Forty Nine

The twins are in Houston, Katja is running the circuit of shops, Katya goes to collect.
Penny, “Job go okay? I haven’t seen jack on the news, guess I should check local papers, but what will I find out, a guy got shot? You did shoot him?”
“Yes, I do not want to get into strangulation, or a knife to the throat. Gun kills with a little distance. You said a woman paid, the target was gay.”
“How’d you find that out? Never mind, I don’t need to know. Probably an ex-wife who didn’t take it well. He look like money?”
“Nyet, small house in common neighborhood, two year old car, an Infiniti mid range, maybe he had more than he lived like. Only had a hundred cash on him.”
“Lots of people don’t carry cash anymore, there are criminals who will take it.”
“I am criminal, but I take money and cards to make it seem like a common robbery.”
Penny hands her an envelope, “Here’s your end. I got a call with an interest, they got stuck on the price, he said he had to work on it. He’s got thirty, not fifty.”
“If he wants it, he will find twenty more, or he can try some street punk who will screw it up or rat on him.”
“That’s pretty much what I told him, we left it open. I don’t even know who he wants dead. I did give him the disclaimer, a cop or a name is twice as much. He said it was nobody like that.”
Katya, “Call when there’s something to call about,” slides the packet in her pocket, hops on the Vespa and goes home.
Katja is still visiting shops, “Where are you?”
“Number three, you coming here?”
“No reason to, I will check four so you can skip it, see you at home.”

Shops are fine, like Ellen said, they have video feed. Still, it’s better for the owners to show a face. They have learned to compliment, nothing that comes naturally to the twins. Morale is good, the girls have fun working, chat up the customers, celebrate birthdays, dress for Halloween, Christmas and Easter. Free donut for any kid with an A on the report card, simple pleasantries that customers line up for.
They have an afternoon to kill, kill it by Katya giving Katja an orgasm with her talented tongue, and finish off with Katja strapping up and doing Katya.
They zone out for half an hour, hear vodka calling from the freezer.
While Katya pours shots, Katja calls Ellen in New Orleans, “What ees happen?”
Ellen, “I went to the school, found the jobs people and filled out stuff. They post it on a website. The phone rang before I got home, I’m seeing three girls tomorrow. One doesn’t have transportation. I told them we have parking here, but they gotta get to and from school. The bus system her sucks, particularly down Elysian Fields, then they have to walk here. There’s too much rain, hot in summer.”
Katja, “You will cover rules, maybe that will discourage some.”
“Yeah, no boys, no parties, no smoking, no dope. No pals come by to pee at Mardi Gras or any other time. This is a job, they can’t do that stuff if they work at McDonalds. I gave them that part over the phone. I don’t want to interview and find out they think they’re getting a free Mardi Gras hangout for their pals. When we’re gone, we have the floors video monitored and we check it.”
Katja, “Okay, good enough. Shops are fine, girls happy, sister got our money. We will stay for two days, work in shops, fly back Friday.”
“What if I find a good prospect, for the housekeeping thing?”
“Ees up to you Ellen, you like, hire her.”
Ellen grins, she loves it that the girls put so much trust in her. They took her in, made her rich, shared generously, stay all over her and gave her something else she loves, killing people.
Two days of Katya Donut, then flight back to New Orleans, Ellen’s there waiting.
“Hey babies, welcome, only gone four days and I miss you.”
Katja, “You haf hire girl?”
“Adorable little Thai bundle of energy. Sweet as praline candy, only a freshman., plus she thinks I’m gorgeous, her exact words, ‘I can work for gorgeous movie star.’
Katja, “She knows rules?”
“Yep, none of them cared, they’ll do anything to get out of a dorm. They were all nice girls, too bad we don’t have a donut shop here. UNO is kind of a commuter school, but they have a fair number of kids who come from elsewhere. Her parents got busted in Thailand, bad news, drug charges. Dad died in prison, mom isn’t getting out anytime soon. She’s been in the states since fourth grade. Lived with an aunt in Mississippi, got a scholarship to UNO. Family doesn’t have money. Her aunt is some kind of home care person, I didn’t get the impression she’s like a nurse or anything.”
“Has she been to the house?”
“No, coming this afternoon.”
