“Nem toda a gente pode ser comprado,” she said.
Vivian didn’t believe that, in Portuguese or English. She crossed her legs but didn’t lift her peach-colored dress over her knee. She knew how to distract the two men sitting six feet away. The one doing most of the talking ran his right index finger and thumb over the pencil-thin lines of his dark goatee. Bald, but still holding on to his thirties, he squinted as he spoke.
“I know who you are, Millicent Stingley. You’re a killer, like me.”
She’d lived the past few months knowing this could happen. The world was smaller because of computers. But Vivian Alves thought law enforcement would come to the door of her Sao Paulo dress shop using her other name. She didn’t allow herself to squirm or sweat, but spit words, back.
“Then, telling someone, Tomas, would hurt us both.”
He stroked his goatee again, and muttered to his cohort.
“Ir buscar o dinheiro.”
As the other man unlocked the shop’s door, Tomas scooted his metal chair closer to Millicent. The sound of metal on concrete jarred her. The invasion of her personal space didn’t intimidate her. It drew disgust and anger. She imagined him choking to death on something she could make from her back room refrigerator.
“Listen, Millicent, Vivian, who gives a shit about your name? We’re business people, right? We kill when we have to. I’m going to leave the money. You help me move the product and we both get to live in peace. Okay?”
His smirk made him face smaller and more sinister. To her, being a drug mule for a mid-level criminal felt gross, but better than solitary confinement in an Atlanta prison. She uncrossed her legs and stood. It was time to redistribute power. He tried to stand, too, but she touched his left shoulder, pressing Tomas to the chair. The curvy, tan, easy-going Vivian became the southern United States ice queen, Millicent.
“My shop opens every morning at 9. If I see you or your errand boy, here, after that time, I’ll make sure you know why both of my names exist. Deal?”
Feeling his dark eyes on her breasts, she leaned down then picked up his chin with her left hand. Tomas’ associate returned, delivering a small, black neoprene bag. Tomas opened it, removed cash, and counted it on a small table.
A female voice called from the doorway.
“Viv, you alright?
Vivian looked up. Her eyes widened and her a smile spread across her face. Her excitement couldn’t hold the name from leaving her mouth.
Tomas stared at his helper and then at both women. He let the money fall onto the table and walked out.
Inspired by my friend and writing partner, Tara’s, quick return to Pauley and Millicent this week http://thinspiralnotebook.wordpress.com/2012/10/02/girl-from-ipanema/ , I did the same for Write On Edge’s “Money” prompt http://writeonedge.com/
You can read the story Tara aka @tara_R and I wrote here: http://thinspiralnotebook.wordpress.com/pauley/
Today’s song played in my head as I wrote this. Obviously it’s about a love affair between Todd Rundgren and whoever was enjoying him at the time. This is more of a sweetly ironic nod to the weird friendship of Millicent and Pauley. Here’s Hello, It’s Me, by Todd. Great song.