The skyscape dropped into darkness, and the wind picked up in a protesting howl, setting the tattered remains of the burned American flag free into the air—a certain flurry, like black bits of paper. A charred stuffed bear lay face-down in Stein's path. Without knowing why, he bent to pick it up, dusting off the damp fur to inspect it.
A young girl's laughter resounded somewhere from between the tall, narrow buildings outside of the protective fence surrounding the disused basketball count. Stein's fingers tightened around the toy and he followed it. He was stopped by a clucking tongue.
“I don't think you're ready for that just yet,” Roger said, and Stein blinked.
He was holding a martini, not a teddy bear. It was Tempsey's old place—a modest thirty-five stories above the cracked pavement below. Rumors were that a man had jumped out of the window on the thirty-sixth floor, and that's how the pavement had gotten fucked up in such an expensive neighborhood.
“You're showing me shit out of order,” Stein growled to his ethereal companion who merely eyed the well-dressed guests with an appreciative smile. He licked his lips; a black, segmented and forked tongue to slither out of his mouth for a brief flicker, and then Stein was left not knowing if he'd seen it for real or not. One couldn't be too careful, especially with his drink, and there came the woman in the red dress, a complete cliché brunette bombshell but he remembered her name well: Ana Langier, supermodel. Her husband was a Japanese businessman, and so wasn't around much there in that lonely New York State. Word at the firm was she was alone most of the time. She certainly wasn't clinging to anyone here, only walking, defiant, as if she owned the place instead of Tempsey.
Roger sniffed the air with gusto, and Stein turned to find the specter dressed to the nines in a wine-colored tux. He favored his charge with a half-apologetic smile, his black beady eyes following the sway of those hips as Ana approached Stein, paused for dramatic result, her plush red lips mouthing the words that Stein would never forget and he was tugged along by his tie, led by the lovely lady. On the way out of the main gathering, Stein stumbled over a foot strategically placed, and his martini went flying. An explosion of Grey Goose and vermouth blossomed in the center of the room.
The olives, still stabbed on the small acrylic sword rolled once and stared up at him, like accusing eyes, with x's for pupils.
Ana was drunk, he could tell it and Sarah wouldn't be expecting him home for a few more hours. She pulled him up into a short hall, kissing him hard enough to bite into his bottom lip, her slender fingers working the offending garments out of the way.
“I want you,” she whispered in his ear, tonguing his earlobe to suck between her lips and pinch between her teeth. "I've always wanted you."
Stein looked around for Roger but it seemed his companion had gotten distracted by the craps table. Two glorious women clutched both of his elbows, and for the first time, Roger did not look menacing at all. Instead, his eyes were a lighter brown and his hair was combed back neatly, exposing a less than noticeable widow's peak part. No one noticed anything odd about him, or seemed to care. Ana was at his zipper now, her fingers cold against his prickling nutsack and he nearly stood on his toes.
A clattering sound interrupted her would-be invasion with her mouth. Someone'd spilled the cocktail peanuts. Stein closed his eyes, knowing what was about to happen. His mind screamed at him to push Ana away, but she 'd returned to her undeniable attraction to his helplessly exposed and bobbing manhood.
“She always gave good head,” Roger said, standing there in front of Stein with his two newest fans like he was waiting in line for the bathroom instead of watching Stein receive a blowjob from a gorgeous supermodel whom also happened to be married.
Stein squirmed a little as his libido overtook his recollection of the memory which Roger was obviously pushing him to relive.
“Rsaka Tonoshi,” Roger said, “You remember this part.” His white face turned, Stein noticed that he was blistering along the jaw. His nose was incredibly long, sharp, and appeared to have been broken at some juncture. Roger turned his face back to Stein.
“He's coming.” A peanut rolled through the opening, and an astonished Asian face peered into the hallway, followed by the blackest hole deep inside the muzzle of his pistol. Tears and sweat mingled on his lined features; Rsaka had to be at least seventy-years-old.
Ana was given only enough time to pop Stein's throbbing purple cock from her mouth and rise to her feet, her lips parting to offer something in the way of explanation. Stein wanted to throw an arm over his face to deflect the splattering blood and brains, but his arm remained cemented against the wall, just like the script of his past dictated.
It was over in a matter of seconds. Rivers of tears streamed down and over aged lines; Ana dropped to the floor after a red lotus blossomed in her face.
His pocket vibrated and he jumped-jerked away. Four men were tackling Rsaka to the ground, vainly attempting to wrestle the gun from his grip. Sarah cried into the phone on her end; whispered accusations. Stein heard himself say that no matter what, he would always place her ahead of anything else. He hung up and backed up and off the wall, letting Ana's little weight fall away from his legs.
She eyed him with the one eye not covered in a bloody mess.
“I'm so sorry.”
The four men scattered as Rsaka swung the aim of the gun in a wide arc.
"It's okay," Stein said, his mouth dry. His eyes climbed up the wall, where her husband leaned against it, shoulders slumped in defeat. The old businessman eyed the weapon as he turned it over and over in his hands. A dull, blued-steel, maybe a .38, Stein didn't know shit like that. Without another word, he bit the muzzle and pulled the trigger a second time. In the distance, Stein heard screaming. The faint wait of the ambulance.
"You know how he took his time? His was a good catch and a definite bonus in addition to Ms. Langier's. In the end, you are all meat."
Roger grinned his shark-tooth grin and bit one of the women's faces, and she moaned.
"They want it, Cristein. They need to be devoured. But this isn't what I wanted to show you. We're not done, but we're done here."