Two more days at the beach, nap in the afternoons, long late dinners followed by long later intimacies. Today another tour of town.
On Front Street, drums bang, Gombey dancers hop around in colorful costumes.
Katja, "Bang drum and blow wheestle, what ees point?"
Ellen laughs, "I got no clue. To make a lot of noise maybe, costumes are nice."
Katya, "They call it Gombey, I do not know why. It is a slave tradition. There is a version in New Orleans Mardi Gras, black people make an Indian tribe, with elaborate feather costumes. They parade around the city on Mardi Gras day."
Ellen, "Why do you know that?"
Katya, "We spent a lot of time in libraries and bookstores on the internet when we were children. Most of the time was on lessons, we never went to school. But sometimes just surf around. I must have seen it then."
A woman screams, "Hey! That kid stole my purse, stop him!"
The street is empty between the woman and the girls except for a skinny teenage boy running flat out towards them. Appears he figures three girls aren't going to do anything.
Katya and Katja appear to step apart, clearing the path for him. As he passes, Katja's foot extends and snaps his ankles. He flies face first to the asphalt. Katya steps on his wrist, he howls, she takes the purse.
He looks up at her, she removes her foot, he jumps up and tries to snatch the purse from her. Slow learner, Katja's fist meets his solar plexus with bad intent. He keels over gasping. This time a bit of prefrontal cortex kicks in and he takes off, bent over holding his gut.
The woman's had time to catch up, "Thanks so much, the little beggar. Why'd you let him go? He needs to be arrested."
Katya, "We are not police, and we do not want to stand around and talk to police.," she holds out the purse, "here."
The woman takes it, "Guess you're right, bunch of time giving a report, for a kid who probably has next to nothing. Still, doesn't make it right for him to be stealing."
The girls turn to leave, a crowd has gathered, the constabulary will be along soon.
Woman, "Can I give you a small reward? I don't know what else to do but say thanks again."
Katya, "Not necessary."
"Then let me buy you a drink, I need one myself, my heart's still racing."
She's with a friend, another middle aged woman. They find a pub with a view of the harbor, table on the balcony. The girls get beer, woman and friend order daiquiris.
Woman, "I'm Frieda, this is my friend Carole, we're having a get away from husband week. Cruise down here, just from Miami. We flew down from New Jersey. Where are you girls from?"
Ellen, "Phoenix. We wanted to see actual ocean, there isn't any in Arizona."
There's no particular reason to lie, but they don't know these women, so she moves home over a couple of states.
"Phoenix, never been, is it nice?"
Ellen, "Very well run, orderly, things work. Hot as hell in the summertime though. We generally bail in July and August. It starts to cool off around mid September. Never been on a cruise, how is it?"
Carole, "A nightmare. Boat's huge, rooms small. Food's good enough. God knows there's enough of it, a buffet practically twenty four hours a day. Bunch of oldies, retired baby boomers and up, like a geriatric ward."
Ellen laughs, "Think we can skip it."
Frieda, "We wanted to try it, it's not quite as bad as Carole makes out, and the view on deck is breathtaking. I'm okay with plopping on a deck chair and reading, or just looking, cocktail in hand, let the world go by. Carole needs to move around more, she must've done ten miles around the decks."
They've finished the beers, Frieda asks if they'd like another round, they decline.
Katya, "Thank you for the drink."
Frieda, "Oh my, thank you dear girl, you saved my vacation. My life is in that purse, cards, passport, drivers license and phone. Boy yanked it off my arm, broke the strap. Doesn't matter, you were both quite brave, he could have been violent."
Ellen smiles, the poor kid made the best choice, cut his losses and scram. Getting in Katya's face would have put him in the hospital.
They drive back to the Fairmont, Ellen, "That was fun, Katja near made him lose his lunch. Maybe he hadn't had lunch, why he stole the purse. Still, he coulda stole food from someplace, not rip a purse out of some woman's arm."
Katja, "He ees grab and run boy. Not hungry, just get cash, phone, credit card, scare people. When we were young, we steal from house, also take purse, but not grab off woman's arm. Katya distract wiz question, I take purse from chair or table. We take cash and maybe credit card, leaf license, phone, keys. We are nice thief, don't scare anyone."
Ellen giggles, "Amazed you got away with squatting in houses all those years."
