Nanowrimo is a compelling challenge to write 50,000 words during November: that’s an average of 1667 words per day. My plan is to write a set of 30 short stories each 1667 words long instead. Each story comes from a prompt, a lot from fellow bloggers.
Derek Dongle Takes a Beating
Derek Dongle felt sick. The blob of sun screen, like the creamy topping on a trifle, perched next to his belly button. Even in the harsh midday glare he could make out the wiry blue hairs that stuck from it like the head of a mad professor. He flicked hard and watched the dollop’s parabolic flight onto the neighbouring lounger. Its occupant was unaware of what now sat inches from his ear.
‘Kreed? Are you coming?’
Derek jumped. He’d forgotten his pseudonym: Kreed Golden, an anagram of his real name. Anastasia’s shadow covered his face. ‘We need to get moving.’
Everyone else in the resort was toned and bronzed, Anastasia included. Everyone but him. He glanced at the man on the lounger; he had just found the cream.
Derek hurried after Anastasia.
‘Why’s it blue?’
‘What?’ Derek’s attention returned to his companion. She had changed her clothes again. Since they’d flown here she’d had three different outfits. Unlike him, sweating in his second-hand trunks, she looked cool and collected. Where had she found her wardrobe?
‘Belly button fluff. It’s always blue. Have you thought about that?’
He shook his head. She was becoming irritating with her mind reading tricks.
‘We’re meeting Klaus. From the picture. I think you’ll find it interesting.’
The picture. In his mother’s bureau. Of his mother in Marseilles in 1984. Topless, kissing a woman called Claire. An image that would stay with him to his dying day. On the back there were several names. One being Klaus.
‘Why?’ Derek became to slow down. ‘I want answers Anastasia. You said you’d tell me; you said you’d show me the future.’
Anastasia stopped and faced him. ‘You’re whining Derek. I thought you wanted to be a man of action?’
‘I just want to understand.’
‘What do you want to understand?’
Derek dropped onto a plastic chair and shot up, squealing. ‘Shit that was hot. I was an ordinary bloke with a dull life and an awkward and, yes, dull mother. She dies and everything’s changed.’
Anastasia pointed to a swing in the shade. They sat side by side. ‘Ok. Specifics. You get three questions now and then we meet Klaus.’
‘Was my mother a lesbian?’
‘No. Probably bi but she was kissing that woman to prove herself.’
‘Don’t waste your questions. Next.’
‘Does my mother really have £14 million pounds in a bank account?’
‘No, of course not. It’s spread all over the place.’
‘But she has £14 million?’
‘That’s three. Come on.’
‘Hey you can’t stop there. I need…’
Anastasia slipped her hand behind his neck and pulled him onto her mouth, kissing him in a way he’d not been kissed before and frankly, using her tongue in a way he didn’t know tongues could be used.
‘Blimey. Can we do that again?’
‘No Kreed. A waiter was watching us. I think he suspects.’
‘That we’re not lovers.’
‘But we’re not.’
When she looked at him, her eyes bored into his and liquefied his stomach. ‘But we might have to be if we are to stay safe. Come.’
Derek stood awkwardly, the unexpected hardening impeding his gait. ‘We might?’
‘Kreed, this is Klaus Martens.’
‘Kreed. I’m honoured. Are you ok?’
‘Perhaps we can sit. I think I’ve pulled something.’ Derek peered at Klaus. He was clearly over fifty but otherwise impossible to age with his wrap-around sunglasses and thick grey hair.
Anastasia didn’t sit. ‘I will leave you two. I need to make a call.’
Derek noted the way Klaus’gaze followed Anastasia as she sashayed away. ‘Lucky boy, Kreed. In another place I might challenge you for the right to share her bed.’
Derek ogled his companion. Was he serious?
Klaus continued. ‘Now your mother has gone, we have some business. She has something that belongs to me and I need you to get it. Did Anastasia explain?’
Derek surprised himself by asking. ‘How did you know my mother?’
Klaus’ head jerked back a little; he laughed and then looked wistful. ‘We were colleagues, occasional lovers and good friends. It is possible I am your father but I don’t think either us much cares now, do we?’
‘But my birth certificate. It says Dradman. The lawyer?’
‘Forged. In case your mother needed something. I know of at least four of your birth certificates.’ He paused. ‘Do you care? We can do a DNA test if it matters.’
‘What does – did she have?’ He wanted to scream he cared but he couldn’t stand the idea of being laughed at.
