Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Naked and the Soon-to-Be Dead

By Reece Hirsch

Let me say right up front that I have absolutely no intention of answering this week’s question. My most embarrassing experience naked? I feel that we’ve come to know each other a bit, Criminal Minds reader, over the past ten months or so of blogging, but I just don’t know you that well yet. Not even close.

But I will give you this – the most embarrassing naked, or nearly naked, experience of my protagonist Will Connelly in "The Insider." Will has just spent the night with Katya, a Russian woman that he met in a bar the night before. She works as a secretary in a securities firm. Will has just inadvertently disclosed some insider information to Katya about a merger transaction that he is working on.

* * *

In his pre-coffee stupor, it took a few seconds for him to fully grasp the potential consequences of what had just happened. He had, however inadvertently, disclosed the pending merger of a publicly traded company, violating about a dozen securities laws in the process. If Katya went to work at her securities firm and told one of the dealers about this, or if she bought Jupiter stock herself, then he would be guilty of insider trading. Attorneys had lost their jobs, their licenses, and sometimes even gone to jail for similar offenses. Since he was already the suspect in a murder investigation, this was the last thing that he needed.

For a moment, he considered whether Katya might have sought him out at the club for just this purpose – to extract insider information. He promptly dismissed the notion as paranoid, concluding that he had enough worries and didn’t need to invent new ones.

Will pulled on his boxer shorts and slid out of bed, wide-awake now. He had to make sure that Katya did not do or say anything about the Jupiter deal. But he didn’t want to mention it at that moment, while she was still furrowing her brow at him. From the annoyed look on her face, he could see that he was not going to get very far with her if she thought that he was being condescending.

“Forgive me,” he said, beaming his most ingratiating smile.

Katya made a show of judging him, her arms crossed. “Okay.”

Covering the three paces that separated the bedroom from the kitchen, he studied Katya’s face, as he had been doing ever since they had met the night before. He kept thinking that he detected the flicker of a smile in her dark eyes or at the corners of her mouth.

Katya and Will sipped coffee and watched Ron [a cat] bask in the sunlight that streamed through the blinds. Will was surprised that he didn’t feel the need to fill the silence with small talk.

A pounding at the door shattered the quiet.

“Hey, Katya! Otkroi! It’s Yuri!”

“Oh shit,” Katya said, putting down her coffee. “I’m not going to answer it.”

“Yuri? Who’s Yuri?”

“I told you about him. The guy who got me the job at the securities firm. A friend of a friend of my second cousin Irina.”

“What does he want?”

Katya fluttered her hand at him, indicating that there was no time for that story.

The pounding continued and grew louder. Yuri was hammering his fists on the door, rattling it on its hinges. Ya znaiu, chto ty tam! Don’t make me break this door down!”

Katya and Will both retreated to the far wall of the apartment and stared at the door as if it was about to explode into splinters. Will felt Katya’s long nails dig into his arm. It made him feel protective of her, but he wasn’t yet sure what it was she might need protecting from.

The pounding stopped. “Listen, Katya,” Yuri said, calmer this time, a skewed voice of reason. “I could kick this door in. You know that. But if I do, who is going to pay for it? You are. And your landlord, oh he will have many questions.” Yuri slammed his fist into the door to punctuate his point.

Katya whispered, “Get your clothes and hide in the bathroom. I’m going to have to let him in.”

Will shook his head. “Just wait for him to leave.”

“You don’t know him. He’ll either kick in the door or he’ll stay out there all day till we come out. If he thinks I am avoiding him, it will only make things worse.”

“I’m not hiding in the bathroom from this guy. What is he, your boyfriend?”

“No, but there’s no time to explain. You just don’t want Yuri to find you here. Trust me on this.”

Gathering up his clothes, Will went into the bathroom and shut the door. He tried to lock the bathroom door, but it was broken. He stood with his back against the sink in his boxer shorts, his suit wadded into a ball in his arms. Will examined the image of himself in the oval mirror hanging on the bathroom door. His eyes were bloodshot from the hangover. He looked pale and his jaw was clenched with fear. His fingers gripped his pinstripe suit as if someone was about to tear it from him.

He heard the front door open, then the footsteps of more than one person on the hardwood floor. Something was said that he couldn’t understand, or perhaps it was in Russian. More rapid footsteps. It sounded like the apartment was being searched.

Then the bathroom door swung open to reveal a tall man in a leather jacket. His sharp, narrow face seemed to consist of two planes that met in a long, aquiline nose. Yuri.

A feral smile spread across Yuri’s face at the sight of Will in his boxer shorts. “Hello, asshole,” he said.

* * *

In the next chapter, things devolve from there.


Rebecca Cantrell said...

That's quite a moment, Reece!

Thanks for sharing!

Reece said...

Thanks for stopping by, Becky!