My name is Jaclyn Pierrot and I’m a piece of shit.
At least that’s what some people would have you think. I like to think of myself as sensitive, kind, and willing to babysit your kids for a fee. Okay - a ransom. The .44 magnum tucked into the back of this monkey suit they've jammed me makes the metal detector snitch like a canary in a coal mine, so I quickly take stock.
Three guards, unarmed.
Peripheral cameras on a close feed system.
Six witnesses - one hostage.
I can feel the hairs on the back of my neck as they stand on end. The sound of the waterfalls that formed a facade in front of the walls became a roar as I ready myself for the rumble. I hold my breath.
Fortunately, though, the guard with the Groucho stache waves us past as this long-necked conservative bitch I am with brandishes a badge. It says she’s some sorta big shit from DC, but give me a roll of duct-tape and a blowtorch and I'll get more done for the United States in a few seconds then most of these pricks get done in their whole career.
Margarine Tamborine Gold - New Jersey’s answer to Foghorn Leghorn. She is the majority shareholder for the Jersey Water Corporation - maker of my personal favorite brand of alcoholic beverages, High Water. Double the caffeine as a cup of coffee, enough sugar to make a senior citizen’s dick hard, and three times the alcohol as your average American beer, nothing gets your girl ready for a game of pop-pop-bang-bang-oh-no-she’s-reloading quite like it.
She casts another glare my way. Her beady little pig peepers could stand to be prettied up with a pair of punches - but there will be plenty of time for that later, so I give her my best grin as I glance back at the monitor.
Three cameras aimed at the elevators.
Four at the lobby.
A mob of men could storm the building, but the big button tucked underneath the desk says they would likely be shut off from the upper floors. Brute force could only take them so far before it became a futile firefight and a blip on the evening news.
The elevator doors open and I slip inside with the senator hot on my heels. I would have to suffer through seventeen stories stuck in this box smelling the walking cloud of Virginia Slims and Liz Claiborne without bashing her brains in, but if I could suffer through eating at Arbys, I could suffer through anything. Who could ever possibly claim I wasn’t a consummate professional?
“Hey, you think they got taffy?” I ask. She doesn’t reply, turning her back to me instead as the steel slides shut, sealing me in with the stench. Sometimes I amaze myself with what I am willing to put up with just to make a measly buck.
“And a pardon,” she had said, her face slick with sweat, unaccustomed to the thick, humid air that Everglade City was known for. She had made it sound so easy - sign a contract, break a few faces, make some money - but nothing ever is as easy as it seems.
As the light moves from button-to-button, the only indication beyond a small jolt when it begins that the elevator is rising, my mind starts to wander. Have you ever realized how many horror movies Justin Long is in? I don’t know what it is about him, maybe it’s his face, maybe it’s the way his voice sounds, but every time I get to watch that man die. I instantly get wet - emotionally speaking, of course. Just thinking about the sound of his screams…
“You ever seen that movie Tusk?”
No response - how rude.
The elevator slows to a halt and a ding signaled that fresh air can soon fill my lungs. As the doors open up, my expectations immediately turn to disappointment. All those floors. All that flash. And what did it lead to? Some plain, minimalistic, and if I may say so myself, fucking boring office.
A row of black filing cabinets stand underneath a hanging scroll, with only the letter Z written in a large, stylized font. Behind a small desk - adorned with only a single bonsai and a MacBook Pro - sits another suit in a skirt smiling our way. A slender woman, her black hair is pulled up into a tight ponytail, locked in place by a shimmering diamond encrusted clip.
“We’re here to see Mister Tanaka,” Marge says.
“Yes, miss Gold, right this way,” the woman straightens her dress as she shimmies out from behind the desk, a slight stagger to her step which she does her best to hide. She opens the door, stepping aside - bowing her head slightly - before closing it behind us.
Kazou stands, stretching his arm out to offer us the seats across from him. Margarine takes his hand while I take my seat, dropping down into the plush leather before popping my feet up onto his desk. It’s funny: you can fill a home with animal parts and people praise your purchasing prowess, but mount one human head and suddenly you’re the animal.
“You got any taffy?” I ask.
Marge was big mad her presentation went to shit, though really she shouldn’t be surprised since she has the personality of a stone dildo.
“I think that went well!” I lie.
She slaps the already-lit up button, I guess believing that it was like the unfortunate men she lured into her bed and would do anything to get her to stop touching it. The door finally closes and I take a deep breath, hoping to hold it until we reach the lobby. However, she hits the Stop button and halts the progress before it can even begin
“Listen here you…fool,” her hand jabs at my chest as she sputters, a thick wad of saliva landing in my eye, causing it to instantly start to sting. Her hand grabs my chin, forcing me to have to look into her shit brown eyes. “You are not here to think. You are not here to speak. You are here to do as you are told.”
“Has anyone told you you have beautiful eyes?” I offer. She glares at me, causing the crows feet that line the corners of her eyes to stretch out, showing her advanced age, “Yeah, I wouldn’t think so.”
Her grip relaxes and she starts to step back, but then she does something I would have never expected: she slaps me. This bold ass bitch got it in her jockeys to hit me. Me! Of all the goddamn nerve! I jam my revolver into her jowl-line, the steel sinking into the sagging skin. The blood drains from her face and I can feel her start to shiver as the hammer slides back.
“You know what happens if you pull that trigger,” Margarine says, doing her best to look brave so I walk her through the motions, pantomiming her pain with my face. She swallows deeply, “You ever been to a Japanese jail, Jacky? Possession of that firearm alone will net you ten years. Tack on assassinating a sitting senator?”
She’s standing, but I'm not the kind of person to split hairs - that’s what the gun is for. I finger the trigger as sweat starts to trickle down her face. That bravado they all bring falls away in that final moment when negotiations turn to prayer. Marge closes her eyes, but I prefer when they watch, wishing away the bullet.
After watching the trembling pig work through the steps that led her to her slaying, I decide to take mercy - for now. There would come a time when we would need to rehash this indiscretion, but I’d prefer to do that a bit more discreetly. I slip a second bug from my pocket and plop it into hers before pinching her nose, tucking the gun back away.
Frazzled, the senator straightens herself off, pushing her hair back over her shoulders before brushing away her tears. The bluffing begins again: “I have a novel idea, Miss Pierrot: do as you’re told. You get your pardon - I get my money. We both win and you walk away, free to get arrested for petty larceny or whatever you do for fun.”
“That sounds like a terrible novel,” I say. Can you imagine someone’s spending their time to write that story out?
“Did you plant the bug?” Margarine asks, causing me to smile.
I hand over the receiver, but not without first having a bit of fun, pulling it just out of her reach. She jerks it out of my hand. “Win the match. Get the contract. Should be simple enough, even for someone like you,” finally, she presses the button to start the elevator and my lungs scream with joy at the thought of being able to breathe once more. “You got all that?”
“Yep,” I answer, pulling a piece of lemon-lime taffy from inside my blouse before popping it into my mouth.
Win the match.
Get the contract.
Then stab her right in the back - just the thought of that made me wet, emotionally speaking, of course.
“You ever seen that movie Barbarian?”
When the door opens, she makes as much distance as she can, practically sprinting towards the door. And here, I thought we were just starting to become friends.