It was a little over two weeks following my death when O’Malley finally agreed to show me what she does for a living. We sat in a corner of a ritzy restaurant on the ground floor of an expensive hotel downtown. O’Malley was dressed in a tight, short, black, leather dress that showed off some magnificent cleavage, hugged her hips and ass perfectly, and made it tough to keep my hands to myself. I didn’t know why she chose to wear that to go out and kill, but I was about to find out. She took something out of her jacket, which hung on the back of her chair. It was a small, yellow envelope. She passed it across the table to me and said, “This is the target. He’s a judge who’s accepted a lot of bribes to put a lot of innocent people behind bars.”
I opened the top of the envelope and took out the papers inside. There was a candid photo of a white, middle-aged fatass, wearing a suit, about to get into an expensive car.
“Someone’s paying you to kill this guy?”
“A public defender,” she answered. “He works his arse off for his clients, but money is what really wins cases in a court of law. Especially in this particular judge’s courtroom. So, my client did some digging, a bit of spying, and confirmed his suspicions. I just happened to meet him before he blew the whistle.”
“Hang on. How is a public defender gonna come up with at least ten grand to pay you?”
“He’s not,” she said with a little smile. “I’m doing this for the cash in the judge’s wallet and the satisfaction of making the world a better place.”
I laughed. It was probably the first time I didn’t feel a bit of remorse about the fact that we were going to kill someone. I’d stopped thinking of our victims in terms of being anyone’s son or daughter, brother or sister, mother or father. They weren’t people, they were monsters. Why should I feel any regret if they didn’t? Of all the shit they screamed at me in their dying moments, “Fuck you,” “Let me go,” “I’ll kill you,” et cetera, few ever apologized or tried to convince me they’d change, and those that did never meant it. Even when I told them why they deserved to die, they’d just curse and spit until the bitter end. Some wouldn’t even lie to me to save their own asses, like they were proud of the things they’d done. “Yeah, I beat the shit outta that bitch, and then I fucked her unconscious body! You think I’m just gonna sit there and let her talk to me like that?” That one was a gem.
“Okay, so, what’re you gonna do?” I asked.
“Wait for him to finish dinner, and join him in his room.”
I looked around the room discreetly, and then I saw him. He was near the window, sopping up the grease on his plate with a dinner roll. Gross.
“Is he alone?” I wondered.
“His wife thinks he’s out of state,” she told me. “She’s at their home across town. He’s here to meet a call girl.”
I lifted my eyebrow. “What are we going to do about her?”
She smiled slyly.
“No fucking way,” I murmured, enthralled, finally understanding her sexy dress. “How did you pull that off?”
“Long story, and not much time,” she said, glancing across the room at her target.
I nodded and sat back, taking in the view while her head was turned. The Elvira-like neckline of her dress revealed something I’d never noticed before—a tattoo of a rosary around her neck, leading down her chest.
“When did you get that?” I asked.
She looked down at herself and said, “A few years ago.”
Cool. I can still get inked.
“You still believe in God?”
“Sure,” she said, turning her attention back to me. “Do you?”
I cringed. “My stepfather is an Evangelical pastor from the South.”
“I see. One of those Christians,” she muttered.
I laughed and explained, “Mom and Dad taught me that there was Someone up there, but that’s about it. Then when Dad died, Mom went on this big religious kick. That’s how she met Walter.”
She gave me a long, understanding look and asked, “What do you think now?”
I sighed. For the first time since it happened, I remembered the light I saw when my spirit had been leaving my body. It was just a pinpoint, but it was so beautiful.
“I haven’t thought about it in a while,” I told her. “When Mom got married, I decided that any god who gave men permission to beat and rape their wives wasn’t a god I wanted to believe in. Eventually, I realized it wasn’t God; it was him. Still didn’t think about it much, though. But after all that’s happened in the past two weeks…” I smiled. “It looks like some things are real whether you believe in them or not.”
She smiled back and averted her gaze to the judge. “Yeah, well, we’re about to make a believer outta someone,” she said, getting to her feet. She handed me a key card in a little paper sleeve. “Go up to the room. I’ll bring him soon.”
While she went to pick up her supposed customer, I found the room number on the sleeve, made my way to the elevators, and rode up to the floor the room was on. The hallway was empty. I swiped the card and stepped into the dark room.
My night vision was much better than when I had been mortal. In the dark I could see a bed, a sofa in front of the window, a coffee table, and a dresser with a TV on it. It wasn’t anything fancy, but I guess you don’t need anything fancy for what he was using the room for.
I sat down on the sofa in the dark and waited. Before long, I could hear O’Malley’s voice approaching in the hallway. The door unlocked. The judge stepped inside and flipped on the bathroom light. It lit the room a bit, but not enough to let him see me. He sat down on the edge of the bed with his back to me and took his suit coat off as O’Malley closed and locked the door. No way in, and no way out.
“I noticed you’re wearing a wedding ring,” O’Malley observed, taking her jacket off and tossing it on the bed beside him.
“Is that really any of your business?” he asked, taking his tie off over his head.
She laughed and straddled his lap, undoing the buttons of his shirt. “What do you know about my business?”
“I know it’s expensive, so you’d better be worth a grand an hour.”
“Don’t worry, Judge,” she cooed. “I’ll give you everything you deserve.”
She pulled his shirt off and threw it across the room at me playfully. I cringed and batted the sweaty thing out of the air before it hit me in the face. She started kissing the rolls of his neck, then pointed at me. It was my cue. I cleared my throat. He screamed and pushed her off, spinning around and backing up against the wall.
