Lai Tak Tsuen Apartments, Tai Hang, Hong Kong
I pause outside the door for a moment to run my fingers through my shorn hair. It's easy to take care of, but hard to get used to. Sometimes when I look in the mirror, I hardly recognize myself... this leather-freak/heroin-addict look I've got going. I rub my fingers over my face and feel rough stubble on my jaw and chin. I glance down and realize that my jeans are stained and dirty. All in all I figure I look like crap.
I shrug and knock on the door.
There's no response for a few minutes, after all it's the middle of the night, then I hear some shuffling.
"Who is it?" a woman's voice asks from the other side of the door.
"Alex," I inform her. I glance nervously to the left and the right. Any minute now I expect the men in black to appear out of nowhere and send me straight to hell. "I'm here to see Jerry."
It takes a minute or two but she finally opens the door and the expression on her face is relaxed, slightly amused even. I wonder what her initial reaction was, when she first looked out the peephole to see who was waking her up in the middle of the night. I seriously doubt it was amusement. Or relaxation. I'm surprised she doesn't have a gun in her hand, aimed at my gut. Of course I can only see her right hand; who knows what she's got tucked away behind the door.
But right now she could have a whole fucking arsenal hidden behind that door, and I just wouldn't give a damn. I'm cold and tired and hungry and anxious to get down to business.
"Where's Jerry?" I ask.
"I'm Jerry." She's surprised me and that's not easy to do, dammit. I'm obviously not in top form these days. I should have known about this before I ever set foot in the building. I should have known everything about her, from what she ate for breakfast this morning to the amount of money in her Cayman Islands bank accounts, but I don't know a god-damned thing. I'm being stupid. Too fucking stupid to still be alive. I didn't even know Jerry Kallenchuk was a woman.
Not the type of woman you'd expect either. She looks like a thirty-something socialite in a red silk kimono. She'd fit right in at the country club, sipping a gin and tonic, gold bracelets dangling from her wrist, as she complained to the other wives about her workaholic husband and delinquent kids.
She opens the door a little wider, so it seems that I'm invited inside. I walk in and glance around. Berretta in her left hand. A nice little handgun; not as powerful the Sig Saur tucked into the back of my jeans, but effective.
I automatically take in the layout of her high-rise apartment, while keeping one eye on the gun in Jerry's hand. We're in a big open living room with a view of the city. There's a door to the left for the kitchen and a hallway straight ahead that must lead to the bedrooms. No other obvious exits but the front door.
The decor is modern, leather sofas and stone and metal tables, all in shades of beige. A few good pieces of oriental artwork adorn the walls. Jade and porcelain knick knacks are scattered here and there. Lots of expensive stuff. It pisses me off for some reason -- the fact that she's obviously got money and I don't. If she doesn't like my business proposition maybe I'll just rob her.
"Vincent sent me," I remind her. I wipe sweaty palms on my jeans, leaving more dark stains on the black fabric, and try to relax. Wake up Alex, I think to myself.
She just nods as she closes and bolts the door. The gun disappears into the pocket of her robe. Then she turns and her eyes roam from my face down over my chest to my thighs and back up again. She's blatantly checking me out and I wonder if she likes what she sees -- pale face with dark bruises under the eyes from lack of sleep, sweat stained t-shirt, dirty jeans. Yeah, I'm one hell of an attractive package these days. She must be fucking desperate.
"I have a business proposition for you," I say getting to the point right away. She may be desperate, but I'm not.
Well ... ok ... I am. I might as well walk around with a sign -- professional killer, will work for food.
"What type of business?" she asks. Her tone is low and seductive. She knows about my deal already so this is just part of her game. I'm used to dealing with people who like to play games -- people who are a hell of a lot better at it than she is -- but I'm in no mood to play tonight.
"I have something I want you to sell for me," I say, all business-like and uninterested. I've brought some documents with me that prove what I've got is genuine. I reach inside my jacket and pull out a few sheets.
"How do I get in touch with you if there's any interest?" she asks as she studies the papers.
"I'll call you," I say.
