part one of four ... click to read
Paawan Gill woke to feel the early morning sun on his face as he looked up through the camouflaged netting, its first rays high in the morning sky, lining the clouds with gold. Breathing deeply, he took in the fresh morning air which blew in untouched from the vast sea that lay before him as he floated in the water. He stretched his lips, pulling on the tape across his mouth that silenced his screams. The unmistakable smell of rubber hit his face as the air escaped from the small holes in the inner tube wrapped around his chest keeping him afloat in the dark water of the riptide sweeping him towards the beautiful inlets that lay at the southern end of the Strait of Georgia.
... part two of four
Fighting the current pulling against him, Paawan held out his hands, desperately trying to steer his body towards the security of the land as the current pulled him away from the sanctuary of the tree-lined shore and out into the open sea.
How he had ended up here, fighting for his life inside a rubber tire hidden from all by cheap netting better used for hunting ducks, he didn’t know. But here he was, frantically clinging to life, his turban gone, his long dark brown hair out in the open, the water splashing his face, its salt stinging his eyes, his feet in chains.
Only hours before, he’d been kissing her, feeling her writhe beneath him, her soft lips against his, his tongue deep in her mouth, hers in his. Their silence beautiful after as they'd rested and he'd stroked the softness of her skin. How many years had he been away, he'd wondered as he'd lay there in the dark, remembering all the time that had gone before. Time he’d wasted and lost without her touch. Time he could have spent loving her instead of living his life on a razor’s edge, feeling the rushing air flow freely beneath his arms as he’d flown, swooping like a bird, fuelled by courage, tempting fate with the earth below, the way only a few men do. And as he’d lay there with her in the darkness, feeling her breath and her clasped hands entwined around his body, he knew without needing to speak that the wasted years between them were soon to be forgotten, as she had missed him as much as he had missed her. She was his again and they both knew this time it was going to be forever.
... part three of four
Charles Chuck Chendrill sat on the train and thought back to the Russian he'd found earlier in the day and wondered if he could find a new matching plate set for the aging Englishman who liked to employ his services and paid well.
The Russian was gone, but he could still feel the burn on his stomach and the jarring of the train in his broken ribs as it pulled and pushed its way along the tracks, driven by binary code. What a week it had been. Now he just needed the plate set and he could go relax until someone else called worrying about something that meant nothing in the grand scheme of things.
He leaned back and watched a group of Asian girls, who from what Chendrill could tell by their shape could only be dancers, giggling at the sight of a guy on a poster posing in his silver underpants, and smiled. He was getting to know the kid in the poster well now—and his mother even better. As crazy as he was, the kid was alright, a real character at least. He was the kind of guy who could steal your car and make you feel guilty for not asking him if he wanted to borrow it.
But that shit wouldn’t last long with Chendrill. Once yeah, it had happened, but the second time the kid wouldn't just be back on the bus, which Chendrill had been making him take to preserve his normality. After all, he had been employed on full rate plus a Ferrari to keep an eye on the wonder kid, this up-and-coming international sensation who lived in the basement room at his mother’s house, and so far, it had been well worth it.
Chendrill was a private investigator who once had been a cop and worked in the city he grew up in and loved. A guy with his own style who could make it happen, solve your problem, or simply tell you to go fuck yourself in his own Machiavellian way, should you be so deserving.
Pulling out his phone, he called Williams, the kid who showed promise as a police detective, but needed the years to fall behind him before anyone would take him seriously. Ditcon was there, Williams said, and so was the Russian, laying on the floor, and so were the press and TV who were outside on the sidewalk with Ditcon as he gave interviews, taking the credit for having solved a case he never would have gotten close to had Chendrill not stepped away from his paid job babysitting the kid—who stood before him in a poster wearing silver undies that were certain to get these Asian dancing girls’ minds whirling come bedtime—and put the puzzle together.
He got off the train at Granville Street and took a cab back to his apartment overlooking both the park and the people who frequented it. Jesus my ribs hurt, he thought. . . the guy with the baseball bat sneaking up on him like that just because Chendrill had been fucking his girl—even if she wasn’t his girl any longer.
How long was this pain going to rip through him? From experience, it was at least five to six weeks of no sleep and staying away from people who made him laugh, but how was that possible when he worked for the most eccentric gay guys in town and was paid to look after a guy who had stolen their underpants?
It was going to be tough.
Tough, but not as tough as the last week had been when he'd nearly been burnt alive for trying to fix something he knew the people in charge would let slip through the cracks. But as he lay down on his soft comfy bed and closed his eyes for a moment, knowing he still had to go find a matching plate set, little did he know that what had just occurred was nothing compared to what was coming.
... part four of four
About an hour later, he was woken up by the guy who kept food on the table and, at least for the moment, a Ferrari in the garage, and Chendrill told him straight, “If it’s about the plate, then you need to give me time.”
And as he lay there in pain, he heard Sebastian's worry nearly break the phone in his hand, "It's an emergency, Chuck. If it’s not here at seven, I'll look like a fool."
And he would, there was no doubt about it, Chendrill thought, as he began to try and ease himself off the bed, having people over for dinner and someone having to sit there with an odd plate in front of them—my God!
Chendrill sat back up and walked to the bathroom—his abdomen still sore. Was it worth it, he thought, sticking his nose in like he had, chasing the Russian down and nearly being burned to death in the process? He had done it for the sake of his old friend Daltrey, so it had been—there was nothing to doubt.