Burglary With Lust [PREVIEW]
By: Bastian Hafrey
William Mensley’s arms were soaked in grease.
He never thought of himself as a gentleman. Sure, he had all the telltale signs for one as such: cash, luxury house, seat among the city elite, Stanford degree…but what kind of gentleman would ever allow himself to be soaked in grease? Not William. Gentlemen were people incapable of handiwork, incompetent in matters that matter. Letting their money be their body, doing all the hard work for them. Indeed, a gentleman was someone who was utterly useless. William had no desire to be the withdrawal bank, there was little genuinity in such a person. In the end, however, the easiest way to deal with people was to avoid them. William had turned into a recluse. It did have its disadvantages though, he had to cook his own meals, clean his own house, and fix his own bike.
He had named his bike Zena. She had a classic grandeur about her, a FXSTS Springer painted crimson chrome. Her shape was something special, it always got him excited, a desire to to ride her in open throttle. Indeed, a dame such as her needed that extra tender loving care.
But as with any man, adrenaline was a core desire, and danger was the sure way to tap it. He had hobbies of course, something true for any man who doesn’t work for a living. He would often visit his private lake behind the house, skinny dipping and fishing, but it wasn’t terribly exciting. That had motivated him to a second and more dangerous hobby.
His investment agent had amassed him an absurd amount of wealth, so much he would never have to lift another finger. Even if he had lost his investments, he still had the secret vault hidden beneath his house.
He wrapped up his work on Zena, and cleaned his arms and hands from grease on a discolored rag that had perhaps originally been white.
Ahh, done, he thought to himself as he stroked the leather seat of his bike.
He put on his brown leather jacket and wiped his sweat off his neat brows.
The sun slipped away on the horizon, and he enjoyed it with a last cigarette. The hour was set for his dangerous hobby.
Ariel Dillinger stood on her family’s porch. The door had just been slammed shut in her face.
The night was chilly and dark. A streetlight illuminated the road in front of her. She made her way to the metal gate with heavy steps, her shoulders deprived of happiness. She reached to flip the lock on the gate when a loud noise echoed out from behind her. Her muscles tensed as she turned around, the door to the house had made the noise.
“There you are,” Her twin sister Pearl said. She made a small jump off the porch and approached Ariel. “Didn’t get far I see.”
“I’ve been out less than a minute,” Ariel said with a sigh. “What did you expect?”
“A dash?” Pearl said with a smirk. “Home to your secret lover?”
Ariel lowered her head. Had she not been kicked out of home for fighting with her parents, maybe she would have enjoyed Pearl’s comment. They both knew she was still a virgin, so the prospect of such a bad joke might had been funny in a less depressing situation.
“Don’t worry,” Pearl said. “Everything will be fine.”
“You don’t know that.”
“Of course I do!”
“I have no cash nor roof over my head,” Ariel said. “Your optimism is unwarranted.”
“Aha!” Pearl said. “See, you need to have some faith in your older sister, I’m going to fix everything!”
“You’re barely twenty minutes older, not exactly a reason for faith.”
“My poor younger sister,” Pearl said as she wrapped a condescending arm around her shoulder. “Tsk, tsk, tsk.”
A loud roar echoed from the street on the other side of the gate. They turned their heads to look, the biker drove slowly past them. He had wild brown hair, a stubble, strong jawline, and shades. His leather jacket was dark, and he wore faded jeans. He was tall and had a masculine build. It was difficult for them to tell just how tall he was due to the awkward riding seat. He rode a Harley Davidson.
“Oh!” Pearl said as she unlocked the gate. “I know what you need right about now!”
Long ago, downtown Houston had been considered an area for society’s elite, but nowadays it was nothing more than a decayed shanty town. Only those of ill repute made their lives and livelihood around the alleys and rundown buildings of downtown Houston; Con Artist was amongst them. He stood behind the counter of the bar, washing a used glass. His bar had that authentic feel of a hack job. The flooring and walls had no illusion of aesthetics. They were what they represented: cement slabs. Had he spent his cash on his bar’s interior designs rather than bribes, maybe it wouldn’t had been such a shoddy place. The chairs and tables screamed of low budget too. It was hard to claim anything other a vibe of the crooked. He had stolen those from nearby backyard gardens. His patrons, however, didn’t seem to care about the shady atmosphere of his bar. It was probably because he had a nice stock of high quality brews, the finest of wines, and a nice selection of bourbon. Indeed, Con Artist was meticulous of his spirits, which in turn attracted the kind of people he wanted to attract. Those who could afford the more expensive alcohol. He had acquired an exceptional patron list of high profile criminals, government officials and corrupted servicemen. His bar was the perfect underground establishment for black market transactions. Now, if only he could get rid of those low caste scums – the ones who only bought his budget drought, which was intended to encourage his guests to accidentally spill their secrets, and buy more alcohol.
