She was like a fish to the bait, Chrislyn was. All a man had to do was speak ooey-gooey love mush and she had the worm in her teeth and the hook halfway down her gullet.
I’m the long-suffering gal pal watching as man after man caught her in a sentimental net and gutted her for all the cash he could get. Business investments, medical problems, operations for Mom—Chrislyn fell for them all.
We’ll be forever
You’d think even a dumbsicle like Chrislyn had her limits. But no, the line of credit on the house her daddy left her got tapped three times last year for a no-good chisler, and now her 401k was in danger.
Think I hadn’t told her a million times to stop? Warnings slid off that girl’s back, easy as lies dripped from the tongues of her crooked lovers. Like she was covered in cling-wrap and nothing sank in.
Us till eternity
The deadbeat-du-jour had tapped everything he was going to get without a ring and showed signs of taking a hike with no forwarding address. Chrislyn was mewling the man-trouble blues.
I wanted to do good.
I wanted to do right.
I wanted to get involved.
Truth is, I needed Chrislyn’s problems. Anything was better than thinking about me, lil’ ole Dee-Ann. Didn’t set the world on fire with my looks at 21, sure as heck wasn’t happening at 40. Come-to-Jesus truth: I needed Chrislyn’s blonde good looks and routine romantic implosions. It’s called living vicariously. I know that now. I didn’t know it then.
The idea hit on a typical Saturday night—me in an old bathrobe with a mug of tea and cats purring on top of the computer desk. I’ll pose as a man and hit her up for more than she’s ever been hit before. Then give it all back with a talking-to about being more careful.
A few taps on the keyboard realized Chrislyn’s dream man; polished, professional, sharp-dressed. A phony Facebook page came alive with borrowed photos, likewise a Twitter account and email. He was real as life: Ben Adams, attorney-at-law. The profile said he currently resided in Dubai to facilitate business deals but would be back in the good ol’ US of A by next year to visit his homes in Vegas, South Beach, and Beverly Hills. Ben stumbled over Chrislyn’s page and sent a message.
…even though you are with a boyfriend, I saw immediately that you look exactly like the girl of my dreams. Hello, Dream Girl.
It didn’t take long. She replied with a picture tanning poolside in a microkini and confided that the relationship was on its last legs.
Can’t wait to hug you
whisper sweet-nothings in your ear
Buying a voice changer fast-tracked the whole game. For less than a hundred bucks, I plugged the thing in and altered my voice into nicely modulated male tones. I got a second cell number with a Beverly Hills area code and told her calls would bounce right through. Manly man Ben Adams would foot the bill for international call-roaming.
Ooo,ooo I’m getting there.
Are you almost there, darlin’?
Let’s go together ooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhh!
aah aah aah aaH aAH AHH AAAHHHHHHHHhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
We talked for hours every day. We had ear-busting, furniture shaking, hot-monkey phone sex every day, too. I egged her on: lingerie, toys, flavored lube, warming lube, pleasure enhancing gel for ladies only—you name it, she tried it.
It was time to move in for the money.
I knew Chrislyn had a $100,000 line of credit on the house and half was blown already. Another forty-eight grand sat in a 401K, plus she had a savings account with a few thousand—plenty left to scam and I wanted all of it. I wanted to look in her eyes and reveal she’d almost given everything away to a stranger. I wanted to see it sink in that Dee-Ann had her best interests at heart.
“We need to be together,” I told her, between bouts of heavy breathing. “A hundred grand would sew up my commitments in Dubai and you’ll recoup immediately from proceeds.”
She promised to get the money ready for transfer. Then she threw a curve ball.
“If we’re going to do this, I need to see you, I need to hold you in my arms. I’m ready and willing to fly to Dubai.”
Shit Shit Shit! Think quick. “I’ve got more flyer miles than you, doll. I’ll come to LA over a long weekend on the downlow. The company can’t know I’m leaving the country, they’d think I was dealing on the side. But this isn’t a deal—this is my honey-baby, sweetie-pie, gorgeous girl.”
Hoo boy, how was I going to pull this one off?
* * *
“Some broad needs an actor to pose as a Beverly Hills hotshot so she can prank a girlfriend,” my agent said.
“What’s her name?”
“Dee-Ann somebody. Pays five hundred for a couple hours work.”
A suit, briefcase, a fresh haircut—hey, I could come up with that.
I met my new employer at the Hotel Skylite on Century Boulevard a mile from the airport. The suit was borrowed from a pal who wore it one season on The Young and the Restless. Dee-Ann gave the threads an approving eyeball up and down. Too bad I couldn’t return the favor. She was no beauty queen, not with an extra fifty pounds on and none of it in the right places.
A cocktail waitress slid over. False eyelashes and a black cocktail dress harmonized with the execu-lounge vibe. Beer for me, diet soda for Dee-Ann. The false eyelashes flapped Morse signals: Big spenders, NOT.
Dee-Ann didn’t care or didn’t notice and got right down to it.
“I’ll come early and take a room. You be early too and I’ll hand over the keycard.”
“What about the bank transfer? How do I do it from a hotel room?”
“I was getting to that.” She worked her lips around the soda straw. “I’ll leave a laptop for you. Chrislyn will assume it’s yours. After a few drinks, invite her to the room and use the laptop to transfer from one account to another. Ever used PayPal?”
“Sure. It’s not brain surgery.”
“I’ll be down in the parking lot. Soon as that’s done, go to the window and open the curtains. That’s my signal.” Little pinwheels of delight spun in Dee-Ann’s eyes. “I’m going to come right up, walk in and tell Chrislyn she could’ve been ripped off, killed even.”
