TAG, YOU’RE IT
By J. T. Seate
Suzanne wheeled into an available parking spot. The front door at the Lancer Bar swung open. A couple, arm in arm, descended the steps. Suzanne could hear the backbeat of a bass guitar and laughter — two earthy, fundamental sounds of an active city. Thinking about what might come aroused a primal need that yearned for fulfillment.
She’d been driving around, thinking about all the men in the city who were hanging out or lying in their beds, breathing softly in the night with dreams of sleeping with a pretty girl. The image titillated her while, at the same time, caused her to wonder who might tickle her fancy next and what approach she might take.
She watched as a couple entered the bar. The man put his hand around the woman’s breast and gave it a playful squeeze before they tossed their cigarette butts and went inside. Suzanne squeezed her own breast and felt a tingle as her nipple stiffened inside her blouse. She imagined it between the thumb and forefinger of an excited male who would be imagining what delights her body might hold on this invitingly warm night made for contact. Her need proved stronger than her ever-vigilant caution, and she climbed out of her car.
The Lancer Bar was located in a section of town called The Heights, a moniker much loftier than it deserved. The neighborhood fell in and out of favor, depending on what commercial endeavors happened to occupy the area at any given time. A bar could offer sin and degradation, salvation or damnation. This one had weathered the ebb and flow of popularity and could currently be classified as a flourishing yuppie joint.
Inside the Lancer, Suzanne quickly perused the place and sized up its patrons with wise and observant eyes. They were all determined to enjoy themselves through loud, less than clever talk and a steady flow of alcohol, and maybe more if they played their cards right. A few macho assholes were making their moves, like birds looking for a place to perch, but most of the men were just half-drunk guys scratching their asses and hoping. Was this assemblage gathered for just a good time, or was this ritual borne out of desperate loneliness? Either way, it wasn’t Suzanne’s problem. It didn’t really matter where they were “coming from.” Eat, drink, and make merry, for tomorrow we die.
Suzanne was no analyst, but she was a pretty good profiler. She spotted a couple of air-headed bimbettes cruising for free drinks, creatures of habit. She chose to check out the scene from the room’s opposite end. The attention of a few males shifted onto her. Their voracious eyes crawled over her like flies on fresh meat. She paused, feeling sniffed at like a dog in a strange neighborhood. She knew the thought process exactly because her approach was not so different from that of men. All of them, including herself, were jugglers, some more skillful than others. The juggling of deceptions, lies, and manipulations. That is what it would come down to.
One good-looking guy sat at the bar solo. He looked like a young corporate type with a frosty glass of beer and a bowl of pretzels in front of him. A ballgame was on above the bar, but he didn’t appear interested. He clearly wasn’t drunk. That was good. Suzanne didn’t like sloppy. Even though he wasn’t yakking it up like everyone else, it was her considered opinion that he would jump at company. She planted her fanny on an available stool next to him and ordered a Lime Coke.
The man looked at her admiringly, being pulled into her orbit. Suzanne liked wearing revealing things, but not too revealing. Dressing like an easy mark was not the kind of vibe she wanted to give off. A subdued, sultry approach was more to her liking. On this occasion, she was wearing a slippery low-cut midnight blue silk top with no bra beneath, and a short dark skirt which flirted with her thighs. He was unable to prevent his eyes from taking a visual survey down her body. Following the brief journey, he looked at the profile of her attractive face and wasted no time. “My name’s Bryson. Can I offer you something more interesting than a coke?”
She turned on the stool so he could get a good look at her legs as she crossed them, vamping him just a bit. Their eyes locked as she steadily observed him with unblinking, green-eyed, sooty-lashed solemnity. “I have my vices, but alcohol isn’t one of them,” she responded.
“Then why come to a bar?”
“Same as you.”
“And that is?”
“You don’t want to face the quiet. Not yet anyway. You need people and a few laughs. A drink or two. Or maybe even just one person.”
“You’re very observant. I broke up with someone recently and I’m not totally over it.” He sighed. “So, you go through the motions and look forward to meeting somebody who’ll help you forget and move on. You ever been there?”