Katja, "Glad to be out of it. Never can haf anything except what ees een backpack. Now we haf house, food in refrigerator, TV, computer, car, rowing machine, treadmill, own bed, hot girl to play with."
Ellen, "I'm a good part I hope."
Katya, "Top part, we would give up the rest before you."
Ellen's quiet, she swipes a finger under her eye, can't be crying and driving.
Vacation over, back in Houston it's chilly and damp. At Houston's latitude, winter is mid-December to mid-February, two or three days of thirty or forty, occasional freeze, followed by a few days of seventy. It rains frequently, a miniscule amount of snow every few years, some ice and hail.
Ellen, "Where's my blue water beach?"
Katja, "We will make more trip, relaxing for us, now we must work hard again."
Katya, "We have extra money, I do not want more shops, building we own is paying okay. We should decide, buy property or put in stock market."
Ellen, 'I don't know squat about either, whatever you think is good by me."
"I am studying investment. There is a way to own property that we cannot afford on our own. It is a stock, but has special benefit. Pays dividend and does not pay corporate tax. They buy big building, office, apartment complex, warehouse, any kind of commercial property. A REIT, real estate investment trust. And there is an index that has different REITs inside, for diversity. We get small dividend plus when property goes up in price, the stock is worth more. There are other index stocks, for small company, middle size, big, like General Electric or Microsoft. We will buy some of each index."
Ellen, "Don't it go up and down, like we could lose money?"
"Yes, I am only putting money we do not use for anything. We do not need a bigger house or swimming pool, better to keep a low profile. One day, we will want to get out of killing business maybe, just hang at donut shop, take trips. We will make investment for that."
Ellen, "I never thought I'd ever have extra money, money I wasn't gonna pay next month's rent with."
Katya, "Our retail building ees maybe half a million, we have a small mortgage, but only one hundred thousand. Donut shops pay us, I do not know what I could sell them for, but we are not selling them anyway. We have just about one million in cash, eight hundred in bank, the rest in safety deposit box, twenty or thirty in safe here at home."
Ellen, "What? Run that by me again, a million fuckin' dollars...in money?"
Katja, "Da. We do not anymore haf to steal purse."
Ellen blinks, "I guess not, damn, a million dollars."
Katya, "House is paid for, maybe three hundred from all our improvement, but we need a place to live, not selling it either. Our shooting house is worth a little, not that much."
Ellen, "Do you keep it, like at least on paper, divided up?"
Katya, "No, it is one third each."
Ellen, "That ain't right. You pay me a salary, why should I get a third?"
Katja, "Because we want it that way, donut shops and property belong to us, you have one third of cash."
Ellen shrugs, "Then I don't take no more salary. Not a dime. I can't be takin' money and you givin' me an equal share on top. You took the risk of bank loans, startin' the business, I just cook and clean. And don't say nothin', it ain't, isn’t, a discussion, no more pay."
Katya, "As you wish."
"Let's get goin' on the Japanese lessons, that stuff's hard. My English isn't that great, now I'm learnin' Russian and Japanese, I must be crazy."
Katja, "We do not haf you here for good English, we haf you for cooking and making sex. Also killing. Your Russian ees good, maybe not like native person, but anyway we are understanding you enough."
Ellen giggles, "Thank you sweetie, and for a clear job description, cooking and sex works for me. Which one you want right now?"
Katya, "First Japanese, one hour, then sex, then cook."
They move to the kitchen table, Ellen pours black tea, they listen, repeat, listen, repeat. Pimsleur doesn't let you think too long, you have to stay engaged, but you will learn the language. The girls have an advantage, they can practice what they've learned throughout the day. Katya picks it up instantly, she can coach when Katja and Ellen get stuck on a phrase. After a few months, they will be able to negotiate Japan for airlines, trains, restaurants, hotels and simple conversation. Business negotiation is an entirely different set of rules, what is too personal, nuances of pronunciation, slang and arcane meanings takes years, and best accomplished living in Japan. They aren't in it for that. They just want to be able to talk to each other without people understanding.
Why does it matter if the target is going to be dead anyway?
Good question. Sometimes there may be inadvertent witnesses, someone unknown in another room, an open phone line, better to have them think it was oriental assassins. They can discuss strategy in a coffee shop or store with little likelihood of being understood. People blank out when they don't understand a language.
