The McGovern family BBQ. It's a glorious day, the sky's crystal clear and the sun's so perfect you could fry an egg on the asphalt. Dan and his friends have assembled 'round the grill, drinking suds, cooking fried chicken, burgers, sausage and pork chops.
Tina's adjourned to the shade of the living room. A four year old girl named Rachael McGovern bobs happily on her mother's lap. Tina's more than content to sit here all day, she doesn't approve of barbeques or any excessive carnivore rituals, meat is an essential part of a person's daily diet, anything beyond that Tina considers cruel (something she decided in her early twenties).
Guests pop in an out all afternoon and well into the evening, Tina gets snippets of their conversation: did you book an appointment with Mr.
Welsh?…got fifty bucks on Roger for Friday night…neighbour's kid's a vicious little bastard, one more bit of bother and I'm calling the police. The telephone rang over a minute ago, some Puerto-Rican friend of Daniel's picked it up, did two laps of the house before finding Tina. "Hello?" she smiles in thanks at Luis.
"Mrs. McGovern?" Tina doesn't like the sound of that. "Tina McGovern, yeah. Who's this?" "I have information regarding your husband." Tina stops bobbing her knee, Rachael twists her head around, perplexed. "What kind of information?" asks Tina. "Somethin' real juicy." "Who is this? This had better not be some silly prank 'cause if it is I'm calling the cops, I'll have them trace this call." "I can't tell you but we could meet." "When?
Where?" "Starbucks on Washington street." "There's like a zillion Starbucks on Washington Street. Do you know Wendy's place?" "What's that?" "Old fashioned diner off from the bend of the monorail, Morgan Avenue." "I know the place." "When?" "Twelve, tomorrow." "I'll be there." Tina presses the little red button and drops the phone in the crack of the couch. Somethin' real juicy. Her mind swirls with nefarious speculation for a good few minutes until someone offer her a drink.
"Oh! No thank you." The high spirited, orange haired lady in her late seventies smiles warmly and returns to the kitchen. Tina fondles Rachael's hair, jerks her knee to make the little girl giggle, it soothes her. There was something sinister about the woman who called, she seemed to get a kick out of their business, seemed oblivious to the fact that she was jeopardizing the family pillar, purveyor of gossip fancies herself a vigilante.
Stupid! She stands up with Rachael in her arms and goes into the garden. Once on the grass, she sets Rachael on her feet to run wild, roll around, beat the bushes, explore daddy's tool shed, chase butterflies etc.
She tugs a beer out of the ice box, walks over to the grill and asks Daniel to open it for her, he does and hands it back. "What would I do without you?" she pines. "You could always share with Rachael?" "Cheeky!" she slaps his forearm, pecks his cheek and walks away. Dan's friends shuffle their shoes into the grass. Tears splash upon photograph four of sixteen. Tina didn't even realize she was crying.
Debra Benz set up a remote camera in Dan McGovern's office, took snaps of him fucking her. Blackmail scored Deb her first taste of power, something she'd given up on more than a dozen years ago, nevertheless, there it was and she loved it. Daniel McGovern treat her like a bug on his shoulder blade, since the threat he's been under her toe.
She's found her fix, power, but what got her off in the beginning don't get her off now, she's hungry for more, has been for a while in fact, climate's always been in Dan's favour, until now. Deb's looking a whole lot nicer since we last saw her; Dan set her up with a no-nonsense personal trainer, arranged two surgeries on her tits but Bill Gates couldn't fix that face. When the affair started, Dan dictated anything and everything sexual, made her his cum bucket.
Over time however, she'd been able to twist his arm. Lately, when he fucks her, there's more to the ritual than lust. He's working his anger out on her, trying to bruise every orifice, rather than let him know he getting to her she groans in fake pleasure and begs for more. Fact is, he does get to her, he's grown quite desperate to swipe that stupid fucking smile off-a her stupid fucking face, can't jeopardize his family though.
Almost everyone has a weakness and she's found his. The circumstances are perfect, hotel's back in its prime, McGovern's in quicksand, Deb's on the verge of great prosperity. Photograph nine of sixteen, Dan's eating out Deb's pussy, had to spit out the occasional yellow hair, gnawed on her labia like a dog on his chew toy. "That fucking bastard." Whispers Tina. "For the record, I had no idea.
There was a spark between us, I confronted him on it, told me he was too busy for a relationship, hoped I'd be willing to indulge discreet relations within the office space.
Seemed he was jeopardizing his life's work for me, silly as it sounds, it seemed like…love." Photograph eleven of sixteen: Dan's sodomizing Deb on the carpet near the camera, Deb's face is contorted in undignified orgasm, her jaw appears dislocated and her tongue's hanging out.
