The Birth of the Mantis
"And that is what I wish you to do."
The girl sat on the edge of her bed and stared at Don Ventimiglia. The don stared back. She ran her fingers through her thick hair, thinking. At first she figured he wanted to proposition her for sex, which she would have half-refused. She would have allowed him to fuck her ass, but not her pussy. That was sacred, except when she was working. No, he wanted a much deeper level of commitment. And she was ready for it. It was something she had dreamed of.
"I will do it, sir. When do I start?"
The don smiled. "Soon. We already have a target in mind. I will call you personally. Anyone calling you and claiming to represent me should be ignored. You get your orders from me, and no one else. You will have to travel to LA to do this job. When it is completed you will head straight for my home, no matter the hour, and you will be paid. Is this fair?"
"That is fine. I can handle this."
The don rose, then stopped, looking down at Sue. "Is it true that you are fascinated by death?" he asked.
She simply answered, "Yes."
"That and surfing," smiled the don.
"One amazes me, the other is an addiction," explained Sue.
The don held out a hand to the girl. "Please, wait with me while my car returns. Thank you for the beer." Unable to find parking for a Lincoln Town Car in Mission Beach, the don's driver was simply circling, swinging by the address every five minutes, watching for the don to appear. One of the don's goons had positioned himself outside, sticking out like a roach on tapioca in his suit.
Soon enough the Lincoln swung in front of the converted garage Sue lived in. She had a monastery-bleak existence where she lived. Someone had sunk a toilet and pre-fab shower in, added a kitchenette, and thrown down indoor/outdoor carpeting on the cement. She'd added her bed, a sofa, a couple chairs, and some paint and posters. It was cheap, and it was two blocks from the beach. She would pull on her wetsuit top, a bikini bottom, grab her board, and head to the beach every morning, diving into the waves like an addict into a bag of dope. She would tear up the waves, feeling her true freedom.
Sue saw off the don with a handshake --- given the circumstances, she wasn't comfortable giving him a hug --- and went back inside. The Cure went on the turntable. She lit a cigarette and considered what she had just entered into.
To kill.... To end a life. To watch it evaporate away. Death. And being the one to deliver that blow.
She was fascinated.
She was being asked to end a man's life. To do such a thing was more than intriguing, it was absorbing.
And there would be blood. She had to see blood.
She would take everything.
The call from the don came a week later. It would happen in Los Angeles. That was fine with her, she had a car that would be comfortable for the ride, a brand new Cadillac. The target was one Nico Vaclav, a used car dealer. He was heavy, balding, and horny. He liked to do his drinking at the rail of a bar called The Marlin in Marina Del Rey, knocking back well vodka and leering at anything with breasts. It was an easy assignment for her first time.
Sue knocked back the airline bottle of whiskey sitting in the parking lot. She wanted the booze on her breath. She checked her makeup and hair in the drop-down mirror on the driver's side visor. She didn't look like the goth everyone expected of her, she looked like a college girl. Hair back, light surf betty makeup, tight blouse, shortish skirt. She looked nothing like Sue the surfing goth bitch, she looked like.... Like....
Who was she?
Dana. That would do. She'd known a Dana in high school, and had hated her. May as well blame her.
Sue marched into the bar, purposely unsteady.
Her mark was easy to spot. For god's sake, they guy even dressed like you'd expect from a Southern California used car dealer. Plaid pants and a Hawaiian shirt, white tasseled loafers. He was exactly how he was described. She lurched up to the bar next to him, slurring, "What's happening, sweetie?"
She wasn't drunk, far from it. Not with a quarter-gram of speed up her nose. The meth would counteract any alcohol she drank. That was the whole idea. She was a better actor when she was wired, too. The whiskey on her breath was the perfect effect, more bait on the hook.
Nico looked at the girl at his side, a welcoming diversion from staring into the mirror behind the bar. This was welcome. Young, drunk, and stupid. Dinner was served. He said, "Welcome, lovely. What brings you here?"
Sue let her eyes get wet and she sniffled, "I had a fight with my boyfriend. I ran out of our place. Now I feel like having a few drinks. Buy me a Chivas Regal?"
Nico signaled to the bartender. He didn't usually buy that high-end shit for people, but this girl seemed worth it. It would be his pleasure. "Two Chivas Regal for me and the lady here," he said.