Katya, "We will also disguise as Japanese, make eyes more oriental, hair will be dark or black, contact lens, glasses or sunglasses. People will see vaguely oriental, brain will turn it into completely oriental, particularly after they hear Japanese. Most people will not know it is Japanese, just Asian sounding."
Ellen, "Cool, I'll be like a samurai. I'm gettin' one a them black bandanas."
Katja, "First, you will take off clothes and give sisters sex."
"You two have the best priorities, can I watch Katya do you a little first, sets my perv brain boiling."
The twins are happy to re-fulfill Ellen's fantasy, they've been going at it with each other since before Ellen, and Katya jumps her sister even when Ellen's not around. Katja encourages her sister's attentions, flirts with her all the time. Snags a quick kiss, snuggles next to her on the couch, short t-shirt panty free, soap in the shower. What works particularly well is making out with Ellen in the kitchen. So far, it's never failed to get Katya on her knees doing both of them as they lean against the counter and kiss. 2incest + 1 = orgasmic fun.
Penny calls, "Had enough layoff?"
Katya, "Last job was three months ago, wondering if there was world peace."
Penny, "Nope, people still need conflict resolution. I had two inquiries but they balked at the price, I’m not doing cut rates. When can you take a ride over?"
"I'll be here."
Penny calls it conflict resolution. In a perverse way, it is. One party can't agree with another party, Katya shows up, conflict resolved. Not everyone is happy with the resolution, but the unhappy party doesn't complain.
Katya's having tea with Penny, "Orthodontist in West Covina, that's this side of Los Angeles. He was convicted of playing with his adolescent patients while they were sedated. I looked it up, the arrest was near four years ago. He spent twelve months in jail, out on probation, sex offender registry, the usual. Our client is a parent, paid ten grand for orthodontics and had his ten year old molested in the bargain. I didn't know braces cost that much, I looked that up too, she must have had the expensive non-metal ones, plus it's California."
Katya, "Photo of house, dentist, even his car. What's he do now?"
"Naturally he lost his license, he still does teeth, makes caps and veneers out of a small lab in Covina. He wasn't convicted in Covina, the events took place in Ventura, maybe seventy miles north. He relocated south when he got released."
Katya, "Any time frame?"
"Only ours, sooner he's dead, sooner we get the second half."
Katya scoots her scooter back to the house, covers the details.
"Fly in, rent a car, resolve conflict, fly home. Or we can maybe go to Santa Monica for a couple of days."
Ellen, "Can we go back to Shutters? Katya gets really horny in those suites."
Katja, "Make reservation, we will rent car, execute contract, go to Shutters."
Ellen, "How long?"
Katya, "Two nights, maybe fly in early enough to fix problem first, then to hotel."
Arrive nine thirty, Bob Hope airport in Burbank is closer to West Covina than LAX. Rent a car, outside the lab at quarter to eleven. He has two employees, one is part time, there are two cars in the small lot adjoining the building.
Ellen, "We gonna kill the helper?"
Katya, "Nyet. Maybe she goes to lunch, or he does. We will see."
At quarter to twelve, the door opens, a woman comes out and walks to one car. She fiddles with her hair, dabs on lipstick, finally pulls away.
Katja says to no one in particular, “Women never get in car and drive, or arrive and just get out. Always to fiddle with face, leepstick, hair, find phone, put phone away.”
Ellen giggles, “It’s true, I do that stuff, you guys just get in and go, get there and get out.”
It's a simple box building, the lab is the only tenant. Deliveries are usually impressions from the dentist, the lab uses them to make the veneer or crown, the finished product is delivered to the dentist. Those and supplies are the only visitors, the lab doesn't need a waiting room or even an office. Business is okay, some dentists have moved to in-office crowns. Take digital measurements of the stump, go to a computer, a machine makes the crown, like a 3D printer. Patients like it, no temp crown, in and out the same day. But there's still a market for outside reconstructive work, the sex offender can make a decent living. Nobody searches the registry for the guy who made their teeth, they don’t even know who he is.
Katya, "Let's go. Katja, stick with the car, we will be quick."