She pushed a scrap of paper across the table.
“It’s a list of pet-names she likes.”
I was expecting X‑rated material but it’s all Honey-this and Sweetie-that. Affectionate stuff.
“Looks like you’re a real friend.”
“Thanks, I try to be. Chrislyn’s an awful nice person. Just needs a little protection from her own self.”
“Without you, there’s no telling where she’d end up.”
That made Dee-Ann smile. We set it up for Saturday night.
I held off telling Alexa about the job because Alexa thinks everything involved with acting is squirrely. Then I broke down and blabbed anyway. She kept putting me off about a briefcase but after a couple days of no-tickey-no-laundry in the love department, a leather Tumi showed up. Alexa said as long as the tags stayed on it was returnable.
I opened the thing up and there was a revolver.
“Alexa, what the—?”
“You don’t know what might go sideways on this job. Miss Dee-Ann’s not paying five large for nothing. A little insurance never hurt anybody.”
I knew better than to argue with Alexa.
* * *
OOOOooo the butterflies! They’re fluttering in my stomach, Getting ready I couldn’t hardly hold the mascara brush steady and now my hands are sweating all over the shopping bag handles. Thank gawd the Skylite bar is dark and nobody can see me gettin’ shiny.
I pick a teeny cocktail table to sit at and set everything underneath. The bag is full of lingerie and a hundred thou cash. To hell with electronic banking, it’ll be so romantic to make love with money spread out around us. It excites me! I hope it excites Ben too.
There’s a guy coming in now. OMG he’s wearing a suit with a briefcase. OMG he’s gorgeous. Is that him? I hope it’s him! He’s smiling, he’s headed this way. It’s him! OMG look at the muscles under that suit. He works out!
“It’s me. Hi!”
I jump out of my seat and give him a big hug. He pulls me right off my feet, rocking back and forth before setting me back down.
“You sure know how to sweep a girl off her feet!”
“Sit, let’s have a drink.”
“Is the room ready?”
“Let’s get out of here, Ben. I want you all to myself, darling. Let’s shut the world out.”
“Whatever you say, hunnee-doll.” He slips a cell phone out of his pocket, turns it off and tucks it into a gorgeous, shiny briefcase. “It’s all about you and me now. No interruptions.”
Have you ever heard anything so romantic? All the way up in the elevator I tell him how he came along at the perfect time.
“My heart was breaking with those other guys and the mess with the money and all—but now you’re heeere!”
I tell Ben over and over he is the one and before I know it, we’re in the room. Ben excuses himself to use the restroom.
I hang my jacket in the closet and tuck the shopping bag in there too—a surprise for later. He sure is taking a long time; he probably isn’t, it’s over-impatience. I roam around the room—his laptop’s open on the desk. Just like you’d expect from a successful attorney.
My eye falls on the briefcase. I don’t know why, maybe it’s just that I’ve been fooled so many other times before…I nudge it with my foot. The designer label’s really real. My foot slides the case closer. I can’t resist unlatching the top. It’s so new the tags are still on. Mister Rich! There’s a gun in there too. Smart man, knows how to protect himself. What I’m really interested in is the cell phone. You can tell so many things from calls, text messages, photographs. It nestles in my hand and briiing! turns itself on. Scrolling through stuff… funny there’s no trace of me. I’m… completely… erased. Message after message from some girl named Alexa. Pictures too; super LA-skinny, pufferfish lips, ugh.
I hear water running in the bathroom sink, handwashing, splashing. The thought of his hands on me turns my stomach. I can’t stand it, can’t stand him. Can’t find a man I can trust. The phone tumbles to the carpet and I pick up the gun. Tender words endless booty calls the more I look at these disgusting pictures of that WHORE and her text messages the more I hate this two-timing, low-down, LYING user
Son of a bitch
I cock that hammer as the door opens.
* * *
Time’s getting on. I hope he’s not taking advantage of her up there. What the hell are they doing anyway? Maybe this was a bad idea crosses my mind when Chrislyn steps into the parking lot. The backlight halos her blonde hair and for a moment an angel wavers in the doorway. The angel morphs into Chrislyn as she steps onto the lot and harsh halogen strikes her face. Something’s wrong because her mascara is streaked and Chrislyn never wears makeup slutty. The pink shopping bag on her arm is full to bursting—she came loaded for bear, for something.
I get out of the car and wave. She heads over at a trot.
“Dee-Annnnnn, I’m so glad to see you’ll never believe what happened remember that guy I met online the one from Dubai—“
I peel her arms from around my neck and give her a shake. “Where is he?”
“He’s…up in the room.”
“Take me. What’s in the bag?”
She hands it over. I push aside a negligee and crotchless panties with the tags still on. Underneath are stacks of bills, big denominations. My fingers sweep something hard and steely, warm to the touch. Gads, what have those two been doing?
It’s a long ride in the elevator and by the time that bell dings and the doors open, Chrislyn’s face is tighty-whitey white.
Three swipes of the card it takes to get the room open and she lets me go first. “In there.” Points childishly at the bathroom.
He’s splayed crosswise in the bathtub, one shiny shoe still on the floor and looking passed out drunk except for the hole in his lapel with red coming out of it like a rose.
No breathing. No nothing. Bucket-kickin’ dead.
For a second I’m going to explain the whole set-up, even deliver my memorized lecture to scare her off men but… there’s no need for truth anymore.
We got the cash.
We got a gun.
She’s my sugar-doll baby now.