The Cheating Kind by Bill Baber

Ken Larkin knows that he is about to cross a line. That he is about to cheat. A pang of guilt says no but is shouted down by another voice that says, “No one will ever know.”

He is at a dingy bar in a depressing hotel near the Portland Airport, 500 miles from home, in town for a sales meeting the next morning. He loathes being a salesman because it forces him to be in places like this. Two other guys sit at the bar discussing some boring crap about whatever it is they sell. He slugs down what left of his bourbon and water and is about to leave when the other losers beat him to it. So he orders another because there is nothing else to do but return to a musty room.

That’s when the brunette walks in. The bar is dark but he can tell right away that she’s got the whole package. She sits in a booth in the back. A minute later, he glances her way. She smiles flirtatiously. He doesn’t know what to do. The bartender puts a drink in front of him. “From the lady,” he reports.

Then she is sitting next to him. She’s, bored she says. She has blue eyes. He forgets about his wife, his three kids. She says she is from San Diego, doesn’t like Portland, the gray, the rain. They drink and chat. She’s ready to call it a night unless he is interested in a nightcap in her room. He feels a rush like he hasn’t felt in forever. “Sure.” Is all he says.

They walk through a lobby empty except for a guy reading a paper. The desk clerk is no where around. Her room is on the 5th floor, 5220, two floors above his. She pours them a drink that neither of them touches. She is in his arms, her tits pressed against him. He feels a certain pleasure knowing he will get away with this. They are kissing, her tongue snaking into his mouth. She tells him she will be right back and she turns and walks to the bathroom. He takes off his shoes, shirt and pants. Only his boxers are left when she returns.

She is wearing a red see through teddy and panties to match. She pushes him onto the bed and as they kiss again he is reaching for her breasts and doesn’t hear the door open. He feels a gun at the back of his head as she moves away from him.

A voice tells him to turn around slow. Tells him his little act is on camera and the tape will cost him a hundred grand or they will make sure Mrs. Larkin gets to enjoy it. The voice belongs to the guy that was in the lobby. He looks likes a junkie. Rail thin, bad skin to go with bad teeth; he seems fidgety, like he needs a fix.

The junkie didn’t count on the fact that Ken Larkin was a once a ranked light heavyweight. Won forty two fights before he met his wife and she begged him to quit. The gun shakes in the junkies hand and before he can do anything about it, Larkin hits him with a short right hand. The junkie goes down like he got shot. The gun clatters to the floor. Larkin pounces on it and as he does, the brunette jumps on his back. He knocks her off but she grabs a lamp just as the junkie comes to. Larkin shoots her in the face, turns and pumps two into the junkie’s chest.

He finds the camera in the closet grabs it and heads out of the room. The stairs are a few doors down and all anyone sees of him is his back.

Back in his room, he throws his stuff together and heads for the elevator at the far end of the hall. He gets off on the ground floor near an exit to the parking lot, at the other end of the end of the building from the lobby.

Just like a movie, he thinks as he hears sirens approaching from all directions. He gets to the rental, a non- descript Chevy, steers toward the back exit of the lot. He wonders where he should go. He turns on to Airport Boulevard and heads west, toward downtown. He doesn’t get more than a mile before the rearview fills with red and blue lights. Shit, he thinks, there’s half a dozen of them.

The cops hand cuff him, read him his rights, and tell him he’s under arrest for murder.

At the station, a detective tells him they would have given him a medal if he hadn’t of shot the junkie and the slut. They had been running this scam for quite a while.
The detective tells him he gets a phone call. All he knows is that he sure as hell can’t call home. That all changed when he became the cheating kind.


Bill Baber has written for alternative weeklies in northern California and
Oregon. His fiction and poetry have appeared in “The Source,” “Literary Harvest”
and the online edition of “The High Desert Journal.” He currently writes about
the Central Oregon outdoors for roll35.com. He lives in Bend with his wife Robin
and a very spoiled dog.

5 comments:

Christopher Pimental said...

Dirty cops. Always fun to get dirty cops.

Bruce Harris said...

Great pulpy feel to this one.

Glenn Gray said...

Nicely done!

randallmarx said...

This reminds me a little bit of the plot of 52 Pick Up by Elmore Leonard or this may be more close to the film that was based on that book but this is a good story. A nice twist half way through and the theme could have something to do with too much of a good thin.....or be careful what you wish or well....just something about things getting back to you. Yes, I agree this had a sense of pulp to it for it has all the violence....shady characters.....and the key it is more about character and action than the mystery. I read another about a boxer, it was called The Kansas City Flash and it was very good. The plot was different but the same feel.

Anonymous said...

You always have to be suspicious of a woman when she makes it that easy to pick her up. This guy is in a shit load of trouble. Nice story.

Michael Charles