episode 10: subterfuge, quomodo, subterfuge
dent’s ferragamo hit the table, “peekskill new york. tomorrow at three.” olen and tamar looked up, and saw mike dent pulling off his shirt. “an estate. fixer-upper old bomb shelter.” his belly exposed, out of shape. darby stood, “breaking ground, pre-fab?”, he said through a mouthful of whitefish. “the structure needs guts, bones intact. i’ve got the contracts.” dent’s left wrist was pulled down by cloris, he pulled back. “mike sit down, sit.” dent reached for a sake bottle, poured the wine around in all boxes. “tonight we drink to ifa okereke and olen ragnarsson, our new quomodo principals.” the two of them, olen & ifa, gaped mouths, pushed back in their seats, embarrassed, thrilled. dent continued, the joint’s staff at his elbows, guiding him down. “kudos to mcclure for his sabotage of my arden proposal. he brought you here together.” tamar boiled to high kelvin in an instant, making fists. “his…swig…magnificent dismissal of our strategic partner was top-grade agency hooliganism. you may not know…swig…but this was a get-go setup, a straight ruse.” tamar & renee stood, walked out of the joint. ifa and olen looked at each other, he shrugged with one shoulder, and she reached out with her right hand, shook. “partners at last,” she said to the pasty boy, to which he replied, “rough start, but the plan’s coming together.” ifa followed the ladies out to the sidewalk. they had cigarettes going, sitting on a nearby stoop. ifa bummed and they burned.
“not cooperating,” tamar flicked her parliament into the gutter. “not with him, not after that.” weeks of planning had gone south under the ceiling of arden partners. the meet was her connect, quomodo to arden, her gosling rep on the line. darby mcclure razed her outpost to the masonry. humiliation was not a peril from which ms. naser easily returned. she had two system functions, like a sub, dive, ascend. “dent has nothing left, nothing, not after arden. i’m not in on this.” renee nodded in agreement, though not knowing why, and lit another cig. ifa responded through an exhale, “i’m running the op, not mike. got the finance, you’re on the team.” renee shook her head, with one hand running through her hair. she stood, “i’m not job hunting, just here for the dick.” in retort ifa offered a concession, “i need your tight ass to keep darby on point. do that, you’ve got at least a ref, maybe a job.” “i don’t hold hands,” replied a gruff ms. du lac. the vagaries of this prop had equal effect on both young ladies. they wanted no part of this gig. it reeked of bad mortgage, of overdubbing. however, tied to the men, olen and mcclure, they couldn’t so much as budge for a break.
olen finished his fugu. he’d been sitting quietly while dent and cloris kibitz’d under breath at the end of the table. darby headed out to hook renee. renee intercepted, spun him towards the washroom. olen spoke up, “we’re heading back to the offices, no? i’ve not arranged a hotel.” dent looked up from his convo, shook his head yep. “you’re on the poltrona until we sort out the deets of your stay. cloris canceled your ticket home.” olen had no place in his life for couch surfing, impromptu orders from a drunk, and airline surcharges. “you’re mad, dent, truly. i’m not working by your leave. settle-up with me first.” dent looked at cloris, up to the ceiling, then back at olen. “well played. fine, shack with tamar. you’ll feel better in the ay-em.” the jab caught olen off guard, he hadn’t considered tamar as a door prize, nor did he dig that this op was guerrilla art in progress. details escaped him, but his manhood filled the spaces. “you look like you could use a lay, take it while we’re amongst the ramparts. tomorrow you go live.” cloris buttoned up the top two on dent’s thomas pink. “do we call the bank in the morning, mike, or can we wait until we get out of town?” “the wire won’t come through for a day,” mike said while standing, “we’ll need to hit the safe deposit & the auction house before heading to peekskill.” cloris grinned, she loved talking money, other people’s money. mike’s plan to loot the dent family continued in earnest, a post-mod barrow gang as his players.
choosing johns wasn’t the hard part. the men’s is always best for a hump, but in this case two chatty dudes filled the stalls, discussing something filthy over squats. to the ladies they went. darby’s knees shook, renee squeezed his ink with her nails, a spot on her lumbar sweat. the door popped open and two blondes filtered out, leaving the room empty. locking the knob, darby turned to a fist coming at his nose, dodged it. renee struck the door, even though she’d pulled the punch. “fuck, take the punch, you lump.” darby, with a right palm, struck ms. du lac with a victorian swipe, making contact with her left cheek. “touche, you tart. can we get on past the fists?” without flinching from the blow, renee tweaked his buckle, pulled at her own waist with the other hand. the reverb could be heard by a young takuya yamomoto behind the sushi bar. without knowing the source, he closed his eyes, shook his head, resumed his butchering. the staff in the joint rushed to the washroom doors, began knocking, hollering.
olen trailed bonnie & clyde quomodo out the door. tamar blushed like a stoplight, he saw this, didn’t feel a thing. this would take some effort, getting down to her business. for now, to the back burner. “jump in the van everyone, drop-offs where necessary,” dent ordered, hugging the waist of ms. archangeli. approaching the smoky jordanian, mr. ragnarsson took a look at his shoe shine. “may we extend the evening, on my tab?”, he mumbled in a half-norwegian accent, letting the brit side of his accent go. “can you drink more than i’ve seen you drink?”, tamar said through her blush. “i’ve had three manly drinks in my life, two of them tonight. bound to keep it up.” olen’s first drink had been in zurich, and it was a fey toddie with the genius bar girl. furthermore, he never took more than a whack, then put it down. olen ragnarsson had no idea how gone this night would get under the wing of ms. naser. for a jordanian woman, she’d done some drinking in her life. a year in hamburg, a year in london for school. there was nothing between her bad habits and the behind of olen ragnarsson. the night offered a hand to the two of them, and they took it, walking out into the dark towards bleecker.
turning the corner, the quomodo crew spent the rest of the night going separate ways. dent lost darby & renee in the scuffle, ifa poached shotgun, chatting-up the driver in french. cloris whispered into mike’s ear, to which he replied, out loud, “every fucking penny.” pulling away from blue ribbon, three of seven samurai sat immersed in their thoughts. the day began with an abject plan, found most likely in the bottom of an ikea waste basket, amongst the sick of mike dent. and as it began with questions, it ended with questions. none of the crew had a sense of tomorrow, not even the prescient, plan-heavy ifa okereke, stepping out of the van without a word, entering the subway at 34th and 7th, not so much as waving, head down, focused on the swarm of bodies heading underground, heading to dc, jersey, and the east hampton.
stick to your squirt guns, quomodo returns after the sabbath. ifa crosses state lines, finance on her mind. dent goes blow, draws on a white board into the a.m. renee finally drops darby mcclure, sophism to solar plexus. olen & tamar find themselves quite naked, in separate rooms. for the sake of the op, repeat, for the sake of the op. quomodo, it still checks hats.