Retirement – The Speakeasy

Retirement

Jenny watched the surf rush in from the deep blue ocean. Fluffy clouds danced playfully across the lavender skies of Mitchell’s world. She wondered if she was too young to retire. A moment’s thought to all the things she’d seen and done, and she realized she didn’t care. All she needed to know, as twin suns warmed her skin, was that Al was beside her on this lovely beach, holding her hand.

They collected shells with rainbow colors glinting in the light. They matched her rainbow-fashion1 sarongs she loved buying in Morgantown*. She threw hers off when Al dashed into the surf suddenly, splashing her playfully as she followed him in. He tasted of salt and Cuban cigars as she kissed him and wrapped her legs around his muscular torso. They stayed that way awhile, kissing slowly, the waves lifting her up and down again in a gentle, unhurried rhythm. Their love was no longer hurried, stolen moments before an inevitable interruption. Their couplings flowed like the ocean, patient, unhurried, confident the waves will always kiss the shore.

They stayed there for an hour, or three, it didn’t matter when they finished. Jenny led the way onto the soft sand. She squeaked and ran when Al pinched her butt. Al liked to chase her. Her butt was his favorite part of her, she knew, and she enjoyed teasing him with it.

They stopped at Gato’s trailer for fish tacos with mango salsa and fresh greens. The Brazilian, Gato, sported a youthful body like Jenny and Al. Prolong treatments left their flesh firm and skin glowing in their 40s. Though asleep in his chair when they walked up, the tacos he presented steamed fresh and hot, as though he knew they were coming. Savoring bites of juicy, fresh fish, they wandered to the bus stop. Moments later, a driverless electric bus arrived. It always did. They’d never learned the bus schedules. They didn’t need to. Buses always arrived shortly after they did.

In downtown Morgantown, the only settlement in the only island on the waterworld, they walked through cobblestone streets with colorful stone arches and rainbow umbrella’s providing a cool shade. They stopped to marvel at jewelry wrought in gold and marble, and windows filled with colored rings2. At Gambini’s they stopped for pistachio ice cream. They paused to chat while ice cream melted onto their fingers. Napkins appeared in Gambini’s hands as if by the deft manual skills of a pickpocket. Smiling appreciatively, they walked on.

“Reminds me of Cuba” said Al.

“Oh, Cuba.”

“Remember that guy…”

“Yep.”

“He was so young…”

“Please!” It was the only thing she regretted between them.

“Right. Sorry.”

“Live in the now. It’s beautiful here.”

They walked past ornate street lamps. The smell of honeysuckle wafted from the blooms winding up the fluted columns. Occasionally, an electric car passed them painted in vivid livery. Most denizens rode bikes in Morgantown though, ringing their bike bells and waving. The pair ambled through a park with huge oaks and flowering redbuds. At a bench overlooking pink clouds drifting over the valley*, they chatted amiably about the  sights. Jenny watched the breeze carry bluebirds down to where the sun still shined.3

“That’s so beautiful,” sighed Jenny.

“It is,” said Al, squeezing her hand. “Reminds me of that park in Guang Xi, remember?”

“God, it does.” She winced. “But now I think of that guy…”

“Xiu Fen?”

“Yeah. Remember what he did?”

“Oh, right. Okay, I know. Live in the present.”

Jenny smiled at him. Always appreciative of his quick understanding of her needs.

A shadow crossed them, and Jenny looked up to see a flower vendor holding out a bundle of roses. “Rose for de laydee?” he grinned.

Jenny and Al both moved like lightning. They fired tiny, 9mm HK-172s by Moscow Rules: two shots in the chest, one in the head. Six hits in total. The shredded body collapsed at their feet. Both returned their weapons to hidden locations, and continued holding hands before the sunset. Jenny looked down. “Isn’t that Murray?” she said.

“Yep. He had it in for us ever since Berlin.”

She sighed. “Who thought of putting all the ex-spies on one island?”

“Stupid, if you ask me.”

“Yep.”

“Hey! You feel like getting steaks at Barstow’s?”

Jenny grinned. “Yes! I’m hungry already.”

Hand in hand, the couple stepped over the mangled, bleeding body, and went on to enjoy another perfect day in retirement from Covert Intelligence Services.
_______________________________________
Author’s Notes:

*This story is the amalgam of many inspirations.

“Morning Morgantown” by Joni Mitchell.

“Over the Valley” by Pink Martini (Speakeasy’s media prompt for the week).

The most inventive spy story ever conceived: The Prisoner.