“She has a car?”
“Scooter, like yours.”
They get settled in, Ellen has lunch ready, simple cold cuts, slaw, chips.
“They feed you on the flight?”
Katja, “Da, but we said only black tea and yogurt. Ees short flight, no reason for beeg production.”
After lunch, Katya is upstairs on a laptop, Katja outside fiddling with the few plants they have around, Ellen repots one.
“Gettin’ too big for that pot. We can get more plants now, have someone to look after them when we’re gone. Be nice to have a buncha colors in the courtyard. I’m gonna get us lavender for sure, smells so luscious.”
The doorbell chimes, Ellen answers, “Hi there, take the scooter around the side, I’ll open the gate.”
She putts around the corner, pulls in and shuts down the engine.
“Mani, this is Katja, her sister is upstairs. It’s Mani Srisati, (prn. see-sa-ti)
Mani, “So happy to meet you, you have such a beautiful courtyard, this place is all yours?”
Katja, “Da, yes. House, courtyard and slave quarters. We do not haf slave, only a name.”
Mani giggles, “I hope not. I’ve heard of them, common in the Quarter I think.”
Ellen, “Let’s take a look at the house. The slave quarters are empty, haven’t figured out what to do with ‘em. Leave your shoes at the door, we have sandals for you.”
A walk around downstairs, Mani is all big eyes, they go upstairs, Katya comes out of her bedroom. Another introduction.
Mani, “Gosh, your home is splendid, so much room.”
Katya, “A lot to clean, we are not messy anyway, but we like it well kept and orderly.”
Mani, “I understand.”
“Ellen has explained confidentiality agreement?”
“Yes, of course, absolutely. Your privacy is most important.”
“Da, good, she will want to see bedroom, we will be downstairs.”
Ellen, “Right up here, third floor, overlooks the courtyard. A little quieter, this part of the Quarter isn’t noisy anyway.”
Mani, “Wow, this is great, it has a bathroom?”
“All the bedrooms have full baths.”
Mani, “Can I please have the job? Gosh, I will work really hard, you will not be disappointed.”
Ellen, “We went over the duties the other day, it’s a lot. The house, errands, I do most of the grocery shopping, but I will ask you to go for this and that. I can’t think of every possible thing, so there may be something we haven’t discussed. I’m saying that if one of us asks, you do it. We know you’re in school, and we know you may want a social life. That’s fine, we’re pretty flexible. If you can’t do something, say so, don’t screw up classes or study time, okay?”
Mani, “That is most generous. I am studying languages, and I already know English and Thai. I am taking Japanese and French, plus the basic maths and English literature they require. I can do the maths already, English lit is entertaining.”
“When do you want to come?”
“Anytime, I would love to get out of the dorm, this…,” her hand waves across the room.
“Tomorrow is Saturday, you have time?”
“I’ll be out at nine thirty with the SUV, will your stuff fit in that?”
She giggles, “My stuff could fit in a large suitcase.”
They go downstairs, Mani says, “Thank you so much for this. I, um, well I need to tell you one thing…I want to be upfront. I am gay. No girlfriend or anything, did not join the LGBT community thing on campus, I am not exactly out yet. I hope it does not matter to you…”
Ellen laughs, Mani looks at her, Katja says, “Do not make ridiculous, we are all lazebian girl, no boyfriend around here.”
Mani, “No way, smoking hot twins and smoking hot Ellen are….”
Katya, “We will haf tea now Ellen, you will show Mani.”
Ellen takes her to the kitchen side of the big room, kitchen, dining, living are all one open area. There’s a separate office, a half bath and a laundry room
The twins go to the courtyard, Ellen and Mani come along with the teapot and cookies, set them on the patio table.
Katja, “You will haf tea also Mani. You will eat with us when you are here, kitchen is open to you, take whatever you want. Work wiz Ellen until you are familiar wiz house. Speak up when you haf something to say, ask question, ees okay.”
Mani, “Sure, thank you, this is so nice. You have tea every day?”
“When we can. It is a nice break, downtime, have a snack, usually four thirty, sometimes four or five. Cocktails at six or six thirty, Ellen will show you. She is the chef, first rate cook. Sometimes go to favorite restaurants. If you have time, you are welcome to come along.”
