Two weeks pass, Harry Childers calls Amaya, “Childers here, you’ve done it this time, my screenwriters are stonewalled.”
Amaya, “That hard to turn into a screenplay?”
“No, they don’t want to leave out any scenes. Suppose we throw the dice and make it three hours and change, with an intermission. The theaters will love it, another chance to sell overpriced junk food.”
“Flattering. What is the budget looking like?”
“Not there yet, under thirty, more like twenty five I think, even with the extra time, ballpark. Matt and Chloe working for scale?”
“Chloe is, have not asked Matt, he has, what, ten minutes of screen time?”
“Something like that.”
“I will talk to him over the next couple of days.”
“Good then, I take it you’re okay with the extended version?”
“Sure, people can always leave if they get bored.”
“Amaya, my people were up half the night reading the book, every couple minutes I’d hear, ‘fuck me that’s good,’ or a belly laugh, they started reading each other passages. This film is going to give new meaning to glued to their seats.”
“How splendid. The idea of two sets of identical twins was almost over-inspiring. I terrorized my Word doc, had a hundred pages of mind dump in two and a half days.”
“Whatever you did, it worked. Oh, I found a girl to play the young twins, she’s gonna do both, miracle of the digital age and you don’t get more identical than the same person.”
“Both sets of twins are deadly serious.”
“Dasha has a playful side, I don’t know Katya or her sister, I picked the girl based on the photos and video you sent. Dmitrievna could be a younger sister.”
“Send me a photo please. I am good with your judgment, just want to have an early peek.”
“I’ll do it, talk soon.”
After tea, Amaya recaps her conversation with Childers, “And I talked to Matt, he said scale is not a problem. We are taking an unusual approach, Chloe and Matt will be listed in the credits, but not in any ads, theater posters or appear in the trailer. We think it will be a nice bit of surprise to have them show up in the movie unannounced so to speak. The surprise will only last the first day, they will be mentioned in the reviews no doubt.”
Nikko, “You might want to think that over. A lot of buzz is generated during pre release, talk shows, Chloe’s fan page. The shows like Chloe and Matt to show up, instant ratings boost. You get Chloe, two sets of twins and the young girl making the rounds, we have a winner before anyone sees the movie.”
Amaya, “Duh, I must have had a brain blackout. The way to handle it is to be transparent. Matt and Chloe will be upfront, they have roles, more than a cameo, but character roles. I did sprinkle them in several scenes, it is not five minutes of one scene then they disappear. Chloe is about nine or ten total, Matt the same, they are only in one scene together and that’s a phone conversation.”
“Ten minutes is hardly cameo, you could bill them and not be dishonest. Jennifer Lawrence had less than fifteen in American Hustle and she was everywhere in the ads.”
“Food for thought, I will talk it over with Childers, and Matt’s troubleshooter Claudia has a good sense of these things.”
I’m out of my depth when it comes to marketing machinations, Nikko has a nose for business, we’ve made three films now on our nickel and they’ve all done well.
Chloe has appeared in a half dozen others, one or two indie, the rest studio. She commands big bucks from studios, and she gets them, but we’re stinking rich, her film earnings generally go to the Sylk Trust. She gets a tax deduction, the Trust gets fatter, Chloe never does. Her net worth as part of Murakami Sylk is a couple hundred million, plus modeling gigs and Chloe Couture. Ten million for making a film is pocket change.
In bizarre Hollywood economics, Chloe can command big money because she doesn’t need it. She doesn’t have to support an entourage or an agent, nor pay for a mega mansion in Beverly Hills. Actors who do often take roles they may not think much of for salaries that help pay the mortgage but little for their career cred. Then they get tattooed with being part of a mediocre or failed project. Hollywood death spiral.
Amaya, “Geez, Dmitrievna could be young Katya, look.”
