I’ve been waiting for him, waiting patiently, for a very long time.
The sun is already so bright that the glare off the sandy beach, white as uncut Columbian cocaine, makes me squint, even behind my dark sunglasses. A few tourists are up and about, chatting happily, ordering breakfast. Seagulls dodge and swoop in the morning breeze, for the sheer joy of it. The roar of the surf is ceaseless, great Atlantic breakers lining up to slam into the beach. Below that, a constant, barely audible subsonic hum, felt more than heard, tickling the soles of my feet. The Doomsday Machine, percolating away, counting down the days, hours, minutes, and seconds, deep in the vaults below the island.
I idly swirl my straw, tinkling the ice cubes in my glass, agitating the unnaturally blue liquid before drinking it down in one long slow, lazy slurp. The stuff is the color of antifreeze, the consistency of crude oil. Raspberry Nyquil. It numbs the back of my throat, filling me with a sickly rush of nausea. I lift my pinky finger, signaling the waiter. He knows his cue, and brings me a fresh bottle, pre-chilled. They keep a case of the stuff sitting on ice behind the bar, just for me.
White dress with navy-blue polka dots. Classic American cut. My nails are perfectly lacquered, poison-apple red. My hair is neatly coiffed, the same chestnut brown it was twenty years ago when he first came to me, up out of the sea. Thank you, Miss Clairol. Pearl earrings in gold settings. Red belt, red flats. A titanium pendant hangs suspended around my neck. My breasts aren’t the same breasts they were two decades ago, but I do what I can with what I’ve got. Surgery, I always believed, is a liar’s game.
A lone man is swimming toward the beach, diving underneath tremendous crashing breakers, drowned for sure, only to surface again in the bubbling, frothy whitewater. After each set of waves he is a little closer, until he stands up and climbs out of the surf. I pick up my binoculars, and one hand strays between my legs.
There are sharks out there in those waters, out beyond the break.
I am wearing the same dress I wore the day I first met Jack. It is the same dress and it is not the same dress. My cough syrup cocktail sits on the plastic table in front of me, condensation beading up on the sides of the glass, utterly forgotten for the moment. My labia are suddenly swollen and moist. One hand pets my pussy through the sheer fabric of my panties, while the other hand attempts to hold the binoculars steady. He always said he’d be back.
It is him. It is not him, but it is him. He is walking up the beach toward me now, directly toward me, focused with intent. I examine him through the 20x Zhumells. It is not him. This one is young, far too young; his chest is smooth and hairless; he has a tattoo on one arm, a seal balancing a beach ball on its nose; but my imagination lets all that slide. It is him. He wears nothing but black swim trunks, a trim little black backpack, and a combat dagger strapped to his ankle. The swim trunks leave nothing to the imagination. He is not circumcised, and doesn’t suffer from shrinkage. The backpack will contain a delicate little handgun with a big fat silencer, and a bunch of other deadly little gadgets. He has killed before, this one has. He’s got the walk. My cunt is juicy wet, and my clitoris is hard as a diamond.
He walks like a predator, a big jungle cat. They always do. Relaxed but ready. Baryshnikov in a bespoke suit, packing a submachine gun. SAS, SEAL, Spetsnaz; they all have that same walk.
It is my Jack, come back to me from the bosom of the sea, and it is not my Jack.
My dress is piled up on my lap, a confusion of deep blue polka dots. I may be making a spectacle of myself. My fingers slide inside the elastic of my panties and come back wet and slick. I am ready for him.
I was really just a kid. Straight out of the Midwest. A bona fide virgin, as a matter of fact. I was working for Doctor Nyet at the time. He’d been trolling the strip, looking for pretty girls to round out his new headquarters. He was so clumsy and awkward with the girls it was comical, and endearing. We got to talking, and I guess we hit it off. I’d already done a little modeling, the kind you don’t bring home to show mother; and when he offered me the job, I was dancing at a go-go club. So I wasn’t exactly an innocent. But I wasn’t very worldly either. This was before Google, before the internet was everywhere, before everyone had a cell phone, before Cleveland was reduced to a pile of smoking radioactive rubble as a demonstration of Project X. If I’d known then what I know now, I’d do it all over again.
Jack killed him, of course. That was what he’d come to do. Pop,pop…pop,pop,pop. His tiny little automatic sounded just like popcorn. Two bullets in the head, three in the chest just to be sure. I couldn’t watch; I covered my face and sobbed like a little girl. He kissed me before he left, a kiss that told me that he meant it when he said he loved me, and he told me he’d be back. I could still feel the heat of his gun.