“I can go out to dinner with you?”
Ellen, “Yes, of course, just make sure to keep that nose in the books, or on the screen. You gotta get good grades.”
Mani, “I like to study, school is easy. I do not know how I would do in something like computer science, or physics. But languages are pretty simple for me.”
Katya, “We have learned enough Japanese to be conversational. Just something interesting for us.”
Mani, “Cool, I am taking Japanese, can you guys work with me, a little, or should I even ask?”
Ellen, “In a year, you’ll be teaching us. We do it part time off a language program. Katya is the brain, she can read the kanji, not me.”
Mani has an electric smile, perfect white teeth, dark eyes, narrow face with silky smooth lips. She’s maybe five three, slender as a rail.
Mani, “I should be going, need to get things organized. I am so excited, thank you all so much.”
Ellen opens the gate, she buzzes off to the campus.
Katja, “She ees nice girl, cutie pie.”
“Told ya, she’s a heartbreaker. I had no idea about the gay thing, that was a surprise.”
Katya, “Thai family, aunt probably thinks get married have kids, it is assumed. She would not be able to come out at home. Not until she had a job and did not anymore need family support.”


Mani settles in, things are more balanced now. The twins aren’t smilers, Ellen and Mani make up for it with high wattage cheerfulness.
Katja, “Ees good to hear Ellen laugh. We are serious, now she haf someone to make joke wiz.”
Katya’s phone rings, “Da.”
Penny, “And da our new client found his fifty bucks. Feel like going to LA?”
“Send details the usual way, special circumstances?”
“Nope, straightforward.”
They click off.
Mani passes on her way upstairs, she’s getting used to girls in thigh length t-shirts, knee socks in cold weather, like now. When she said it looked comfortable, Ellen told her she could do the same.
Katya, “Ellen, we need to go to Los Angeles. You need to stay here. Mani has only been a week. We need to be have someone with her for a month. After that, she will be okay on her own.”
“Sure thing, I got the fun last time, not like I need the money. You guys fixed that forever.”
“We all fixed it forever, and the money for work goes into the common account, you get paid whether you go or not.”
Ellen steps to her, hands under the t-shirt, up her back, warm kiss, “You are too good to me.”
“We are three equal sisters.”
Ellen gets misty, more kisses.
When Katya turns, Mani is on the bottom step, mischievous grin, “Sorry, didn’t mean to…”
Katya and Katja go upstairs, Mani tells Ellen, “Those two have hot curves.”
Ellen, “The twins got hot everything.”
Mani looks up at her, “Hot girlfriend too.”
“Well, thank you sweet, you got your own thing goin’ on, another cutie in the house. Makes life worth livin’.
Mani grins again, looks at Ellen out of the corner of her eye, isn’t disappointed, she’s being checked out.
“Anything I need to do? I should get some study time in, couple of hours. Beds are made, I swiped around the baths, emptied wastebaskets. There’s not much laundry.”
Go on then, get those As, twins are going out of town for business for a couple of days.”
“What business are they in?”
“Donuts. They have four stores in Houston, fair amount of money in sugar bread. They also specialize in conflict resolution and mediation. Lot of folks have issues with someone. The twins find solutions.”
“Gee, you guys are all so young.”
“Over twenty one.”
“No way.”
“That’s what the driver’s license says.”
Mani heads to her room, Ellen watches her little wiggle. Halfway up she turns to see if Ellen’s paying attention, isn’t disappointed. She smiles and waggles her fingers in a wave, bounces up the steps.
It’s two days before they leave. Katya wanted to do more snooping on the target. Hack of the DMV, a year old Mercedes, two hundred grand car. She goes to Google Earth, finds the house. Big sucker on a few acres, pool in back, three car garage. Street View doesn’t have any pictures.
The target is a movie producer, not a brand name, but made enough at some point to afford upscale. She finds the mortgage, ouch, he owes three million plus on a three and a half million dollar property, and the car is leased at a few thousand a month. This guy’s on a financial cliff, leaning way over the edge.
Katya tells Katja, “Man is drowning. Movie business, made a lot of money, spent it. Then movies do not do well, borrow money, hope for next big box office. Got a wife and two kids, must be in private school someplace.”