She had a photo on her tablet, the young lady is perfect for the role. She resembles Katya and Katja, allowing for natural changes through puberty and growth. We don’t know about her acting credentials, but we don’t know about the twins’ either. In the preceding movies, Dasha and Daria played themselves for the most part. Dasha lost much of her accent, Daria added some Slavic slant. Katya has no strong accent, Katja has some, less than Dasha. Dasha plays hers for effect, people love it, me in particular.
“Cocktails in twenty, dinner is meatloaf, brown gravy, garlic mashed and green beans.”
Dasha made a veg version meatloaf for Janah and Oceane, separate pot of green beans. Our family version has bacon and ham pieces cooking down with the beans all day, hardly vegetarian. We have a veg gravy as well, Worcestershire, soy sauce, vegetable broth, butter and flour, simmer and stir, brown gravy emerges.
Sloane, “Yay, meatloaf and mashed,” she’s sniffing the air, meatloaf cooling on the counter.
Dasha, “Feex vodka Sloane, I am mushing potato.”
Sloane pours a shot of Russian Standard from the freezer into an acrylic double shot glass icy from the same freezer.
“Nyet, straight for now, spasibo.”
“Moye udovol'stviye,” (my pleasure)
“You are learning, maybe get job at Moscow Reetz Carleton.”
“Oceane teaches me, sometimes Daria if I catch her in the workshop.”
“Go and get Oceane and Cassandra, time to get out of room and join regular world.”
Sloane giggles, “They were swimming all morning, I brought them fruit and cheese and they napped a little. Oceane spent the afternoon drawing and Cassie levitated.”
“Da, then Cassandra can levitate to table and eat gud dinner, we do not haf room servicing in our Reetz Carleton.”
Sloane races off to collect the aliens, then she’s back filling two wine glasses. Oceane and Cassie float down the circular staircase and over to spots at the end of the table, Sloane sets the glasses in front of them.
They sip, Oceane says, “Wine feels slick soft, lemony. It wants our attention.”
Amaya, “You want our attention moonbeam. What have you been doing up in your luxury cave, you and the other moonbeam?”
Oceane smiles gently, she does everything gently, she can do a triple off the high board gently, the water seems to part for her when she slips in, to envelop her, welcoming her sylph self home.
“Cassandra can fly.”
Amaya, “Sheesh, what will you dream up next? I am perfect in every way and even I cannot fly, not without an assist from Blue Sky.”
Sloane, “She can’t fly, but she can lift off the bed and hover like the drones, look,” she pulls out her phone and shows Amaya a photo, Cassie is in the air cross legged over Ocean’s bed.
“So you know Photoshop, big deal.”
Sloane passes the phone around, Eloise says, “It’s not faked, I saw her myself.”
Dinner done, watched a bit of Cracker, an old BBC program about a fat, alcoholic, obnoxious, self absorbed, chain smoking psychologist. He spends the bulk of his bulk arguing with everyone, but he gets inside the heads of the psychos and helps the cops sort out the case. They hate him and need him, like a wife dependent on a wealthy husband she can barely stand, she hates her life but craves her lifestyle.
Janah and I are in bed, “What do you make of Cassie?”
“The children are moving beyond us, Daria and her insane qi, Chloe a Sensitive, now Oceane and Cassie. We set an example, never assume limits, telepathy, telekinesis, qi, surrounded them. Perhaps they simply assume more is possible, or nothing is impossible, we don’t discourage.”
“Don’t say a thing can or cannot be done, find out.”
“Along with intention, it’s been our guiding principle.”
Oceane comes in, sits on the bed next to Janah, “Sloane and Cassandra are waiting for you.”
Janah smiles, rolls out of bed, she’s already sans apparel, the door closes behind her.
Oceane is sans as well, she lays in Janah’s spot, “Warm,” she pulls me to her, soft kisses, then she guides my head to the area she wants attended to.
I do tai chi style, slow, creeping tongue. You get a shot at Oceane, you take your sooo sweet time with it. Like sipping Gosset, you don’t chug it like a Russian thug.
I wake to find her loveliness still curled into me, maybe I’ll never get out of bed again.
