The Adventures of Chartan: The Set Up


           (Last Sunday: Skyler Brazil, hired by Elisa, secretly takes photos of her and Chartan in the grips of passion.)

Elisa was asleep, naked, with her head on Chartan’s chest. He wanted to cover her with a sheet but didn’t want to move and wake her. They had not spoken to each other since they fell on the yoga mat with Elisa clawing at him like an animal.

            How strange it was to not speak during our intimacy. No, “intimacy” is the wrong term. It was sex, more on her part than mine. I was a participant…she even wanted a stranger to watch. But she is so beautiful to look at now–I am conflicted by love and lust. I have no control. I am in place I do not know. This lesson isn’t in my course. I’m lost. But only for a time as Elisa will discover soon.

            Chartan started to move, but stopped to reflect on how Elisa had moaned and later screamed. He willed those thoughts away, rolled to the side and placed Elisa’s head gently on the mat. He stood up in near darkness.

            “What are you doing?” asked Elisa in a sleepy voice.

            “Putting a light on along with some clothes.”

            “Don’t.”

            “A compromise—a candle and underwear.”

            “But I like to look at it, all of it.”

            Chartan put on boxer shorts and then he lit a candle on the nearby kitchen table. The apartment was so small that everything in it was “nearby.”

            “I’m not putting on anything” said Elisa.

            Chartan cringed with the sense that Elisa would never leave, a reminder that it had been five years since his last encounter with a woman who didn’t want to leave.

                                                            ***

            The image of Chartan and Elisa pulsated on Brazil’s computer screen. He’d downloaded 145 shots, covering the prolonged kiss on the sidewalk to the embrace by the window. He kept nodding in an effort to convince himself he had enough to satisfy his client’s request. But he had to eliminate signs that Chartan was an unwilling participant.

            The entire photo of the couple kissing showed Elisa with her arms around Chartan’s neck while his arms were straight down at his side. He cropped out Chartan’s arms. .

            The window shot had Elisa naked from the waist up—Chartan was fully clothed and his right eye appeared to be looking out the window. Again, Brazil photo-shopped the shot to blur Chartan’s right eye while keeping a sharp focus on Elisa’s bare back.

            When he was done, he had a dozen photos of two people in love.

            He put the photos in a large envelope. When he stood up, his right knee buckled and he had to grab the desk to keep from falling. He’d been carrying shrapnel from Vietnam in his body for over 50 years. Today, the pain was intense. But this is why he had hired Johnson, although despite Johnson’s assistance, he’d fallen from a tree and aggravated his bum knee.

            He ate several pieces of toast before swallowing 800 mgs.of ibuprofen. He didn’t want to limp into Elisa’s apartment when it came time to trade his work for $750.

            Maybe this will be my last gig.

            Brazil grabbed a cane and left.

                                                                                                ***       

            Brazil checked his watch. Noon. He tapped on Room 214 with his cane. No response. A maid pushing a cart piled with towels was coming down the hallway. He asked her in broken Spanish if she had cleaned the room. She replied in perfect English, “I haven’t gotten there yet.” He swore under his breath and left.

             He tapped the steering wheel of his car. Elisa might still be at Chartan’s apartment. He wanted his money, but he was also intrigued by the man she was using. Ten minutes later he stood at the base of the oak tree.  He focused a hand scope on the window—the blinds were up. Chartan’s jet black hair passed by.

            “What are you doing?”

            Brazil lowered the scope. Ah, a young mall cop on the job. 

            “Bird watching,” replied Brazil.

            “The female type? Let’s see some ID!”

            Brazil’s blood pressure spiked. He looked at the man’s throat and flexed his fingers. It would be easy to break his neck. But over the man’s shoulder he spotted Chartan walking out of the building.

            “Chartan,” he yelled as he stepped forward, almost knocking over the security guard.

            A few seconds later Brazil and Chartan faced each other on the sidewalk.

            “Enjoyed your class yesterday,” said Brazil.

            Chartan’s concerned expression grew easy. “Thank you. Why are you taking the class?”

            Brazil hesitated. While he wanted to know Elisa’s whereabouts, he was intrigued by Chartan’s calmness. He replied, “I’m afraid of myself.”

                                                            ***

(Continued next Sunday)

Published by 67steffen

My labels: grandfather, father, veteran, writer, poet, photographer and dreamer in pursuit of the meaning of life. Getting close, although I'm running out of time--probably why I'm so close.

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