I was Dr. Leonid Nyet’s personal secretary, which wasn’t nearly as sordid as you might think. My duties included a little light typing, answering telephones, hanging around and looking pretty; and most importantly holding the key. The key is an interrupt, the stop codon to the Machine. Doctor Nyet hung it around my neck one night, and it has remained there ever since. He told me that he trusted me. He told me to protect it with my life.
Some of the other girls complained about the Doctor. They told whispered stories of girls wrapped up in Saran wrap and left to expire in their own body heat; girls dipped in liquid nitrogen; girls thrown out of helicopters. It was hard for me to imagine the Doctor doing anything of the sort.
They complained about being used as sexual playthings; dancing topless for visiting dignitaries, sucking the cocks of oil sheiks and Russian scientists, stories of getting golden showers and spankings from Korean generals. None of that sounded so bad to me. One girl said she’d been greased-up and butt-fucked by the Doctor himself out in the courtyard above the sea wall. Another claimed he’d raped her. I didn’t believe it. The Doctor, I was fairly certain, was gay. The girls were just bitter. And some of them were lezzies, as I was to discover later on.
Sally Slipknot came to me one night, when the Doctor was celebrating the initial success of Project X with his friends and investors. She was the head of Security, and she was beautiful in the same way that a finely crafted weapon is beautiful. She was strong and lithe and utterly feminine. She reminded me of a snake, and she showed me things that two girls could do together that I hadn’t imagined before. She teased my virginity with her fingers, but never quite plunged inside. She played with my anus as she kissed and nibbled up and down my pussy. Her flicking tongue brought me right over the edge, something that hadn’t happened to me before, not with another person, not without the help of my buzzing pink plastic vibrator. As the sun came up over the storm-churned Atlantic, she kissed me goodnight and slithered out of my bedroom, leaving me dazed, shaky, and confused. Did this mean that I was a lesbian too?
I wanted to be alone. I wanted time to think. I was still wet and sticky and sensitive between my legs. I pulled my navy blue polka dot dress on over my naked body and went down to the beach to walk by the waves.
Jack came to me out of the roaring surf. He wore nothing but black swim trunks, trunks that left nothing to the imagination; a combat dagger on a belt; and a little black backpack that contained, among other things, a tiny automatic handgun, and a beautifully fitted hand-tailored black suit.
He swept me off my feet, quite literally. He was soaking wet and salty from the cool ocean water. His chest was covered in curly dark hair. His muscles rippled smoothly under his skin. He moved like a man who killed men. We ran through the waves together, and he lifted me up and whispered in my ear that I was beautiful and that he wanted to see me again.
My dress was wet with seawater and my pussy was naked and vulnerable underneath. He was hard. He kissed me, and I gave him my passcard, the magnetic-striped card that allowed access to the compound. When I got back, I explained to the guards that I had left earlier without my card, and they let me through without question.
The Doctor had no time for me. He was lying on a bed of heated stones, getting a massage from two young Asian boys. Another Asian boy, who looked like he might have been twelve, was giving his head a fresh shave. It was going to be a busy day in the command center; the American had capitulated after the Doctor’s autonomous robots had incinerated Cleveland, and paid an unprecedented ransom. The next stop was the United Nations. There was to be a teleconference on the Jumbotron with the Secretary General at noon, and all the technicians were getting the gear ready. Sally Slipknot refused to look at me. The Doctor rolled over onto his back, and the solemn-faced Asian boys removed the towel around his waist.
I ran back to my bedroom and took a very long and very hot shower.
The Doctor loved me. He liked me, for sure. He certainly trusted me. He loved me, I’m pretty sure of it, in his own way. He never knew his own father, he told me once. My dad ran out on us when I was little. I think Dr. Nyet liked to think of me as the daughter he knew he’d never have.
Sometimes at night, when the Imetrex won’t keep the migraines at bay and the Ambien is useless or worse, and I can’t stomach the Sertindole, I take the pendant off my neck and open the little titanium tube. There is a slip inside; not paper and not plastic and not metal, with numbers printed on it. Hundreds of digits, almost too small to read. It makes one number, one very big number. The Doctor said it was the product of two primes, the biggest one his computers could find. That is the key, the one and only key that will stop the Doomsday Machine. He gave it to me, and told me to keep it safe.
He trusted me, and now he’s dead.
Sometimes at night I masturbate, and sometimes I find I’ve forgotten how.