I sense a presence, Dasha is staring down at me, “You cannot stay een bed wiz peerfect Oceane forever, you will come to make breakfast now Dahfoney.”
Oh well, she goes off, I move to the bathroom for morning rituals, kiss sleeping Oceane’s silky cheek on the way to the kitchen.
Dasha, “Something for tweens today, blini, caviar, smoked feesh. I also make already Miso zoup, we will be internationally breakfast.”
“Good, not too complicated,” she has the soup simmering already and the blini batter mixed, I’m touched, she didn’t need me to help with breakfast, she wanted me with her.
“You will set table, feex caviar, zour crim, feesh, caper, chop ohnyon fine. When fahmahley shows up, I will make blini.”
First up, Janah and Sloane. Janah went to Sloane’s room nude, she’s still nude now.
“Yummy, blini, I’m going to find a t-shirt, is there tea?”
I pour her a cup while she kisses Sloane, clearly the evening evolved salaciously, I know Janah’s look of sexual satiation.
Sloane and Cassie are my adopted daughters, not that we care about technicalities, but I don’t do intimacies with either. Chloe took my last name, but Janah and I were named guardians until she was of age. I do have intimate relations with Chloe, as does Janah.
Nikko and Zi appear, “Miso soup, blini, smoked salmon, nice change.”
“Dasha felt international, perhaps tomorrow full English.”
Zi, “I’ve heard the term, what is it exactly?”
“Eggs, poached, fried or scrambled, fried tomato and mushrooms, fried bread or toast, butter, sausages and baked beans.”
Amaya comes from her bedroom, “Sounds like Chloe heaven, fried everything, she could eat it and nothing happens, I eat it and turn into a gelatinous mass of blubber yuck.”
Sloane, “Make it tomorrow mom, I want to see Amaya turn into a Kardashian.”
“You are a cretin, tranny.”
Sloane laughs, “Amaya forced to dress in double digits, fourteen, plus size, English breakfast size? A Trump rump,” she spreads her arms wide, “she’s going to be Huge!”
We’re laughing, Amaya huffs but it doesn’t take, she’s laughing too, dabbing at her eyes with a napkin.
“Shut up and pass the blini, fang.”
After breakfast, girls move along to projects, it’s Monday and our businesswomen go off to do whatever it is they do. All I know is they keep piling up money.
I’m scrubbing the floor in Nikko and Zi’s bathroom when Janah taps into my head.
“I didn’t mention it at breakfast, Daria tracked down mindthief, he’s in Chicago. You aren’t going on any Shadow missions just yet, that means I’m not either.”
“I’m fine, we can go.”
“I’ll be the judge of that, you’re the security officer, I’m the health officer, you’re grounded for another month. The twins can handle it, but to cover all contingencies, I’m going to ask Katya and Katja to meet them in Chicago.”
“I suppose, but they’re just going to stick a dart in the guy, Eloise can do that.”
“I want to send a message, no drone, no Oblivion. I want one of them to destroy this asshole, beat him to death, blow him up or melt him.”
“Katya will just shoot him.”
“Fine, but I want Shadows to know we have lots of options, they are never safe. One of the four will video the death and post it on that frigging chat room they have going. We’re going ISIS on their asses.”
“ISIS beheads, perhaps Chloe or Nikko should go.”
“Maybe next time.”
As so it is that this evening, between tea and cocktails, Janah and I are on a call with Katya and Katja, our twins on with us.
Janah, “That’s the mission, are you in?”
Katya, “Da, you want him to be an example, we will make him an example, ne problema.”
“He’s been the most aggressive, that could be Shadow bluster, or he’s confident because he’s good. Assume he’s good, really good. If he’s nothing but talk, okay, he’s still dead, just less trouble.”
Katja, “Does not anyway mahter, twins will kill him, he is no better than nine millimeter. If he is, we will use two bullets, maybe whole clip.”
“When can you go?”
