Authors: Kaye Blue
Kaye Blue’s Men Who Thrill
Light in the Darkness?
I long ago accepted my place in the shadows.
My sole purpose is to enforce order in the chaos of the criminal world, to make sure that those who break the rules pay for their transgressions with their money or with their blood. There is no room for me in the “real” world.
When I look at her, her gentle smile, her beautiful brown skin, and the soft, beckoning curves of her body, I can’t help but dream… It’s stupid; she’s too innocent, too kind for a monster like me, so I’ve been content to watch her from afar.
And then one day she spoke to me, and I knew my life—and hers—would never be the same…
∞ ∞ ∞ ∞
The man’s entreaty fell on deaf ears.
I’d been sent to do a job, one that I would complete, no matter how much he begged. I glared down at him and he shrank away, recoiled further when I stepped closer, his screams getting louder and again joined by his shameless begging.
“Please! I have it!”
He reached into his pocket and retrieved a wad of bills, lifting them up to me as if they would make a difference.
The time that money could have helped him had long since passed, but he’d still pay, only now with his blood. I didn’t bother to waste my words explaining that fact to him. He wouldn’t have listened anyway; his type never did.
“I’ll pay you! Double! Triple!” he exclaimed, tossing the bills at me.
If I still had the capacity, I would have been offended. People like him thought that everyone was as easily bought as they were. In most cases, it was probably true, but the little pride I allowed myself was based solely on the fact that I wasn’t for sale. Maybe a person like me, a thug, a criminal, had no room to judge, but I did it anyway. I considered myself a professional. I had few morals, but those I did have, I respected with an almost religious fervor. Of course, I did recognize the irony of the fact that I’d be out of a job if other people took their word as seriously as I did mine.
When he saw that his money was of no value, he took a different approach. I could see the calculation behind his eyes, the frantic way he grasped at any path out of this. I let out a little chuckle. Seemed the little weasel had some fight, though he clearly wasn’t very bright, not if he’d ended up in this unfortunate predicament.
“I’ve seen your face. I’ll go to the cops,” he said, his voice brimming with bravado that rang hollow, as fake and cheap as his gaudy pinkie ring.
That was bullshit through and through. Going to the cops would mean questions, questions that would undoubtedly lead to the suspicious fire that had destroyed a warehouse he owned last month, and questions about what had happened to his generous insurance payout. And this man, sniveling little pig that he was, wouldn’t be able to come up with a believable story if his life depended on it. And there was the not-small fact that if he ran into the wrong cop, he’d find himself wishing for me instead.
“No you won’t,” I said, calling him on his bluff after several long, tense-for-him moments passed. And at the sound of my voice, he went still and, thankfully, quiet, realization dawning in his eyes.
That realization turned to fear as I loomed over him and outright terror as I closed my fist and swung it at him. The dull
of my fist against his midsection let me know that I’d hit the right spot. He was in pain; that much was clear, but I hadn’t injured him yet, at least not too badly, and not enough that he would lose consciousness before I’d meted out the punishment he’d earned.
He doubled over and gripped his stomach, leaving a clear path to his kidney, one that I gladly took, delivering two rapid-fire blows that had him wailing in pain. I’d long ago inured myself to the sound of screams; they no more reached me than the background music at the supermarket, were almost another frequency of sound that I seldom even heard anymore, let alone paid attention to.
But that his screams had no effect didn’t stop them. He wailed away until his voice went hoarse.
I whaled away, too, slamming my fists into his abdomen, arms, face until my hands were numb and until my heart raced from the exertion. When I stopped, he let out a little whimper and then collapsed unconscious against the filthy ground.
Another night’s work was complete.
∞ ∞ ∞ ∞
I left him there—if he was lucky, someone would wander by or call an ambulance, but whether that happened or not was no concern of mine—and turned the corner, swiftly putting a couple blocks’ distance between us before I slowed and found a secluded spot on a dark corner. Once there, I rummaged in my pockets for two of the essential tools of my particular trade: hand sanitizer and baby wipes.
With a few efficient swipes, my hands were squeaky clean, and after that, I filled my palm with a generous amount of sanitizer, loving that familiar sting of the alcohol as it dried against my skin. A few of my associates—I didn’t have friends—found it odd that I always carried both, thought that maybe I was a secret germaphobe or something. That wasn’t the case; my knuckles were heavily calloused, and at this point, it would likely take a knife to pierce that rough skin, so disease was barely a faint concern, although I’d never bothered to explain that to them.
And the fact was, baby wipes were a gift to criminal kind. Once, years ago, after I’d just gotten into the job, I’d done some work on a bleeder, and by the time I’d finished, my hands and wrists were covered with blood. So there I’d been, looking like I’d just tried to kill someone, which I had, with no way to clean up. The four-block walk to a safe house had been the longest of my life; I’d been certain that at any moment a cop, a rival, or a concerned citizen would jump me. I’d made it, but hadn’t been caught like that again, so I counted the experience a valuable lesson. That none of my colleagues ever thought far enough ahead to wonder what would happen if they were caught covered in some mark’s blood only helped solidify why they were all headed to prison or an early grave.