Jack met me for lunch at the tiny little seaside café that catered to the island’s tourists. He had changed into a sleek, well-made black suit, and he moved like a panther. I was still wearing my navy-blue polka dot dress, but this time I had panties on underneath, and pearl earrings set in gold. We sat under an umbrella and drank Mai Tais and talked for what seemed like hours. We were both, it turned out, from Ohio. His parents had owned a small farm, a gardenia plantation on the outskirts of Cleveland. He placed his hand on my knee as he talked about the summers of his boyhood, skinny-dipping in the Cuyahoga River. As we talked, his hand slowly moved further and further up my leg.
He came back with me to my bedroom. Security didn’t even blink. The Doctor was in the middle of presenting his ultimatum to the U.N. and all eyes were on the television. A guard nodded absently in my direction as I scanned my card, Jack in tow behind me.
I thought he’d drag me straight to bed as soon as the bedroom door closed behind us, but he didn’t. He picked out a CD and slipped it into the hi-fi—this was before iPods or anything of the sort; the Doctor himself had a twenty pound ‘laptop’ with the launch codes inside that he had a minion lug around—and we danced together on the balcony, under the equatorial sun.
Oh Man, could he dance! I hadn’t danced much before, other than gyrating around a pole, but he held me and guided my movements. He stood a head taller than me. I felt small and safe in his arms. While we spun and swayed on the balcony to the strains of Tchaikovsky, time seemed to stand still. The chemistry that had sparked between us on the sand that morning grew and intensified. The more we danced, the more ready I felt. And he was ready too. I could feel it.
When Jack finally took me to bed, I nearly wept with relief. He removed my dress and underwear as if he were skinning a deer. Then he took off his own clothes. He had an evil-looking scar just below his shoulder blades that I hadn’t seen before. It was white and raised. Courtesy of the mujahedeen, he told me. His cock was erect, and big enough to be a little scary.
I told him I was a virgin, and asked him, my voice quavering a little, to be gentle.
Oh, he was gentle! It is amazing to me that someone so deadly could also be so patient and careful. He touched me slow soft, until I thought I was going to burst. When he finally did enter me, he did it so deliberately and carefully that it didn’t hurt. Not one bit, not at all. He did it to me slowly, holding my hands and kissing me as if he’d never kissed a girl before, and when he came, he exploded deep inside me. I nearly came right along with him, almost, but not quite. I got nervous at the last second and my orgasm fluttered away.
We talked afterward. I answered his questions. I told him about the secret passage into the command center. He kissed me, and told me he’d come back someday.
I followed him, keeping a safe distance. I’m not sure why I did that. I think I couldn’t quite believe that Jack was going to do what he’d come to do. Maybe he just wanted to talk. Maybe he’d just arrest Nyet. I was so innocent back in those days!
After the deed was done, klaxons were going off and equipment was exploding in showers of high-voltage sparks, and Security was shooting at each other and Jack and at the commandos who were now swarming the compound, dressed up in composite body armor, Spetsnaz or Delta Force I think, but I wasn’t asking and they weren’t saying. They blew up everything in sight, the whole command center, but they couldn’t breach the one door that really mattered, and their higher-ups figured out soon enough that blowing through that door would be a really bad idea anyway. Before he left, Jack squeezed my hand one last time and promised me he’d come back someday.
He must have known he was going to die, or suspected he would anyway. Project X was just too risky, the stakes were too high. So he designed the Doomsday Machine as a kind of insurance plan, or a post-mortem revenge plan, I don’t know which.
The autonomous robots have two modes. In their primary mode, they are hypersonic little nuclear smartbombs the size of motor scooters, capable of destroying any city on earth within an hour of receiving the launch code. In secondary mode, however, they can be set to reproduce, building exact copies of themselves out of raw materials, the population growing exponentially like bacteria in an agar dish, until they reach a certain critical mass.
He is not my Jack. Same species, different animal. He is not my Jack, but he’ll do.
When he walks up to my deck chair and greets me, his voice holds a slight twang; West Texas, or perhaps Arkansas. He is unfailingly polite. He stands by my deck chair and asks if he can join me, and I lick my finger thoughtfully, as if I’m actually thinking it over.
He tells me his name, and I forget it immediately. He puts his hand on my knee, and tells me that he hadn’t expected me to be so beautiful. Base flattery, but it works. I ask him to tell me about himself.
He joined the Navy over his mother’s objections, because he couldn’t face putting the family in debt just so he could go to college. He volunteered for SEAL training half as a joke, and when he got accepted, he discovered that he was too proud to quit, no matter what the instructors did to them. He tells me about giving CPR to a classmate after the kid drowned during an underwater swimming test. He tells me they run training missions against mock-ups of the autonomous robots; they have a kill rate of about one in ten.