Moscow Rules: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moscow_Rules

Footnotes:
1: “Ladies in their rainbow fashions…” from “Morning Morgantown.”
2: “A window filled with colored rings…” from “Morning Morgantown.”
3: “The autumn breezes carry all the bluebirds down to where the sun still shines.” from “Over the Valley.”
__________________________________________________
Each week, The Speakeasy presents a writing challenge with several prompts. The first is a sentence with a specific placement. The week’s sentence can be placed ANYWHERE: “It was the only thing she regretted.” The media prompt was “Over The Valley” by Pink Martini. Look here for many terrific stories in answer to the prompts: http://www.yeahwrite.me/speakeasy/fiction-challenge-169-open/

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About EagleAye

I like looking at the serious subjects in the news and seeking the lighter side of the issue. I love satire and spoofs. I see the ridiculous side of things all the time, and my goal is to share that light-hearted view.
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41 Responses to Retirement – The Speakeasy

  1. Kreative Kürze|Creative Brevity says:

    “Hand in hand, the couple stepped over the mangled, bleeding body, and went on to enjoy another perfect day in retirement from Covert Intelligence Services.”

    That just made me laugh.

    Like

  2. I was intrigued from the beginning, and surprised at the end. Love it!

    Like

  3. Lyn says:

    Okay, okay, if Jenny so easily threw off her sarong and went for a swim with Al, just where was she hiding her 9mm HK-172s? This story drew me in (suckered me in?) to enjoy the peace and tranquility. Then you rudely wake me with the sound of gunfire 😮
    I agree with Al, about putting all retired spies on the same island…“Stupid, if you ask me.” But then…unless they’re very good spies, their ‘masters’ aren’t going to have to pay their pensions for very long. Oh Eric, Eric, Eric, what a twisted mind you have 😀

    Like

    • EagleAye says:

      Haha! I didn’t include this bit, but Al had on swim trunks and Jenny a bikini beneath her sarong. But that doesn’t answer how they hid the pistols. Truth is, they’re very very good spies. Perhaps Al wasn’t only happy to see Jenny, he really did have a pistol in his pocket. 😉

      Glad I got you all nice and relaxed before the guns came out. That was my whole plan. Sorta like a chiropractor getting you talking about the football game until he suddenly yanks your head around.

      The idea of placing spies on an island came from “The Prisoner” TV series. I anted my own spin on it by not informing you of that beforehand. I have a cruel, twisted side, you understand. 😉

      For me, the spy game is a gentleman’s game. So without a reason to go about killing each other, they can actually co-exist congenially, for the most part. It’s one of the things I like about espionage. Murray was something of a loose cannon (probably why he was retired).

      Thanks for stopping in, Lyn. I love hearing your thoughts as always. 🙂

      Like

  4. As imaginative as always! Some great lines in there!

    Like

  5. List of X says:

    So, umm, if a certain country wanted to catch a spy for another country, and torture him or her to find what they may know, this island would be the place to go. Sure, some information would be outdated, so the most recent arrivals would be the best targets. 🙂

    Like

    • EagleAye says:

      Things is, if ALL the countries agreed to put their spies in one place, it would balance everything out. Who could possibly be better at surveillance than an island full of spies? Hence, Gato the Brazilian, already knew they were coming and Gambini hides much more than napkins up his sleeves. So if anything untoward happens to one of the spies, the rest will know it at once. A tricky balancing act with some deadly people.

      Like

      • List of X says:

        But those people aren’t just good at surveillance, they should be good at avoiding surveillance as well. Of course, everyone is assumed to be a spy on the island, so this may be a little different here.

        Like

      • EagleAye says:

        It would make for an interesting social dynamic wouldn’t it? When everybody there amounts to a deadly weapon, I’d imagine everyone treads lightly around each other. Courtesy and genteel behavior would be the rule, because anything else, might get you dead.

        Like

      • List of X says:

        I don’t think that the presence of weapons will make people more courteous. If I remember correctly, there was a study that showed that drivers who had a gun in their car tended to drive less courteously.
        Besides, all his courtesy didn’t help poor Murray. 🙂

        Like

      • EagleAye says:

        Except Murray was trying to kill them with a poison flower. He simply tried going after very talented spies and paid the price. This is the reason things are largely peaceful. Any attack on anyone is going after a highly trained assassin. Why do it when everyone’s retired and there’s nothing on the line? And what I mean by “weapon” is the spies themselves are dangerous weapons, whether they’re carrying a gun, knife, or nothing at all. Common, poorly trained rednecks, who believe they have an advantage are discourteous of course! Highly skilled killers in an island full of highly skilled killers “know” that death is one misstep away. The mindset is completely different.

        Like

  6. jannatwrites says:

    Geez, I wasn’t expecting a spy story or a bloody, mangled body! The image of them casually stepping over it to continue their day made me chuckle 🙂

    Like

    • EagleAye says:

      Hehe. I was hoping the ending was a surprise. That ending was what popped into my head from the beginning. I imagined that the hardened spies wouldn’t be fazed by a bullet-ridden corpse, and continue on with their lovely day. Thanks for stopping in, Janna!