“Oh yeah, afraid so, but I’m way over it and am having a heck of a good time instead of prolonging the agony. You should, too.”
“Is that an offer, Miss…?”
“My name’s Jillian. I saw you at the bar and was overwhelmed with lust.”
“You’re teasing me.”
“A little, but not much. I guess it is an offer.”
“You’re not a…?”
“A working girl?” Suzanne smiled teasingly. “I’m not a hooker. I’m not into economics, but I am, however, into spontaneity.”
Bryson smiled rakishly at her candor. “Because of the string of homicides, a whole lot fewer guys are picking up chicks these days.”
“Terrible, isn’t it? I guess us girls are going to have to work harder.”
“Well, it is a little scary nowadays.”
“Afraid I’m the Killer Kitten?” Is that what they are calling the person?”
“That’s cute. Not as cute as the Sex-kitten Killer though. The press seems to think she might be a prostitute with a chip on her shoulder.”
“Some chip, putting a bullet between men’s eyes. What sort of twisted mind could do such a thing?”
“I guess there are sick puppies of both sexes,” Bryson added. “I mean, men have sex with women and then kill them all the time. Why should a switcheroo be so surprising? Probably someone abused her when she was young like that Aileen Wournos broad.”
“Few people can control their desires, so it’s a waste of time to second guess them.” Suzanne sipped her Coke and leaned toward him revealing freckled cleavage and a healthy portion of one milky breast. “Hey, I know neither of us came here tonight to discuss sex and death. How about just sex?”
“It’s my favorite subject.” Bryson glanced at Suzanne’s curvy body restrained inside her ensemble. “You’re an interesting girl, Jillian. And so damned pretty.”
“It’s too bad you’re wearing your scaredy-pants because I’m trying to get over something as well. And I’m in the mood for love.” She looked at him, the corners of her mouth creating a petulant smile. “And most of all, I like the way you look at me.”
“No guts, no glory. Maybe if I could frisk you?” he said.
Suzanne laughed. “We’ll see.” She lifted her glass. “In the meantime, here’s to mistakes and lucky breaks, whichever the case may be.”
He did the same. “Here’s to moving on.”
They finished their drinks. Suzanne got basic directions and told him she would follow in her car. She slid off the stool, letting her bosom graze Bryson’s arm. She didn’t want him to get distracted by someone flashier. They split the scene with him trailing a few steps as life continued uninterrupted for everyone else in the bar. She climbed into her nondescript, late model sedan and stayed close behind his taillights. The standard bar hook-up was risky — too many people, but she was careful about changing her appearance with hair and makeup. Plus it was fun just to go slumming once in a while.
No matter how skilled the juggler, there is only a finite number of untruths most can keep in the air at any given time. It had come easy for Suzanne who’d begun juggling long ago. In high school, her desire had started with steamy paperbacks in which bosoms heaved and bodices were lustily ripped open. By her senior year, she’d slept with the football captain, the class president, and gave some consideration to a hunky PE coach. But that might have made headlines and rained on everyone’s parade.
By college, her curiosity had surrendered to new variations on the sexual theme, and she had blossomed, becoming a slave to those passions. She occasionally indulged in S&M games, but even that had not completely quenched her curiosity. Although curiosity supposedly killed the cat, the game was thrilling. Unbeknownst to her prey, it was she that was the cat. And somewhere, deep inside, a suppressed rage toward men had nurtured. She wanted to do more than have sex with them. Much more.
But there was another influence in Suzanne’s life. She’d met someone at a self-defense class and they had become close. Jennifer’s presence and opinions mattered and Suzanne wondered what her girlfriend might think of this evening’s actions.
Suzanne parked behind Bryson in his driveway. The house was a spacious one story in the nicer part of the Heights. He led her to the front door and unlocked it.
“I take it you live alone?” she asked.
“I have a roommate, but he’s out for the evening.”
“That’s convenient,” she said.
offered Suzanne a drink, but she
declined. Instead she said. “We know what we’re here for, so if it’s
same to you, I’d just as soon dispense with the small talk and see what
got to offer? Take me to your bedroom.”
