Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Mercury Costs More Than Cyanide

*Part 4 of Merlot & Coffee. Read the first three parts here:
  1. No Meat; No Creamer
  2. Your Machete, My Cleaver
  3. Matches? Check. Charcoal? Check.

"Truth serum? Come on, Merlot. How amateur is that?" Grayson, tied down to a hospital bed, remains confidently defiant. Though he is a bit confused. Merlot's one of the best in this part of the world - not the best, mind you, for eliminating your best operative is never the wisest thing for a handler to do - and the fact that she's resorting to injecting Grayson with sodium thiopental makes her look like someone who's seen too many movies.

Merlot smiles her luscious smile. Coffee stands in the corner chewing his nails, a habit acquired since he met Merlot.

"You plan on extracting information? How lame are you?" Grayson would laugh, but he's reserving judgment concerning his predicament until he can figure out what's going on.

She leans into Grayson's face, her nose almost touching his, and Grayson can smell her perfume. Damn, she smells good. "No, Grayson. I plan on inducing a coma, then overdosing you."

"Ah, shit," Coffee mutters, not quite inaudibly. "I knew this was coming."

Merlot sticks the needle into the dose and the pulls the syringe back, watching intently as the chemical fills the tube. She wraps her right hand around the top of Grayson's bicep and waits for his vein to distend. Winking at him, she injects the chemical into Grayson's bloodstream.

"By the way, this is generic stuff. Not sure how well it works."

"What a bitch," both Grayson and Coffee say simultaneously, though Coffee's tone has much more humor to it.


"Sodium pentathol?" The Fence looked incredulous. This crazy American broad always liked to make things difficult. "The explosives were hard enough. Pharmaceuticals aren't exactly our specialty here." That was a lie, of course. Everything was the Fence's specialty. He was just trying to drive up the price. "What do you need it for? Interrogation?"

Merlot shook her head. "No, just want someone to think they're going to get interrogated. Right before I kill them."

The Fence laughed heartily. "Too bad you're not Muslim. You would make a good wife."

"Yeah, until you pissed her off," Coffee interrupted, feeling a bit defensive of the Fence's attraction to Merlot.

"Oh," replied the Fence, "I'd never let her prepare my food. Or sleep in the same building."

Merlot and Coffee chuckled, both remembering Grayson's car.

"On second thought..." The Fence got the joke.

"We're wasting time," Merlot said, giving the Fence a rather murderous look.

"I'll see what I can do."


The Silhouette wrapped his wound - a gunshot in his left forearm... his shooting arm - and yelled into the cell phone. "I don't know where she is. And I don't care. This was supposed to take a week. You want me to stay on this? Pay up. My time is expensive."

The person on the other end of the line clearly said something to Silhouette's liking, causing a smile to intrude on a wince of pain as he finished tying up his pressure dressing.

"Double the rate," Silhouette said as he flipped his phone closed. This Merlot proved to be quite the adversary and that she got the drop on him worried him a bit. How she knew she was being followed was either due to the fact that she was extremely lucky, extremely good, or extremely paranoid. Or maybe all three. Then again, Silhouette had found two wigs in the aftermath and he had to wonder if Coffee had been dressed in drag. That thief, too, was not somebody Silhouette would underestimate again. Merlot was competent enough when it came to disappearing in a crowd, but Coffee could become downright invisible.

No, Silhouette shook his worry from his mind and reanalyzed the situation. He had not, up to that point, known that Coffee was no killer and spent too much effort trying to keep the thief in front of him. That was when Merlot shot him in the arm. It was not a mistake that would happen again.


Grayson feels his head starting to spin but maintains his calm. Or the sodium thiopental is maintaining his calm. Either way, he's calm. Good thing, too, because he needs his wits to talk his way out of this one.

"You think I'm at the top of this little pyramid of mystery? Use your head, woman," he says, slurring just a little bit.

"Oh, we already know you're not. Another reason we don't need you." Merlot prepares another dose.

Well, fuck. That didn't work. Grayson starts laughing, which bothers Coffee. Merlot slides up to her partner and gently taps his cheek.