“Maybe beeg insurance. Wife arrange to keel.”
“Penny said a man called, I wonder…”
Katja, “Bizarre.”
While the girls are off doing murder for hire, Ellen takes Mani shopping. The girl wears basically the same outfit, which makes sense, she only had one large suitcase, a computer, android and a box of books. She takes her to Macy’s.
Mani, “I can’t afford clothes from here, I can barely afford Wal-Mart. I mean, you are paying me well, but it will take a while before I save enough.”
“You aren’t paying, we are. You gotta have more stuff than a few pairs of jeans, coupla t-shirts and a jacket. Just try it on.”
Four new dresses, two pairs of platforms, new sneakers, half dozen pullovers and three blouses later, Mani says, “This is more clothes than I’ve ever owned.”
“Let’s get panties, you need knee socks in your size. Coupla pair skinny jeans and a nice belt. And, it’s winter, need a decent coat.”
They find it all, nice middle weight ankle length coat, “You be stylin’ baby, that coat is cool on you, makes you look all hip elegance.”
Mani is admiring herself in the mirror, “Look at me, I’m…amazing,” she giggles, “and humble.”
“Okay, we shot the afternoon, time to go home, you gotta study.”
On the way back Ellen stops at the cleaners and has most of the clothes dry cleaned. First time dry cleaning helps set the colors even on washables. At home, while Mani is digging into French, Ellen washes the socks and panties, totes the shoe boxes to the girl’s room.
She goes to her room, strips, hangs up her stuff, takes a warm shower. After drying her hair, she heads down to the kitchen, it’s near six thirty, time for a cocktail. With a chilled vodka in one hand, turns the sound system to trance, low enough so it doesn’t carry upstairs.
Thinks to herself, “What to do for dinner?”
She rummages around the refrigerator, ah, salad fixings aplenty, and tomato soup. Add slices of crispy sharp cheddar and we’re good to go she thinks. Soup in the pot to warm, chops up romaine, purple cabbage, adds radishes and a cucumber, tahini dressing. Cut the cheddar at the last minute.
Mani walks over, “Awesome legs.”
“My girls think so, glad you enjoy them.”
“Is, um, touching permitted?”
“All you want where you want.”
Mani bites her lower lip, hands reach hips, slide down, she sinks down with them.
“I…don’t have much experience with none really.”
“Do what seems natural, it’s hard to do wrong.”
“Kissing is permitted?”
“Baby, kissing is required, then licking, slow and gentle, take your time.”
She’s all over Ellen’s legs, just like Katja. Eventually she works her way to the ero-zone. For a girl with no experience, she’s a fast learner, or at least watched enough girl-girl porn to get a few ideas.
Ellen’s simmering, looking down on the adorable eyes looking up at her, head in a ‘yes’ motion, tongue busy on the right spot.
“Aaahhhh…that’s it angel…faster….got it…oooohhhh, stop, keep everything right where it is.”
She holds the girl’s head against her, hips undulate, gasp of release.
“Sheeyt, that was sensational. Really your first taste?”
Mani beams, “And it was you, God I am so lucky. That was…yummy, better than my fantasies. I am all wet.”
“Ooh, we need to take advantage of that. Switch places.”
Mani, “You mean…you are going to…?”
She can’t say anything else, something is happening that feels so incredible she can’t construct a complete thought. So worked up, Ellen’s only on her for a couple of minutes before she shudders and shakes, a screech of ecstasy.
She sinks down to Ellen, they roll to the floor kissing, Mani has discovered erotic passion.
Ten minutes later, “Guess we need to get off the floor. Want a drink?”
Mani, “I have only had wine.”
“White or red?”
“It does not matter.”
Ellen pops open a cold Graves white, pours them each a glass, they go to the couch. Mani snuggles next to her, wine in one hand, Ellen’s thigh under the other.
“I've pleasured myself before, I watched lesbian porn, that’s when I decided to Brazilian. I never had a girl, not like that. I kissed one, in high school, but we didn’t do anything. I was afraid.”
“Don’t need to be afraid around here. You want a girl, pick one and have at it.”
“The twins, they are…available?”