“This is my lucky night.” He watched Suzanne’s nipples distend against her blouse with anticipation. “And you were right. What I need more than anything is a beautiful woman for the night to help with that forgetting thing.” He led her to the bedroom where Suzanne slipped out of her garments.
“What do you think?” she asked and struck an artistic pose. “Will I be able to help you forget?”
“God, you’re gorgeous. Where have you been all my life?”
“No need to cliché me. It doesn’t have to be love. It can just be fun.”
“I guess you’re not a Black Widow after all?” he answered as he undressed.
“How would you know? I understand that the Sex-kitten Killer has sex first and kills later.”
“So how does she get away with it?”
“Easy. Gets away with it by being smart and careful. By planning ahead.”
“And dead men tell no tales,” Bryson said with a smile. “I don’t plan on being one of those. I better check you for hidden weapons.”
“I guess you better.”
He finished undressing and walked to where Suzanne stood. He gently rubbed a finger along her hidden places. “No hidden weapons. Only very tempting body parts.”
“Then it’s only you who has a weapon. Let’s see how skilled you are with it.”
Their lips slid together. His erection touched her belly. She didn’t fight her needs, whatever they might be. With unchecked urgency, she fondled his manhood. He bit his lip and held his breath in rapture.
“Tag, you’re it,” she said to him.
He lifted her with unconscious roughness. She wrapped her legs around his waist and locked her ankles behind him. He was a fulcrum while she was the hinge.
Suzanne sighed at the feeling of immediate consumption while Bryson stumbled to the bed with her in tow. She raised her legs so he could lie on his back, still inside her. There were few words between them, but the breathing was heavy. The friction was in the right places.
“You’re great,” Bryson gratuitously offered.
“Thanks,” Suzanne replied as she trembled like a virgin about to taste love for the first time. She looked at the ceiling rather than at Bryson as she imagined all those men at home in their beds without her and thought about how she would treat all of them the same way as she did her current lover, if only she had the opportunity.
Bryson appeared to be bathed in the scent of her arousal. Heat radiated from her. Her mouth was open and moist. She was enjoying what she was doing. A rivulet of perspiration formed between her swaying breasts. He captured the orbs in his cupped hands and gritted his teeth as his climax approached. Suzanne worked her pelvis up and down, side to side. Her rhythmic motion shifted into high gear. She leaned forward riding her conquest to music only she heard and put her forearm against his throat, not applying pressure, but thinking about it. When she’d had enough, her inner muscles clamped and constricted around him. With a jerk and a shudder, he soon erupted inside her, groaning with pleasure.
She rose again and leaned back on her hands and moved her hips as fast as she could to bring forth her own starburst. Her orgasm strained for release. And finally, the payoff came. Her legs pressed against his thighs to hold him deep as she jerked with each spasm. She felt like a triumphant goddess riding the winds as she came emoting with a shuddery sigh of satisfaction.
After her orgasmic explosion, she looked at her latest lover more closely. He seemed to be an okay guy. She remained on top of him as he trembled with small aftershocks. Then she collapsed against his chest, momentarily paralyzed.
“Wow,” Bryson said. “You may not be a killer, but you sure know how to do the Wild Thing. You’re a regular sex-kitten.”
“Sweet as pie and tough as nails, that’s me,” she said in a post-coital drowse. She worshipped her independence, but she also loved the thrill of the brief interlude, her femininity affirmed. But following the release and initial internal warmth, another set of emotions tended to take over. Sometimes the quenching of desire could lead to an unladylike emotional pattern. Within her psyche, the power and righteousness some of her lovers took from their achievement could simmer to a boil and develop into a rage. She didn’t psychoanalyze it or fight it. She didn’t care why. It just was. A certain utterance or act on the part of her partner could make the difference in whether they lived to talk about having sex with her or not. While her torso flattened out against Bryson and their breathing slowed, that final decision was yet to be made.
No sooner had she reached the opinion that her night with Bryson was to be about no more than hot sex, an ominous feeling overcame her, a keen sense of impending danger. She heard a sound near the bedroom door and turned her head to look. A man stood in the dim light, watching them. She felt a momentary panic. How long had he been there, she wondered? “Who’s this? A cop?” The words were out of her mouth before she thought.