“Our time is our own, text us Blue Sky departure time, we will meet Dasha and Daria in Chicago. They will have hotel information I assume.”
“Yes, but I don’t want two private jets landing with two young women at the same time. Dasha and Daria will get in before you and do reconnaissance. There will be a car for you at the airport, I’ll include accommodations in the flight text. They will have a suite, no need for separate rooms for you, you will be ghosts, just go to the suite. Disguise reasonably, no twins, fake ID, usual procedure.”
Katja, “Eto budet khorosho , chtoby nashi krasivyye sestry, do tekh por.”
(It will be good to see our beautiful sisters, until then.)
Dasha, “Do svidaniya angely.”
How sweet, and deadly.
Our twins fly off at nine, two hours in the air, an hour time zone pickup, into O’Hare for ten. Tahoe SUV for a seventeen mile drive to Sonesta Suites in Schaumburg.
Dasha, “Not like luxury hotel, but full kitchen, two bed suite, two full bath, enough room for all of us.”
Daria, “Janah said there was slim pickings, we could have stayed in downtown Chicago, but we are not here for playing around. Easier to find Shadow in his own neighborhood. His place is four miles from here.”
They brought the drone for surveillance purposes and the poison if things get complicated.
“We will check out Shadow’s place, maybe to store for vodka and dinner tonight. Better to have dinner in the room, visit with sisters without restaurant hassle.”
Her sat phone dings, it’s Katya, “We have landed, looks like a half hour drive, da?”
“Da, we were just going to see Shadow house, instead we will wait, you have hotel information?”
“Phone has GPS, sister is looking it up now.” she clicks off.
Half hour later, knock on the door, kisses to both cheeks, no smiley faces. Our double duplicates don’t operate in happyville. Still, there has been a kinship since they first met in St. Martins a few years ago, nobody understands twins like twins.
Katja, “We will go now to see target house?”
“Sure, you ate on the plane?”
“Da, we are not hungry, food is good on Blue Sky. We had smoked salmon, caviar, three egg omelet and French bread.”
“Janah made reservations, we had the same.”
They take the black Tahoe, Katya and Katja have a maroon Altima. Better to have two cars if they get into extended surveillance, for now they’re just going to check out the house and surrounding neighborhood.
Daria, “Forgot to ask, you switch license plates?”
“Yes, Arkansas, we have never been to Arkansas. New Orleans has tourists, Ellen steals out of state plates once in a while, keeps us supplied.”
“Shadow lives at 2112, ah, three houses down on the right, you see it?”
“Nothing fancy, van in the drive is four or five years old, Janah told us Shadows keep a low profile.”
Dasha, “They are happy to screw with people, make trouble, steal money, but ees not about getting to be rich person, only to make people suffer.”
Katja pulls her Glock from the shoulder holster under her jacket, “We will anyway kill him, you have a gun Dasha?”
“Nyet, no guns, but Janah haf change mind for Shadow. Dahfoney got hurt last time. She had to confront to get him out of his house, he sent her flying over balcony, fracture breast bone. It is anyway healed, but it bothered Janah enough to allow for gun wiz only Shadow. Dahfoney will not use gun, sisters will learn shooting, we do not mind how we kill asshole.”
“We have a range outside Houston, you will come and we will teach you to shoot, clean gun, about ammunition, how to shoot rifle, everything. We have many guns, over one hundred now, you can take what you like. Glock is best for close work, we make silencers for them and flash suppressor for our rifles, which also cuts down noise.”
Dasha, “If you haf time, we can go after this job. Soon we are all going to make movie in Hollywood. We keel many persons in movie, only not for real.”
Katya, “Ellen and the others can come over, Ellen is best with rifle and will teach you.”
Dasha, “I will be good rifle shot, then make sex wiz girls.”
A tall slim balding man with black rim glasses comes out of the house, beak of a nose, looks like a hawk. He appears to be late thirties or early forties.
