Scattered Shower

Nobody had voiced any objections to Aphra relocating her little “strike force” to a cabana at the Maria Del Mar, especially since she seemed to be picking up the tab.

Curtsy was thoroughly sick of the treatment she was getting from guys around the little cubbyhole in Colonia Electrista where she’d stashed her few possessions. MeiMei had been content at the Rocateliz, a nice place right downtown where she could indulge her most secret vice–smoking fine cigars–but didn’t need being close to the search anymore and was delighted to be barefoot right out onto Playa Norte. And of course Aphra was delighted to have two such delectable pieces of tail there in her own henhouse.

Nevertheless, MeiMei had felt she should say something about the Black girl’s generosity. Aphra waved it off. “Kidding, right? I’m one multiple well-divorced little black widow and money’s not a problem at all. And when else would I get a chance to jump something like this off? Being Indiana Jones meets Cleopatra Jones in a string bikini?”

So it was just a girlfriend party there by the beach and pool as they planned to take down Ronchel’s yacht.

Thing was, though, Aphra’s deep pockets had some trick stitches. She’d been cruising on cash, and her stash of travelers’ checks from Gnarls Barkley of London was slimming down. Should have been no hassle, what with toting one of the most powerful credit cards anywhere but she’d gotten that FYI from DC that certain hyper-hymie weasel jumped ship to the Dark Side. How often to you see a NYU hebe working for a black guy, anyway? Upsets the whole natural order of things. Course here she is, running a blonde and a chink, so what the hell?

Point is, Weistler’s defection meant everybody involved was potentially compromised. And left her without any sure feel for the downside of anybody being able to triangulate her ass, but her instinct had always been; In case of doubt, blackbag it. And she had a sneaking suspicion that soon as she swiped that card it’d ring a bell for the Committee To Re-Elect, or worse–open an info-share window to the whole damn gummint and she just could end up standing there with her undies around her ankles and a virtual crosshair drawing a bead on her bush. Bottom line, she was watching expenditures, but couldn’t pass up on having the previously mentioned pale tail under her immediate premises.

Not paying off as yet, but she had her hopes. Sitting there in Corona commercial lounge chairs staring off into tones of blue water–Aphra particularly enjoying the sight of Curtsy doing her workout topless in waist-deep water–while chatting up the good Doctor Chiang.

Who was coming on with her usual line of Lecture 101 jazz. “Actually, there were previous ‘ends of the world’. Collapses. We talk about the ‘Mayan Apocalypse’…”

“That Mel Gibson movie? Apocalypso Now or something?”

“More or less. And yes, having the Spanish show up and conquer them, burn all their books, didn’t do much to help promote their culture, but actually there were collapses even before that.”

“Build up these big temples, then everything just fall to shit and wander back off into the jungle, right? Just like in Africa. What was with that?”

“Probably ecological, most think. They pushed their population up past what they could feed.”

“Well good thing we got smart and don’t do that shit now, huh?”

“Oh, right. But there’s another thing. They went pyramid crazy. Started pouring all their energy into building huge tombs and stele for their rulers. There are Mayans to this day, living out in the rain forest, who sneak into old ruins to burn incense in front of stone carvings on the wall that represent nothing more than dead kings. Not even rumored to be Gods. And they don’t know the difference. The whole sacrifice cult, got crazy, sucking off all the labor and resources.”

“Maybe why they ran out of food?”

“There you are. A major reason, according to a branch of the whole theory.”

“Uh, oh, hang on, I’m getting something here. I hope you ain’t gonna tell me these apocalypses happened on these like, calendar-end dates. Don’t be scaring me now.”

“That’s harder to figure.”

“But you might be able to? “

“That jade codex might be able to explain a lot of that. It seems like properties of one time cycle tend to generalize to others. Trouble is, I’m not all that confident about getting away with this Charlie’s Angels bit on Ronchel’s yacht.”

“What I hear around the Outta Town Hotties network, that boat’s far from airtight. One thing, the owner’s this world class horndog.”

“Oh goody, so I could just show up on the gangplank in a teddy and he could pipe me aboard and rape me. Sounds like a plan.”

“Just leave all that to Auntie Aphra. You got the target knowledge, Blondie there got the dive skills. What I’m bringing to the table is what you might call tactics.”

MeiMei glanced sideways at Aphra, lounging next to naked under a light coat of oil and a wide-brimmed straw planters hat, and suddenly self=proclaimed as a tactician. She was starting to realize that she might have already seen some of those tactics at work, and that this Aphra might be somewhat deeper water than she’d previously assumed. No big…whatever it might take to score that plaque.