He asks me to dance with him. They must have a file on me somewhere, where it says I love to dance. I wonder if all the agents have to take ballroom lessons from an unsmiling old dowager with huge bosoms and an iron spine before they slip off the aircraft carrier into shark-infested waters to infiltrate me. It works anyway. Like a fucking charm.
We dance on the beach, leaving our footprints in the firm wet sand by the sea. He holds me close, guiding my steps, and I feel his hardness pressed up against me, through his damp shorts. I place my hands on his tight, muscular buns, pulling him closer. He squeezes me tight. It is time. I whisper in his ear that he should ask me now.
I’m rich, I suppose. Doctor Nyet left me a big fat 401(k) and an interest-bearing numbered Swiss bank account; but I never bothered to take much out beyond what I need for food and drink. The compound has been falling apart for years. Soon it will be just rubble; jumbled blocks of hardened concrete and rusting rebar. The only part I’ve bothered to maintain at all is my old bedroom.
He’s kind of a tornado in bed, which surprises me because Jack was so slow and deliberate. He undresses me with the urgency of youth, pulling my polka dot dress off over my head and tossing it aside. His erection is straining out from his shorts.
I remove his swim trunks for him, and his cock pops out, glad to be free of the restraining fabric. He’s a little smaller than Jack, or maybe it is just 20/20 hindsight; either way I’m not complaining. His cock has a curious corkscrew twist, and a slight upward curve, and the head was fat and purple. He looks delicious.
He pulls off my lacy white panties, and jams them against his face, inhaling deeply. I don’t think he’s faking this, but if he is faking it, he’s doing a damn fine job. His cock is rigidly erect, and bounces as he moves. His balls are drawn in tight.
He goes down on me for what feels like an hour. He does not hesitate to touch me in my most private places, licking me greedily from asshole to clitoris and back again. He plunges his thick fingers deep inside me, probing me, playing me like an instrument. I come on his face, and I threaten to come again. Finally I push him away, if only because I want some of that dick for myself.
I swallow him whole, and I enjoy every centimeter of it. I lavish my tongue around his swollen head. I lick his balls, and up and down his shaft. I tease his pee-hole with the tip of my tongue. I stick my face between his ass-cheeks and lick his anus until he mews like a kitten.
He offers to put a condom on, but I am way beyond such mundane worries. I tell him to just hurry up and fuck me, and he complies. He fucks me hard and deep and ferociously, and I fuck him right back, pulling him deeper inside, urging him to do it harder, faster. I surprise myself by coming on him, coming on his thrusting dick. Wonders will never cease. He pulls out, gasping, his cock slick and sticky with my juice.
I ask him where he wants to come, and he responds shyly, “Your ass.”
I tell him that what’s mine is his. I get down on all fours on the bed, my rump thrust up and out, my breasts hanging down in a parody of their former glory, and he comes hungrily at me from behind. He eats my ass out, which no-one has ever done to me before, and when he replaces his tongue with a finger, I find myself humping back against it, trying to get more inside. Before long, I am begging for his cock.
He slides it in, easy as slicing Jell-O. It does not hurt. Having his cock in my asshole feels strange… strange, but good. Very good.
He fucks my ass slowly, methodically. One hand reaches down, finds my aching clitoris. I cannot believe how wet my pussy is. I collapse on the bed under his weight. He is slowly losing control, and I am losing it along with him. We are both gasping and panting as he thrusts. Finally he comes, swelling and shooting his semen deep into my asshole, and I surprise myself by coming right along with him.
We talk afterward, snuggling together in the warm and sticky afterglow. He keeps his soft cock lodged up inside me, which feels odd, but nice. He asks me questions, and I answer him honestly. It isn’t my fault he doesn’t know the right question to ask. And then I feel him getting hard, and he is ready to go all over again, and so we go.
Soon, all too soon, he leaves me. Off into the darkness, out into the surf. I go back to my deck chair and my cough syrup cocktails, waiting, patiently waiting. Deep underground, in windowless vaults beneath the island, behind triple-steel doors that would let loose a swarm of nuclear-armed autonomous robots if ever they were breached, the Doomsday machine is counting down, ticking out the hours, minutes, seconds, picoseconds. The hum of their machinations tickles the soles of my feet as the robots forge new copies of themselves, doubling themselves, relentless exponents of two, getting closer and closer to that secret magic number that equals deployment.
Jack will come back for me someday. I know he will, because he is my Love. And I will be waiting for him, here by the sea. He’ll be older, I know, but I will be too. He will know the right question to ask. Even if he doesn’t, I will tell him. If there is still time, I will give him the key, the stop codon. I will give it to him freely. But he’ll have to work a little bit first to get it out of me.