This is where I'm posting excerpts as I'm going along, so keep in mind that everything on this page is very Rough Draft. --G
Overlook Regency Hotel
“And in political news, Governor Winterbourne of Massachusetts today predicted a year of unprecedented glory and financial prosperity for the state under the new Telecommunications Decency Reform Bill...”
Vince lowered the remote at the talking head, zapped it away with a twitch of his thumb, and then dropped the remote onto the floor beside the bed. It landed with a gentle pfft into the inch-deep shag rug, and the suite fell into silence, save for the faint hum of the tiny refrigerator, the gentle 4 AM roaring of the traffic outside and the only slightly less gentle roaring of his partner’s decidedly unfeminine snoring on the bed beside him. Suddenly the snoring terminated in a little snort as Victoria blearily opened her bloodshot blue eyes.
“Mmf. I was watching that.”
Vince stared emptily at the now-vacant screen. “No, you weren’t. You were sleeping.”
“Oh, yeah. Mmm. Forgot. Thanks.” Victoria gave a little shrug of her pearl-white shoulders, then rolled over and went back to sleep. Silently, Vince rolled his head back on his shoulders and looked at the ceiling. It was a tough call on nights like these, determining whether you were asleep or awake.
The two of them were lying naked atop the wrinkled off-white sheets. It was too hot to do anything else but wait. The air was heavy and muggy, which would have given Vince the impression of trying to sleep underwater, if the “water” didn’t reek of coffee, cigarettes, and sweat. A little halfhearted buzzing sound drifted from over by the refrigerator, but then even the fly gave up and settled atop the fridge to sleep or die or cook.
Groaning inwardly, Vince rolled his head lazily to the side, to stare at the silent telephone on the nightstand. Victoria had picked it out that morning at a discount electronics store down the street, and Vince regretted not going himself. Now he had to lie there, staring at a telephone shaped like some Japanese cartoon frog, and damned if that little frog wasn’t staring right back at him. Why won’t you ring, you stupid little... Vince thought to himself, and then held his breath. In every dime novel he’d ever read as a kid, this is where the phone rings, just in time to catch him in the middle of his thought, so that he doesn’t quite get to finish, right before the expletive of choice. Right now. Right now was when it was supposed to ring.
Stubborn thing just squatted there, the damned mute little toad.
Fucker, Vince thought. There. Now you’ve gone and made me do it. Fucker fucker fucker. Now, what are you going to do about it?
Apparently, it wasn’t going to do anything at all. The frog just squatted and stared.
Vince snorted in disgust and sat up. Victoria snuffled in her sleep. Slowly, carefully, so as not to wake her, he swung his legs over the edge of the bed, careful not to step on the remote, and then stood and crossed the room to the window.
Outside the city was still moving, still basking in the glow of urban lifeblood. Vince leaned silently against the windowframe, completely unashamed of his nakedness, looking down on the neon lights of early-morning DC and watching the neverending one-act playing out on the street just below, the taxis still running back and forth, the pimps and their “products” wandering the sidewalk looking for the last dregs of night clientele, or perhaps an early riser or two; a few cops lifelessly wandering their beat. Vince watched with vague interest as one of the cops walked up to one of the pimps. They exchanged words, then money. The pimp beckoned one of the girls over, as the cop with the cash (well, up until a moment ago, anyway) handed his partner his coffee and led the girl (who doesn’t appear to be a day over fourteen) to where their cruiser was parked in front of a fire hydrant. They climbed in, the cop closing the door after him, and his partner took a sip of the first cop’s coffee as he struck up a conversation with the pimp. God only knew what they’d be talking about. Just another night in the nation’s capital.
And the green little toad of a phone still wasn’t ringing.
Sighing, Vince turned and stared at his sister, asleep on the bed. They really were a pretty lousy fit for a set of siblings, if one thought about it. He black, she white; his hair long, dyed silver and drawn back into a long ponytail, her black hair close-cropped, almost shaven. They were both rippling with muscle, though, so that was one thing going for them.
Vince eyed the curves of his sister’s muscles, stared at the slopes of her calves, her thighs, her stomach, her breasts, her shoulders, her arms. One of his own muscles gave a little twinge.
Well, if the phone’s not going to ring, why waste time just sitting around waiting for it? Vince shrugged. Dumb little toad, anyway.
He crossed the room again and returned to the bed. He ran his fingers down the length of his sister’s thigh. She stirred in her sleep, smiled drowsily, and rolled over to embrace him in her strong, strong arms.
Vince jerked his head up, and Victoria settled back down with an impatient sigh.
Vince grunted as he sat up and reached for the frog. He gripped the lime-green plastic between the bulges of its eyes and pressed down, and with a little click, the frog’s head, hinged at the back of its mouth, flipped open to reveal a red handset shaped obscenely like a frog’s tongue. He seized it and pulled it to him, a red coiled cord whizzing up out of the depths of the froggie’s gullet.
“God damn it --”
Suddenly the phone erupted in a storm of modem-speak, screeching and shrieking in his ear. Vince swore loudly and dropped the handset. Immediately the red cord zipped back into the frog’s gullet, and the handset went careening over the bedspread and down onto the floor, whisking across the rug until it banged uselessly on the leg of the nightstand, hanging by the cord.
“What was it?” Victoria asked, putting her hand on her brother’s shoulder.
“Some kind of computer,” Vince growled, rubbing his ear. He leaned forward, scooped up the receiver and put it back in the mouth of the frog. With a savage snap of his wrist he slammed the frog’s mouth shut, and it smiled placidly at him as if nothing had ever happened.
“It probably wasn’t him. Probably some kid trying to dial up the Pentagon or something,” Victoria whispered soothingly.
“Nothing, Vince. Forget about it.”
Vince lay back down on the bed, and Victoria reached for him. Brother and sister will enfold themselves into another, to be left in peace for the rest of the evening. The sun will come up, and the frog will not have croaked again.