martes, 7 de mayo de 2013

THE SNAKE CHARMER III (THE BLACK HAND, PART II)


     ACE’s private plane lands on time at Los Angeles Airport. Corleone and Barlow, still Theo Schwann in the tycoon’s mind, say goodbye to Lucy, then go outside the airport where Corleone’s chauffeur was waiting for his boss, get into the car and head to Palm Springs. On arrival at the mansion Isabella, Francesco’s wife, who had already been informed by her husband about the arrival of a very special guest, welcomes the two men and orders the butler to accommodate Mr Schwann in guest room No. 5.

   The majesty of his new boss’s abode impresses Joe: ample rooms decorated as functionally as stylishly. His bedroom for the day is sober but comfortable. After the long trip, he sooner feels exhausted than hungry, even though he only had a sandwich, tomato juice and coffee on the plane so he has a refreshing shower and goes to sleep. He turns the air conditioning on before, because of the boiling heat that hits on California this time of the year, nothing like the mild summers of his memories from Ohio, farther north in the country. The first sleep’s hours go by peacefully until, all in a sudden, a terrible nightmare grasps him, a nightmare which he would not forget easily: he can see himself, dressed in a smart snake charmer suit playing a strange metal flute, waiting for the snake to emerge from its basket. However, there’s none of the familiar cobras that had accompanied him for years coming out, but a huge boa constrictor that loops to him and that in one swift flick of its body surrounds his waist making him lose balance and falls to the ground. The pressure on his belly makes him choke and suffocate, then the snake turns its repulsive open mouth towards the flushed face of the charmer. Finally, just before being irretrievably swallowed by the scaly beast, Joe awakes. Still agitated and feeling his heart beating wildly in his chest, Joes feels released though: just a nightmare, the most horrible he had ever had.

   Joe sat on the bed and looks around: the large curtains of the window have been drawn and the blinding light flows into the room. Suddenly, the tinkle of a sweet, familiar voice breaks the silence, it's Lucy bringing him an appetising breakfast; an excellent idea to get some strength back and recover from the bad experience he had just had.

   The secretary sits next to Joe on the bed and explains to him that she has had a long conversation with Corleone who eventually and despite his initial reluctance agreed to allow to grant her a fresh start as housekeeper at the ranch in Amarillo, provided that the new foreman agrees so. Using this cryptic way, so much of her liking, Lucy isn’t but trying to guess Barlow’s real interest in her beyond just sexual attraction, which was no doubt obvious. At this point Joe makes his move. He leaves the tray with his unfinished breakfast on the carpet, takes Lucy's hand and kisses her passionately while unzipping her tight dress. She does the same with Joe’s pyjamas and both engage in a torrid sexual encounter that ends in a sublime climax for both. Exhausted and staring to the window they tell each other with no words “there’s future in here”. Few minutes later both fall asleep in each other’s arms and stay like this for more than an hour.

    Lucy wakes up first and starts to purr her partner as sensually caressing his powerful back. However, her real thoughts are to get information out about his true identity and his past, taking advantage of her charms and of the fact that Joe is still half asleep. Barlow starts to spill involuntarily all the beans stored in his memory for years and tells the woman everything about his dark history. When he feels completely awake and fresh he looks at Lucy, whose face shines with a mischievous smile, and asks, ”Why are you so happy?”. “Because I'm happy” she answers. It seems clear that poor Joe is unaware of where he’s getting into and of how quickly his nightmare is coming true.

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