Tina's self-esteem bursts like a balloon right then and there. "So, what you going to do?" asks Debra. "What the fuck do you think I'm going to do? I'm kicking that no good pig out on the street where he belongs." "Take the money and run, atta girl." "The money and the hotel." "Why the hotel too?
You're in for more than enough money, besides, it'll just be a whole lot of extra hassle." "Money'll keep us good for a year, two at most, but that hotel is a goldmine, I'd be a fool not to take over." "Or I could take over; send you a cut of our monthly profits." "Ms.
Benz, I appreciate everything that you've done for me, really I do but I'm no fool, I'm not handing you or anybody else seventy-five percent of America's gold medal inn, at least not cheap, write me a cheque with six zeroes, place is yours, otherwise, I like my coffee black and would appreciate it if you referred to me as Ms. McGovern." Could've been a simple setting, plaintiff, defendant, solicitation and the judge, but no, nothing but Supreme Court justice, a stage for all his dirty laundry.
Judge Sydney Moon takes his place, jury, audience and the fore mentioned parties rise from their seats. Sydney's around 5'6, late sixties, grey hair, cloudy eyes and an especially large mole ala Robert De Niro. He's so cool and confident it boarders on ignorance, fact is, this guy's seen it all, done it all. The people of Washington state will have to get Avant Garde with their criminal activity should they wish to impress Sydney Moon.
Tina's lawyer checked ahead and found that male jury members would outnumber female members five to one. She decides to use this to her advantage, takes a nap with two bags of crushed ice on either boob then dons a T-shirt one size too small. She also makes an extra effort with her hair and makeup. It's all going smoothly for her until the matter of Rachael crops up. Dan's lawyer is a greasy little fellow with a Californian tan named Eugene Rubinek.
He approaches the podium where Tina sits cross-legged, wide eyes, lips puckered slightly, classic ing?e victim. Old hats like Eugene and Sydney pay little to no mind where subjects are concerned, just the facts.
"Mrs. McGovern," he begins, "should today's proceeding run in your favour, well, what then?" "I intend to take over my husband's business." "Oh! Of course, the hotel.
And what exactly qualifies you to take the wheel of maybe Washington's finest inn." "I…I don't know. But…" He cuts her off. "Do you have any experience of working in a hotel?" "No but…" "Do you have experience of work, period?" "Just the occasional bit of housework." A few chuckles from the jury and audience.
"I see. Tell me Mrs. McGovern, how do you intend to put little Rachael through school, high school, college etcetera…feed her and keep clothes on her back with no semblance of managerial experience." "If things go South with Mirus Tabernus I can always take my cut of the business.
Seventy-five percent." "Sure, that'd keep things on an even keel for a few years but ten? Fifteen? At some point you'll have to find work Mrs. McGovern and with no qualifications or work experience I'm afraid you're in for a real rough time." "I'm sorry but what does this have to do with my relationship with Daniel?" "Legislation is no two dimensional thing Mrs. McGovern. The welfare of Miss Rachael McGovern must be taken into account." Tina looks up at Daniel who's reclined in his chair, smirking at her, eyes sparking with new found hope.
When Eugene sits back down Dan whispers something to him, says buddy, when we get out of here, I owe you a cold one to which Eugene chuckles. One o clock rolls around and they break for lunch, judge Moon orders them back for two when the final proceedings will take place. Tina does her business in the disabled toilet, she's got no desire to share facilities with students of law and middle-aged magazine columnists, Tina knows what she is, another pixie in the pocket of some oil tycoon and a subject of spite for women with lesser genetic gifts.
Sydney enters whilst she's washing her hands. She smiles apologetically, like a child caught in the cupboard before tea time. "And what exactly qualifies you to be in here?" he asks.
"I don't know. Thought you guys got your very own quarters and all that." "We normally do, let's just say I don't envy the local plumbing this week." She laughs. "How about you?
What qualifies you to be in here?" "Well, for one thing I'm not using the John, just came in for a smoke. Care to join me?" "I'll stay and chat for five minutes, sure, but I don't smoke." "Wise policy, my grandkids are always bugging me to stop but I figure at this point, what good would it do?" "Oh don't say that!
Sixty's the new fifty." "Seventy." "What? Really?" he nods. "You look awesome for seventy." "Flattery will get you nowhere young lady." "Oh darn, my best laid plans…" They exchange a chuckle and Sydney lights up.
"Let me know if this bothers you." He says. "I will. So, how am I doing?" "You'll be okay." "On no." "What?" "You'll be okay, that's what doctors say to patients scheduled for surgery. Yeah, you'll have no limbs but you'll be okay." "You'll have that then some, one big cheque." "But my baby girl and the business." "Yeah, those I can't promise." "The hotel's replaceable but I'd give anything, do anything to keep Rachael." "Anything?" "Of course, you're a parent, you know how it is." "Sorry, I keep forgetting you're a mom, you're so young and fresh faced." "Flattery will get you nowhere old timer." She laughs but he just takes a long, thoughtful drag of his cigarette.