“Cop?” Bryson said. “Hell no. Tony and I just watch each other’s back nowadays. We like having sex with pretty ladies. We do it as often as we can, but our tag-team approach is something new. See, we’re concerned about the Sex-kitten Killer, so when one of us gets lucky and the other is home, we figure even a serial killer will have to pass on murder if she has two men to deal with. Safety first. Hope you don’t mind?”
“I dig,” Suzanne said. “But I’m not your killer and I’m not too keen on group sex.”
“Don’t worry. Tony was just a happy observer to make sure I was okay. He’ll keep his distance if that’s the way you want it.”
“And you do the same for him?”
“We alternate going out. Then we call to let the other know we’re coming home with a guest. And you know the rest.”
Tony was a handsome specimen, a dark, wiry looking Italian-type in contrast to the two ruddy complexions currently attached at the hips. She’d been scared when he’d first appeared in the doorway. Even though he was fully dressed, his presence would call for a slight adjustment to her plan. She liked variety and might have been willing to make love to Tony also, but it would have given Bryson the chance to get away and she wasn’t yet sure she was willing to let that happen.
“I hope it was as good for you as it was for us,” Bryson said to Tony and wiggled his eyebrows at Suzanne like he was Groucho in an old Marx Brothers movie.
“You know it.” Tony allowed arrogance to touch his eyes and lips. “There’s some voyeur in all of us. Don’t you think so, lady?”
Whoever said mood swings were rational? The line between love and hate can be oh, so thin. It can be a revelation — what a woman can learn about herself when she is forced to look into the depths of her soul. The eyebrow gesture crawled around in her head and planted the seed that sealed the deal. Suzanne no longer had any doubts. Her momentary lapse of liking Bryson was replaced by a hard, clean determination, one which went beyond a purple curtain in her mind and saw life and death in a new light. “You were fantastic, Bryson. Maybe I can be a bitch-kitty with Tony another time.”
Tony slid around the room like an oil spill. He walked to the lump on the chair that was Suzanne’s purse. He picked it up. “Just a little look-see,” he said.
“You’ll be disappointed. No gun, no knives, no nun chucks.”
Bryson hadn’t called Suzanne by her alias, thank God, but Tony didn’t check her ID anyway. Satisfied with the search, he stepped aside while Suzanne detached from Bryson, climbed off the bed, and headed toward her pile of clothes. With two sets of eyes following her, a lawless exultation rose to the surface.
“It’s been a real pleasure, Suzanne,” Bryson said as he placed his arms behind his head, not caring to cover himself. He felt in control, demonstrating his superiority even now. “There’s more where this came from, so drop by sometime.” His lips twisted into a faint smirk. “One of us is usually home.”
Free of inhibition, it was Suzanne’s turn to smile. She made her thumb and forefinger into a pistol and pointed it at the two men. “Tag, I’m it.”
* * *
When Suzanne was safely inside her apartment, she reflected on the satisfying moment following her final emotional release inside Bryson’s house. The lust/rage had been successfully sated for now. She felt relieved and calm. She stepped out of her dress for the second time and removed the small, shiny item from the pocket sewn just above the hemline of her skirt. She rubbed the bulb of the silencer mounted on the tiny pistol between her thumb and forefinger.
She had never killed a man she hadn’t slept with until tonight, but Bryson and Tony had left her little choice. While the two of them laughed and joked about another conquest, she had played along. Then she calmly removed her little protector from its hiding place in the hem before she turned and planted a quick, single shot into Tony’s forehead and one more into the second silly, smirking face. She’d washed off Bryson’s naked body and wiped the place for fingerprints. She was dressed and gone before the first light of day.
Suzanne drank a glass of cold milk then took a quick shower, washing away any possible remaining trace of Bryson from her body. Then she gazed at herself in the bathroom mirror. Her body smooth, supple, and clean, ready for what would come next.
She scurried into the bedroom taking the gun and slid naked into her second bed of the night. She rubbed the barrel of the silver pistol against her thigh. On Monday, she’d go back to work as the demure business woman with the big, round glasses. But tonight she’d fall asleep thinking about how the city paper’s next edition would describe the latest escapade of the Sex-kitten Killer. From the other side of the bed, Jennifer turned toward Suzanne and yawned. Her hand closed over the hand holding the pistol.
