Fiction

Ben Venice: G.H.O.S.T. Agent 4

benvenice

Part 4

“Jesus. Are we going to Mars?”

Ben had seen plenty of planes, and in fact, he might’ve jumped out of one once, but this sleek thing of beauty was in a class by itself. Not like a big lumbering dinosaur flying fortress or the propeller driven suicide machines he saw during the war.  Bud just laughed.

“Not this trip, Sarge!”

Bud parked the car cavalierly and the two men popped out. They had driven all day to this spot, a strange, deserted, flat piece of ground somewhere down the coast. Ben wasn’t sure where they were. In fact, he had no idea. In fact, he had a hard time focusing all day, since just after breakfast.

“Bud, lissen, what’s this all about?” Ben noticed his words slurred a bit as he slid them out.

“You know that gum you were chewing?” Bud asked, as he knocked on the side of the plane.

“…Maybe?”

“Well, I’ll level with you, Sarge. Right after you agreed to come with me on this, I slipped you a mickey. Shit’s gonna get really weird on you quick, and I know sometimes you do your best work if you can get a little altered, and I want this to go down easy for you. ”

With a low hum, the staircase doorway to the plane unfurled with a mechanical swivel.

“But you agreed. Remember that. I didn’t trick you. All you cared about was bringing your records and seeing some heat again, and that’s fine by me, because I know you’ve got a motherfucker of a record collection and can swing OK against some heat.” Bud said, poking Ben in the chest. He then quickly changed the subject.

“Louise! You ready to go, or you want to stretch your legs first?”

“I’m ready now. Let’s get gone.” a tough, almost feline female voice responded. Ben looked up to the top of the steps and was struck by the sight of the chick from the hotel bar the night before, now looking like she was ready to go toe to toe with Marlene Dietrich in black slacks, black shirt, high boots, and aviators,

“Ah.” she said, “You hooked him.”

Ben inhaled deep, then smirked hard. “Sorry now that I blew you off before. I suppose you and Bud are in cahoots.”

“Something like that, I suppose. Mr.Allen speaks very highly of you. You can drink, I’ll say that for you. Easy coming up the steps.” And with that, she disappeared into the cockpit.

“Whoa.” Ben said.

“Yeah.” Bud replied, “C’mon, man. Let’s get going.”

Bud carefully followed Ben up into the plane, where he let out an exclamation at the lushness of the tricked out interior. Attached couches lined the wall, and in the center run of the tubular flying room was a console loaded with screens and buttons. Everything was luxurious white, metal and glass.

“You’re sure we’re not going to Mars?” Ben asked, just before he flopped into the plush amenity.

“Ah, there ain’t shit on Mars, Sarge. Lay back, buckle up, and saw some logs. I’ll cue up Round Midnight.”

Bud pressed a couple of buttons, a circuit connected, some reels turned, and the warm sound of Miles Davis filled the air, just as the plane began it’s run for takeoff. Ben wasn’t awake and he wasn’t asleep, but he he was looking forward to killing someone again. Someone who really had it coming.

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Fiction

Ben Venice: G.H.O.S.T. Agent 3

benvenice

 

Part 3

When he didn’t report back to the company, they didn’t panic. It was never any mystery that he wasn’t that into his job. He wasn’t really cut out for sales, he just excelled at giving presentations. It came easy to him to command a room. He was always considered likely to eventually go off the reservation, it was risky to send him out so far without supervision. But the fact was, he was the best they had. If anybody could generate business that far from the Ohio Valley Base, it was him. Smitty and the rest of the office just decided to let him check in on his own time.

It was only when the Seattle homicide detectives followed a few sketchy witness tips and combed the Cedar River that the story became a story.  One overdue rented Cadillac, waterlogged. They never found the corpse, but that wasn’t shocking. The current got good this time of year, and a guy as big as Ben Venice would mainly roll across the bottom once those lungs filled with water. The door was open, the poor bastard might’ve just almost made it.

The service was small but action packed. As it was in life, the blonde came, the redhead didn’t, and the raven haired one wailed and wailed, made a scene. He had no siblings, parents long dead, no family he bothered to keep up with.  Most of his friends he knew from the nighttime world, who were used to not seeing him for long stretches at a time and didn’t read the paper. They wouldn’t even know he was gone until well after the funeral. Smitty came, but no one else from the office bothered. A couple fellas from the gym made it, passed a flask in the parking lot of the funeral home. No military stuff. They were going to do a flag or something, but then nobody could recall Ben even once saying anything good about the service. He didn’t even show up to get his medals.

His landlord went through his little apartment, donated his clothes and books. It was a funny thing, though, about his record collection. He hardly had any, but it was always figured that most of his disposable income went to the record store. He was always coming back home with those bags from Vine Records. There were shelves and shelves in his place, but they were all empty.

Ah, well. Maybe he sold them for booze money.

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