She nods, effectively agreeing to broker a deal for me. A deal that will mean selling information about the US government's knowledge of an alien species. I don't know what Jerry thinks about this, but all I can feel is relieved. Relieved that soon I'll be able to afford to eat and can stop sleeping in alleys. If I didn't know better I'd think we were both insane.
I turn and am half way to the door when she says very casually, "You leaving, hon?"
Against my better judgment, I stop. She comes up behind me. I'm shaking, dammit, and I should be. It's not smart to let a dangerous person walk up behind you, and Jerry is dangerous despite the horny divorcee attitude.
She walks around my side to stand in front of me, her fingers trailing along my waist. I shouldn't be able to feel such a feather-light touch through my leather jacket. I guess I don't really, but I know her hand is there, and it feels like something crawling on me.
"Don't leave," she says. Her voice is husky with desire, and I feel my stomach turn over.
I consider my options and unfortunately I don't have any. I've got about six bucks in my pocket, just enough for a hamburger and a cup of coffee at my favorite McDonald's, and then I'll be broke. I need cash and I need to keep moving. I don't have time to find someone else with her connections.
Ok, it's her game, I'll let her win ... this round.
I lean down to kiss her, hesitantly, just in case I'm still reading this wrong, and a sharp pang of fear twists my guts into knots as she puts both hands on my chest and pushes me away.
"You need a shower," she says pointing towards a door at the end of the hall. And I do. Bad. But I think I'd rather wash up in the men's room of the McDonald's than spend any more time here than I absolutely have to.
Fuck it. A handshake obviously isn't going to be enough for Jerry Kallenchuk. I've been selling myself to survive for years. Just because in the past it was always my gun and now ... well, what difference does it really make anymore. If I'm going to do this I might as well give her a good show.
I take a few steps back and slip my leather jacket off my shoulders, letting it drop to the floor. I turn and as I walk towards the door, I slowly pull off my t-shirt and toss it aside. I move my hands to the front of my pants, pop open the button and pull down the zipper -- loudly since my back is to her now and she can't see what I'm doing. I let my jeans slip down a few inches on my hips as I take the last steps towards the bathroom.
Then I open the door and slam it shut behind me.
The hot water pouring over my body feels so good. I can't remember the last time I felt this clean and warm, but I don't really enjoy it when I expect Jerry to walk in any minute now. She's the type who likes to inspect the goods first, to see what she's getting. I shut off the water and step out of the shower stall.
Alone in the bathroom I study my own face in the steamed up mirror. I guess under normal circumstances I look pretty good, but a couple of months on the run really take a lot out of a guy. My eyes are red-rimmed from too little sleep. At least three days worth of stubble covers my face. I run my fingers through my hair, trying to arrange it without much success; it sticks out in all directions. At least it's clean.
A knock on the door startles me. Dammit, I've killed people. Why am I letting this woman rattle me?
"You ready, hon?"
"In a minute," I shout at her through the door.
It's not really her that has me so unnerved; it's my entire situation. Alone and broke, I've got no partner to watch my back. I'm blackmailing one of the most ruthless men in the world. He would probably like nothing better than to personally put a bullet in my brain -- or blow me up. Of course that's been tried. Unsuccessfully I might add. That's it, I just need the old Krycek confidence back. That and a little bit of cash are all I need to get back on my feet again. Then that bastard who tried to kill me had better watch his own back.
Jerry is just an unavoidable pit stop on the road to world domination. I wrap a towel loosely around my waist and open the door.
The lamps in the living room have been dimmed so I let the light spilling from an open door down the hallway guide me into the bedroom.
The king-sized bed is covered with some kind of satiny, oriental-patterned spread in shades of brilliant green and blue. Jerry sits in her red silk robe on a chair near the foot of the bed. Beads of perspiration dot her temple.
"Drop the towel," she instructs.
If she thinks she can humiliate me, then she's severely miscalculated. Do I look like someone who's got a lot of pride left? I drop the towel on the floor and walk across the room to the bed. I stretch out on my back, resting my head on my left arm.