The bartender looked at Sue and said, "I'll have to see the lady's ID." She produced it, allowing the bartender to get a blurry look at her. She'd gone to the DMV in full goth regalia for her license photo, and would be unrecognizable in this circumstance. The bartender shrugged and handed her ID back. He poured the drinks without any more comment.
Sue spent the next three drinks complaining about her fictional bastard of a boyfriend, winding up with, "And now I don't have a place to spend the night. I'd love to have somebody to cuddle up next to. Can you help me?"
"Girl, I would love to help you. Why don't we get a room? There is a motel just a couple blocks down." Jesus, why couldn't all nights go so easy? This was far better than a whore from Hollywood Blvd., wanting to see money before any action, always running out as soon as they were done. Nico liked a woman in bed next to him in the morning, a good way to start the day.
They drove in Nico's car to the motel. He was right, just three blocks away. Sue waited in the car while Nico paid for the room and got a key. He beckoned to her through the windshield, she grabbed her purse and followed him to the room. Once inside, he was aggressive, running his hands all over her body. She allowed him, letting him kiss her. She finally pulled away and said, "Let's get naked and have some fun, okay?"
He was amenable to this. He stripped off his clothes faster than she did. Sue looked down. He was a small man, a challenge to take given the size of his belly. She pushed him down on the bed and got him in her mouth, making him as hard as she could get him. Then she straddled him and wiggled around, finally feeling penetration. His hands grabbed at her breasts as though he was an adolescent. She made herself giggle and rode him. Her purse sat on the bedside table, waiting.
It wasn't taking him long. She rode what cock there was to ride, gauging his response. He was close. He didn't notice her right hand slithering over to her purse. Her hand found the hardware store box cutter.
As Nico came, Sue thrust the box cutter into the side of his neck and ripped all the way across, severing both big veins. She was surprised at the gush from both sides. Blood splattered all over the wall at the head of the bed, then began soaking the bed. Nico's cock, deprived of blood to keep it hard, fell out of her. She stared into his eyes, watching him die.
The light faded, and died.
Sue understood what victory felt like.
She could do this at every request.
Sue got up and headed for the bathroom. Her arms and legs and hands were soaked in blood, and she needed to shower. Then she had a thought. She went back to the bed and dipped a finger in a pool of blood. She began writing on the motel room wall, one word:
Then she went in and showered and dressed. She left her shoes off, not feeling like walking three blocks in heels.
The Sedan de Ville sat where she'd left it. No one was outside the bar. She hopped in, fired up, and headed out. She wound her way through Beverly Hills and into Bel Air, following the directions she'd written down. The gates were just as they'd been described. She pulled up and hit the intercom button. There was a pause.
"Who is it?" came a static-filled voice.
"This is Sue. I'm here to see Vito."
A brief pause. "Don Ventimiglia has gone to bed. What do you want?"
"I want to see the don. I'm fucking expected, get him up. Tell him it's Sue."
The gate slid open, and Sue drove in. She got to the front of the house and got out. Rang the bell. After a couple minutes the don opened the door and gestured her back out to the Cadillac. He had a small paper bag in his hand.
Sue sat back down in the car. The don handed her the bag and said, "You will find ten bundles of bills there, a total of $25,000. I believe that was our agreed amount."
She dumped the bag out on the seat next to her. Sure enough, ten bundles, $2500 per bundle, all hundreds. She looked up at the don and said, "Too cool. Got any more work for me?"
"Not at the moment." He chuckled. "You are ambitious."
Sue smiled at the don and said, "I just killed a man at the height of his orgasm. I stared into his eyes as he died, I was the last thing he ever saw. I have never been more high in my life."
The don stared down at her. "You enjoy your work. I shall remember that. Good night, Sue, drive carefully." He went back inside.
Sue piloted back out of the estate and towards the freeway. At a stoplight she took one of the bundles, tore off the wrapper, and threw the bills up in the air, scattering them all over the car. Then she started laughing.
She laughed and laughed and laughed, all the way through Los Angeles, into Orange County. Even then it merely died down to giggles. She was still giggling when she pulled into her parking spot, gathering her money up and bringing it into the house. Sue tucked her money away under the bathroom sink, stripped down, and went to bed. She fell into a deep and dreamless sleep. Then she awoke in the morning, just as the sun was coming up, so she could go surfing.