Picking up the sun bleached copy of Led Zeppelin’s House of the Holy from the window display, Susan brushed the dust off it’s fading artwork. “I know exactly how you feel” she said to the child sprawled on the forefront. one of eleven identical children on the fold out album cover struggling over heat baked stone to some unseen promise in the distance. With a bored sigh she dropped the album into the shelving slot Rock-Z where she was sure it would sit until the whole dilapidated building that housed Spinner’s classic record store collapsed into the street. No one was going to be doing a dance mix of Zeppelin at a dance club in the foreseeable future, and anyone old enough to remember the band probably already had it on record, tape, CD or in their Itunes library already. With a slight grin she imagined some old greying man holding a tape player in one hand while pumping his other hand in the air with the sign of the devil fist. Baby finger and thumb extended she pumped her fist in the air and slammed her head back and forth hard enough to snap her thick blond hair into her face as she returned to the counter to close out her till and lock up. It was only 4pm but she had not seen a customer even open the front door all day and Wednesdays were always slow. Even on a busy day having three customers browsing the shelves at the same time was almost unheard of. Susan was convinced that this store was a front or a tax break for James the owner. There could not possibly be enough audiophiles and record DJs in the city to make it profitable, and only the fact that James owned the building and lived upstairs could even justify it’s continued existence.
“Whatever” she thought to herself as mind numbingly boring as her life was, at least she could afford to pay her share of the rent and have a little cash for hanging out. Grabbing the keys she slung her purse over her shoulder and turned out the lights. Switching the sign to closed as she stepped out to enjoy the sunshine for a bit before heading home. Stepping out onto the tree lined sidewalk Susan almost recommenced her headbanging parody but instantly realized she could not remember a single line from any song on that album. At twenty three she had only heard bits of that album played by one of her foster parents growing up, and even then, moving foster home to foster home in a blur of instability, she was not even sure which transitory parental figure it had been who liked Zeppelin. Fist upraised thumb and pinkie extended, she glanced around to see if anyone had witnessed her foolishness. Driving slowly towards her was a jet black newer model Cadillac, the sun glinting off it’s polished chrome as it scowl like grill crept nearer.
“Excuse me. Excuse me, Miss?” the well dressed gentleman in the passenger seat called out the partially open window. “Cold you direct me back to the Highway?”
“Sure” Susan replied staying several feet from the car. At 5 foot 4, high cheekbones, full lips and large green eyes she was beautiful, and with her thin waist and hips, her ample bust appeared even more pronounced then it’s d-cup size and had brought her enough unwanted attention to be cautious of strangers, drunks and frat boys. She pointed back towards the record shop. “Go another three blocks up this way, then turn left. In about a mile you will see the signs for the on-ramp.”
“Thank’s Miss” he replied letting his eyes drift down from her face before returning to look in the direction she was pointing. “Let’s go”
The car sped away from the curb and up the road as she watched. “Creep” she mumbled and turned back towards her intended path. Across the street was another well dressed man just stepping around the corner, but this one wasn’t paying any attention to her. Staggering he stepped into the empty street and fell back against the curb. Clutching at his chest like a heart attack victim. Susan ran across the road towards him fumbling in her purse for her cell phone. “You okay mister?” she called as she ran up. “Do you need an ambulance?”
He looked up somewhat dazed at her and blinked hard. “Here,” he pulled something out of his pocket. “Take it”
Thinking the item was some sort of allergy injector, Susan reached out and grasped the small metal tube in her hand. “What do I do with it?” she asked looking for a button or needle.
“Don’t let them get it” he cried out. ” They’ll kill to get it back.”
At that point several things came to Susan’s attention. The man wasn’t having a heart attack, he was bleeding, and bleeding a lot. There was a screech of rubber and to her horror she saw three black SUV’s flying up the road towards her. Fearfully she looked back at the man she had sought to help. He had collapsed onto his back, blood now on his lip. “Run” he gasped
In absolute terror she bolted away from the SUVs running back down the street for all she was worth. Crossing back over the street she narrowly missed getting run over by a city bus coming towards her that slammed on it’s brakes and came to a screeching halt blocking traffic as it swerved to avoid her. She ran blindly back to the store and even with shaking hands was able to get the key in the lock on the first try and slamming the door behind her she lay gasping on the floor. She could hear boots slapping on asphalt outside as several figures ran past the frosted glass. She clawed her way against the wall and reached up to the lock. It was then she noticed she still held the metal item in her hand. she tossed it as far from her as she could after having gripped it so tightly in her fist as to have left an impression on her palm. Turning the lock she curled her legs up and sat rocking back and forth in the shadows of the record shop entryway.
“Did you see who that was?” Jake Harrison, leader of the unit asked his second in command.
“Yeah. What’s she doing here?” he replied as he looked down at the dead man on the curb.
“I don’t know, but if she’s involved, this mission just got upgraded. Fuck, We don’t need this.” he pointed at the body. “Load him into the car and get out of here. Head back to the safe house”
“What about Blondie” asked the second man directing someone over with hand motions to help him lift the body.
He glanced to the narrow walkway between buildings almost directly behind the body. Cover from incoming gunfire, to narrow to drive a vehicle through, even on foot only one person at a time could enter the alley. A perfect ambush spot.”She wouldn’t have run that direction if she didn’t have a car waiting. We’ll locate her later but for now lets get out of here before the police show up.” he stepped back to the lead vehicle. “Mount up. Car three, go pick up our guys and get home now”
Sitting back in his seat Jake pulled out a cigarette and lit it up as the body was dumped into the back and his team loaded up to their assigned tasks. As they left the area he took a drag off his cigarette and blew the smoke through his nose. What the hell was one of the top ten freelance agents doing here? Who could have afforded to bring someone that experienced, that well trained, that deadly? Clearly the opponent they were facing was willing to go to any lengths to get what they want, and it was Jack’s job to stop them, but he had never faced off against this level of opposition and he had to admit to himself he was afraid to go head to head and try to outwit the lethal blond beauty known as the Vixen of Paris.
To be continued
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*author’s note: This entire story line and all it’s episodes came to me in a dream and played in my dream as a TV series.