Klaus had sunk back into the cushions, sipping a cocktail and eyeing Derek carefully. ‘I don’t think the lovely Anastasia has told you much, has she? Might I…’
To Derek’s surprise Klaus reached out and stuck his fingers into Derek’s hair, yanking something loose.
‘Oww. What he fuck…?’
Klaus held up the tuft of hairs; in amongst it, much like the sun screen of earlier Derek saw a small silver cylinder. Klaus spoke into it. ‘Hello, Ana. That was silly. We will see you later.’ With that Klaus stood, crushing the cylinder under his heel. ‘You’ve been bugged. Odd behaviour in a lover. Come.’
Derek pressed himself back into his own cushions. ‘No. I want… Oh Christ.’
Klaus had pulled out a gun. ‘This looks real enough?’
‘Good. Shall we move to the car lot? Quickly please.’
Twenty four hours before, Derek had been thrown onto his hall floor, his head in a black bag and his wrists tied together. Anastasia had rescued him so he assumed she was on his side. Now he wasn’t sure. But he was certain that Klaus Marten wasn’t a good guy either. He had tied him to a bench in a smelly damp basement and removed the one item of clothing he had been wearing. His trunks. Not content with humiliating Derek he had made him bend over and inspected every orifice for hidden broadcast devices.
‘Good. So Derek – yes, I know about the Kreed charade – the money. It is mine and I want access to it.’
‘I don’t… Arghhhh!’ Derek pulled away as Klaus picked up a hosepipe. ‘Don’t.’
Klaus shook his head. ‘I’m not a monster. Much of one anyway. Look, you will be beaten by this if I don’t get an answer but not be me. By them.’
Derek turned and did what was always going to happen sometime. He peed. Stepping out of the shadows were the two men who had attacked him and who Anastasia had overpowered. They had been carted off in a van. How had they gotten free? Had she been working with them all along?
Klaus nodded. ‘Yes, Ana is one of ours. This was the only way to get you here. Your mother has hidden my people’s money and we need it back. You are the only one who has access to it. So, please. The passwords.’
Derek’s mouth flopped open. He didn’t know his mother’s passwords. She didn’t trust him with the shopping. But he had seen enough spy films to know he couldn’t admit it. He was also fairly confident that, unlike in the movies, once he had given them the details he would not be given any chance to get free.
Klaus had moved over to the two men and said something. They both went outside leaving Derek alone with Klaus. He said, ‘It’s possible you don’t know but I doubt Ana would have brought you here if she didn’t think you did know. She wants the money, just as much as we do?’
‘Why did she leave me with you?’
‘Because she’s squeamish.’ Klaus lifted the hosepipe but before he could bring it down, it slipped from his grasp. He stood swaying slightly for a moment before he crumpled to the floor.
Derek stared at the inert body. He lifted his gaze to the door. Anastasia stood, framed by the light. She had changed again, into an approximation of a cat woman suit. ‘This time, yes, he’s dead. Come on Kreed, time to go.’ In two steps she had crossed the room and released his hands. He rubbed his wrists and studied her face mournfully. ‘Why would I go with you? I think I want to go home.’ He sighed. ‘And it’s Derek.’
Derek sat in the small Fiat. Anastasia sat in the driver’s seat, holding the wheel and watching the passage ahead. They were in the Old Town, she said, but Derek had no clue where they were. He thought Spain but in all honesty it could be anywhere hot and Mediterranean. She was talking. He itched; the only clothes they had for him were a pair of shorts and a T shirt and the material was chaffing.
‘Your mother worked for a crime syndicate. She was a plant, their accountant. To become that trusted you have to work your way up. Slowly. I was her handler. I work for the Serous Crime Office. We…’ She stopped and turned to him. ‘This won’t be easy.’
He pulled a sour face. ‘What is? I have no idea who’s the goodie and who’s the baddie.’
She smiled, not with warmth. ‘You are really as naïve as your mother said, aren’t you?’
He laughed, with equally little warmth. ‘And your life’s so great, is it? Aren’t you scared?’
They sat in silence. Then Anastasia leant across aiming to kiss Derek. He pulled back. ‘Stop it. It’s just an act. You don’t fancy me.’
She nodded. ‘Open your mouth.’
He opened. In a moment she had put in her forefinger, clicked his incisor and pulled her finger away. On the nail sat a small white cap. ‘That’s why I kissed you. A second device to find you. I saw the two thugs so…’
‘You knew they’d take me?’
‘But why bring me here?’
‘You were the access to Klaus and his two buddies.’
‘Come on. Home; there’s still a lot to explain.’