Categories > Movies > Charlie's Angels


by DrWorm 0 reviews

"He told himself he was not afraid of Bogeymen, exactly, because he was an adult and adults aren't afraid of those sorts of things." Eric Knox has a payment to make and the Thin Man is a strange cr...

Category: Charlie's Angels - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Angst, Drama - Warnings: [!!] - Published: 2006-04-12 - Updated: 2006-04-13 - 2243 words - Complete


It was night, but it was not dark. Corporate America had taken this district and, with streetlamps and flashing neon signs as modern amulets of the present day witch doctor advertisers, driven back the demons of the dark, the threats of the night. Like the Bogeymen hiding inside the sewer grates: they grab your ankles when you walk by to drag you down to be one of them.

Eric Knox hopped self-consciously up over the curb and onto the sidewalk, away from the openings for water drainage. But he told himself he was not afraid of Bogeymen, exactly, because he was an adult and adults aren't afraid of those sorts of things.

Despite the best efforts of the McDonald's across the street and the pornography theater just behind him, the night was still very threatening. It was damp and foggy; ironically, the lights of the signs and the lamps could do no practical good, as they only reflected the dense, condensing moisture and created the illusion of a wall of peculiar grey around the block so thick that Knox was sure that there was no other world except that which he was immediately privy to. The thought depressed him because he didn't believe in Bogeymen anymore.

The real Bogeymen, he'd found, were within the world of capitalism in which he was so deftly entwined. It's a maddening addiction, money, as so many Americans have found. Worse than drugs, alcohol, sex. Knox pulled a pack of expensive cigarettes from the pocket of his denim jacket, fully aware of the irony. He lit one, the flame from his match a flickering beacon through the grey, a lighthouse atop the rocky shores of commercialism. He was sweating from the humidity, and he could feel it trickling delicately over the tiny hairs on the back of his neck. "'Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.'" He murmured aloud, exhaling. "Luke 18:25." He thought that it was lucky for him that he had no pretensions of getting anywhere near heaven.

The sound of his own voice lessened the feelings of isolation; better than any golden arch, it drove away the Bogeymen that were nibbling away at the back of his mind, the doubts and insecurities that are his true fears. Those Bogeymen who didn't go away when the sun came up, or disappear when he pulled the blanket over his head. The Bogeymen of ambition and pride and revenge and other mortal sins: the naughty emotions he'd always felt that had first been given names when he'd begun reciting his catechisms. He wondered if the nuns ever knew what was inside of him, what delinquencies against god had lurked and lingered in his subconscious, slowly surfacing in the savage urban jungle he now inhabited, surrounded happily by pagan worship of the Almighty Dollar.

There was a small noise from an indistinguishable origination in the fog, behind Knox, to the side, and then smooth, cool fingers wiped the sweat from the back of his neck. Knox turned, startled and yet not startled to see a tall, slender man with sharp, aquiline features standing behind him, drawing one long and brittle hand with fingertips like claws back from the collar of his jacket. Fog swirled, brilliantly theatric, around his shins and ankles, grey curling around black with greedy, clutching fingers.

Knox laughed, short and nervous. He'd secured the man's services the week before without knowing a thing about him, except that he was very good at what he did. But, like all others that Knox knew, the strange, thin man had agreed to operate only after receiving a large sum of money. "H-hello." Knox stammered with a smile. The other man nodded slowly. He held a cane with a smooth, golden handle in one hand, the tip of which he tapped purposefully against the concrete of the sidewalk. "Gosh... heh. You just came out of nowhere, didn't you?"

The man held his gaze for a moment, solemnly, before rolling his eyes upward. Knox took this to mean that the creature standing before him had come from somewhere above, perhaps off of the roof of the porno theater. With an idle wondering he reserved specifically for religion, he thought that perhaps the nuns of his childhood had taken up his cause with god and sent him an angel of his sins; he half expected the man to sprout a showy pair of wings and begin reciting his bad deeds in chronological order before damning him. But, of course, he knew that the man wasn't an angel, not of life or death or sin, the same way he knew there were no such things as Bogeymen.

"'The fog comes/on little cat feet." He quoted with another shaky smile; the poem had been running through his consciousness all evening. The thin man cocked his head and raised one sharp eyebrow. "Carl Sandburg." Knox explained, feeling more than silly. "A famous poet... he... oh, forget it." Knox paused to take a drag off of his cigarette.

The man watched him with intense eyes, the irises of which shimmered inconsistently in the evening's light around small, dark pupils that stood out like pinpricks in a sheet of paper. "Listen... I need you for at least a year." The only response to Knox's statement was a slow, deliberate blink. "Total pay for the year is half a mil, expenses covered." He raised his own eyebrows, awaiting a confirmation or denial. "Payment in installments." There was still no reaction. "Twenty thousand for the first week while you find out about the job. If you don't like it, walk away with the money. If you like it, stay." Another blink, and the man stretched his head to the side with feline leisure.

With a hand that shook a little bit more than he would have liked to admit, Knox held out a small cloth bag filled with one hundred dollar bills. After a moment that seemed to stretch on forever because nothing moved and every lick of fog was the same dully shimmering grey, the man reached out and casually took the bag from Knox's hand. Their fingertips brushed for an instant and Knox was again startled by the corpse-like cold of the other man's skin.

