Chapter 10: M*A*S*H

Half an hour later, Anna walked in. From the side-view he had of her from his bed, her ass looked hot. Kodek smiled. His mouth was dry.

Tales of The Plumber 9…

Kodek was sitting on his couch watching a re-run of M*A*S*H in silence (the television had been muted over fifteen minutes ago with the remote control hanging loosely in his hand) when he realized his left eye had begun to twitch again. Not only that, but the back of his left ear had begun to run a clear yellowy liquid two days ago (not quite puss, but not exactly clear, either) and he hadn’t been able to get it to stop. He figured his twenty-six-year-old earring might’ve given his earlobe some trouble of the infectious sort, but thus far any application of hydrogen peroxide (no matter how liberal) had only proven ineffective. Maybe he’d just have to wait it out.

Twitch. Fuck.

He rubbed the back of his ear. Leave it alone. On the television screen six feet in front of him, Charles Emmerson Winchester was trying to play the french horn in peace. Hawkeye was evidently having none of it. Hawkeye’s moonshine/swamp martini contraption was starting to look appealing to Kodek. He thought better of it and went to make a cup of tea instead.

Kodek’s kitchen was immaculate. He was a stickler for details. At times, he would describe himself as meticulous. Not just with the cleanliness of his kitchen, but with all sort of details. And that’s why Larry the Brain was constantly on his mind.

And that was also likely why his left eye had developed an incessant and highly annoying tick/twitch.

Fuck.

He was already on his way back to the living room sofa with a cup of tea in his hand when his telephone rang. He set the tea down (as not to inadvertently spill any) before picking up the receiver.

Hello?”

K? It’s Anna.”

Anna had taken to calling him K lately. His eye twitched again. “Yeah, what’s up?” He sat down on the couch .

Wanna go on a date?”

He was glad he wasn’t holding his tea, because he surely would’ve spilled it when he heard that one.

Are you serious?” he asked. Shit, he didn’t have time for this.

I’ve already made the reservations,” she informed him. He let out some kind of a grunt that she took to be an acceptance to the invitation and blurted out the direction and proper time to meet her and quickly hung up with a “’K, bye”, to which he wasn’t sure if he should take it to be that she was OK or if she’d been specifically addressing him. Whatever, she’d already hung up, so that’s all he could do now, save for calling her back, which seemed like too OCD an effort to put forth, even for him, though he’d be surely pondering that over the next back-to-back rerun of M*A*S*H. He grunted again, replaced the receiver back on the phone and lifted his cup of tea over to his face. He didn’t even notice his eye has stopped twitching for the moment.

Later at the restaurant, they were sitting across form each other at the table…

The place was dark and reminded Kodek of a scene from the Susan Sarandon movie The Hunger. Damn, that was a good movie, and he hadn’t seen it in years. That was back when Susan Sarandon was young. She still looked good, for an older chick… Sarandon… Kodek thought about that actor from Fright Night and Dog Day Afternoon – Chris Sarandon – and wondered if the two actors were related somehow, or married at some point-

What are you thinking about?”

Kodek’s head snapped up from his pepper-steak and he looked Anna straight in the eyes. “You,” he said.

She smiles in a way that told Kodek that this could’ve been a real date if either of them had actually had that intention in the first place. On a personal note, Kodek was still taking some issue with the fact that she’d tried to blow him up with a fucking bazooka. But that was a year ago, now. Maybe he should-

What do you know about digital coding?” she asked him. If only she’d quit interrupting his train of thought, he might be having a pretty decent time.

Nothing,” he said truthfully. “You mean like programming computers?”

Yeah,” she affirmed.

No, nothing,” he reaffirmed, and went back to his steak.

Larry’s writing code for The Corporation.”

That got his attention away from the pepper steak and the shallow pool of blood surrounding in on his plate.

Or more specifically,” she elaborated, “for The Factory.”

Huh,” Kodek retorted, genuinely surprised. “He lied to me.”

Yeah? What’d he tell you?”

He told me he was writing short stories.”

Yeah well, maybe he’s doing that, too.” Anna took a forkful of her fettuccine. Kodek considered that and gave a slight nod.

Ask you something?” she said after swallowing her chewed-up mouthful of overpriced pasta.

Sure,” Kodek said, cutting through the bloody/seared flesh on his boldly white dinner plate.

What do you remember about the truck?”

Huh?” He was surprised for the second time in as many minutes. That was out of the fucking blue – “What truck?”

Anna actually rolled her eyes. “The truck on the beach.”

You knew about the truck?”

Did you actually think it was a coincidence that after you left the truck on the beach after your botched hit I ran my Lamborghini into you?”

Kodek replayed the even of that day, over a year ago now, in his mind, as he’d done hundreds, probably thousands of times, since it had happened. Drove my Mini Cooper into the back of a truck. Got hauled off to a beach. Watched some guy kill his lover/sister/wife/friend/whatever on that beach. Was supposed to shoot. I didn’t Got back in the truck, backed my car out of the trailer, hit the road along the coast, got smashed into by a Lamborghini and it was Anna, she tried to shoot me with a bazooka. Missed, hit the Mini Cooper, it flew over the edge of the roadside cliff, like the kind of roadside cliff you see in those California movies…

It was a set-up. I knew it, I always knew it, and it was Larry the Brain who had somehow-

You think The Brain had you set-up, right?”

Yeah,” Kodek said. “Why, does it show on my face?”

No, I just take the time to think things out.”

And what conclusion did you come to?” he asked her.

No conclusion,” Anna said. “I didn’t have to come to a conclusion because I have more information than you do.”

You know for a fact that Larry the Brain set me up?”

In a way, yes.”

In what way, exactly?”

He told me,” Anna said. “He told me exactly where your Mini Cooper was going to be speeding along, and at exactly what time. And he told me that a year to the day before I smashed into you with my Lamborghini.”

Suddenly, Kodek felt like he’d just been hit by the Lamborghini all over again. He stared at Anna, waiting for her to pull a bazooka out from under the table.

She did.

Kodek blinked, and Anna was only putting another forkful of fettuccine in her mouth. There was no bazooka. Not now, anyway. Had she even just said what she’d said? Maybe he hadn’t heard her correctly.

Did you say-”

A year before it happened,” she confirmed around half-chewed fettuccine.

She sure talks with her mouth full a lot.

And when was it you actually hit me with the Lamborghini and then tried to shoot me with your bazooka?” he asked. His eye was twitching pretty rapidly now, and Kodek was sure Anna would’ve seen it if the restaurant hadn’t been as dark as The Hunger.

Remember when you walked into Shogun Mary’s and hit Johnny Fingers?”

Yeah.”

About a twelve days before that.”

I think you’re mistaken. That chainsaw incident at Shotgun Mary’s was last month.”

Yeah, I know,” Anna said, and shoved another forkful into her mouth.

Kodek hadn’t even realized he’d dropped his fork until it hit the floor. “So you’re trying to tell me that you hit me with the Lamborghini just shy of six weeks ago?”

I’m not trying, I am telling you that. Straight-up, Kodek.”

Are you telling me…”

The waiter came by.

Fuck off,” Kodek said, and the waiter did just that.

Drove my Mini Cooper into the back of a truck. Got hauled off to a beach. Watched some guy kill his lover/sister/wife/friend/whatever on that beach. Was supposed to shoot. I didn’t. Got back in the truck instead… Climbed down off the roof of the truck… down the back, stepping on the tailgate… fuck, that thing was rusty.

Salt water.

Are you telling me I was in that truck for a year?”

Anna swallowed. “Well, sort of.” she pointed her fork at him. “It’s a little more complicated than that.”

Fuck.

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