"Come here," I tell her.
She licks her lips and rises. She's unsteady and nervous now that there's no turning back. The momentum has turned in this little game of hers, and she knows it, but she doesn't have the power to stop it. And I don't want to stop it any longer, not when I'm about to get exactly what I want.
I'll sleep on the streets tonight and in a day or two I'll be dirty and reeking of sweat again. But not for long. A week, maybe two and I'll be a rich man thanks to the lovely and hard-working Jerry Kallenchuk. I'm starting to feel like myself again for the first time in a long time.
I smile, not nicely, reach out for her hand and roughly pull her down onto the bed.
Offices of Kallenchuk Salvage Broker Ltd., Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong
My thorough search of the premises reveals nothing. No documents related to the actual nature of the business, which is good, and no money, which is bad. Very, very bad.
I've heard of some casualties on a French salvage ship -- the Piper Maru -- that sound suspicious. I think Jerry has managed to move some of my information. Unfortunately, she's returned to the states and neglected to pay me.
I stuff my small flashlight into a pocket of my leather jacket and sit down on a desk to think. Petty crime has kept me fed for the past few weeks. Occasional visits to Jerry's place have kept her busily working on my behalf. But I feel too disconnected from things here in Hong Kong. I need to get back into action, back into the good graces of the organization. Any organization will do as long as I don't have to spend my life on the run, knocking off the fruit seller in the Central Market for a bite to eat.
I drop my head into my hands and run my fingers through greasy, sweaty hair. I'm getting a headache, and the throbbing red light from the neon signs outside is not helping.
I'm about to leave when I hear voices in the hall. I pull my gun and freeze. With any luck they'll pass right by, but how long has it been since my luck has been good? The voices stop right outside the door.
A man and a woman. Their voices sound familiar. The woman is Jerry; I'm sure of it. This may be my lucky day after all if I get the opportunity to collect what I'm owed. But the man's voice is troubling. I've definitely heard it before, but ... No, it can't be. Mulder? He does turn up in the damndest places doesn't he? Looks like this whole operation is compromised.
I should just slip out of here quietly, but here comes Mulder bursting through the door and shoving Jerry around like the macho wannabe he always was. Not that I mind seeing Jerry being shoved around; it's just that if someone is going to get to rough her up, I'd prefer it to be me.
"Where are the lights?" Mulder is demanding.
"Right here." I brandish my gun.
"Krycek." I love the way Mulder says my name like it's the worst swear word he knows. "I thought guns were against the law here."
Well now, that's a new one. I don't remember Mulder being so scrupulous about what was and was not against the law when we were partners.
We provoke one another until Jerry opens her mouth, and I remember her presence.
"Why don't you just shut up," I yell as I shove Jerry out of the office and slam the door in her face. It's something I've been wanting to do for weeks now. I'd do worse, but I don't think I've got the time. Mulder's here and the shit is about to hit the fan. He's saying something that barely penetrates, something about her being my partner. If he only knew. Would he still respect me? Ha, that's almost funny. I already know what Mulder thinks of me -- selling my body is the least of my crimes.
Shots ring out in the hallway, and I hear Jerry's body hit the floor. Looks like things are going to hell even sooner than I thought. The least the bitch could've done is pay me before checking out like that.
I scramble for the window. Its the only way out, and unless I want to join her, it's time for me to disappear. Get out of this office. Get out of this fucking city. Too bad I can't afford a cup of coffee much less a plane ticket back to the states. And I have to get back there; my life's not worth much if I don't have access to that digital tape.
"Look's like she's your partner now," I taunt Mulder before I drop down onto the fire escape. I'm pretty sure he'll be ok. He's pretty resourceful and even if he doesn't get out of the cuffs, flashing that FBI badge of his just may make the MIBs think twice about shooting him. In fact I sincerely hope he makes it because I have a feeling I can persuade Mulder and the federal government to pay for my plane trip back to the good old US of A.
I drop down from the lowest level of the fire escape onto the perpetually busy streets of Hong Kong and disappear. For now.