“Sorry to wake you,” Suzanne said softly. “How was your shift?”
“Boring. Just busted some teenagers for late-night groping,” Jennifer said then playfully pinched Suzanne’s arm. “Don’t dick me around, sweetie. How did it go?”
“I ran into the Dynamic Duo,” Suzanne answered. “I took both of them down.”
Jennifer rose up on her elbow. “You’re kidding?”
“The guy was scared of bringing home the Sex-kitten. His roomie was playing babysitter, so I had to put a bullet through the head of not one lothario, but two.” She couldn’t keep from smiling. “Even an insect that destroys the male after coupling can’t claim a double-header.”
“Did you have sex with both of them?”
“That would have been awkward. Left one wet and one dry. But both went out with smiles on their faces. I’d call it a perfect performance.”
“I bet the other dude wanted to. They’re all guilty as sin. Hey, I could have made it a foursome. You should have called.”
“Don’t be silly. Let’s not push our luck. Our routine can’t change. We’re going to have to be more careful than ever. The guys are suspicious of all us little flirts now.”
“I’ll make sure my next one lives alone,” Jennifer said. “Get more than one of them in a room and it’s all about macho.”
“They think all a woman really needs is to have her pump primed. Once their little brains take over, they’re easy to nail.”
“Their eyes are hardwired to their crotches. I’m not sure their brains are ever involved.”
Both women laughed. “Actually, we do need men, but only to please us,” Suzanne said to Jennifer. “Their apparatus does have its rewards, but never forget, they’re the ones who play the bloody game of war with its raping and killing.”
“Scourge of the earth, the bastards. As amusing as they are, I always look forward to getting back to you after taking care of business.”
They’d both been amazed at how willingly a man would rendezvous with a woman he didn’t know from Eve at the slightest hint of a little action, especially with the Sex-kitten Killer running amok.
“Hard to believe how naive they can be. They’re all the same, aren’t they, Babe? But let’s make sure we stay careful and safe. We’re good at our little indulgence, so let’s not blow it now by getting careless.” Suzanne laid the gun aside so her hands could be free to explore Jennifer.
“You change the plates?” Jennifer asked.
“Everything is done.”
“Just my cop’s mind talking. Next time, my turn to break the law I’m supposed to uphold.”
“These perps were at least guilty of indecent exposure.”
“The cop and the executive with firearms training. We’re quite a team, baby, at work and at play,” Jennifer cooed. She kissed Suzanne and scooted her naked body next to her accomplice. “I’m so glad we found each other and that you’re home safe. I can’t wait until next time.”
“I read that most serials love the limelight. Love to read about what they’ve done and hear it on TV. They get off on it. That’s one of the things that makes us different. We’re not interested in the talking heads on the tele spewing out an endless supply of tragedy. Telling each other is enough. Tough love’s a bitch sometimes. More details about tonight after a little fun and a little sleep.”
“Tag. I’m it,” Jennifer sighed.
J. T. Seate is author of eight stories in the popular Inspector Basham series. “Turn About” (November, 2012), “Letting Off Some Steam” (July, 2013), “The Case of the Open Grave” (October, 2013), “Basham's Theory” (April, 2014), “St. Andrew’s Cross” (August, 2014), “Cat and Mouse” (December, 2014), “Winds of Change” (March, 2015) and The Chopper (April, 2015).
Nine of his non-series stories have also been published here on omdb! — “The Accomplice” (October, 2015) “The Return” (October, 2015), “Moments To Remember” (June, 2015), “Light My Fire” (March, 2015), “The Thompson Kid” (December, 2014), “The Songbird” (August, 2014), “The Constant Reader” (April, 2013), “Mask” (March, 2013), “Montezuma's Revenge” (January, 2013).
The author’s other publishing credits include six novels/novellas, a dozen one-author anthologies, and more than two hundred short stories and memoirs.
Copyright © 2016 J. T. Seate. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of the author is prohibited. OMDB! and OMDB! logos are trademarks of Over My Dead Body!