“Evening, Judge,” I said, smiling.
“Who the hell is this?” he shouted at O’Malley.
“An extra thousand bucks an hour,” I answered, getting to my feet.
“Is this a joke?” he demanded.
“Accepting bribes is no joke, Judge,” O’Malley said. “Neither is lying to your wife so you can go sleep with another woman.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about!” he cried, trying to shrink himself into the corner of the room as we advanced.
“That makes you a sleaze, a cheater, and a liar,” I accused, flipping my switchblade out to give him a little extra push.
“Okay, okay!” he shouted, holding up his hands in surrender. “I take a little money on the side, but only when I think the defendant’s guilty! I’d never try to put an innocent person away!”
“Oh, no, that’s not what you’re doing at all,” O’Malley told him. “What you are doing is denying a fair trial to people who are too poor to pay you off!”
“What… I-I,” he stammered, “What do you want me to do? Give the money back? I can do that! I’ll give it back!”
“And I bet you’re gonna grant those people parole when they come up, right?” she suggested.
“Yes! Yes, I’ll do that, too!”
“And you’ll never take another bribe again.”
“I won’t! I promise!”
We looked at each other, not believing a word. “What do you think?” I asked O’Malley. “Should we still kill him?”
The judge didn’t like the sound of that. He tried to make a run for the door. O’Malley stopped him, shoving him back against the wall with one hand. Her strength frightened him.
“Well, it doesn’t look like he’s getting out of here alive,” she said.
“P-p-please,” he begged. “I have a wife… two children…”
“A wife you’re sleeping around on, and two grown children whose lives you’ve never been a part of. I know. I’ve done my homework.”
“W-what are you going to do?” he moaned, sinking down against the wall to the floor.
She laughed melodiously. “Hey Grin, he wants to know what we’re gonna do,” she said to me.
I chuckled and leapt over the bed to join her. “It looks to me like he already knows,” I replied, crossing my arms and smirking down at him.
She shook her head. “I dunno… He seems like an idiot.”
“Maybe you should explain it to him,” I bantered. “Y’know, just to make sure.”
“You’re probably right,” she agreed, and stepped forward. “Here it is. You know all those corpses that have been turning up? The ones that look like all their blood just sorta disappeared?” She grinned, showing her fangs. “I can’t lie to a judge… It was me. I confess.”
He was too terrified to scream. He gasped, opening and closing his mouth, and his eyes started to roll up into his head. One of his hands clutched at his chest.
“Oh, great,” I muttered. “He’s having a heart attack.”
“Huh,” she said, perplexed. “I didn’t think we were that scary…”
“So, what do we do now?” I wondered, closing the knife, pushing my hands into my pockets, and watching the judge convulse.
“Mission accomplished, I suppose,” she answered with a shrug. “Seems like a waste, though. All those starving vampires in the world…”
yourself, but count me out. He looks pretty high in cholesterol.”
She waved her hand dismissively. “The more that die naturally, the better.”
“What if he’s faking?” I asked.
“Just wait. We’ll find out.”
We waited for him to stop moving and breathing. O’Malley checked his pulse and said, “Can’t fake that.” Then she stood and searched his coat for his wallet, handed me a thick wad of hundreds, and put the wallet back. Then she reached for her jacket. I caught her wrist.
“You wanna talk about a waste…” I began, “This room is already paid for, and no one’s going to use it?”
She smiled and looked me up and down as she put her jacket on. “Looks that way.”
I sighed and said, “Yeah, I guess you’re right. We should—Whoa!” I made it obvious that I was pretending to stumble, grabbing her around the waist and falling on the bed on top of her. “Oh, I’m sorry. I must’ve tripped,” I said, and made a show of examining our position. “Well, it looks like we’re already halfway there, so…”
“Get off me, Grin,” she laughed.
“Hmm. Four words I never thought I’d hear…”
She smiled and laid back comfortably with her hands behind her head. “You can’t afford me, anyway. I’m a grand an hour, remember?”
I waved the cash she handed me. Her eyes widened and she tried to snatch it back. “Ooh, I don’t think so,” I teased, reaching back and stuffing it into my back pocket.
“Hmm. Guess I’ll have to earn it back, huh?” she pouted.
“That, or you’ll have to steal the pants off me,” I chuckled.
That seemed to give her an idea, and her devious smirk and smoldering eyes drained all the humor out of me. Her hands moved up my thighs to my hips, along the waist of my jeans, and she undid the button. “Like this?” she purred.
“Yeah, like that…” I breathed, still taken by surprise.
“And… this?” She pulled the zipper down so slowly, the anticipation was maddening. My mouth moved to answer, but all that came out was a soft, hungry groan. She hooked her thumbs inside the waistband at my lower back, pulled my jeans down off my ass first, then brought them halfway down my thighs. I was about to start returning the favor with her dress, but her hand came up in front of my face, flashing the money she’d swiped from my pocket. She immediately put it inside her jacket. “Hey, Grin?” she said.
“Yeah,” I sighed, disappointed.
“Wanna know what the hottest part of this would’ve been?”
“The dead guy watching us.”
I looked back down at the judge. His eyes and mouth were frozen wide open in horror. He was going pale. Total turn-off.
“You’re right. Let’s go back to your place,” I said with a grin, hoping it didn’t have to end there.
She seemed to consider it and offered, “How ’bout we go to yours?” and slid out from under me. But, while I lay there, confused, she said in an excited rush, “First to the car gets to drive!” and bolted for the door.
“Hey, no way!” I shouted, trying to pull my jeans back up as I stumbled after her.