Daria, “Shadow is going to his car, a man from the house anyway, I have to be closer to see if he is the Shadow,” she cranks the engine, lets him back out and head down the street, then she pulls away and follows.
Daria, “We just came from airport, he is going to airport.”
They follow from a distance, his beige van is easy to spot. He’s got a phone in his ear as he takes the arrivals ramp, pulls to the curb. A middle aged chunky brunette with a roller suitcase opens the side door, loads the case, slides it shut and gets in the passenger seat. A reverse trip to his house, he stops for gas at the exit to his subdivision. He’s out fiddling with the pump, Chunk goes inside the Circle K.
Daria, “Good. Now we find out if he is a Shadow.”
She parks the Tahoe in front of the store and rolls down the window. The man walks towards the store.
Daria senses his qi, his aura is black, “This one is a Shadow, now, what about the woman? We cannot sit here doing nothing, Dasha, go in and buy a soda or something.”
The woman comes out alone carrying a cup of coffee, she glances towards the Tahoe but doesn’t appear to pay it much attention, walks on to the van.
“That one too. I did not see anything in their chat room about a meeting.”
Katya, “Must have done it by phone, text or email. Might not have wanted the others to know. You have a name for him?”
“Da, at least who the car is registered to, Elian Mumford. Shadows steal identities, he could be anybody. He lives in a house, but it is rented. No idea who she is. One of the chat room screen names is psychosexy, fat girls like to think they are sexy.”
Our twins don’t know from PC, they say what they think.
Katja, “What now?”
Dasha, “We keel, you haf already gun.”
“Where do we take them, at the house?”
Daria, “Janah wants it messy, and not with dart unless there is no other option. I can deal with one, not two.”
Katya, “Sarah is immune to Shadow, I do not know about sister and me. Can they take your mind?”
“Nyet, my qi is strong, sister as well. We overcome them, but it is tiring if it goes on too long. Both Shadows are dark, their power will not be so simple to crush.”
Katja, “You and Dasha wait outside house, no, wait, you are like us, talk in your head, right?”
“Then Dasha and I will go to the back door, you and Katya knock on the front door. When the door opens, you know what to do.”
Mumford and his guest psycho are out of the car, he opens the front door, she follows, her case rolling obediently behind her.
Daria drives the neighborhood, it’s just dusk and she prefers to handle this when it’s dark. The second car is at the hotel, she figures it’s better to move than sit parked.
“Dasha, watch,” Katya and Katja screw the silencers on their Glocks, pull the slide and chamber a bullet, “Glocks don’t have external safeties, there are three internal ones which are released when the trigger is fully depressed. Avoids problems if they’re dropped or banged up against something hard.”
Dasha nods, “Ees seemple.”
They cruise until seven, sun’s long gone and it’s cloudy. Dasha opens a satchel and pulls out a small dish attached to a pistol grip.
Katja, “What is that?”
“For listening, Eloise improved its sensitivity, it records as well.”
Daria stops a block down from the house, “ Give me the dish, if you can get around back without being seen, good, if not, just come back. We do not have to finish this tonight and we do not want them on alert. Let me see if I can pick up conversation from here.”
She slips on the headphones, points the dish at the house, tunes it in and listens.
“They are talking about how they learned, one in China, the other from someone in America. Let them talk for a while, maybe we find out about more Shadows.”
House on the right has a privacy fence, good, eliminates one potential witness. The house on the left has a chain link fence, uh oh, and a dog.
Daria, “Wait Dasha, walk the sidewalk and see if it barks.”
She hops out and strolls along the fence, no bark, in fact he puts paws on the fence looking for a pat.
Dasha scratches behind his ears, couple of taps on his head, “Good boy.”
Happy, he lowers and runs to the back of the house. She hears a dog door open and snap shut, it’s quiet.
“Dog ees no a problem, send Katja.”
They ease down the side with the privacy fence, there’s a frosted glass window that’s obviously a bath, then light from a window at the rear right. Dasha peeks in, it’s the kitchen. Mumford is pouring Jack Daniels into two glasses, clinks in a few ice cubes and carries them out. She can just catch the edge of a couch, he’s handing a glass to the woman, only her hand visible. He raises his glass, says something, takes a sip and plops in a chair across from her.
