Smegma felt as though a thousand-pound weight had been lifted from his shoulders as he sat in the back of the helicopter across from his trusty handler. Both wore earphones with attached microphones to communicate over the sound of the whirring blades.
“Kendra, darling, you are a sight for sore eyes,” Smegma said. “You have no idea how you just nipped me from the jaws of death in the nick of time.”
“What?” Kendra asked. “Were you about to be tortured?”
“Drawn and quartered?”
“Stretched on the rack?”
“Worse,” Smegma said. “I was staring down the barrel of…yeesh. Matrimony.”
The spy shuddered at the thought. “Can you believe it? Attached for life to a beautiful, big breasted woman thirteen years my junior in some suburban hellhole, driving miniature vans to soccer practice and eating potato skins at one of those chain restaurants with all the bullshit on the walls?”
Kendra finally released her pent-up laughter. “That doesn’t sound so bad.”
“Most single men your age would kill for that,” Kendra said.
Smegma looked out the open bay of the chopper and spotted Bonanza sitting in the second chopper. Both birds were flying in close formation. When she noticed Smegma looking at her, she waved giddily. He waved back, not as enthusiastically.
“Yes, well,” Smegma said. “They can have it.”
“Big Dirk Smegma,” Kendra said. “So brave, he once defeated a band of Yakuza assassins with his bare hands. So cowardly, he can’t so no to a marriage proposal.”
Smegma leaned back in his seat. “I did a horrible thing.”
“What?” Kendra asked.
“I fucked the feminism right out of a feminist,” Smegma said. “You should have heard her. Blathering on and on about mansplaining and informed consent and equality of the sexes and then fifteen bangs later she’s ready to quit her job to raise my children.”
“Only fifteen?” Kendra asked. “You’re slowing down in your old age.”
“Forty-one is not old,” Smegma said. Suddenly, he lifted his head up. “Wait, is it?”
“You’re not waiting in line for the four o’clock buffet yet,” Kendra said. “But you’re not getting any younger. Don’t think that dye job is fooling anyone.”
Smegma pointed to his scalp. “This is all Smegma.”
“Right,” Kendra said as she waved at Bonanza. “Dirk, I hate to feed the beast that is your ego, but to your credit, you’re one of the most well-preserved forty-somethings I know.”
“Thank you,” Smegma said.
“But Father Time comes knocking on all of our doors sooner or later and well…”
“What?” Smegma asked.
“You’re not going to be able to schtup super-hot villain’s molls into giving you world saving information forever.”
“Blasphemy!” Smegma said. “Take it back!”
“I won’t,” Kendra said. “You know we’ve always given it to each other straight. We don’t sugarcoat anything. We tell it like it is and I’m telling you, in five years, the women in the posh clubs where you pick up the villain’s molls aren’t going to look at you like you’re some young, happening stud out on the prowl.”
“They’re not?” Smegma asked.
“No,” Smegma said. “At best, they’re going to assume you’re someone’s dad, there to give them a ride.”
Smegma fell back. “Oh, fuck me!”
Kendra reached over and patted her asset’s hand. “There, there. It’ll be ok.”
“Where did the time go, Special K?”
“I don’t know,” Kendra replied. “I know I haven’t logged as many years as you have, but sometimes when I think about it, it feels like just yesterday I said goodbye to my father and went off to…”
The spy interrupted his handler, oblivious to her attempt to personally share, and carried on with his own personal laments. “You’re wrong. I’ll figure out a way to schtup villain’s molls forever. I’ll do more sit-ups. More push-ups. I’ll take vitamins and supplements. I’ll exercise more. I’ll…I’ll…”
Kendra finished that sentence. “…still get old as fuck. Please, as your friend, I’m telling you to take Cooter’s offer or barring that, find someone to grow old with because your schtup a different a different villain’s moll every day lifestyle is not sustainable.”
“You really don’t think so?” Smegma inquired.
“If you’re still schtupping villain’s molls in 2025, I’ll eat my hat,” Kendra said.
A quiet moment passed. “What number did you give her?”
“Oh,” Smegma said. “Antonio’s Pizza in Alexandria, Virginia.”
“You’re horrible,” Kendra said.
“I know,” Smegma replied. “I order from them sometimes when I’m stateside, forced to spend some time at Langley, listening to all the bureaucratic nonsense. They make a fine plate of ravioli, let me tell you.”
“You couldn’t have just given her your number and then told her it’s over on the Truman?” Kendra asked.
“She’s not going to the Truman,” Smegma answered.
Kendra sat up. “What?”
“I gave Abernathy 300 bucks and asked him to drop her off in Miami,” Smegma said. “He agreed. Said he’d give her a spiel about a change of plans, something about the Truman being on lockdown, top secret personnel only, blah, blah, blah.”
“There’s something wrong with you, Dirk Smegma.”
“But do you?” Kendra inquired. “Do you see this sick pattern? How you’re only able to open yourself up to women who are facing down certain death at the hands of their villainous paramours and now, the one time you meet a woman who isn’t about to be horrendously murdered, you’re so gutless that you can’t either give a relationship a shot or, for God sake’s, just be a man and tell her you’re not interested?”
Smegma sat back in his seat and closed his eyes again. “When you put it like that…”
Smegma sighed. “2025, huh?”
The spy sulked for a while until the pop top of a soda can stirred him. He looked up to see Kendra sipping down half a can of generic cola she’d taken out of a cooler. She took out a bottle of rum, poured a bit into the can, then handed it over.
“Here,” Kendra said. “You’ll feel better after your medicine.”
Smegma smiled. “You know me so well, darling.”
“Go on,” Kendra said. “Get yourself drunk. Then sober up and accept that woman’s proposal.”
“Pbbhht,” Smegma said. “She didn’t propose. There wasn’t any proposal at all. She just assumed it was happening but really, women proposing to men. If I’m ever going to get married, it will be when I’m damn well good and ready and you can bet your ass that I will be the one doing the proposing.”
Smegma sipped his drink. “Ahh. That’s better.”
“I already tried to help you with your romance problem,” Kendra said. “I don’t have to strength to help you with your alcohol problem too.”
“Really?” Smegma said as he held up the can. “You just enabled me.”
“One drink,” Kendra said. “Because I thought you had died.”
“And yet,” Smegma said. “So hopeful were you that you’d arrive and see my smiling face that you brought the fixings of my drink of choice. If I didn’t know any better.”
“Stop,” Kendra said. “You know better.”
Smegma said. “I do. Hell, in a perfect, alternate world, perhaps I’d propose to you.”
Kendra made a face as though she were sucking on a lemon. “I wouldn’t accept.”
“Not for all the money in Vinny Stugotz’s off-shore bank accounts.”
“Oh well,” Smegma said as he took a sip. “Your loss, darling.”
Smegma turned and directed his eyes to the second helicopter, just in time to see Captain Abernathy hand Bonanza a satellite phone.
“Oh shit,” Smegma said.
“What?” Kendra asked until she saw Bonanza pull out the slip of paper and punch in the numbers. “Oh no.”
Bonanza held the phone up to her ear and waited…and waited…and waited. Finally, she looked back at Smegma, seething with rage.
“Wait for it,” Smegma said.
Kendra began a countdown. “3…2…1…”
Bonanza yelled loud enough to be heard over the whirring blades. “GOD DAMN YOU, DIRK SMEGMA!”