michael beck

I parked my 85 Beetle out the front and waited a moment. When no-one ran out in horror screaming at me to move, I climbed out and walked up the circular, concrete driveway. The gate was open which sort of negated the security cameras. It was one of those modern houses that realtors faint over. All huge glass windows, open spaces, with nothing cluttering the large, concrete expanses.
I thought it would be like living in an office. But as Bear says, “What do you know”? You live in a trailer!”
Fair point.
A blonde haired girl of about twenty five, wearing tiny, white shorts and a blue bikini top, was washing a red Jaguar. I stopped and watched. I wondered if this would be part of the job description? If it was, count me in. I realised that I’d been watching a bit longer than manners called for. This probably should have got me moving. It didn’t.
“You enjoying yourself back there?” the girl said, without turning around.
“Yes, thanks.”
She kept washing. I kept watching.
In a way we were in sync.
Okay, in a weird way.
I wondered if the front half would match the back half. Isn’t it funny, how often you can see a fantastic back half, get all your hopes up, then, finally get to see the front half and it’s like a major disappointment. It’s like God purposefully mixed up his gorgeous girl mould with his plain Jane mould, just to keep us seeking that perfect one. In fact, lately I had been coming to the belated conclusion that God was even more cruel than this. My theory was that God never made a girl whose front half equalled or was better than a great back half.
I know, pretty deep stuff.
I’d had a lot of thinking time lately.
Whenever I was out, I had been putting my new found theory to the test. Yeah, I got a few looks but it was all in the name of scientific curiosity.
Then the girl turned around and shattered my theory.
“Can I help you?”
“Nice car. Yours?”
“No, it’s my sister’s.”
“You’re cleaning your sister’s car? You feeling all right?”
She smiled. “I don’t mind. She’s busy this morning. Anyway, can I help you?”
“Is this the Wentworth place?”
“Yes, I’m Paige Wentworth. Are you here to see dad?”
“Yeah, apparently you have some lazy arsed sister here who needs some exercise?”
Paige laughed and looked me up and down. “Have you met Dad before?”
She shook her head. “This I’ve got to see.”
I wondered if there was something wrong with my clothes? I looked down. I was dressed in my usual getup; flip-flops, purple singlet and my favourite, tattered Levis. Nope, I had that covered.
“Come on. I‘ll show you the way.”
Paige rang the door bell and it was opened in a few seconds by a stocky guy with a long, brown pony tail. I must admit I am a bit on the anti side where pony tails are concerned. Okay on teenage girls and horses, but grown men? Is it just me, or do you just feel like wrapping the damn things around their throats and throttling them with it?
Okay, perhaps it is just me.
What made it worse was that this guy was also wearing a bandana. I hated bandannas worse than pony tails. He wore black trousers and a black tee shirt with the words Elite Martial Arts on the chest.
I sighed deeply. This was really going to be hard.
Paige was grinning at me. “You should fit right in.”
“Who’s this guy?” the scary guy in black said.
“This is Paige’s new personal trainer,” Paige said, still grinning.
“Has Mr Wentworth met him yet?” said scary guy.
“This should be fun,” he said, swinging the door open.
I felt like checking my back to see if Bear had stuck a sign on me before I left.
The inside was what I expected. You wouldn’t know that anyone lived in this place. There was not a newspaper, coffee cup or pair of shoes to be seen. The rooms were huge and airy with silver, metallic furniture. I could drive my Beetle into the living room do several wheelies and drive out again and not touch anything.
“What’s your name?” scary guy in black asked.
“Mark Tanner.”
“I’m Chip Cox. I do all the security for Mr Wentworth.”
“Nothing. You didn’t think of changing your name when you went into the bodyguard business?”
“What’s wrong with my name?” Cox stared at me. I think I was supposed to be intimidated.
“Well, let’s just forget the whole Cox thing. That’s just too easy. Don’t you think a bodyguard might need a slightly tougher, no-nonsense first name? Chip doesn’t sort of cut it, does it? It’s more like the name of the guy delivering flowers?”
Paige giggled and Chip flushed.
Again, not a good quality in a bodyguard.
“If you want to work around here I suggest you keep your mouth shut,” Chip said through clenched teeth.
“Yeah, well that’s the thing, Chip. I don’t really, but lead on.”
Chip looked at me a moment longer then led me down a long hallway. The carpet was so deep I felt like I was walking through fresh snow.
“Why does Wentworth need security?” I asked Chip’s back.
“He doesn’t. It’s just a precaution.”
“What’s that noise?”
Paige looked at me funny. “The tennis court.”
“Does your sister play?”
Paige and Smith both looked at me like I was an idiot.
Perhaps there was a sign on my back.
The hallway came to a long glass door through which I could see a tennis court.
“You might say that,” said Paige.
I saw her sister and sighed.
“What?” said Paige.
“Nothing, just remembering someone I have to kill.”

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