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.
“Remember that guy…”
“He was so young…”
“Please!” It was the only thing she regretted between them.
“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…”
“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.”
“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.
*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
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/