“Wouldn’t be long before Katya came for you, she’s not shy. You need to understand about them. They are direct. It sounds like they are telling not asking, but that isn’t how they mean it. If you say no or not now, they won’t be offended.”
“Glad you told me, glad I can…I mean, it’s okay with you?”
“Mani, we don’t own people here,” she laughs, “Although I like to think I belong to them, being their property is a turn on for me. My weirdness." 
Mani, “This is….,” she laughs, hand over her mouth, “I don’t know, it seems like play.”
“It is play, that’s the whole point, besides, orgasms are healthy, good reason to have a lot of ‘em.”

Fifty One

While Ellen spends the next couple of days enjoying the Thai treasure, who turns out to be near insatiable sexually, Katya and Katja are stalking Freddie Palmer. He’s a once major film producer, if one winner makes you major, who confused good luck with talent. He took a script nobody wanted, hired a child actress that had never made so much as a commercial. The little girl was naturally animated and adorable, he didn’t create any of it, she had it already. That led to the inevitable delusion that he had an eye for good but overlooked scripts and undeveloped talent.
The next one made money, not a lot but not a failure. He swung for the fences, blew twenty million of investor money on a dud, followed by a lower budget break even. Still, he was getting paid well enough, thus the accumulation of big house, pricey car, private schools. Then three losers and his funding dried up. He was smart enough not to self finance, but his family’s lifestyle burned cash like a crematorium. That led to refis on the house that sucked out the equity and the drain of a rich auto lease formerly paid for with money investors put towards the films.
He’s at home much of the time, old associates don’t return calls. They treat him like he’s got Ebola, as if being seen with him was toxic. He had to golf by himself, then gave up the expensive club membership.
Katya’s digging revealed a divorce, no kids by second marriage. Ex got a bundle and child support. Freddie’s been in a death spiral.
The garage door opens, a second Mercedes backs out. An attractive woman in what might be a tennis outfit, headband and sunglasses, drives off. The garage door stays up. The gate opens, Katya sees her chance, the woman pulls out, takes a left, the gate begins to close, but not before Katya slips their sedan in and down the drive to the house.
They are seated in Freddie Palmer’s office. It’s a strange looking scene, two girls, they aren’t identical today, sitting with drawn guns and latex gloves on their hands. Palmer is seated at his desk, calm as a pond on a windless day.
Freddie, “Two assassins, Russian?”
“Da,” they don’t bother with the technicality of Belarus, they lived briefly in both countries.
“And why the chat?”
Katya, “Normally, we just do the job and go home. But your case made me wonder. You have next to nothing but debts. Big child support, big check to first wife. Who wants you dead? You die, nobody gets paid. So, I wondered, the only person who is better off with you dead is you.”
Palmer smiles, “I should have been my next film, you two could star. I thought I was smart, could spot a script, make it work. What I found out is what everyone in this business finds out sooner or later, most of it is pure luck, good or bad. There is no reliable formula for predicting box office, certainly not critical reviews. Not that they matter, film gets good buzz, what critics say is almost immaterial. Butts go in seats, everybody makes money.”
Katya, “So what is it, insurance?”
He grins, “You are the world’s slickest assassin, I guess, don’t know any assassins, not real ones. Yeah, five mil. Goes to the second, fuck the first, and fuck my kids. They hate me. You don’t care about back story.”
“Actually, I do. You are correct, we do not generally. Why someone wants someone dead is not our concern. It gets into judgments and confuses the issue. We are hired to make a person dead, they die.”
Palmer, “Cold, you kill women?”
“We kill people, women are people.”
“What if it’s a kid, some teenager?”
“Teenagers are people too. We would not kill anyone under maybe twelve. But teenagers are obnoxious, I can think of lots of reasons to kill them.”
Palmer flinches, then reconsiders, “What am I repulsed by? My teenagers are the most obnoxious little assholes on the planet. The girl is worse than her brother, neither of them are worth the air they breathe. If I’d had known you would do it, I would have hired you to off them.”
“Would not have hurt to ask, but it is, what do they say? Blood under the bridge now.”
“Yeah, and the first person they’d look to would be me. Anyway, I hired you, be stupid to hire someone to kill me that could be talked out of it.”
