Far Horizons: Tales of Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Horror. Issue #13 April 2015 - Page 32

“No one you’re likely to meet, if I have anything to say about it. He’s a nice enough guy, but kind of a womanizer. You deserve better.” “I’d like to think I already have better.” Janet pulled up an extra seat for me to prop up my ankle. “I collected your missed assignments for you while you were gone, just like you asked.” “Thanks, Janet. I knew I could count on you.” “Where did you go, anyway? It wasn’t somewhere dangerous, was it? Is that how you got hurt, running microfilm through Checkpoint Charlie?” I laughed. “No, nothing like that. Besides, Checkpoint Charlie hasn’t existed in years.” “Where, then?” I wish I could tell you where I went, but I’m not allowed.” “Can you at least tell me how you hurt yourself?” Janet unwrapped the bandage. “Nice bruising, there.” She kissed my ankle and wrapped it up again. “So?” “I missed a stair, chasing after a girl.” Janet crossed her arms. “You were chasing a girl, and it wasn’t me? Serves you right, then! Sounds like your friend Ben isn’t the only womanizer around here.” “No, it wasn’t like that at all. I just wanted to know her name, I wasn’t trying to take her to bed or anything. I was just—I’m not really sure what I wanted from her.” “Was she pretty?” “I guess so. It doesn’t matter, anyway. She’s gone, and I’m a cripple.” “I guess that means you’re completely at my mercy, then,” said Janet. “You don’t need to go girl-chasing, you know. I’m here, and you know I’m willing.” PAGE 32 “I know, and if I had my way, I just might take you up on it.” “Why can’t you have your way with me?” “I really wish I could tell you. But you wouldn’t believe me.” “We live in DC, one of the strangest cities on Earth.” She stood behind my chair and began massaging my shoulders. “Are you a spy? Some kind of agent?” “If I say yes, will you stop asking me?” I could feel my bad mood slipping away with every stroke of her fingers. “Are you sure you want to go into Law? With fingers like yours, you’d make a great masseuse.” “Yeah, but I would only want to touch handsome men, like you. They probably only give the cute ones to the senior masseuses.” I laughed. “Thanks, Janet. You always know how to cheer me up. I should probably get to work, now. I’ve got a bunch of catching up to do.” She bowed. “I’m here to serve. You rest your foot and tell me what you need, and I’ll get it for you.” “What did I ever do to deserve such a pretty maidservant?” I said. “Don’t get used to it. Once your ankle’s better, it’s back to getting your own stuff. I’m no one’s errand girl. Got it?” “Got it. I’ll probably do the same for you, some time.” We spent the next few hours doing research. I wrote my reports, while Janet retrieved and shelved books for me, staying quietly out of the way, but always there when I needed her. After a half-dozen reports, I was beginning to get irritable again. My ankle hurt, and so did my head. “I think it’s time to go,” she said. “You’re starting to make mistakes.”