A loud slam echoed out into the bar. The door had been thrown open with force, cracking its window.
Typical, Con Artist thought. Guess I need better muscles at the door.
A tall man bended down to make his way into the bar. The door was too small for him to enter with pride. He was a Fire Marshal. There was an air of ruthlessness about him as he strode up to the counter, three drops of blood on his cheek.
His weathered eyes measured Con Artist, “There is business for us to discuss.”
“There has been no fires here,” Con Artist said with a smirk. “Nor do you have an appointment with me. Maybe we could arrange something for next week? All kinds of ruffians drink at my bar. If there’s a fire starter around, I’ll be sure to aid in your investigation when I have the time.”
His hand gripped around Con Artist’s red plaid top and janked him on top of the counter. His bloodied other fist in position for a punch.
“My mistake!” Con Artist said as he protected his face with his hands. “It’s all coming back to me now! Perhaps we should move our conversation to the backroom. We shouldn’t disturb this evening’s guests.”
He released his shirt, letting Con Artist slide down from the counter and lead the way.
“Well then,” Con Artist said. “What can I help you with?”
“Yesterday evening, The Museum of African American Culture was burned to the ground. There are allegations of your involvement. Such a crime would warrant ten years…”
“I couldn’t possibly have anything to do with such a heinous deed!”
“Perhaps not,” The Fire Marshal said. “Or perhaps it is pure retaliation of another alleged crime, such as blackmail of a certain Chief Justice of the United States. Whoever committed the afformidated crime should have considered his or her position in the food chain.”
Con Artist swore.
“I believe you are familiar with the number: five hundred thousand,” The Fire Marshal said. “Of course, in cash. Or perhaps you would rather take your chances with ill reputable people and their knuckles.”
“In cash?!” Con Artist said. “There is no way I can produce that amount!”
“Word on the street whispers of your recent inheritance? In any case, I’m sure you will find a way.”
Con Artist gulped.
“You have until tomorrow,” The Fire Marshal said. “My friends will drop by to say hello, but of course, it is entirely up to you how you decide to pay them. Fair word of warning, they are quite fond of swiss cheese.”
With that, the Fire Marshal left the back room.
Con Artist contemplated his position. The number was too high. He had used the contributions from the Chief of Justice to stock the bar and spent what was left on personal pleasures. How would he be able to recover the…
William Mensley, he thought.
A pair of finely dressed men at the bar were carving the devil’s mark into a table. Ariel couldn’t help but cringe.
“I’m confused…” She said.
“Don’t stare,” Pearl said. “This place hosts a number of devil worshippers.”
A shiver ran through her spine, “Why are we here?”
Ariel held a forlorn expression.
“Now now,” Pearl said with a smile. “We should commemorate your recent freedom and liberty!”
“Why?” Ariel said. “We don’t even have shelter for ourselves, not to mention you’re spending our last few bucks on alcohol…”
Pearl raised a finger and pointed it to the roof.
Ariel sighed, “Fine, as long as we keep buying, but what about food?”
Pearl moved her finger down to a bowl of salted cashew.
Ariel rolled her eyes.
“Alright, alright!” Pearl said. “We’ll deal with it, first thing in the morning. Right now, we need to drink ourselves silly and relax. Get the stress out of our system!”
Ariel felt an uncomfortable shiver down her spine, then an ugly mug crept up between them.
“Esteemed guests,” Con Artist said. “Is there anything I can do for you this evening?”
They pulled to the side, creeped out by his proximity.
“We will come to the bar when we need more to drink.” Pearl said.
“Actually, I heard some of your conversation,” He said. “As a barman, it is my civic duty to consult my guests.”
“How about you keep out of it and out of proximity?” Pearl said. “We don’t need your help.”
“My bad,” Con Artist said and walked off. “I’m sure there are those who would accept and need my job offer.”
Ariel stared at Pearl with huge puppy eyes.
“Sigh, alright,” She whispered to Ariel then raised her voice, “You got work for us?”
William entered the bar. His visits had become something of a ritual. Not that he enjoyed the place, in fact, he loathed it, but his hobby required it of him. The bike had given him an iconic reputation, something which people associated with the local motorcycle gangs. He had learned to embrace that misconception, it helped to further his cause.
Reaching the bar, he slapped a bill down only to spy Con Artist preying on two women at a table closer to the entrance. He assumed they were being incorporated into one of the Con Artist’s many schemes. A shame it was, for he’d rather not put youngsters such as them in danger. If only the man would make his move, the wrong move, the move William had been waiting for, so he could finally prevent Con Artist’s long slithering fingers from hurting more people. Alas, the man had proven too smart or too lucky to trip any of the traps William had set for him.
Today’s incentive might just finally crack the man, he thought.
// END PREVIEW – Full story will soon be available on Amazon.