, judiciaries, corporations, and militaries, but women have it slightly easier around dildos and the opposite sex. That’s where the world’s true power lies, anyway.
“Inside here is a flash drive.” I showed him the base of it, where a USB popped out behind the ball sack. “You can use it to store sensitive information. Better yet, you can hide it up your ass.”
“Hey, I know people might check there,” he said, trying to pull his hand away from mine. I laid my other hand over his to hold it there.
“You’re not understanding yet, just like with the cigarettes. They’ll check your ass for a flash drive or something. If they find a dildo in there, they’ll just think you’re a little kinky.” This is simple logic. I don’t understand how anyone could fail to grasp it.
“Boss, it’s got suction cups on it. Don’t tell me you expect me to climb on the side of a building with this.”
“Don’t be ridiculous, Carl. That’s there to help you keep your grip under pressure.”
“I didn’t realize you had anything against blue people. I thought someone like you could look past a man’s skin color to what’s on the inside.”
“It’s not that boss! Uh, and boss? It’s…uh…vibrating.”
I rolled my eyes. “Carl, they make really lifelike dildos these days. This one’s so good, it almost vibrates as fast as I do.”
“As fast as you…?” He looked down between my legs.
“Hey, my eyes are up here,” I told him, and let go of the dildo. Then I pulled out the last gift for him.
Carl read the name off the bottle. “It’s jelly lubricant. Is it really acid that melts locks or glue to trap people?”
“Well, I didn’t want to assume anything about your sexual habits, so I figured it couldn’t hurt to get you some help for when you’re shoving the data penetrator up your hiney hole.” I handed him the bottle. “Congratulations, you’ve got everything you need to be a secret agent.”
Carl glanced at the flask, lube, and dildo, the cigarettes already away in his pocket. Then he looked back up at me. “I look like I’m going to an orgy.”
I shrugged. “Well it definitely blends in better around a bunch of rich hedonists. Just dig up what you can, and let me know if those tools are inadequate. Except for the data penetrator. If that thing’s inadequate, then your girlfriend’s into bestiality.”
Carl glared at me, then put all his newfound treasures away inside his luggage. I then slipped out a white coat with fuzzy white trim and a pair of stupid-looking shutter shades. If you’re wondering what had to be done to them to make them look stupid, the answer is nothing. Shutter shades always look stupid. Carl sighed. “Is that my secret agent costume?”
“Nope,” I said, putting them on. I then pulled out an eyeliner pencil and started adding some theatrical upward swirls to my eyebrows. “This is my costume. Always come dressed for the war you want, not the war you’re fighting. Wait a second, that motivational phrase sounds like utter bullshit now that I’ve put it into perspective. While you’re slinking about the place, I’ll be stalling this asshole for as long as possible while teasing him along. So if you get caught and tortured, just remember: pain is weakness leaving the body. Damn, did it again.”
“Hey!” the pilot shouted from up front. “We’re about to come on down! Everyone brace yourselves for landing!”
“Brace yourselves.” I looked to Carl and Moai. “Now that’s a phrase that inspires confidence in a pilot. It’s right up there with ‘can somebody hold my beer while I fly the plane?’”
At that, Carl began to frantically buckle his seat belt. I rolled my eyes yet again. “Carl, relax. Believe it or not, the human body can take a hell of a lot of punishment.”
“Tell that to my broken neck if we crash.”
I leaned back and put my feet up on the back of the seat in front of me. “Carl, a few light bumps couldn’t just break your neck. It takes some real effort, like a crash or a few guys working you over in the back of a van or something.”
Despite Carl sinking so far into his seat he could have been cosplaying the Warhammer 40k Emperor, we had a safe but bumpy landing. When we pulled up in front of the landing, I smiled over at my pair of henchmen. “Moai, you’re officially my sane but accommodating personal assistant. I’m sure it’ll be a stretched.” I then whipped out the coupe deville: a bowler hat. Black, with a peacock feather through a hot pink band. Because fezzes are lame and cowboy hats suck, but bowler hats are cool forever.
Then I stepped out onto a rusty paradise and announced my presence. “Did anybody order a slice of ham?!” Ok, not really. That’s just an accurate translation. What I actually said was, “Ah, another part of the world to be enlightened by my presence!” I looked around at the rusty retro-style hotel that Mr. Gold set up in. “Good grief, do they even have lights in this part of the world?”
