Wednesday, January 29, 2014

11. The smoking gun

Rebecca was seated to the left of the president at the dinner table where she was the guest of honor.  On his right was Jake Hawthorn, and on Rebecca's left was Travis Waltrip.  It goes without saying that the object Travis looked at the most during the dinner was the shiny blonde hair on the back of Rebecca's head, and likewise Jake had the opportunity to study minutely the silver-streak patterns in the well-groomed hair on the back of the president's head.  

The president's official domestic status, according to Rebecca's internet search, was “happily married, with two children, son George 18, and daughter Joanne 16”.  But his eyes, when he gazed into her, said otherwise, not referring to the children.  His advance was blatant, verging on an abuse of power.

I cannot begin to tell you how awe-struck I am of your amazing feat this afternoon, Ms. Bates.” was his opening line.

Why, thank you, Mr. President.  I nearly couldn't make it to this dinner because of it.”  Her radiant smile was invisible to Travis, but if he saw it, he would have thought that he had never seen it before in the entire month he had hunted with her, including the night when Achilles was slain.  And Jake, who did see it by rubber-necking, was simply enchanted by its indescribable sensuality.  Of course, the president, who was seeing Rebecca up close for the first time, thought that she smiled like this at all comers all the time.

Well, if you didn't do it, you wouldn't be at this dinner either,” he said.

Then I think I did the only thing I could have done to win the honor of sitting next to the world's sexiest man.”

He did his own rubber-necking until he could see Travis behind, not beside, Rebecca, and mock said to him, “Hey Travis, Rebecca says that you're the world's sexiest man!”

While Travis looked stunned, Rebecca's eyes widened. “I beg your pardon, Mr. President! Travis is a sweet guy, but that title belongs to the most powerful man in the world. While sweetness tastes like a lollipop, power, as any lover knows, is the most seductive aphrodisiac, the brandy amongst all beverages.”

I am powerless under your spell, Ms Bates,” he said with a wicked grin.

Then I will go for the lollipop.”

Mr. President, since you're out in the bush here, do you mind staying powerless for just tonight?” Travis managed to squeeze in.

Now that's a plan. I can have both the lollipop and the brandy on two separate nights! Just that on the second night, I may have to conceal my spell to give the aphrodisiac a chance to work.”

The president looked dumbfounded, but then he said, “Ironically, tonight is the night I won't be having any sleep.”

And why is that, Mr. President?”

Let me ask you. Did you get any sleep last night?”

Of course. Why?” she asked, genuinely puzzled.

Are you saying that you slept through the eve of your Hercules' magnificent destruction?”

Oh, that,” she said perfunctorily. “It's just another hunt. Nothing to lose sleep over.” Then, something dawned in her eyes. “Mr. President, are you telling me that you will be hunting a rhino tomorrow?”

"That, plus yours being a hard act to follow."

"It was not preplanned that way, I assure you, Mr. President. It just happened. And something incredible and unforeseen could just as well happen to you tomorrow."

"True enough, I have no idea what will happen, but your coolness under pressure and decisiveness on the spot are both an inspiration. My government can use a thousand of you."

"Are you trying to recruit me into the CIA, Mr. President?"

He laughed.  "No, Ms. Bates, Langley is not within walking distance from the White House."

"You're the first one to know that the walls surrounding the White House is as impregnable as those around the Forbidden Palace of China, Mr. President, or if I may, a woman who has been hysterectomized, no matter how close or how far Langley or anywhere else is."

In which case maybe I should bring you inside those walls."

"You mean like some kind of intern?"

"I can't imagine an intern doing what you did this afternoon.  No, it'd be somewhere higher up than that."

"I'm sure you're just joking, Mr. President. Based on what little you know about me, which would be based on what you saw me do this afternoon, the only job there I can think of is that of a presidential bodyguard."

"Not necessarily, Ms. Bates, and I know all about you."

"The internet is full of erroneous facts and malicious lies."

"Not just the Internet."

"In any case, Mr. President, I'm too free-spirited to live in an ivory tower."

"Let me think about this.  I'll get back to you on it."

"My goodness, you do look serious."

"Could be, but this is just my default look."

"The look I know so well on TV."

"On TV, I'm usually only half serious."  

"Good one. In any case, I am flattered."

"I'll be in touch, before or after I leave here."

"And when are you leaving here?"

"Day after tomorrow."
"So, you're really going to be hunting a rhino tomorrow, aren't you?"

"As inspired by you, Ms. Bates.  And you are welcome to accompany me."

"Oh, no, Mr. President.  I wouldn't want to steal your thunder."

"Then, be the presidential bodyguard, as long as you don't mind using a firearm this time."

"You already have bodyguards, four of them."

"Yes, and they are good, but only against humans.  You will be my bodyguard against a predictably furious rhino named Samson."

"Oh, I know Samson. You know what? I would have chosen him over Hercules if not for the fact that Hercules had bigger balls. But still it will be Samson's magnificent head, not balls, that will be on your presidential wall. My goodness, this really is too exciting to turn down.  I accept, before you change your mind."

Then I might just get some sleep tonight, as I'm sure you will.”

I will not be sleeping much tonight, and neither will you, Mr. President.”

At that very moment, Jake happened to be rubber necking, and again became instantly smitten by that incredibly sensual smile.

The next day, Travis led them unerringly to Samson. The hunt went pretty much according to plan, except for one thing. Just when the president was about to pull the trigger of his $5000 Kimber Dangerous Game .416 magnum, a bright flash and a loud bang went off between him and Samson, causing him to fall flat on his back, his rifle discharged, unheard and lying five feet away, strangely pointing at his lower abdomen.  Samson turned and wound himself up ponderously into a gallop.  And while Travis was momentarily paralyzed by the unprecedented turn of events, the rapid fire of five shots rang out, and Samson dutifully bit the dust. 

The gun that was smoking was none other than the one in the hands of Rebecca Bates.

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