Katya and Ellen go inside. A man is hunched over a table, back to them. It's a simple long counter, four stools, the equipment to make both composite and porcelain teeth. There's a row of impressions labeled with the name of the dentist and a patient name and number. He didn't hear them come in.
Katya knocks on the wall, he turns and looks towards them, "Sorry, didn't hear you, can I help you?"
They need a look at him, be troublesome to shoot the wrong guy.
Ellen and Katya trade glances, simultaneous soft pops he doesn't have time to register. Two holes, one in his forehead, the other took an eye, then the rest of his brain. Katya does a quick check, he's carrying a bit under five hundred dollars, she pockets that, Ellen checks the rear door, it's locked, they lock the front on the way out.
Latex gloves and cheap wigs disappear in storm drains, Katya decided keeping the guns wasn't that risky. Dismantle them to ship via UPS. They box up the guns, then UPS boxes the box, they only ask about liquids and inflammables. Ship to their private mailbox in Houston. They can buy extra ammunition at any Wal-Mart. America is an assassin’s dreamland.
The arsenal at home has fifty or sixty handguns, a dozen rifles and six shotguns. Katya figures if they rotate them around, any one gun might get used for conflict resolution once every four or five years. The odds of connecting a bullet in LA to a gun in Houston aren’t worth calculating.
Check into Shutters, Ellen, "Sweet suite, man you gotta love this place."
Katja, "We will go to haf wine or cocktail, ees two already. Skip lunch maybe."
Ellen, "Let's go to James Beach for dinner, that place was good."
Katya, "First, clean gun, then go someplace."
They dismantle, oil, remove oil. Run a conical file down the barrels to alter the scoring on bullets.
Katya, "Probably unnecessary. Bullet fragments are almost always no good for matching to gun. Only a TV forensic fantasy."
Ellen, "Well, it don't hurt to be careful. Here, give that one to me, I'll stick 'em in our safe."
They travel with a small portable safe. Big enough for three pistols. They use it for hotels, any fool can get into the little room safes. Use a bicycle chain to secure it to something in the room or the trunk of the car.
They go to the Living Room, which is the open to the ocean casual, tables and couches. A bottle of white, plate of cheeses and salami to nibble.
Ellen, "This is perfect. Breeze off the ocean, just edge of tart wine, the cheese is super, what is it again?"
Katya, "That one is pecorino toscano, tastes peppery."
"Sure does, got a kick to it too."
"The other is cheddar, kind of sweet, like butter."
Katja is cutting a chunk of salami, adds it to one of the bread rolls, then a slice of the pecorino, a mini sandwich.
Ellen, "That looks good," she makes one for Katya, then herself, "bread's warm, yum."
While away an hour sipping wine, finish off cheese and salami, Katja says, "We are up today early, we will go to room and sister can make sex wiz us and a nap before cocktail time."
Ellen giggles, "Katya, Katja seems to have a request."
"Sister is only saying what I am thinking."
Ellen, "You two would never have to talk 'cept for me bein' around."
"Katja would talk to herself anyway, just as well you are there to hear it."
"I've learned when she's talking to me or to herself, well, mostly. Sometimes I answer, or ask a question. She has to stop and figure out why I'm babbling."
"She doesn't realize she's talking to herself, like when other people have a self conversation, but they don't have it out loud, it's just thoughts. Katja verbalizes her thoughts, but she doesn't hear herself."
Ellen, "What? She's talkin' but she don't know she's talkin'?"
Ellen, "I've heard her a lot, never occurred to me she didn't hear it too. That explains why she looks at me strange, she must think I'm reading her mind like you do."
Katja, "Nyet. I know when you say something that I am saying my thoughts. I haf to remember what I was thinking, or your answer doesn't make sense. Like if I say to myself, 'We are out of vodka almost.' Then you say, 'I will get some at the store later,' I wonder what you are telling me, then realize I must have said something, then haf to think of what I said."
"We finished everything, wine bottle's empty, how 'bout we get to the girl playground?"
And they do, start in the sitting area, wind up in bed, delicious intimacy followed by delicious nap. When Ellen wakes, only Katja is there, she gets up, Katya's in the balcony with a cup of black tea. She leans over and kisses the soft cheek.
"That was refreshing, slept just long enough so's I don't feel spacey."
Katya runs he her hand along Ellen's backside, then down her leg, "Perfect body."