As the man tucked the thin parcel away into the jacket of his suit, Knox stuttered uncertainly, "Hey... uh... you sure don't talk much, do you?" As soon as the words had left his mouth, Knox realized that, not only had the man not spoken a single word that evening, he had also not spoken when Knox had made the attempt to hire him. One of Eric Knox's less reputable friends had pointed him in the direction of the stranger as a possible answer to some of Knox's messier interpersonal needs. When he'd seen him for the first time, Knox had been the one to initiate contact, to outline the possibilities of a job, and to suggest a meeting place. The man had never said a word.

This small epiphany unsettled him so much that he took a step back. The man stared at him, vaguely nonplussed by the sudden movement so akin to a rejection. Knox raised his cigarette to the level of his lips again, now craving the comfort of smoke and not the rush of nicotine. "Do you ever say anything?" Ashes fell to the ground during a tense pause. "Can you even talk?" Knox whispered, avoiding the man's blank, unnerving stare. "If you can, then goddammit... say something!" They locked eyes. Knox bit his lower lip. "Please?"

The man's lips twisted slightly into a rictus even the most positive and heart-felt people would be hard-pressed to call a smile. And then there was a small noise, a little 'hmm' of sound that made Eric Knox raise his eyebrows. "Was that you?" There was another little 'hmm' as the man grabbed Knox's free hand with his cool, dry fingers and pressed it against his own throat.

Knox tried to suppress a shudder, as he had no desire to touch the stranger's smooth, pale, unearthly skin. However, the man appeared to feel his disgust quite clearly, and his face relaxed as he pressed Knox's fingertips against his Adam's apple. There was another short burst of sound-high tenor, almost childlike-but Knox barely heard it as he concentrated on the tremble of vibration that tickled up his wrist. He laughed without humor as the man released his hand and he allowed it to drop lazily back to his side. "I guess it was," he said, not minding the redundancy, since hearing his own voice made him feel less alone. He shook his head and mumbled to himself. "Yeah, you sure can pick 'em, can't you? Fuck."

He raised the butt of the still dimly glowing cigarette again, and was about to take those precious final puffs, when icy fingertips snatched it from him quickly and without hesitancy, in the same way that a cat would steal a piece of chicken from the table while its owner wasn't watching.

Knox watched, mouth open in silent protest, as the man wrapped elegant pink lips around his cigarette and inhaled deeply. "Hey..." Knox furrowed his eyebrows. The man turned his head to one side and exhaled long, dual trails of grey smoke through flared nostrils, looking very much the part of the haughty Chinese dragon on the sign above the buffet just a few blocks down the street. "That's... that was mine," Knox whined slightly, feeling more than humiliated by the simple but overly familiar and invasive action.

The man smiled faintly and pursed his lips in a way that seemed unthinkingly seductive. A lock of dark hair had fallen free and hung loosely over one of his eyes, tickling the sharp relief of his eyebrows gently. He raised the cigarette to his lips again-even tipped his head slightly toward Knox, as if toasting him-and took the final inhale, allowing it to burn all the way to the filter before he dropped it to the sidewalk and ground it gently with the heel of his shoe.

Knox watched this with simmering indignation; the simple motions seemed to go on for hours. He was caught completely off-guard when, in a swoop of sudden grace and power, the thin man caught his chin with one hand, tugged his mouth open, and pressed their lips forcefully together. He felt air-the smoke from the other man's inhalation-being pushed into his mouth, into his lungs. Knox, bewildered and panicked, knew that he could choose to resist and suffocate or accept the offering and live to breath again. He chose acceptance, though even as tendrils of smoke curled between them, leaking from nostrils and the imperfect seal made by the joining of their lips, Knox placed his hand on the strange man's shoulder, attempting to push him away.

Instead of breaking the unexpected contact, however, Knox's touch seemed to encourage the man to go on. As the smoke dissipated between them, exhaled through sore and reddened nostrils, Knox felt bony fingers move from his chin, to the line of his jaw, all the way to the back of his neck, where a strong hand tenderly cupped the swell of his skull. He felt a slick tongue flicker over his as the clumsy union of their mouths became a kiss far less rough or forceful than anything he would have expected from this odd creature. The warmth of the man's saliva surprised him slightly as it flowed easily between his teeth to mingle with his own.

And then it was over; the man had pulled away as abruptly as he had surged forward and Knox was left feeling as if he was in a dream, the kind that he would awake from with the covers tugged firmly over his head, sweaty and slightly nauseous with the effects of breathing recycled air.

But unlike dream-creatures, or Bogeymen under the bed, Eric Knox knew that this man would not disappear once the sun was up and the fog had condensed as dew on the green grass of suburban lawns. The man nodded politely to Knox, tapped his cane twice against the sidewalk as he took a step back, and ran spider's fingers over his breast, outlining the pouch of money stowed in his inside pocket. Knox thought the movement vaguely autoerotic, and bit the inside of his cheek to stop the reaction from spreading any further. By then, the fog was enveloping the tall, thin shape as it retreated, welcoming it with open arms, caressing it like a lover.

"It sits looking/over harbor and city/on silent haunches," Knox recited under his breath, waiting for the noise he knew would come. After a moment, there was a slight scratching, the noise of a graceful being scaling a brick wall.

Knox sighed in relief, letting out a breath he hadn't been entirely aware he was holding. He ghosted his own fingertips over his lips, slightly in awe of the feeling. The world was still, after all, a dream in the midst of the fog, but Knox was sure that he had one new alliance that might help to keep the Bogeymen at bay. His voice echoed in his ears as he took a step off of the curb, completely unafraid.

"And then moves on."
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