Monday, March 28, 2011

Short Story: In 2011, I Fell for a Man

 By Xenonlit

In 2011, I fell for a man who caused my ridiculous heart to skip a few beats before it settled down into a low sizzle. He was wealthy, well educated and traveled extensively in his position as the owner of a major import-export firm. I tell everyone to this day that, from the first time that I set eyes on him, I was determined to have that man for my very own.

During that spring and summer of 1984, that incredible prey of mine had frequently crossed my paths of travel. Each time that he crossed my path of travel, my heart would go into gymnastics and I would start looking around for an ambulance. I would make up fantasies of hip grinding sex and domestic tranquility. Every romantic movie made me replace the actors with that man and me in artistic poses that are nothing like real life, love or lovemaking.

I researched him in the magazines. I surfed for him on the web, learning from his photos that, while he was of a certain age, he still sported an athletic physique and was decorated with skin the color of a creamy Latte with hints of caramel.

He had Clark Gable eyebrows, high cheekbones, cruel lips, and a high brow. His hair rode his beautifully shaped skull in waves of fine and shiny ebony. He was clearly of high intelligence, but it was his bedroom, slightly shifty eyes that made me swoon with supernatural desire.

After the internet failed to satisfy my burning curiosity, I asked detailed questions of the shopkeepers and clients who lay in his wake. I discovered that he had not only loaded up with  financial goodies, he also had an air of mystery and danger about him. Anyone who talked about him seemed to edit their words with care, as if they feared the man.

He had a distant cousin who would who refused to talk until he was "convinced" to answer some questions. I still did not get much more from the estranged cousin than a hint that the man had been sent to an orphanage after his abusive parents died in a suspicious fire. My quarry had served with distinction in Iraq after he was given the choice of the Army or jail. None of his comrades would tell me if they had any contact with him. I suspected that they had contact, but that those were uncomfortable times.

That information led me directly into the romantic and therefore unthinking woman's trap: It is always the "Bad Boy" in a man that makes him more desirable than the man who does plain and simple good every day. Perhaps it is an instinctive, cave woman process that attracts us to men who will not hesitate to break the rules when confronted by predators and mortal foes.

We are fine with that until we are perceived to be the predators and foes in such a man's life. 

After I was told to let it go, I set out to have this man for my very own. I resolved to enter into a committed and long term relationship with him. I formed a more solid impression of him when I followed him to a small town in Greece, where he was collecting the works of local stone masons. The stone masons were the best for finding antiquities, minor and large. He stayed in an expensive little hotel for a week, traveling by boat to the surrounding islands where he inadvertently broke women's (and more than a few men’s) hearts.

His business there was only speculated upon by the authorities with well lined pockets and blinding grins. Their glib aversion to telling me anything led to a shortage of clarifying details that would help me to have that man for my very own.

I made it my life's goal to solve the mystery of this man and to possess him for my very own, but a brief hospitalization for "excitement" that came from a kidnapping and serious conversation prevented me from doing so right away.

My friend and colleague, Andres, wrote that he wanted to marry my target. I promptly dispatched an epistolary slap to Andres’ gorgeous, but gay head and told him to back off. "HE'S MINE!" I wrote in all caps, which was the E-Mail equivalent of a scream and joke rolled into one clear statement of warning and intent.

I hated to take it out on Andres because he was a real doll, but I was frustrated beyond belief. I had just left that very town in Greece without much more than kitchen gossip. I was in London before heard of my heart’s desire in a man. He had taken London by storm, quietly liquidating his latest Greek acquisitions and dropping women in their tracks with his beautiful looks. I read about this in the bitterly plainspoken tabloid newspapers. I almost tore my hair out in rage that I had not been up close and personal with him.

He left London and stayed at the Royal Swan Hotel in Essex, just one village away from where I was stalking his movements among the small shops and larger stores. He was said to wear bespoke suits, snappy fedoras, and Burberry trench coats. He made complex investment deals and traded in theoretical financial constructs which apparently rendered plenty of money. My sources told me that his Swiss bank accounts were showing a lot of activity.

It was a dirty shame that we missed each other. We could have enjoyed motor cruises through the Chaucer Region and dined on Shepherd's Pie, making fabulous conversation and answering unasked questions in the fresh beds of quaint little roadhouses.

But he had moved on to Antigua, where I contacted some friends of his in the hope of coaxing them into telling me more. They refused to let me near them, their eyes showing alarm and darting in all directions as if looking for help from some undefined source. Did I feel any guilt or disturbance at my relentless tracking of the man? Never. My desire for him overruled any reason or sense.

He crossed my path a third time in a near miss caused me to spend a week in a reddish haze of fury. My spies told me that he had swaggered along the beaches, sneering at Speedos and preferring classic trunks. His tanned and toned thighs were a perfect accompaniment to his broad shoulders and tight chest. He collected "rare sea shells" from the more "adventurous" divers, dined on conch fritters and shared fresh mangoes with other women. He insisted on the best champagnes and single malt whiskeys. At least, that is what my sources at the magazines and the newspapers said.

But that setback only made me even more determined to be close enough to get physical with him. I dreamed of sipping champagne afterward while basking in the warm and colorless sea water with my man, but it did not happen in the tropical air of Antigua.

I was  New York when he was almost wiped out in little dispute in little Italy. Apparently some of his colleagues took exception to his prices for "Caribbean Salvage" and they attempted to resolve the matter in an extended hail of gunfire and auto wreckage. He escaped injury, but stayed in New York to see the musical "Les Miserable" for the tenth time. He was an Andrew Lloyd Weber fanatic, which was one of the few false notes in that symphony of a man.

I crushed a crystal glass, being careful to let no one hear it. I was beside myself with rage, since New York would have been a perfect place to corner my man and to get to know him better. I was so distracted during the following days that I almost got knocked down by a too eager Wall Street hustler. I was daydreaming of languid strolls through Central Park, conversation in darkened underground jazz clubs, then visiting the great institutions of government, which is another passion of mine.

I finally found him in Kansas City, Missouri. He was lounging in a neighborhood joint, listening to the blues, eating barbecue, and drinking ice cold martinis. I cried about it for days afterward, but I had finally caught my man. He was mine and I had him hidden in a quiet set of rooms, closely bound and helpless.

And I made sure to be his escort as he was extradited to New York for arraignment, trial and prosecution for his crimes, which included over 50 counts of murder for hire, along with 40 major acts of antiquities thefts.

His perp-walk into the Thurgood Marshall Federal Courthouse for arraignment was so impeded by the paparazzi that the riot squad had to be called out to control the roiling crowd.

He was the most prolific hired assassin in history and I was the one who caught him.

I was a special agent with the FBI, specializing in antiquities theft. I was regularly counseled about my terrible propensity for falling madly in love with my suspects, so I learned to control my wild imaginings by secretively writing a wildly popular series of romance novels.

My wildly popular romance novels turned out to be a Godsend, because my heart problems were much more than mere emotional blips. I was forced out of the FBI and into permanent medical disability after I had my delightful prey found guilty and sentenced to execution by lethal injection. That was an emotionally fulfilling cleansing event that I personally witnessed ten years later in 2021.

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