Ellen, "Awww, thanks, don't got much in the boob department."
"Enough, sisters are not big either, better. I never understand fascination with big breast, floppy bag of fat."
Ellen, "It's a guy thing, which don't mean nuthin' to us."
Ellen takes Katya's empty cup, "Want more?"
"Nyet, enough, I will get sister, time now for vodka."
Katja comes along yawning, "Tea first."
Ellen makes her a cup, steep for five minutes, no sugar, no milk, "Here you go sweetie," leans in, kisses her forehead, "sooo cute, my adorable bookends."
She pours chilled vodka in shot glasses, hands one to Katya, " k krasote," (to beauty), Katya raises her glass, " k krasote," they shoot the shot.
Ellen, "Damn, smooth as twins, I must be turnin' Russian."
Katja, "Maybe, tall girl, beautiful like famous Russian model."
"Ya think I could be in a magazine, or walk a runway?"
Katja, "Da, but no time for magazine runaway, you are for taking care of us."
"Best job, plus I get to shoot people, how fuckin’ awesome is that?"
Ellen, "This college thing isn’t working, I'm not goin' back after Christmas."
Halfway through freshman year, sort of, she was only part time. Pretty good with conversational Russian and getting better in Japanese. She's persistent, tries on phrases with the twins all the time. She stumbles less, and the girls are eternally patient with her. The twins are unflappable, partly their innate temperament, the rest from their early years living in vacant houses and educating themselves in libraries and wifi hotspots.
Ellen looks at her girls, they stare, blank as gray sky, she giggles, "Guess if I'm waiting for an argument hell will freeze over."
Katya, "We never go to any school in America, you don't want to go, don't go. Not our business."
Ellen, "I’m makin' money with you guys, not likely to need a BA for a career in, what's she call it?...conflict resolution."
Katja, "You haf more to learn in languages. You are good cook, maybe go and learn more cooking."
Ellen brightens, "Hey, that's a cool idea. I gotta look up one of them schools, must be something in Houston."
Ellen drops out, signs up at Culinary Institute LeNotre for the Elite Diplôme de Cuisine, a course for beginners that covers a huge variety of topics and techniques. She's near giddy with anticipation.
"I'm gonna make you guys the best stuff, this is gonna be so great. Katja, you put the idea in my head, thank you."
"Better first to see eef you enjoy. You are right, I look at website, they haf good credential, people were nice when you sign up. If you are into it, we will expand keechen and get best equipment. Program ees one year, after six month, we will see."
"What if there's work, and I got class?"
Katya, "You will go to class. You are learning to cook for yourself and for us. We can handle work."
Ellen, "I live in a dream, all causa you two."
Katja, "Always seetiment girl. We are happy for you to be with us Ellen. You haf done your part always, never one complaint. No argue, no secret, reliable. Now just only go to learn cooking. You still haf to take care of house. We haf business to run."
"I'm not gonna miss a trick, I got my cleanin' routines down."
"And maybe we will order out more for a while. Ees okay, we can try lots of places. You will not go to classes and cook then come home and cook. Anyway, every store haf prepared food, just heat up."
Ellen, "Class starts day after tomorrow. I'll make us fried catfish, baked beans and mac and cheese tomorrow night."
"What ees tonight? No, we will go out, have fun Mexican dinner, celebrate wiz frozen tequila cocktail, come home and fuck you wiz strapping on."
Ellen laughs into her hand, she's so adorably hot Katya wonders if she can wait that long, decides to exercise restraint and settles for a long kiss.
Ellen, "Preliminaries for the main bout later, ya'll hungry, lemme look up some spots," she clicks around on her phone.
"Hugo's is top rated, but the menu looks fancy, maybe we'll try it for brunch or something. Here's one, Pico's Mex-Mex, lotsa variety, upscale dishes plus more traditional, can we try that one?"
Hour and a half, two frozen margaritas each and an empty plate of nachos, Katya says, "Good spot, everything fresh."
Entrees come with cold Dos Equis, broiled sea bass in a seafood broth with acelgas, which is chard, a leafy green vegetable, mussels, clams and shrimp. A second order of roasted pulled pork and chicken stacked between fresh corn tortillas with melted cheese, tomato chipotle sauce.
