Mark Joseph Kevlock
Tigue took another pull on the straw.
That damn McDonald's sweet iced tea was the best he'd ever tasted. Made the
wait almost tolerable.
He was about to get up for another
refill when the counter girl from Boston Market slid into his booth directly
across from him.
She was a raunchy blonde number from
Noo Yawk who said, "Going to Boston?"
She was overweight, but in all the
right places. An ass you could get a hold of, but thin delicate wrists. Heavy
just around the middle, like Manet's "Olympia."
What the hell was he dreaming about,
anyway? This was a woman. From New York, sure. But still a woman. Not his
"Business or pleasure?" she
"Going to the George Michael
tribute concert," Tigue said.
Red flags went up in her eyes. Her
breasts backed away across the tabletop. The result Tigue was going for.
"I am," Tigue said.
"Huh," she said. "The
way you've been sitting here for an hour. Staring at my tits every time I gave
a customer change. I kind of figured you were... interested."
Tigue liked her. A lot. She was a
woman: whole, substantial, not air-brushed. There was vitality and humor behind
her aspect. Tigue wanted to keep the conversation going.
"You're facing the wrong
direction, you know," she said.
The turnpike plaza was in Framingham,
along Interstate 90 west. Boston was to the east.
"I'm used to it," Tigue
said. "Been going the wrong way my whole life."
The blonde clicked her teeth like a
piranha at the ready.
"You don't say," she said.
"What I mean is, I got off at the
mall exit up the road and turned around to come here."
"Waiting for someone?"
Another red flag in her eyes. But she
wasn't a quitter.
"I just got off work," she
"Maybe you were waiting for
me," she said.
"Maybe I was."
Her hair was curly in just the right
way. Ringlets that would look unbelievably sexy just after a shower.
Tigue stopped himself again. Chasing
after what you can't possibly have, he said.
She was studying him now, as he
finished off his chicken dinner. He ate with gusto—corn, muffin, potatoes, each
with a man-sized chunk of meat, then another pull on the iced tea. She ran her
fingers along the back of his hand where he held the cup.
"Something about you," she
said. "I want to get naked with you."
The tea went up his nose, the chicken
down the wrong pipe. Tigue choked and coughed and laughed and smiled.
Definitely not his style.
"Am I coming on too strong?"
Tigue's eyes were watering. "For
someone with no chance at all, I'd say you're just about right."
"That's what I figured," she
It was all a playful dare. But Tigue
had no time for games. It would only hurt more in the end.
"You think you can turn me?"
The blonde undid another button on her
blouse. Only three remained. She shook her shoulders to enhance the effect.
"I know I can," she said.
"But why try? Why bother at
"Because," she said. "I
can tell. People come through here all day long. By the zillions. All the same.
But you're not. You're one of The Unique. Like me."
"And that makes us a matched
set?" Tigue said.
The blonde nodded vigorously.
"The rest doesn't matter. You'll see."
It was time to get hard. Tigue was
rarely anything else.
"You have a very jealous
boyfriend," he said.
She was still playing, didn't
"Doesn't everyone?" she
said. "You've probably got one too."
Tigue looked out the window. July
thunderstorms were his favorite. The sky opened up and gave you everything it
had. The whole affair lasted five minutes. Then the clouds parted and the sun
came back and you could be warm and wet at the same time.
"Let's go outside," she
Out they went.
The sky was spritzing enough so that
the motorists who were overly paranoid had already activated their wipers. A
bus pulled into the parking lot and unloaded a platoon of Japanese teenagers.
The boys all looked like they were trying out for the lead in a John Woo movie—jagged
bangs over their eyes. The girls were all bouncing and laughing, wearing every
imaginable fashion accessory, most of it bubblegum pink.
Tigue and his companion were headed
right through the middle of their crowd. The downpour was seconds away. Tigue
stopped and turned to face her.
"He hired me to kill you,"
Tigue said. "Your boyfriend. He wants you dead."
The wind was whipping the American
flag above them. The Japanese boys were shooting imaginary guns at one another.
The blonde grabbed his arms and pulled them around her.
"And what do you want?" she
Tigue felt the drops, hard and heavy
on his back.
"I want to spend my life with
you," he said.
"I can't share you with
anyone," Noo Yawk said.
The Japanese girls were giggling and
pointing at them, talking fast and in another language.
"I can't chance losing you,"
Noo Yawk said to him. "You'll have to go straight."
Then the shower came. Water in sheets
fell upon them. The Japanese kids scattered indoors.
Tigue started to kiss her and to tear
open her blouse. His face was buried in her breasts, his hands up under her
tight, tight skirt. It was over for him then. He was turned. All those years
he'd been fooling himself. Living a lie.
He was as straight as they came. The
look in her eyes proved it to him.
"You just never..." she
said. "You just never found somebody to love."
Tigue had been right about the
ringlets. Unbelievably sexy. He held her face in his hands.
"I'll kill him instead,"
Tigue said. "Your boyfriend. Tonight."
The downpour ended. The sun broke
through. Noo Yawk nodded and gave to him all that she was and would ever be.
Tigue took it all without question.
Inside he felt warm and wet at the same time.
Mark Joseph Kevlock (used to spell it: Kiewlak)
has been a published author since 1990. In the past couple of decades, his work
has appeared in Black Petals, Hardboiled,
A Twist of Noir, Plots with
Guns, Thug Lit, The Bitter Oleander,
and Mysterical-E. He has also written for DC
Comics (FLASH 80-PAGE GIANT #2).