“We do not have moral issues, we are what the doctors call sociopaths. We put our antisocial personalities to profitable use. It is not something we do for fun, we do it for money,” she looks at Katja, “we have a partner, she’s busy and could not make this one, she does it for fun, she likes it.”
Palmer, “Christ, it gets better and better. You realize you have a winner script here. We could make millions.”
“Well, you are the expert, and you just told us there is no way to guarantee that.
Besides, we have already millions. Risking money for a movie has no point. And it outs us, since you would know.”
“There’s that, so what now?”
The twins stand, Katja says, “Now you get what you haf pay for, except first you will give us second twenty five thousand. You are client and the target.”
Palmer, “Well, see, that’s a problem. I figured I’m dead, who’s gonna pay? So I don’t have the second payment.”
“Ees okay, we are going to kill you anyway. Trophy wife must have a load of jewelry, we will take your Mercedes to a chop shop. Make out better than twenty five.”
“God I wish I could make one more movie, you guys have it practically written for me.”
They both shoot, he’s twice as dead.
Will forensics figure out two shooters from two differently scored bullets? Almost impossible, that’s TV stuff. The bullets they use, hollow points, break up hitting a skull. Both guns are Glock 19s, shoot nine millimeter bullets, and the fragments in the head could be from either one.
On the way out of town, they steal a license plate and swap it out, drop the original plate in a dumpster.
Katya, “Drive the speed limit.”
The trip is uneventful, after you pass San Bernardino, it’s I-10 all the way to Houston. Aside from a long slog through Phoenix, most of it is desert.
Katya, “El Paso is just over halfway, stop there, it will be almost midnight. I’ll find a hotel, we can finish tomorrow.”
They swap out driving, get a nap, aside from gas and tea, they keep moving. Katya pull into a Hampton at eleven, they are asleep by midnight. Breakfast at the hotel buffet, back on the road, home in Houston by seven that evening.
Katja checked in with Ellen twice, calls again now.
“Hey honey, you guys tireda drivin’ I expect.”
“Dullest drive possible. We are in Houston, take care of beezness tomorrow morning, fly to New Orleans at two, you will pick us up.”
“I’m gonna let Mani use the car for class tomorrow, she’s done by two and the school is right by the airport. I’ll cook up a mean dinner and you can relax.”
“You haf made sex wiz Mani?”
“Not a virgin anymore. Once she got the vibe, she wants it all the time.”
“She never haf sex wiz girl, or boy?”
“Nope, boys don’t exist. Her culture made it hard for her to be open about it. Here, she hasn’t gotta think of all that, just go for it. Girl’s wearin’ me out, in a good way.”
“Sisters will help, she takes care of herself?”
“Squeaky clean, a Brazilian, she caught the idea from watching lez porn, bald as we are.”
“Da, good.”
“We are going for Chinese, come home and make sex. Katya is feeling excite.”
She clicks off, Ellen stares at the dead phone, laughs.
Mani comes down the steps, “What is so funny?”
“Katja, but it could have been Katya as well. When you talk to either of ‘em on the phone, remember when they are done talking, they just hang up. No bye, or see you, or gotta go, they just go. And when they answer their phone, it’s ‘da.’ No hello, even though your name is on the caller ID.”

Fifty Two

Mani collects the twins, “Welcome home. Ellen is going all out for dinner, she is happy you are back.”
Katja, “You haf enjoy Ellen, she ees sweet girl, very beautiful.”
Mani, “She is perfect,” exactly what she finds just perfect is left unsaid.
Ellen, “My babes, God, kisses,” she hugs them, the twins are used to Ellen’s enthusiastic affection, in their own way touched by it.
Mani starts to take the suitcases, the twins travel pretty light, but the Glocks are in them, extra clip, ammunition.
Katja, “Here, take one, I will take the other,” they get to the room, “Just leave there, I will unpack later. Go downstairs and see what Ellen needs.”
She hops out, Katja removes the guns, brings them to the safe. She empties the suitcase, brings things downstairs to the laundry room.
“Mani, you can do laundry whenever, I leaf toiletries on the bathroom counter, put away suitcase later, da?”
“Sure thing.”
It’s four thirty, tea time. They take it in the courtyard. Ellen sits with the twins while Mani does the preparation and serves. Then she joins them.