“Having a drink, a terrorist business meeting.”
Katja, “Da. Maybe let them drink first, they will be fuzzy, slow reflexes.”
“Good,” she mentals Daria, “Having drinks, we think to wait until they finish one, make them relax.”
“Nyet, come back, we will record them for a while, they are discussing possible attacks. Janah will want to know what they are talking about.”
Dasha motions to Katja, they return to the Tahoe.
“Dasha, put a tracker on his car. If they decide to leave, we could come back to an empty house.”
She clicks on the Spark Nano, slides it in the magnetic case, sticks it on the bumper strut and returns to the car. They record for an hour, to Whole Foods for roast chicken and a couple of sides, a supermarket for a bottle of Russian Standard.
At the hotel suite listening while they eat.
Mumford, “We need to get serious, fucking priests tracked down three of the others. Good thing we made phone contact and got more than screen names, we would never have known what happened to them.”
The woman is Darla Dawkins, “How in hell did they know where to find them? We’re on anonymous browsers buried in the dark web.”
“Not dark enough, they have good tech people somedamnplace. Only a matter of time until they find us.”
“Fuck them, I can smell a Shaolin a mile away.”
“Don’t be stupid Dawkins, they’re using dart rifles, those things are good for fifty yards, you can’t sense a priest that far away. My range is maybe fifteen yards, some of us can’t spot a Shaolin standing next to them.”
“The less talented deserve to die. I’ve killed two priests, dumb fucks with no sense of us, it was almost too easy.”
Mumford, “Yeah? What’d you do?”
“I made one walk straight out into traffic, threw him under the bus with my mind so to speak. I snapped the neck of the second.”
“Never had the pleasure, sure like to get my mind inside the ones stalking us. Which brings me to the point, any ideas about what the fuck to do?”
“Bring them to us, like we’ve been talking about. The other pussies expect some sort of miracle. If you hadn’t figured out one of the chat participants was a mole, we’d still be on the web revealing our location. I had to bail on my place and move.”
“Changed my mind on attracting them, we’d have to create a sizable mess, then outsmart them before they realize it. I’m junking this joint next week, leaving the city too, the state. Tired of frozen winters anyway.”
“Where you going?”
“Haven’t decided, pack up shit in the van and drive, south for sure. I’ll roam for a while, easy to get free hotel rooms, food, fleece a few citizens for cash.”
“Christ, that’s not a half bad idea. Exactly what I’m gonna do, think I’ll be a California girl.”
“You’re too fat to be a California girl.”
“That’s not what the boys I pick up think. Those ripe cherries think they’re fucking a fourteen year old cheerleader.”
Burst of laughter.
“I’m into twelve to fifteen year old boys, what’s your perversion?”
“Strangely enough, the same thing, although I’ve dived as deep and eight and nine, they’re so smooth at that age.”
Dawkins, “Still, I’d like to off more Shaolin, two made me hungry for more.”
“Fuck, it just hit me, how stupid. We don’t do anything to make them come to us, we go to them. Hang outside their temples and pick one, drive to another city, same thing. Dead priest of the month club.”
“Genius, and not just kung fu students, it has to be a real Shaolin monk.”
“Kung fu students don’t have the vibe of a real monk, I can tell ‘em apart. I do weird mean shit, but offing people for the fun of it ain’t my thing. Better to watch a hot mom eat out her pretty daughter, or suck off sonny. Best is to get mom to give me her young son and he sucks my dick while she watches.”
“You are a fuck, fucker.”
Daria clicks off the recorder, Dasha collects the plates and stacks them in the dishwasher, leftovers in the refrigerator.
It’s going on nine thirty, girls go to shower, then Katya and Daria pair off in one bedroom, Dasha and Katja the other. Erotic intimacies ensue.