“Hello! Greetings. Salutations. Hi,” a cheery woman with chin-length hair said as she stepped forward Business skirt, white shirt, sleeves rolled up, flat shoes. Assistant? I expected any secretary of Gold’s would be stuck tripping around in heels. Dangerous in the middle of the ocean. And on land, for that matter. Take it from someone who has danced in them before. The assistant extended her hand, then realized she had a tablet and switched it back so she could hold her hand out in hope of a shake.
I glanced down at it. Instead, I grabbed her by the face and forced a kiss on her. After a strained second, she resigned herself. I let her go then before she could try to appease me by returning it. She wiped her lips, hiding her expression from me. Her eyes flitted over me, narrowing just enough for a hint at what she thought. I may have gone too far with that one, but I’d have to read Gold’s reaction to it.
I looked her up and down. “Yeah, nice to meet you. I think we can work together. But first, the M&Ms.”
“I’m sorry?” she asked, checking the tablet. I caught connected to the local network and got in, making a slight alteration or two to the message where I laid out terms for showing up and hearing Gold’s proposal. If he wanted to fly me out and work on a contract for the utter destruction of an archipelago, then he needed to cover my room and provide a few amenities. Including having M&Ms nearby for me at all times. “I’m sorry, this is only a minor oversight. If you’d like, I can show you to your suite and have them deliver M&Ms for you there.”
“Hmmph! I see you barely respect me enough to feed me, let alone negotiate with me. If this is the hospitality I can expect here, I shall be in my room!” I clapped my hands. “Come, Moai.” I walked past the woman, who hurried to keep up.
“Sir, if that’s what you’re going to do, I’m trying to show you to your rooms. Please, don’t be upset. I hear splendid things about your work, Mr. Gecko.” She reached out and touched me on the shoulder.
I stopped immediately and whipped my head toward her, my shades falling down the brim of my nose to give me a better view of her above them. With my hand on my other side, I motioned for Carl to move past us and go on his way. “Bitch, my work is fabulous!” I threw my head back, whipping my hair around and moving my glasses back up the bridge of my nose. “And you mustn’t call me Gecko. My name is not Gecko. I am not an animal. You must call me Ferdinand! Psycho Gecko is my stage name.” I raised my hand to the sky, but only so far as my head. It’s a drama thing. This little seasteader utopia? Yeah, it’s going to be my own personal drama island. A total drama island.
The assistant maintained her smile, but I noticed her teeth grinding just slightly. “Right, I apologize. This is my mistake. I’m not used to working with someone as renowned and fabulous as yourself, Ferdinand. Please, if you want to report me to my boss, Mr. Gold will send me for you later once you have time to settle in and refresh yourself. I’m Penny, by the way. So you know who to report.”
“Yes, Penny’s,” and here I should note that I pronounced that closer to “penis” “a good name. You might be nice to know after all. Now, get me to my room.”
They gave me such a big suite. I almost felt bad for torturing Penny like that, but that requires having a conscience and not being an insane serial killing mass murderer terrorist with a heart of explosive. Still, it allowed me to stall negotiations as, even when she came back with a large bowl of M&Ms, her tablet now specified that there were to be no blue M&Ms.
“If you keep this up, you can tell your boss he blue,” I emphasized the pun for her, “his best chance at getting the best and most exclusive assassin in the history of the world. You’ve heard of Kurt Cobain, David Carradine, and Sean Connery?”
“Yes, but Cobain and Carradine were suicide,” her muffled voice responded through the door.
“Like I said, the best assassin in the history of the world.” I yelled at the door from the bed. They definitely did that fucking bed right. It felt like laying on jellied geese.
“What does Sean Connery have to do with this? He’s still alive.”
“His acting career isn’t, and this deal won’t be either if you and your boss don’t begin shaping things up around here!” I pointed at Moai, then at the door. He bounced over and opened it to look into the face of the beleaguered woman, then slammed it.
Which didn’t cause nearly as much frustration as a new entry appeared, a notice stating that I never attend to business on Wednesdays because that day I spend purging myself of negative thoughts through meditation, contemplation, and yoga.
Turns out that lady has some anger issues. She really ought to do something about that. Like take up yoga.