"No worries, you. This is normal."

Coffee stares into Merlot's eyes, entranced by their confidence... and her smell. "Nothing about you is normal."

Merlot whispers into Coffee's ear and places a hand on his thigh - a little too close to home plate. "Oh, I assure you. Quite a lot of me is normal."

All thoughts of murdering a CIA agent flee from Coffee's mind, replaced by images much more enjoyable. Coffee is the marionette to Merlot's Geppetto.


"Are we good?" The Fence absentmindedly licked his lips as Merlot checked the merchandise.

Merlot nodded and ignored the Fence's inadvertent forwardness. Something else was on her mind.

"Excellent. You know, you're officially now my best American customer."

"Who says I'm American?" she said as she walked over to a window.

The Fence shrugged. He realized she's distracted and let the attempt at a flirt die. "Anything else I can acquire for you?"

She stared at something in the plaza below intently. "Yes. Do you have any wigs? Something my color."

The Fence wrinkled his face, conducting a quick mental inventory. "There is a wig in Asalah's office. It's brown. I suppose we can dye it."

"I need it," Merlot demanded. "And any women's clothing in his size." She nodded towards Coffee.

Coffee snapped out of his daydream. "What?"


The Fence finished dying and the Silhouette wiped his knife clean. He felt better now that he killed somebody pertinent, but the lack of useful information bothered him. Why had Merlot purchased sodium thiopental? Silhouette dialed Grayson. Getting no answer, he gathered materials in preparation to set the Fence's building aflame.

There's nothing like watching something burn to the ground.


Sleep is taking over and Grayson knows it's just about over for him. The fat lady sings, but she's a lot skinnier than he figured. And she's a redhead. Although it's clear that the wig is actually brown.

"What are you gonna do now?" Grayson murmurs, unsure if he actually said anything. "You gonna rape me?"

Coffee's expression makes Merlot giggle. Coffee loves her giggle. So much so that he tries to immediately recreate the expression, but she's already turned her attention back to Grayson.

"You'd like that, wouldn't you?" she teases Grayson.

"Oh, yes, please."

"Sorry, babe," she says, rubbing Grayson's forehead, "but I'm going to save that for your little hit man."

Grayson mumbles something and fades into unconsciousness. Realizing that Grayson is finally dead, Coffee returns himself to reality. "Why couldn't you kill him quickly? This was fucked up."

"I know, I know. But it had to be done." She grabs Grayson's cell phone from its hiding spot between Grayson's shoulder blades. It's on an active call. She puts it up to her ear. "You hear that? When I find out who you are, where you are, and what you're up to, it's your turn." Not waiting for a response, she hangs up. She notices a missed call and shows it to Coffee.


Coffee sees the call notification and shrugs. "Whose number is that?"

"Ten to one says it's our hit man."

"So we're going to kill him, too?"

Merlot smiles and kisses Coffee on the cheek - an action she's been doing liberally as of late, it seems. "Oh, silly boy. Don't ask stupid questions."

"Will you marry me?" Coffee has no idea how that escaped his mouth.

Merlot simply winks and leaves the room.


Brian Miller said...

ha. you'd make a good wife...her hands on his thigh and you say gepetto...nice...this is fun and playful...i like it.

Kate Hanley said...

I'm really enjoying this story. The names always crack me up which I think adds to the enjoyment. BTW, nice cartoon. I liked it. Looking forward to more.

PattiKen said...

This just keeps getting better. I love the interplay between Merlot and Coffee. And I really like Coffee.

Tom said...

this Merlot is one cold chick. Coffee is in way over his head.

he finished dying...haha nice touch

Julie said...

I need to read myself up-to-date again with this storyline.

Two irks: firstly, the use of the symbols to fade; secondly, the line 'realizing that Grayson is finally dead ...'

What are the rules on the use of a fade like that in a fiction piece? I never know. It makes it read (for me) like a script for something visual.

Not For Jellyfish said...

I like this Merlot chick. I need lessons.

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