      Like

  7. This is is creative and well-written. What an idea – and I agree about the Prisoner:) Well done.

    Like

    • EagleAye says:

      Thank you, kindly. Yes! Someone who’s familiar with the story. The Prisoner spoiled me for most TV after that. Almost nothing was good enough after that. Thanks for stopping by, Jo!

      Like

  8. Beautiful writing. Such a sweet love story and then you move seamlessly into murder, and back again. This is Art!

    Like

    • EagleAye says:

      Haha! Thank you for commenting on that. I focused on hard on creating a sweet love affair and enjoying a beautiful day. It was my primary goal for the story. The stark contrast of a rather blithe killing in the end is just my idea of funny. Still, I wanted the romance between them to be enjoyable and a highlight of the story. Thanks much for the careful reading! 🙂

      Like

  9. tnkerr says:

    As an inactive electronic spy myself 🙂 I’m glad they didn’t send me there! Good story Eric. Well told and well paced I was hooked from the beginning.

    Like

    • EagleAye says:

      Hehe. Yeah, if you’re not a field agent, this would not be a cool place at all. Glad the story held your interest from the beginning. Thank you much for stopping in! 🙂

      Like

  10. Meg says:

    Spy couples are the best — so many options available for action scenes! Well done, Eric — most especially the ending. (My husband is a big fan of the Prisoner; I’m partial to Patrick McGoohan in the Scarecrow of Romney Marsh, however. Just sayin’.)

    Like

    • EagleAye says:

      Oh yes, ala Mr and Mrs Smith. Glad you enjoyed the ending. You’re quite the smart woman to marry a man who’s a fan of The Prisoner. Such fans are the best kind of people. 😉 Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

      Like

  11. J. Raven says:

    Very entertaining, Eric! I kept thinking an intergalactic cruiser was going to appear overhead to lay waste but loved the ending! Didn’t see that coming 🙂

    Like

  12. I was getting caught up in the idyllic setting…paradise…then wham!! That ending was quite the shocking twist! Holy crap, I was not expecting that! 🙂

    Like

    • EagleAye says:

      Hehe. It’s my version of shock-writing. Lure the reader into a comfortable place, and then the other shoe drops. Glad to see my trap worked. 😉 Thanks so much for sharing your impressions!

      Like

  13. Brian Benoit says:

    Your twists are always entertaining. This one definitely didn’t disappoint!

    Like

  14. Loved the twist – once again, well done!

    Like

  15. Suzanne says:

    I love The Prisoner – what a fantastic show that was!

    And I love your story. I knew it was leading to something, but I didn’t figure it out until the end. Love the idea of a spy retirement island. Very nicely done! 😀

    Like

    • EagleAye says:

      It was wasn’t it. It’s my theory that highly intelligent and attractive people always liked The Prisoner. 😉

      Hehe. You know me too well. Enough of my stories and you know something will go weird somewhere in there. Thanks so much for the read and for sharing your thoughts, Suzanne. I always appreciate hearing from you.

      Like

      • Suzanne says:

        I like that theory! 😀

        Will you be hanging out at the summer series? I’m not sure what I’ll do if I don’t get my fix of your writing every week…

        Like

      • EagleAye says:

        Eh? Does that mean you won’t be attending the Speakeasy? Say it ain’t so!

        I was considering the Bronze Room, but I haven’t got any longer length pieces ready to go.

        Like

      • Suzanne says:

        The speakeasy is going on hiatus for 6 weeks. It’s what yeah write does in the summer. The regular challenge grids take a break and we bring you our the summer series, which includes articles on ways to improve your writing, an unmoderated summer grid (where fiction, non-fiction, poetry, etc. are all welcome), and writing workshops.

        Shorter pieces are welcome in the lounges too. Feel free to send me an email if you’d like some more details or need some clarification on the summer series.

        Like

  16. Blake says:

    Thanks for another startling read 🙂 Btw you couldn’t explain the end of The Prisoner for me, could you…? Oh, don’t worry, my hopes weren’t high…..

    Like

    • EagleAye says:

      Uh, yeah. It’s been a while since I’ve seen it. As far as I know, people are still debating (since 1967) what it all means. It’s that friggin’ deep.

      Thanks for letting me know I shocked the reader as intended. I hoped the stark contrast would yank readers out of their seat. Thanks so much for your thoughts!

      Like

  17. I like how you start leading us one way with what seems like a perfect day, and the start of a romantic story to then quite dark humour. That was fun!

    Like

    • EagleAye says:

      Cool! Fun is exactly what I’d like people to have with my stories. I wanted a stark contrast, a shocking one, to spring some twisted humor. I really appreciate you sharing your impressions. Thanks kindly! 🙂

      Like

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