Quantcast

Tiny Soap Bubbles | The Nation

  •  

Tiny Soap Bubbles

  • Share
  • Decrease text size Increase text size

"So Mister Waller turned up," LAPD Detective Desdemona Valdez said. She removed her hand from her purse. She assumed the man downstairs in the car wasn't merely the nuisance of stalking paparazzi.

About the Author

Gary Phillips
Gary Phillips's short stories have appeared, most recently, in Los Angeles Noir (Akashic) and in Full House (G.P....

Also by the Author

In this last episode we mostly wrap things up, but leave a few strange matters for earthly or cosmic interpretation.

Breakfast turns violent, more is revealed, and while a decent president gets elected, there's no rest for Congresswoman Kang.

"Yep," Congresswoman Kang replied, calling from the bathroom, "I'm meeting both of them for early breakfast at the lovely IHOP."

"Pancakes, yum," Valdez cracked. "We might also have a somewhat more immediate situation, shall we say."

"Well get your sweet ass in here so we can discuss it." She turned on the spigots in the shower.

"Yes ma'am," the plainclotheswoman said. She rose from sitting on the bed and disrobed, sauntering into the next room in her purple lace panties. Normally Valdez didn't bother with fancy underwear, but what the hell, you had to impress your new squeeze.

Once under the spray together, her arms around her lover, Valdez asked, "You sure this surveillance geek found all the bugs?"

Kang kissed her and when their tongues parted, "I was assured of such." She smiled crookedly.

"Pervert," Valdez kidded. "You got a career to worry about, girl, you can't be caught munchin' the carpet like some hoochie on an amateur porn video. It's one thing to preach about the US government being responsible for AIDS like Wright or that Hitler was a God-send to force the Jews to go the Promised Land."

Kang hummed, soaping the other woman's thigh. "That's not exactly what Pastor Hagee said. Though I suppose that's the spirit of his wack intent."

"Don't make me roll my eyes. You know what I mean."

"Let me tell you something, my dear hawkshaw."

"What's that?"

Kang did a lone eyebrow raise. "You've never heard that term?"

"Hell no." Valdez pulled her closer and nibbled on her shoulder as the water pulsed on their bodies.

"It's an old term for a detective." She stopped her pleasurable labor of cleansing the other woman. "You've never read Dashiell Hammett, W.R. Burnett... Dorothy Hughes?"

"Wambaugh. Read one or two of his books." Her brow scrunched. "Another guy too, Bishop I think his name is."

"He a cop turned writer like Wambaugh?"

"Yeah."

"Well, I intend to broaden your horizons."

"A girl can only hope."

They laughed and showered, unable to keep their hands off each other, like teenagers after the prom.

Kang said as she turned up the hot water, "On the hidden video worry, in my line of work, I suspect my stock would rise if I were seen on hi-def giving you the wash and dry." She massaged Valdez's nipple.

"You don't hardly believe that being perceived as the Paris Hilton of politics would be much of an advancement."

"Didn't hurt Marion Berry. And I don't do no blow." Kang bent her head as Valdez worked shampoo into her hair. "What about you, Des? Doesn't being a flatfoot Sappho mean a serious blue ceiling in the Department?" She worked in the viscous liquid.

"You and these old-fashioned expressions." She snickered. "Flatfoot."

"Sorry," Kang said, putting her head under the spout to rinse out her hair. "But my pops is a big fan of those crazy old serials like Dick Tracy versus Cueball and Daredevils of the Red Circle. Even that racist crap with the yellow peril insidious villain, Fu goddamn Manchu. Jesus."

"That shit doesn't make him boil?"

"It did, I guess, in a way. But pop's rap is Fu at least didn't talk in that ping-pong, sing-song Hollywood version of Chinese nationals speaking English. Also he was a clever bastard."

"Speaking of clever bastards, before you saunter off to meet with your brother and Waller's son, there's a little something we need to take care off. But I'll be the one doing the heavy lifting."

"So you're the butch one?" Kang said, putting an arm around her waist.

"For this excursion, I am," Valdez said seriously.

...

As the dawn sun crept at the lower edges of the dour sky, the man sitting in the forest-green nine-year-old Ford Contour lit another cigarette. He'd cracked the window so as to let the smoke escape. Too bad, he glumly reflected again, eyes on Kang's balcony, he didn't have X-ray vision like Superman. Huh. To be able to have watched those two babes go at it hot and heavy. How many millions of adolescent boys and grown men dreamed of having such a power, he wondered? Not flight, super speed or even super strength, but the ability to look through women's clothes or the wall of a dingbat apartment to ogle two attractive lesbos. How sweet would that be?

He frowned, taking a drag, squinting as the cigarette's fumes drifted upward past his face. Supes was the only costumed type with the X-ray power, yeah? Spider-Man, he could crawl up a wall and peep into a room, but only if the blinds were open. Iron Man. He must have heat signature vision relays built into his armor. But X-ray? Didn't seem so. And what about Wonder Woman? She was certainly a bulldyke's wet dream. Those star-spangled hot pants. Man. She had an invisible plane, but she couldn't see through walls either. Now the Man with the X-ray Eyes, he had the ability but eventually he couldn't control it and then could only see people as skeletons, then he went blind. The price he paid for his temerity.

The watcher rolled the window further down to flick away his smoke. A tap on his rear window turned his head but there was no one there. He turned back and the muzzle of the handgun belonging to the pretty Latina, the one he'd seen on the balcony in the kimono, was pressed against his temple.

"Hey, look," he started, "this isn't much of a car to jack," he said, trying to be light. "Fact they stopped making these bad boys around--"

"Oh shit," he suddenly screamed as she squirted a stream of pepper spray into his face. He twitched and rubbed his closed eyelids. But then instantly remembered reading this would only make it worse so he stopped and continued writhing. His eyes teared up and his nose ran while Valdez got the door open. She pulled him out of his car seat and onto the ground.

The cop put a booted foot on his chest and slapped the muzzle against his wet cheeks. "Who are you, asshole?"

"Take it easy, lady," the man on the ground pleaded. Through red, bleary eyes he looked up at her, hands in a surrender pose.

"Answer my question."

"Grish Waller sent me," he said.

"He's dead," Cynthia Kang said, having stepped over from the other side of the car.

"I know, Congresswoman," the stranger said. "But he told me to get in touch should he die under mysterious circumstances. There's some information he wanted you to have."

Kang and Valdez exchanged a look.

To Be Continued...

  • Share
  • Decrease text size Increase text size