"May I ask you a personal question?" says Sydney. "Ask away." She responds, chipper. "Young woman like you could have any man she wants, why him? He's no Hercules, doesn't seem the enlightened sort so…what the deal?" "What can I say; he's got the green stuff and plenty off it. Most women hate women like myself but excuse me for living in reality.
Girl's got to eat right?" "Suppose so." He smiles kindly, drops the cigarette stub and crushes it into the tile with the toe of his shoe. He then unzips and whips out his pruned yet ample junk, it's freckled purple and the pubic hair is like a bush of metallic fibres or a tangle of silver wiring.
Tina goes for the door.
"What?" he asks quite calmly, "You said you'd do anything to keep your daughter, well, I have to power to ensure she remains in your custody. There's no reason to be ashamed, any good mother would accept my offer." Her hand remains on the handle for a moment before she turns, steps in front of him and gets down on her knees.
"Suckle my balls a little first would you, gets me hard as oak." She obeys, smooches his scrotum long and lovingly until she has to hold his cock up against his stomach.
Then his dickhead's plumbing her throat, drops of viscid semen and saliva bubble there, her tongue massages the swollen veins of his shaft. "Jesus Christ!" he says through gritted teeth. "Jesus…Christ…" he grabs her mane so hard she screams and tries to jerk away but he holds her there, keeps her breathing through her nose whilst he pumps those last few drops out.
After the divorce, Dan McGovern vanishes from their lives and Washington State, into a world of liquor, black market medicines and petty crime…finds solace in the embrace of nocturnal creatures right up until 2027 when he puts a shotgun in his mouth.
Tina McGovern gets full custody of Rachael and majority shares of Mirus Tabernus. Irony is, Tina was the only one of them with any rights to Rachael in the first place, would have realized it if she'd of take one look at Debra's daughters, Joanne and Enid. These here are two ugly sisters. The most homophobic of men would pause for thought if pressed to choose between either of these gals and some random Joe.
Y'know that footballer/soccer player Wayne Rooney? Envision him only a foot taller with a blonde wig and a little rouge. Got it? That there's Joanne Benz. Y'know Steve Coogan? Look him up if not.
Envision him one year into his new diet of fast food and cigarettes. Imagine he's just had a stroke. Got it? That there's Enid Benz. Ninety-nine point nine-nine percent of their facial expressions are horse shit, fa?e that visibly trembles beneath the weight of narcissism and self-loathing.
Tina leaves most of the managerial responsibilities to Debra, sets her back to square one and turns premature resentment to blood-curdling odium. There's a period of two months when Deb is especially good to Tina, both as a friend and an employee. You've seen this dynamic right? The beautiful girl with the ugly friend, girls need to feel good about themselves, they also crave popularity which makes this a perfect situation.
After those first two months, they start hanging out, the occasional glass of wine at one of their apartments, shopping, brunch etcetera. One Saturday morning, Tina George wakes with her wrists and ankles tied to the four bed posts.
Most Friday nights she brings a man home for various recreational activities but this week the babysitter's been sick and Rachael's leeched the party spirit right out of her. She's gagged by a black ball strapped into her mouth; the ball doesn't bother her as much as the strap which is so tight she fears her skull could fracture.
She's naked. She looks down at her violet feet; the rough blue ropes have stopped blood circulation. She starts to cry. If this were a weekday she could more easily comfort herself, I'm never ever late for work, somebody has to call here and when I don't answer and can't be reached any other way they'll have to call the cops.
Policemen will be here any minute now. Debra Benz walks in out of the bedroom wearing an executive business suit and Tina's eyes bulge in their sockets with horror. Debra's smiling for real, so wide and serpentine she could be the subject of a terror flick, a freak whose eyes sparkle with sadistic thought. Tina's met some warped characters in her short lifetime but this is the first time she's ever felt like the witness to something…subhuman.
Debra also wearing plastic gloves, the kind the butcher uses when he's handling the meat. "It's been a rough ride for me.
I was always at the nadir of the food chain but I clung on to life, knew that someday something good would come along and it has. I'm now the owner of America's top hotel. Old friends and family didn't believe I could me more than a waitress or at best a receptionist, wait 'til they hear about this. Would have been here a good few months ago if it weren't for you.
I've worked my palms to the bone everyday since I was eight but you've never done a day's work in your whole life and which one of us owns a multimillion dollar business? It's wrong. Ain't no such thing as karma in this world. Want right, you've got to make right. So, Miss Tina George, thank you for taking Daniel out of the picture. Goodnight." Debra straddles Tina, wraps her fingers around her throat and squeezes and tight as she can, squeezes until the face is blue, the eyes bloodshot and the pitiful struggle's made static.
Rachael starts crying.