So a little while back, Hilary Davidson let slip she’s had a bit of a health scare — seems some of her skin cells maybe caught a few too many rays and went rogue on her. She had to go in for a biopsy (everything turned out fine, thankfully) but that’s gonna leave a bit of a scar on her bicep. I jokingly suggested that perhaps Hilary’s Scar should be the subject of my next flash fiction challenge. I was kidding, but my subconcious wasn’t. Something nasty bubbled up — something, dare I say it, Davidson-like.
So this isn’t a challenge per se, just my modest offering thanking the cancer gods for getting their asses off Hilary’s dance card. Now, if any of you guys want to join in and maybe leave a link to something in the comment box, well, it’s not like I can stop you.
Alphonse Cooltan was having a good month. OK, he’d had to go down on Ol’ Shrivel Tits that morning, but if you were going to work as a gigolo, then giving the occasional post-menopausal gash a little tongue bath was part of the gig. The money was the other part, and Shrivel Tits had just coughed up a check for ten large – even had her driver pulling around to run him to the bank. And she wasn’t that bad for fifty-something, not really.
But she was a comedown after Hilary Lafitpour. That one had just fallen into his lap. Twenty one and hot as hell. That Persian skin, the Blackglama hair, those almond eyes. He wasn’t even looking for a payday when he saw her – just, you see something like that and you don’t make a play, then it’s time to turn in your man card and go home to your Elton John records, right? So when she bit on the ol’ Cooltan charm and wanted to take him home, well cool. When the valet brought the silver SLK around, well cooler. And when home turned out to be twenty-plus acres of lakefront North Shore estate, well cool-fucking-est.
He’d run the writer scam on her. Tortured artist, working on the novel about his Peace Corps days in Rwanda, and she’d swallowed the bait whole. Inside of three weeks, she’s talking marriage, but then he met the grandfather, and Alphonse had been the one who got cold feet.
Bahram Lafitpour had left Iran when the Shah went down. Been some kind of young hot shot with the Shah’s secret police. What did he call them? Savak? Anyway, Hilary tells him Grandpa wants to meet him, so he drives down to the old man’s office in the Loop, and the old man’s got his whole file – even the Juvie stuff that was supposed to be expunged. Tells Alphonse, very calmly, that there is $50,000 in the envelope on the desk and a plane ticket to New York. That $50,000 is a pretty good payday for Alphonse. That if Alphonse thinks he’s going to marry into the Lafitpour fortune, Bahram will drop him alive into a barrel of acid and then pour him down a drain. Not personally, of course. He might ruin a suit. But that Alphonse should rest assured that Bahram had the acid, he had the barrel, and that there were men who worked for him who would consider it a personal honor to do that sort of thing. Alphonse was pretty sure Lafitpour wasn’t being metaphorical.
So New York. Took a nice room in the Benjamin while he worked out his options. And a week later, Ol’ Shrivel Tits is making eyes at him across the bar. And she had that money smell on her so thick that her looks were no big deal.
Bahram Lafitpour stood in his granddaughter’s room at the private clinic in Zurich. She’d taken the pills the day after Cooltan had left. The immediate threat was past, but her kidneys had failed and her liver was failing. Such a beautiful child, but you had only to think of the name, Hilary, that American banality, to see the problem. Bahram’s son had grown up in America and put no stock in his own culture, in his thousand-year-old name. He wanted to be John Wayne or that cowboy cigarette man. Or had wanted to be until he’d driven that ridiculous Viper car into a tree. What chance did the child of such a father have? But there was time. If Bahram could find a transplant, there was time. His Blackberry vibrated against his hip. He snatched it up, read the message and smiled. There would be time.
Alphonse Cooltan opened his eyes. Fucking bright. He was laying on his stomach, naked, some kind of sheet over him. He tried to roll over, but he was belted down. His arms, his legs, something across his back. What the hell? He remembered getting in the car. He was going to the bank – Shrivel Tits driver was taking him to the bank. Now, he was cotton mouthed, his head foggy, he had a sense that a long time had gone by.
Something moved. Pants – somebody standing in front of his face.
“Mr. Cooltan, we meet again.” It was the fucker Lafitpour. Cooltan tried to say something, but his mouth was too dry – and he realized there was something running down his throat.
“Don’t try to speak, Mr. Cooltan. The feeding tube is still in. We wanted you healthy, of course. Did you know your DNA profile was in your record? Of course you did – part of that unfortunate statutory rape business in Louisville several years back. But to catch you up, after you decided to trifle with my granddaughter’s emotions, she became distraught. She took some pills. She is alive, but she needs a new kidney and a new liver. And, in a delicious irony, you turn out to be a match. Had only the kidneys failed, I would have made you an attractive offer for one, but since she needs a liver as well, and since you can’t live without one of those –well, we could just take a lobe, couldn’t we, but I’m told her chances are much better with the whole organ – I’m afraid an attractive offer would be wasted on you just now. We may as well take both kidneys, don’t you think? You won’t be needing either.”
Cooltan grunted, trying to yell through the tube as he struggled against the restraints. He saw two more pairs of legs – legs in surgical scrubs.
“I wanted you to meet the anesthesiologist Mr. Lafitpour,” a new voice said.
“This is costing me enough,” said Lafitpour. “And I’ll be spending a fortune on plastic surgeons later, taking care of Hilary’s scars. I don’t see any reason to waste money on an anesthesiologist, do you?”
A long pause. “I guess we’ll get started then,” said the new voice. More noises, people entering the room, the soft clatter of metal instruments on a sterile pad atop a metal tray. Cooltan felt someone pull the sheet off of his back, someone painting him with iodine, and the terror rose in his mind like the sun.