I was too; there was no retirement at the end of my career track, but I sure as fuck wouldn’t make it
The hand sanitizer, though, that was another matter. It served a purpose and was useful, but it was mostly a personal quirk. Using it was my own little ritual, tantamount to clocking out, and as I rubbed it into my hands, I always let my mind drift, tightened the reins on the enforcer and let the other me, what little there was left, come out.
And then, by the time the sanitizer was dry, I had my human face on and went out into the world. One last stop, and then I could indulge in the one pleasure I had in life.
∞ ∞ ∞ ∞
I walked into the club, the party in full swing, the screams and laughter of revelers making the walls throb, and headed back to see the boss, greeting others as I moved.
“It went well?” he said when I finally reached him.
“Fine,” I responded.
My boss nodded; the question was mostly a formality. I always did my job well.
“Good. Do you think he’ll pay?” he asked.
“If he makes it, he will.”
“I don’t know why they haven’t figured out how much easier this would be if they just paid and saved you the trouble,” he said.
I shrugged. “Everybody thinks they can beat the system.”
“But you prove them wrong,” he replied, a grim expression on his face.
Most wouldn’t recognize it as a smile, but it was as close as he would come to one. Except when she was around. Even then he was restrained, rightly concerned with her safety, me being one of his only associates allowed to be around her on a few rare occasions. But still, his caution aside, I’d seen a change in him. Not a softening; that was impossible, for him and for me, but he was different now. Maybe a little calmer. More like a man with something to lose, a man with something worth fighting for.
I envied him. I’d never much considered how entirely empty my life was, but seeing him, seeing the way he was with her showed me what I’d been missing.
“Have you given any thought to what I asked?” he said, interrupting my wandering thoughts.
“I don’t need to. It’s not for me.”
He nodded and then let the subject drop. He probably knew me well enough to know that I wouldn’t be swayed, and that ability to know what fights to pick and when had served him well, was more than part of the reason why he’d managed to maintain his position for so long. He’d made the offer before, and I’d rejected it almost instantly. I wasn’t built for management and had no interest in day-to-day operations. Still, it was a bit of a risk to refuse him. The offer revealed how highly he regarded me, and he could be offended that I turned him down and as quickly as I had. I’d had no other choice though. I knew myself, my limitations.
I was an enforcer, nothing more.
“If you change your mind,” he said.
I shook his hand and said good-bye.
I walked the several blocks that separated the club from my destination, a thrum of what could almost be called excitement bubbling in my blood. That feeling intensified as I got closer and closer, and I let the strange sensation take over. I was unaccustomed to it, unaccustomed to feeling anything, really, so the feeling was still odd. But I liked it, had come to need it in fact.
I entered the smallish restaurant about a half hour before it closed and settled in my usual spot, the last booth on the left, the only seat that gave a full view of the entire place, including the front and back doors and restrooms. As much as I liked being here, feeling transported, old habits being what they were, I still needed to be completely aware of my surroundings at all times; my life depended on it.
The unique nature of this little game never failed to amuse me. Other guys went to clubs, fucked bored housewives who were looking for excitement, but during my downtime, I went to a restaurant, one that, save for pie, I’d never even eaten at. Not the most popular way to spend time, but there was nothing else I’d rather do. In the split second after I sat, she placed a cup of steaming coffee in front of me and turned and headed back to the counter, where she lifted a glass dome and expertly plated a piece of pie, one that she brought to the table and left, all without saying a word.
I sipped the strong coffee and then took a bite of the pie—apple today—giving off an air of casual disinterest. Nothing could be further from the truth, though. I watched her as she moved around the restaurant, chatting pleasantly with the few other patrons, tidying the bar, getting ready to close the place.
She was a foot shorter than my own six four, her smooth, soft-looking skin a deep, rich brown that beckoned me to touch; so did her body, the rounded slope of her soft but strong shoulders enclosed in a simple white button-shirt—one that was still immaculately clean despite it being the end of the day—leading down to full breasts, a thick but narrow waist, all atop robust hips and thighs that strained against the confines of her navy-blue pants. Her feminine shape appealed, but when she turned and smiled at one of her customers, she became a goddess to my eye.
Unabashed, unrestrained warmth flowed through that smile and took what could have been average features to an entirely different plane, one that made her almost irresistible. I never engaged with her, didn’t dare risk it, but these little glimpses of her were food to my soul, embers of light in the darkness, light that I found myself seeking more and more.
I’d passed this place a thousand times, a million, over the years, but I could remember the night I’d walked past and caught a fleeting sight of her. I’d been struck but it, and by her, left with no choice but to enter, the need to see more of that smile overriding common sense.
“Hello, sir. I’m April. What can I get you?” she’d said.
A perfect name for her.
I’d peered at her, taking in the professionally friendly expression on her face and hastily ordered the first thing that had come to mind, coffee and a slice of pie. They’d only had one slice left, and I’d taken it, telling her that the kind didn’t matter.
And I’d done the same thing again and again, always ordering pie and coffee and leaving just before she closed. She’d never tried to engage me but didn’t seem particularly concerned or bothered by me, or much like she noticed me at all. I figured she’d met her fair share of eccentrics in this neighborhood, and truthfully, I was grateful. The shadows were my home, and I’d managed to make it this long by shunning attention, blending in as well as I could given my height and build. And if she’d paid me any special attention at all, given any hint that she thought of me as anything more than a peculiar customer, I would have had to end these trips, something I didn’t at all want.