“How did it go with Holly?” Colleen asked gaily.
“Well,” I replied into my cell phone, “I’m completely out in the open with her now, so she can come with me or brush me off, or maybe report me to the Bobby Dare and the Fantasy Factory so I end up sleeping with the fishes, or whatever porn executives do with someone looking to steal away their prize moneymaker nowadays.”
“Well, I don’t think we have any mob connections, if that’s what you’re talking about.”
“I don’t think I want to find out. Speaking of, what was the dust-up going on in Saul’s office when you cut me off earlier today?”
“Saul never let on other than to say that the guy was an unhappy investor, and I never saw the guy come or leave. He sure sounded pissed from what I could make out, and Saul seemed pretty shaken.”
“Has it happened before?”
“No, so it was unusual seeing Saul bothered by someone like that.”
“I see.” I cleared my throat. “Hey, you want to grab a bite tonight… maybe be my dessert since I’m not booked for a gig anytime soon?”
“Oh, God,” moaned Colleen hungrily. “would I love to. But I gotta take care of some work for Saul, and as much as I want to be your main course and dessert, I don’t think we can chance seeing each other tonight.”
“So, I’ll likely be reduced to finishing my night with a couple drinks and thinking of you and that delicious dick of yours while playing with my vibrator.”
“You actually have one of those things?”
“I had to have something in my life until you showed up. I’m almost ready to retire it.”
’We guys are so easily replaced.”
“Baby, you’re pretty irreplaceable.”
“Jesus, you’re tight!” I moaned.
“No, it’s just full,” Colleen replied slyly. “You’re a porn star for good reason, Case.”
Nothing like the chirping of a cell phone announcing a text message to fuck up a good fuck…
Or, in this case, to fuck up a good dream of a good fuck.
The last thing I ever expect is to be woken by the sound of a cellphone chirping in the middle of the night. I don’t get a lot of calls, and even fewer text messages, so it took a moment to register that it actually was my phone doing the chirping. I fumbled around the nightstand and found it, then flipped it open to find a message from Colleen.
The excitement of my dream still warm in my loins, I eagerly opened the message, but was completely dumbfounded by what it said:
STAY AWAY FROM CRISTAL.
“What the fuck?” I muttered aloud. Was this some kind of sudden jealousy thing now that I’d actually had my on-camera fling with Crystal Fortune? That was doubtful. If Colleen was that kind of woman she wouldn’t have snagged me the gig, much less have been so affable about it on the phone earlier today. On the other hand, if Colleen was the kind of person who got belligerent once she started drinking... I couldn’t picture Colleen to be that kind of person, either. This was some kind of warning, but why?
Seeing the name spelled “Cristal” kind of threw up a red flag, but because Colleen said that she would be having drinks it was possible her text misspelling was fueled by alcohol. Still, something didn’t smell quite right.
I called Colleen’s number but it went straight to voicemail, hinting that the phone had been turned off; odd for someone who had just moments prior sent a text. I ended the call and tried again. Once more it was, “Hi, this is Colleen with the Fantasy Factory. I’m unavailable right – ”
I hung up my cell for the third time and glanced at the alarm clock. 12:52. For someone to have just been up long enough to text me she had gone back to sleep pretty quickly. More likely she noticed my number on her phone and decided she just didn’t want to answer me.
I was tempted to get dressed and drive over to her place, but no real sense waking her right now and getting riled up in the middle of the night. I don’t know why I thought I needed answers at this time of night but something was just nagging at me. Whatever initiated the odd text could wait until morning. Now all I had to do was shake off the weird feelings in the back of my mind and get some sleep. But getting the message from Colleen, especially one of that tone, at that time of night, was just too weird. Soon, I no longer felt comfortable waiting until morning.
Colleen’s place was dark. I should expect no less from someone who had just gone to bed. But was it possible for someplace to be too dark? I know that was silly but that was the thought that was still nagging me at the back of my mind no matter what, things just didn’t feel right. Cars parked on the street prevented me from parking in front of Colleen’s place, forcing me to park a half a block away. I tried her phone one more time but again, no answer.
I got out of the car and began walking in her direction when my nose was assaulted by exhaust fumes. I instinctively looked around to find the car that had been left running but there wasn’t one near me. Now that nagging feeling wasn’t just gnawing at my neck for my attention, it was flat out kicking me in the ass.
When I reached her driveway Colleen’s house was still as dark as I had first seen it, but there was a faint sliver of light along the bottom edge of her garage door. And the closer I got walking towards her garage the more intense where the exhaust fumes.
I ran the last few steps up the driveway searching frantically for a latch or handle. Of course, the door could only be opened or closed from the inside. There were no windows to see into the garage leaving me with only one means of access. Racing to the front door and finding it locked, I reared back and kicked the door. It gave in an instant, sending slivers of the frame flying as the door swung wide and slammed against the wall.
It was still dark is a tomb once inside Colleen’s place. I stepped quickly though, hoping I wouldn’t trip on something along the way, following the heavy exhaust fumes that seeped into the house. The threat of asphyxiation was as great inside the house as well as the garage.
A small hint of light suggested the location of the door to the garage. I slapped around the face until my hand fell on the handle but as I tried to turn it I found it locked.
“What the fuck?!”
Another fumble and I had the door unlocked. I flung it open and was nearly knocked on my ass from the sheer wall of automobile exhaust pouring from the garage. The gray cloud was so thick I could barely make out Colleen’s yellow VW Beetle all of four feet in front of me.
I turned and searched the doorway and found the button to the garage door. I slapped at it, triggering the opener, the whirring of the motor a strange, hollow sound over the muted rumble of the running car. The fumes were already tickling at my brain just as a burst of chilly outside air rolled into the garage. I fought with the driver’s door of the Beetle, but it was locked. I was just about to break the window when poor Colleen’s appearance told me all I needed to know. She was gone and there was no bringing her back.
I ran out of the open garage and pulled out my phone, punching 911 as I dashed to my car.