She listened as Aphra laid out her plan for the raid with a precision and vocabulary that seemed to veer back and forth from military to criminal. It sounded fine. Actually, it sounded kind of like the drone of the waves on the sand and the wind in the palms: the sun was not so much baking her as pressing her flat, oppressing movement and thought. A process aided by a series of what the grinning Mexican waiter in luau shirt called “Coco Locos” as he brought them over to their low-slung canvas chairs that seemed to sling lower with each sip of rum, tequila and coconut milk from the coconut shell cups. She didn’t need to know all this commando stuff, did she? She was content to leave herself in Aphra’s hands.

Which was also Aphra’s personal plan for contentment, as it turned out. MeiMei was a trifle unsteady as they trailed soft white sand back into the cabana. not all that accustomed to sneakup drinking in the afternoon. Fortunately Aphra leant a helping hand, which seemed to be her main MO. And smooth enough about it that MeiMei didn’t really realize just how in hand she was until sthe stood nude under soothing warm water in the big pink shower stall, with Aphra scrubbing away her sweat with a sudsy loofah. MeiMei actually knew that the word “loofah” meant in “ribbed squash” in Mandarin, but was a little slow in knowing what it meant when the squashing wasn’t going on anywhere near her ribs. And was feeling way too good. Her eyes whipped open and served her the sight of Aphra’s gorgeous, savage and totally avaricious face as she applied that helping hand where she figured it would help her the most.

MeiMei reacted instantly, with burned-in reflex, unleashing a sequence of three kata that blocked the urgent, pleasuring hands and slapped Aphra’s bountiful black ass up against the pink, shell-motif tile. Aphra looked startled, then flashed a feral grin. They stood there with warm water pouring over their bodies, slicking them up, a pretty ravishing shot, all told.

“I appreciate your help on this project,” MeiMei said evenly, “But I’m not really into that.” Not into much, recently, she was thinking. Are you really going to get picking over feeling this good with somebody that’s pretty great to look at? Yep, she decided, I am.

Aphra generally saw domination as the route to any given solution, aided by slickery as needed. She’d spent the money, would like to have a little dirt on the Doc for later. The martial moves had been a surprise but, hey, you get that with Asians. And push come to shove… She reached out deliberately and cupped one of the smaller girl’s luscious breasts.

MeiMei was shaking her head. “Sorry. Not going to happen.”

The alcohol had been working on Aphra, too, and what she’d copped of the chinadoll so far had gotten her damned hot. So she not only failed to relinquish the disputed breast, but moved to pincer the nipple.

A foot slammed into the side of her jaw. Damn. She could taste a trickle of blood. Which just got her that much hotter, but she didn’t see much she could do about it. “Whoa, nice job, there. I’d love to see that again in slow motion.”

“Then touch me again.”

Aphra laughed, holding up her hands in an “Uncle” gesture.

“I couldn’t stand it, anyway. Me and you fighting naked for free when there’s a million guys out there would pay big bucks to watch it?”

MeiMei didn’t speak, just watched her through eyes that were quickly clearing of the CocoLoco mist.

“I gotta say, hon. I’m no stranger The Arts my own self. I was pretty bad off the streets before I even started workin my mojo in the dojo. But I get a distinct feeling you’re not to be fucked with.”

“Exactly my point.”

“Damn shame, cutie. You coulda been a contender.”

Aphra steamed out of the shower boiling in frustration and superheated yen. She stood in the front room of the suite, shaking off water like a retriever. And looked up to see Curtsy in the bedroom, staring at her while frozen in the process of peeling off her bikini bottom. She turned on her heel and stalked into the room twitching a virtual panther tail.

“You could pick up a few extra bucks here, girlfriend.”

Curtsy was caught off balance by that, and not just because she was standing on one foot with the other snagged in her suit bottom. “More Diving?”

“In a manner of speaking.”

“Well, then.” Curtsy wasn’t sure how to take this whole thing, but was okay with finding out. “Lay it on me.”

“Pretty much the idea.”

Curtsy wrinkled her brow, glowing with the day’s doze of sunshine. What was going on here? “Why don’t you just tell me?”

“Five hundred cash, right now.”

“For?”

“Taking a shower.” Aphra gave it a beat and bit of pelvic thrust. “With me.”

Curtsy took in the whole thing, the sleek black body and no-shit pose. And hesitated a little. “I can’t guarantee you,” she said.

“Guarantee what?”

“That I won’t end up kicking your butt.”

“I can live with that,” Aphra told her as she wheeled and headed back to the bath.

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