I came back home after class to grab a little shut-eye before I would inevitably be called in. I anticipated a call around two or so in the afternoon, since that was when Michael was due to return from the Hamburg mission. My poor brain had tried to absorb too much for such an early hour, and needed a break. So I threw a blanket over my window to make my room as dark as possible and attempted sleep. I say attempted because I hadn't been in bed for more than twenty minutes when someone came knocking at my door.
It was Mick.
I rue the day Section moved him in next door. There hasn't been a peaceable moment in my life since. Between his raucous parties and constant impositions, I am completely spent. I've taken to climbing up the fire escape sometimes to avoid the chance of running into him on the stairs. I swear he stakes out my apartment, just waiting for me to come home so he can needle me with his cockney whine.
When I saw it was him at the door, I was half tempted to climb out the fire escape and sleep in the dumpster in the alley. After all, I've done the whole dumpster thing before... in my days before Section. But I couldn't risk the chance of him ratting on me to Section... I knew they'd planted him next door to keep an eye on me, and should he mention I was never home I'd look suspicious. Section doesn't need reason to pry into my personal life any more than they already have. So I opened the door.
"So glad I caught you home, Popsicle," he said.
That's me, the Good Humor girl. I'd have to have a sense of something like humor to put up with this. It took every humorous bone in my body to keep from slugging his unshaven mug. He was leaning against the doorjamb so casually... practically hanging into my apartment. I resisted the urge to push his oily head back into the hallway.
I didn't have time for this. He'd just given me the typical Mick-prelude to an hour-long dissertation on the woes of his personal life. I didn't have time for this. "What?" I snapped.
"Matter of great urgency, this."
With Mick, everything is of great urgency. The man doesn't know the meaning of the word urgent. To him, the word 'urgent' applies to everything from locating the nearest restroom to acquiring the latest issue of Playboy. All I knew was that it was urgent I get back to bed. Quickly. My head was pounding.
It didn't take a social genius to read my body language. My gritted teeth, my crossed arms... the fact I wasn't opening the door more than two inches to look at him definitely said 'Your company is not wanted'. But then, Mick has never been great at taking hints. He's never been good at taking blunt assertions, either.
"I'll get to the point..."
Yes, please do.
"I was at the library, right--love reading..."
Sure he does. I've been in Mick's apartment twice (both were matters of great 'urgency') and did not see a single book anywhere in the vicinity while I was there. Unless it was published monthly and contained pictures of nude women.
"What's the point, Mick?"
"There's this book out print: Great Chefs of the 30s and 40s"
Oh gawd. He wanted to discuss cooking? With me? At ten in the morning? Where was my gun when I needed it?
"I am not a morning person," I growled. "Get to the point."
The look on my face must have told him I meant business because he stopped mid-sentence and dropped the matter completely. I've never seen Mick cut straight to the chase quite like he did then... he has made an art out of not getting to the point. Believe me, no one beats around the bush quite like Mick.
"I ran into Feliss--a bird--"
I should have guessed this was about a woman. Mick's life revolves around anything with long hair and legs.
"--I used to watch her in Amsterdam. She's held up great over the years..."
I did not want to hear this. The thought of Mick with any woman, let alone some chick named Feliss who probably visited her plastic surgeon twice a year only to waste herself on some slimy lounge lizard she met in an erotic bookstore, made me ill. I would shut the door and hope I could refrain from vomiting.
"OK, OK, OK..." Mick was sounding desperate. "Condoms."
I was going to be sick. "What?"
"Two or three will do. I'd buy them at the corner, but I don't want her to cool off, if you know what I mean..."
"She's there now?"
"Yes!" Mick was way too excited. He probably hadn't been laid in a long time. "It's alright--the engine's running but she's in idle."
I'm sure I must have balked at that. The whole disgusting scenario was becoming all too real. She was next door... not more than fifty feet away. I'd have to listen to them. I was never going to be able to get to sleep knowing Mick was naked with some aged tart just behind my bedroom wall.
"No." I said. I tried again to close the door.
"What do you mean, no? Don't have, or you won't share?"
Both. And if I did have them, I definitely wouldn't share. I was NOT going to become accomplice to that...
"C'mon, Doll... I'm sure you and Michael practice safe sex."
Oh my, that was a low blow. The truth of the matter is, Michael and I aren't practicing any kind of sex. Which made the fact that a low life like Mick could get laid while I had been celibate for almost six months smart all the more. I mean, my sex life is becoming so hopeless, I almost boxed up my lingerie for the Salvation Army during their Christmas drive three months ago. Any rubbers I have left in my nightstand would be so old by now they'd break before they made it on. Now that would spoil a mood! For a moment, I was tempted to give in and get them for Mick.
"You should leave before you get hurt." I guess I thought threatening him would make him leave faster. After all, he knew about Section. He knew I killed people for a living. Maybe he'd think I could kill him.
He looked like he might laugh. I don't think he finds me very scary. Maybe I should work on my menacing face. Believability might come in handy in the field...
"Excuse e'moi, I didn't know things had soured between you two."
Right. Soured. Just like milk. Guess Michael left me out on the counter too long while he put himself back in the fridge. Or maybe we just passed our expiration date. After all, it had been three years...
Mick was still rambling on. Does he ever stop? He was trying to mend things. What a butt-kisser. He doesn't have spine enough to just be mean. Maybe it's because he knows he can't afford to lose the few 'friends' he has....
"But you still got feelings and that's a good thing. I'd stay and help you work things out, but..."
Yeah, because we are such close friends. He just wanted my condoms.
"Just get out of my life, please." I finally closed the door, successfully. He was still saying something outside, in the hall. I turned and stared at my bed forlornly. There wasn't a chance in hell I'd be able to sleep now. Condoms or no, Mick isn't one to give up on the chance to get it on. It was just all too disturbing for me.
Fortunately, I was saved from having to decide what to do with the rest of the morning by the sound of my phone, ringing. The morning wake up call had come earlier than expected. Michael's mission must have been very efficient. It probably helped that I wasn't there to mess things up.