Sis amplexibus Amor alios mututa memini et amoris in mutationes memini.
May you be embraced by a love beyond recall that alters others
and a love within recall that alters you.
Harris was both amused and discomforted by the two dark blue chador clad women who cowered in the elevator. Their musky jasmin perfume took up more space than they did. The grille in their head pieces meant he couldn’t tell if they were looking at him or if their eyes were modestly cast down to look at the floor. When they got the main floor he stepped aside to let them scurry away ahead of him. They barely nodded to the concierge as they exited the building.
Harris still wondered who might be keeping an eye on him. Was it the pan handler. No this was the guy he’d seen on and off since he moved into the neighborhood. Was there an agent in a parked car watching him through shaded windows? That guy reading the Metro?
The day at dE.tail was typical. More seasonal promotional materials to work on. Send flowers anywhere in the world with an app tap of your cell phone. The same rose in different colors. All that changed from rose to rose were dew drops that had to catch the prescise precious glint of light.
This was another day where he worked right though lunch. A few of Jodis’s Oatex cereal bars kept him going. They tasted a lot better than the SportSpot Quknrg bars and had a nicer mouth feel. More crunch and less sticky smoothness. Even without a dark chocolate coating they unusually satisfying for a snack that was also supposedly healthy.
At first he didn’t feel compelled to stop at any of his favorite fast-food joints either. When was the last time he’d had a mango peanut buster smoothie and a pulled pork sandwich from Bazoon’s Deli. He’d skipped lunch and this would be the perfect reward. One that would save him having to cook anything when he got home.
Rather than take it home he sat at the window counter of Bazoon’s to people watched while he ate. The pulled pork was as spicy but larger than he remembered it. He got a plastic fork and picked at the meat to keep from eating all the bun. The spice made his feet sweat.
“Looks good.” A woman sat on the stool beside him. She wore a dark pink skirt and matching tailored jacket.
“Excellent.” he slurred while chewing.
“It’s hard to find good pulled pork.” She bit into her sandwich without smearing her lipstick.
Their eyes met. Harris recognized the glint. It was the curse. Could he control how far it went now that he was this aware?
She turned to face him. Her knees touching his outer thigh. He became aroused. He focused on the pulled pork. “You should try the one of the smoothies too.”
“You’re the type of smoothie I’d like to try.” she shifted slightly, her skirt hitched up a bit higher.
Did she expect he’d do her right here in the window of Bazoon’s? A good promo for the sandwiches. Meat so good you gotta have more. Get all your pork pulling needs meet at Bazoon’s. Every sandwich a happy ending. He put his hand on her leg and let in move up under her skirt. Who cares if passers-by saw them.
She put her purse over his hand to block it from view. As he pushed a finger under her panties the purse fell.
“Sorry.” he pulled his hand out. “I’ll get that for you.”
He got off his stool to pick up the purse. He wanted to put back on her lap, to continue what they had started. He handed it to her hoping that’s what she would do. She did. She spread her legs wider. Was there a way to slip that his face would end up between them. Face first jammed into her box. How would pulled pork pussy taste. Get pulled pork pussy on the menu and business would boom.
This wasn’t him. This wasn’t her. He wanted to step away but couldn’t. His head throbbed. There was a sharp pain across his collar bone. He took a deep breath. He’d felt this pang when he’d resisted Alex. It wouldn’t kill him.
It took all his will power to sit back at the counter with a stool between them. He pulled his sandwich closer to him
“Not much seating room here is there?” He pushed a fork full of pork into his mouth.
“No.” The woman had another bite of her sandwich.
The confused look in her face tempted Harris to explain, to apologized but he knew he had to resist. He had to resist knowingly if he was to live with the curse. His breathing became easier. The pain in his chest subsided. The lust rush was over for him. He glanced at her.
As she chewed she was staring at her sandwich. Her chewing slowed, stopped. She put the sandwich down. She looked at him.
“What the … What came over me.” She got off the stool looking around Bazoon’s. “Did you … see me eat that. Was I eating that?”
Alarmed she pointed at her sandwich.
Harris nodded yes. He felt sorry for her and at the same time wanted to laugh at her. It was only a sandwich. She might have ended up eating a lot more than that if he had himself go.
