Wally's Contempt

Her authoritative voice seemed so hollow and weak over the low bandwidth connection. It was a blessing in disguise. The woman's menacing red fedora seemed to have less of an effect on me as its pixelated form bounced across a hundred thousand miles of cheap Guatemalan fiber optics.

I could never quite put my finger on how it was able to shake my world so much. But it was certainly the embodiment of her personality. Brash and unique, easy to spot out in a crowd.

The woman was everything I wasn't. And we hated one another for it, even as we clawed at one another's clothes in our ignorant years.

Her web cam was uneven and shaky. The sun was just beginning to bleed out of the horizon behind her. Carmen always had a flare for the dramatic.

"Good morning, Wally."

She chirped in a sing song voice, pulling the brim of her hat over one of her big, blue eyes.

We'd both be dead long before she could figure out just how wrong she was.

I nodded respectfully, as I always did. My breakfast was just coming in. I tried to steel my eyes against Wanda's over zealous night gown. Carmen was still a furiously jealous woman and I'd get absolutely nothing out of her if I rubbed her personal failures in her perfect face.

We chatted about the failing dollar as Wanda fretted about my office like a mother hen, dotting and dusting while I munched on my soggy toast and sipped my tepid coffee.

When she had finally left (no doubt to examine the pool boy's latest wares) she let out a devious laugh.

"Coffee still? I thought your doctors told you to give up the caffeine. I can't have your body giving out on me yet. Not when I'm so close to putting together all the pieces of the puzzle you've laid out for me."

I narrowed my eyes from behind my newest prescription and lit a cigarette. I sucked on it until my lungs burned with the acrid smoke. It made me feel alive again. The mother hen would have my balls if Carmen ever decided to share some of my less wholesome hobbies with her.

"That's not the only thing I haven't given up. Old habits don't exactly die quite as easily as new ones."

I shot back, smashing the life out of the butt into what remained of my toast.

She sighed. Odlaw found that out the hard way, squeezed in to an iron lung for the last six months of his wretched life.

I could hear camels groaning in the background. Was she in the Sahara again? The tracking device I had managed to bury deep into the base of her skull still showed her position where I had left what I had believed her mangled body to be, deep beneath the Greenland ice sheet.

Clearly she was clever.

"Attached you'll find the plans for the M.C. Escher Project. Odlaw isn't exactly around to stick his nose into your business anymore, but his estate is still pretty active. So when you release this to the press please do try to keep your nose clean? And for heaven's sake-.."

"Don't tell anyone that you dye your hair, yada yada."

The clarity of her cam suddenly became crystal clear for a brief moment. Her eye bore into me.

"Why do you have to be such a jackass, Waldo?"

The fire in her voice was brutal.

I sighed and started the download.

"Why do you keep helping me, C?"

I couldn't help but let a tiny bit of contempt slip through. I hated her, but I couldn't get the smell of her hair out of my head.

"What you're doing is right."

Was her only reply. Her connection was beginning to grow fuzzy. Pops and whistles interrupted the subtle nuances of her delicate face.

"About Greenland.."

I started. I could hear Wanda's routine bringing her back to my office.


"I'd do it again."

I said in a deadpan voice was the door knob rattled. The download finished.

"I know."

The connection died.


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