Katja, “Tea ees good Mani, Ellen makes chocolate cookie like we haf in donut shops.”
Mani, “She showed me, they’re simple, but really good. I snuck one earlier.”
Ellen, “Tonight a twins favorite, grilled filet mignon with marchand de vin, creamed spinach ala Emeril, Brabant potatoes with grilled mushrooms. White cake with French vanilla icing for dessert, I confess to buying that. It seemed right to have white, like a virgin.”
Mani laughs, “No more virgin.”
Katja, “How do you like no more veergin?”
“Amazing, I mean, gee, finally. I couldn’t risk it in Mississippi, high school, kids talk. My aunt would have lost it. I just got to college, first semester was a blur, then I came here.”
Katja, “No boys ask you for dating?”
“It was more of few people together, like four of us from the dorm would go for pizza or whatever. Some girls were anxious to hook up, I never gave that vibe. I just sort of dodged it. There is one guy, black, he’s obnoxiously persistent. I saw that in high school, some of the black guys would not let it go.”
Ellen, “I had that at my high school. We had more Hispanics, they were a little easier to deal with. I thought about college, but I got Katya and Katja instead. Much better.”
“My aunt will fuss if I skip college. She was strict, complained a lot, but she took care of me. House was clean, I did not get a lot of new clothes or toys, but I got fed, hot bath, my own bed.”
Katya, “Finish college. We were lucky, found a way to make money by starting business. We made other investments. There were two of us, then Ellen, so we could all work together.”
Mani takes up the cups and plate of cookies, “I need to get the table set, start the laundry, oh, and the toilets. I’ll do that first.”
She scoots off.
Ellen, “We couldn’t talk biz on the phone, so, how did it go?”
Katya runs down the conversation with Freddie Palmer.
“Damn, it could be a movie, our lives would make a great flick.”
Katja, “You can write book.”
Ellen, “Never thought of it, maybe. So anyway, then what?”
We search the house, no safe, found a thousand dollars, took all the jewelry.
We took his car, stole a license plate and replaced his. Penny knows how to get it sold and how to fence the jewelry. Long drive, but it is nice car. We unplug the GPS, nobody will know where it came from and when car people are done, it will not look like same car. They sell it in Mexico. With jewelry, we will make more than the twenty five he did not have. Stealing it and the car makes it look like a common robbery.”
Ellen, “Works for me, cept you had the long drive, fifteen hundred miles isn’t down the street.”
Katya, “You have Mani trained?”
“She learns with a look, bad as you with that memory." 
Mani, “Dear darling Ellen bought me the cutest outfits. She said I looked like a refugee. I kinda did. The only small problem is boys noticing now. The platforms and the gorgeous coat she got me has my former roommate jealous, but in a friendly way. Elton is pesky.”
Katja, “Who ees Elton?”
Ellen, “That’s the can’t take no for an answer black guy.”
Mani, “He’s starting to get obnoxious. First he was all smiles and charm. I tried being nice, conversational, let him know there was no date, no lunch no nothing. Got his ego bruised I guess. Now it’s turning into, ‘hot shit Thai bitch.’
Ellen, “When was that honey, you didn’t say anything to me.”
“Just today, we haven’t had time with the twins home. I didn’t think of it until now.”
Katja, “He is big deal person?”
Mani, “Not especially. The girls who are curious about black guys like his shit. He’s a nice looking guy, built, like muscular. If I was into guys, I could see it, except he’s also a jerk. I get the impression he’s on a white or Asian girl crusade. The black girls at school are totally jealous.”
Ellen, “Cause he isn’t into them.”
Katja, “When do you run into him?”
“In English lit, he sure isn’t taking Japanese, brain isn’t that big.”
“When do you haf that one?”
“That one…oh, the class, nine to ten, Monday, Wednesday, Friday.”
Katja drops it, moves one to complimenting dinner, “Ellen is best chef. Katya and I luf steak, grill cheeken, sometimes she makes grill sausage into poor boy sandwich wiz sautéed ohnyon, peppers.”
Ellen, “Hadn’t done those in a while, this weekend. Grill up everything in the courtyard, get blitzed on beer and vodka.”
Mani, “That will be fun, a girl party.”

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