31 July 2010

The Apartment, Part 3

Links to Parts 1 & 2 are to the left. -m

Red Cravat Guy and White Cravat Guy were in the bedroom, tossing things against the walls and rapping their knuckles against the drywall. I figured they were listening for a hollow spot full of "stuff".

The leather chair I was sitting in was facing the front door, though, so any time I wanted to see what they were doing I had to peek my face around the side of the chair and look behind me. My breathing was quick and shallow and every time I moved the chair squeaked like a horror movie front door. I sat this way for a minute or two, waiting for them to move into the bedroom closet, which was completely out of view of the door.

With my face pressed into the side of the leather I stretched out my leg so I could pull my phone out of my pocket. I fumbled with it once I'd gotten it out and it thumped lightly on the seat. Who knows how or if he heard it, but White Cravat Guy flew out of the bedroom and clonked me in the forehead with his gun.

"Ow!" I could feel a new indentation and a fresh bruise forming just above my eye.

"What're you doin' in here?" he asked. I gulped.

"Nothing! Sitting!"

"Good!" He tapped my forehead again, in the same spot, and turned to go. I faced the front door again, and he used that moment to return to my chair. He was crouched on the carpet this time, as close to the chair as he could get. With one hand he casually rested the gun on the armrest, pointed oh-so-nonchalantly in the direction of my very vital organs. The other hand he placed behind my head, tangled in my hair.

"Don't get no ideas," he whispered in my ear. I wrinkled my nose; he smelled like cigar smoke and permanently unbrushed teeth. Before that moment I had almost liked the smell of cigars. Nevermore. "Wouldn't want to hurt you." I looked at him out of the corner of my eye, trying to think of something to say. I wanted to say, "Yeah? Well get outa my house! You smell funny and your brain is too small!" But, you know, it's quite likely that things like that have little to no effect on mobsters. At least, the lame insult at the end wouldn't do much except get me another bruise. And it probably would be more painful, too.

"I'm just sitting," I said, feeling pathetic for not standing up to him.

For an answer he chuckled in my ear, kissed my cheek, and yanked on my hair when he stood up. I waited a full 93 seconds before turning around and letting myself check on where they were. Closet. Good. Who knows why they were just leaving me in the living room? Whatever. It was better than actually watching them break my stuff; it was bad enough listening to it happen.

I re-settled myself in the chair and pushed my hair out of my eyes. I imagined I looked just fantastic, with damp hair and no makeup. My face felt dry and I licked my lips as I reached for my phone. I barely had it in my hand when it began to vibrate.

That's a good reason to have your phone on vibrate, by the way. If Italian mafia minions break into your apartment looking for loot, they won't hear your phone if it goes off, so they won't be able to take it away from you. Brilliant. Of course, the vibrating phone will probably scare the living crap out of you, like it did me, and I didn't even know I had any living crap in me. I pushed the button to unlock the screen and saw that I had a text message. Breathing a sigh of relief and glancing behind to make sure the Cravat Brothers were having fun out of view, I opened the message.

"Don't move."

Of course I moved, but only my head. The boys were still out of sight. It scared me to think that they had my number, but hey, they'd gotten into my apartment so anything was possible. I decided not to answer, so that they'd think I didn't have my phone on me. Dropping it back onto the seat, I leaned back and closed my eyes, trying to create a happy place involving kettle corn and rain and fireplaces.

My phone vibrated again, scaring me out of my happy place and tossing me onto the concrete floor of the present.

"Stop moving. They're there, right? In the closet."

I ducked in my chair. If the fancy Cravat Brothers were trying to freak me out, it was definitely working. But a tiny part of me spoke up just before I put the phone down again, and it said, "Hey, wait. This person could be a good guy." Stupid voice. I rolled my eyes, completely unable to agree with what my fingers were doing yet equally unable to stop it.

I typed, "Yes. Who is this?" and held my breath -- literally -- and ducked down, waiting to be shot in the back of the head. I could just see the back of my skull ricocheting off of the opposite wall, bright Tarantino blood spewing onto the new carpet...

It took forever for the guy to respond, giving me the nerve-numbing confidence that I really was about to die. The Italian Whoever They Weres had my phone number and were tricking me out of my last true hope for life. And then the text message came and I couldn't read it fast enough.

"It's the guy who died. :) "

There is a ghost in my phone, I thought. But I didn't have time to send my follow-up message of "Cassidy?" because suddenly there was another message, and it had the little camera symbol over the envelope. I opened it and my jaw dropped. It was a live video feed of me, sitting in the leather chair, watching myself watch myself on my phone. Creepy, but I kept my eye on it for a few seconds, trying to get a handle of where the camera is. According to the angle, I assumed that it was high above me, maybe near the ceiling.

When I turned I could see it, a little khaki cube attached to the side of a cabinet. I had the queasy feeling that it was winking at me, and my phone vibrated again.

"Stay silent and still."

Suddenly there was a crash from the bedroom, some sailor-worthy cursing, and the sound of angry Italian leather shoes in the hallway. I dropped the phone into the crevice between the seat cushion and the armrest just before the mobsters presented themselves before me. They looked... dissatisfied.

"We know it's here," Red Cravat Guy said. He took a moment to fix a loose cuff link, then looked at me with one eyebrow raised. "You hid it?" In a random act of insanity I decided to take the dead guy's advice and I stayed silent, staring at their shoes. They were very shiny and black.

"I'll make 'er--" began White Cravat Guy. His brother interrupted him.

"Nah," he said. "We'll come back." Before I knew it I was glancing up into his face, because there was something in his tone that made me want to pee my pants like a small child and it made me curious. I regretted it instantly, because the happy anticipation I saw in his sparkling eyes reminded me of the raptors in Jurassic Park. Hunted, meet the hunter. Oh, crapola.

And then, suddenly, they were gone. One moment I was holding back pleas for peace and life, the next I was feeling a tiny breeze as the front door opened quickly and shut almost silently.

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