“I’ve been a vegan for the last ten years. Meat is murder. What would possess me to come in here.”
She hurried out. Harris knew she wouldn’t remember this after ten minutes. Then let her figure out how she got the taste of pulled pork in her mouth.
He wiped his mouth off and headed home.
There was a different concierge sitting behind the entrance desk.
“Rick how you keeping.”
“Very good Mr Harris. ” Rick was one of the original security staff. “We’ve all been briefed by the Agent Darvos. I never would have taken you for a man to lead such a life.”
“Us superheros have two identites.”
“I’ll do everything to keep both of them safe from harm.”
As always Harris was happy to be back in the safety of his apartment. He dropped his shoulder bag on the floor in front of the bureau.
“I’m home honey.”
“Hard day at the pixel mine Harris.” Andy said.
“You can say that again.”
“Hard day at the pixel mine Harris.”
Harris shook his head in amusement. Andy was such a literalist. But the new welcome home greeting kept him in a good mood. Resisting the curse had taken more out of him than he expected but he was encourged that he could resist it. May be he could deal with Alex more firmly too.
He undressed in his room for a change. Slipped into clean boxers and a Superman tee. The ‘s’ logo had lost most of the red but he preferred this old school logo to the newer one.
Harris’s phone rang. “Hello Agent Davros. Come right up.”
Moments later there was knock on his door and he let the policeman in. There was a woman with him. Sort of plain, wearing a nondescript pale pink skirt with matching blazer.
“Harris you shouldn’t give our officers the slip.”
“The slip? I don’t follow you.”
“Agent Carson here had you under surveillance till you went to a deli.”
“That’s the place.” Carson said. “I had taken over from agent Williams. He had pointed you, I mean Mr Stevens, out to me as he left his office, to make sure I knew who I was to keep an eye on. I followed Mr. Stevens for approximately three blocks till he went into Bazoon’s. He ordered food and sat in the window. Which made surveillance much easier. Then you were gone.”
“I ate my sandwich and came home.”
“The concierge let us know you had returned. Agent Carson did not observe you leaving Bazoon’s.”
“When I saw you weren’t where I had seen you I went to investigate. There The only other exit was through the prep area in back. The prep cook said no one had gone through there.”
“Possibly you missed me when I left. I don’t recall seeing you.” Harris said to Agent Carson.
“You weren’t supposed to see me.”
“That is for your protection.”
“Honestly, I did not try to evade surveillance. By that time I had forgotten all about it, just like you said I would. I didn’t speak to anyone till I got home. I said hello to Rick downstairs and Andy when I got in.”
“I’m home, Honey.” Harris said in Andy’s direction.
“I sure missed you.” Andy replied.
The two agents looked in amazement at Andy.
“A gift from a very grateful friend.” Harris explained. Yes, it was time get Andy dressed in something besides that ill fitting Robin tee-shirt.
Harris unpacked the wireless computer to TV kit he had bought during his lunch break. He’d always found it wise to limit the time he had in any electronics store or he’d leave with much more than he had intended to buy. There was a bin in his basement storage unit to testify to the appeal of electronic crap he used once or twice and was too bored to want play air guitar or dance along to music he couldn’t stand hear more than those one or two times.
He opened the balcony door for fresh air. He laid out each of the kit’s parts on his coffee table. Read through the quick start guide, saddened that the full manual was available on line for further questions. The set up took less than five minutes. He first tested his lap top and the picture image and sound were good.
“Play time.” He called to Andy.
“This’ll be fun.” Andy replied in Alex’s voice.
Harris clicked through the menu on his TV screen and there was the back of his head as seen by Andy.
Not that he wanted to watch the back of his head but it was cool that this worked exactly as he had expected it to. The wireless transmitter’s splitter could pick signals from both his lap top and the software that was Andy’s brain.
He tuned off the TV. He felt quite accomplished, satisfied with another productive day. His meeting with Tavi to book vacation time, electronics that worked as easily as promised. He’d spent the day without once relfecting on the curse, or on Alex either.
There was a gentle knock at his door. The peek screen revealed a chador clad woman. He knew there were a couple of Muslim families on the floor above his.
“Can I help you?” he opened the door a few inches. Had the curse hit one of them in the foyer when they passed.
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