After nachos, two entrees are plenty.
Katja, "Ees gud, I am still in tequila mood, a shot and another beer."
Katya is tapping her phone, "They serve Jimador, which switched most of the line to less than a hundred percent agave. They have one, añejo, we will have that one."
Ellen is getting giggly, "What a world, find out about tequila on a phone while sitting in a Mexican restaurant."
Skip dessert, time to go, Ellen isn't plastered, but she isn't driving either. Katja takes the wheel, navigates home without incident.
In bed, in nothing, Ellen is servicing Katya, switches to Katja, then the twins alternate screwing her silly with her favorite vibrating latex pals.
Ellen, "God I love to fuck, I can take another go."
Katya spins her over, pushes knees under and takes Ellen anally, Ellen's head between Katja's tight thighs, licking the luscious. She and Katja simulmax, the strap-on disengages and hits the floor, girls wrap each other up and catch their breath.
Ellen, "Now that's how to get fucked!"
She climbs out of bed, takes the toys for cleaning. After everyone refreshes, they pile into Ellen's bed together, cuddle snuggle and drift off.
It's Sunday morning, "I gotta find fresh fish for tonight, I got the rest here already," she's stacking scrambled eggs with cream cheese on the twins plates, buttery grits and multigrain toast.
"After our dinner, I didn't go crazy for breakfast, is it enough?"
Katja, "Da, plenty, eat, I will go to find feesh wiz you. Sister ees to make quick pass of shops, everyone home for working out, we will skip lunch. Light fighting only, you haf first class tomorrow, can no go in beat up."
By one, they're all back home, in sweats, the big boxing gloves, headgear. They alternate three minute rounds, break for a couple in between. The point isn't to learn boxing strategy. Rather to learn to get hit, keep going, build quick reflexes and stay in shape. Running, rowing or cycling is one thing. Taking punches, trying to avoid getting smashed while delivering punishment is different. Like shooting paper targets versus shooting while someone shoots back.
Katja is the toughest, but not by much. Katya took her share of maternal punishment as a child, until Katja fooled her mother into thinking she was Katya, then she got it. For all Ellen's mother's faults, she wasn't physically abusive. Ellen has the least experience in getting hit. She learns tough by taking punishment. It's interesting to the twins, Ellen hangs in, to and past the point of masochistic, it pains and excites her.
In the final round, Katja clocks her and knocks her down, nearly out. She has to sit, leaning against Katya until the fog clears. Katja brings an icy towel, wipes her face and hangs it around her neck.
Ellen, "That was great, Katja's got a left hook like a welterweight, fast and hard, almost took my damn head off."
Katja, "You are tough girl, we kick ribs, stomach, we will be sore. Lay down, we haf to ice up or you will haf hard first day at cooking class."
Katja goes off to ice up wet hand towels, bottle of aspirin and cold water.
"We need to get frozen bag for icing, not so drip all over. I will find tomorrow," she puts an icy towel on her cheek, "sister bash my nose good, ees no broken, maybe swell."
Katya stands and pull off her shirt, her ribcage is bruised, not black, but dark, "From Ellen's foot, she has a good kick, I need ice for this one," she goes off for another towel full, brings back a big bowl of ice.
“Good thing we have a separate ice maker, what the refrigerator makes would be gone.”
Ellen, "I musta kicked the heavy bag a thousand times, that roundhouse thing we worked on, plus the sidekick, I can really get the bag dancing with that one."
Katja, "Best kick for breaking knee or ankle, eef man haf weight on foot, ankle can snap wiz only six pounds of pressure. Side keek wiz heel ees much more. Better to just shoot, but we do not carry always gun, only for conflicting resolute."
Katya, "Conflict resolution sister."
Ellen, "I kinda like her cute way of saying it," she kisses Katja, then Katya, an equal opportunity kisser.
They add fresh ice as it melts, lay still until all the parts are suitably frozen, pass around the aspirin bottle. In just under an hour, starting to feel mobile.
Katja, "Move to couch, we will watch TV until time for cocktail."
After vodka, Ellen delivers on fried catfish, baked beans and mac and cheese, frozen mugs of Sapporo accompany. Comfortably full and nicely swizzled, the wander off to bedrooms. The twins have to be up early, Ellen has her first day of cooking school.