It wasn’t so much what he did as what he didn’t do. Elementary tradecraft to Aphra, learnt at mother’s knee. And other lowdown joints.
Now I got as much vanity as the next girl, she mused while lounging in the full exposure of the Acantilado, staring south to where her wandering chicks had blasted forth in search of treasure and intel. And with good reason. In a gold bikini fit to die in, wispy wrap, huge plastic shooting glasses that could only be called “high yaller” and a straw hat with brim the size of a Verizon footprint. And thinking it’s not out of line to expect a man to check me out a little, not give me the old furniture treatment. Now maybe if this was a Lakers Girls tryout or something, but here and now I think you’d gotta say I’m worth a look over, but he don’t look especially gay and is coming on with the chopped liver treatment. Tell you what we do about unwanted and highly suspicious lack of advances back where I come from. Sashay over there and sort things out.
Not a bad looking man. For, you know, a man. And a super-honky at that. Oh, and look, now that I’m walking right on up to him, sashay la femme, with my barely gold-covered crotch at eye level and augmented musk mist carried in on the sea wind, now he’s letting on that I exist.
Townsend looked up at her a minute, taking it all in while she posed motionless and out-of-place as the livid sculptures strewn down the Point, and closed his “Wired” and motioned to the chair beside him. As three waiters sprained themselves vying to be at hand, he said, “What took you so long?” She laughed out loud. Gotta hand it to the boy.
She made sitting down a scene to remember, waved off the waiters, and leaned forward with eyes wide and lips moist. “So what’s your main MO?”
He leaned in as well, and held up the “Wired”. “FYI, I’m the CEO of an IT .com, trying to keep the IRS and ICC off my IPO. Names Roger Parker. NMI.”
“LOL.” She waved flaming fingernails at her luscious breast and said, “And I’m Chlamydia Washingtonian-Huitlacochl. So pleased.”
This time Townsend laughed all the way, something he hadn’t done in awhile. “How about you call me Town?”
“And you can call me when I’m in town,” she purred lasciviously. “My name’s Aphra.”
Thing she’d learned, if they’re on your ass, they already know who you are. And half the time don’t care if you know who they are.
“Nice name. Fits, somehow.” If he hadn’t known her name he’d have snickered over that Aphra thing. Sure baby. Hyphen American, right? But hey, here they were, secret squirrels on first name basis.
“Ever hear of Aphra Behn?” She dialed off the vampy, got a little more real. ” Not many have. Even though she was the first woman to ever write a novel in English: a black woman, dig that, back in seventeenth century London.”
“So was it a regency romance?”
“No, it was a Tudor romance full of silk bodices and codpieces. What the hell you think it was? About being a house-nigger slave of the crown.”
“Sounds like a good beach read.”
“Mega-bore, actually. But that’s where I got stuck with my name. One thing I figured out pretty young was I won’t gonna be no slave, baby.”
“I might still be working on that.”
Now that earned the man a little deeper look. Here he was, golden runway god with the bod to back it up, had some wits about him, and maybe he wasn’t all that fulfilled. Or not. She decided to tiptoe out on a limb.
“I took me longer to figure out that my mom and her Mickey Maoist cronies could enslave my ass just as quick as anybody else. Fact, they had the inside track.”
“But you stuck with the hairdo.”
Well it’s a wig, whiteboy. But he had a point there. Was she as free from her roots as she liked to think? “Cain’t do a thang with it.”
“I like the look. I like everything I’m looking actually. Just thought I’d get that in.” He motioned to the hovering waitstaff and pointed to her empty glass, creating a stampede. “It suits you. And sort of says ‘retro-proud, non-iconic, activision’ without out coming right out with it.”
“Hair is just so political, don’t you think?”
“Is it still? Was there ever a leftie with a Jheri Curl?”
“Leftie? I look like relief pitcher to you? Seriously, you think I’m a leftist you shoulda met my Mom. She was like SDS before she was a student. Five minutes after they formed the Weathermen she was like Eyewitness Weathergirl. Pointing out low repression areas and encroaching fascist fronts with a ‘fro as big as the Apollo.”
“Red diaper baby? It can scar worse than being Catholic.”
“God yes. she wanted me to be a bomb-lobbing MaoMau like her. Thought I was a rightwing Nazi when I registered as a Democrat.”
“Well, I was, too. The opposite. I don’t think they have a word for being raised by actual rightwing Nazi wolves.”
“Brownshirt diapers? Kultur Kinder?”
“My dad pegged me as commie faggot for registering Republican.”
“Well, now.” She smiled, then looked away, sweeping the sloping spur of ground that was South Point before it plunged over the cliffs into a blue-green stretch of Caribbean kissing blue-blue horizon. “Quite a pair to meet up here at the end of the earth. Assuming we’re not both full of shit.”
Townsend turned to look at the ogling waiters. “I think we both already got made as full of shit just from the way we’re dressed.”
You don’t know the half of it, peckerwood, she thought. But realized that it might be the other way around: he might be all over her ass and she didn’t have a clue where he was coming from. But for now, she’d assume he was connected somehow to the Weaseler and therefore to The Chief. And was sitting up nights figuring a way to turn her over and find out what she knew and what it meant. Given that assumption…
“Look, I gotta run. But could we get together for dinner?”
“I sure hope so.”
“Yeah, me, too. How about that Sunset Grill place around eight?”