The Consummata

The Consummata by Max Allan Collins, Mickey Spillane Read Free Book Online

Book: The Consummata by Max Allan Collins, Mickey Spillane Read Free Book Online
Authors: Max Allan Collins, Mickey Spillane
that it is so.” She looked at me, and when I stayed quiet, she said, “It is surprising how many men of stature in business and government prefer private, uh... outlets for certain personal activities beyond the doors of their own homes.”
    “It’s an old story, kid.”
    “It is also an old story that such men often seem to prefer women who are not so pale of skin, nor skinny, nor fat. Behind closed doors, with these strange dark women...” Her tone was arch now, her smile wicked, mocking. “...such men can shed the sexual inhibitions of modern civilization that they find so limiting to their pleasures.”
    My eyebrows had long since hiked in surprise.
    She noticed that, and nodded. “Yes, señor , I too have studied in the college. The university. Does this surprise you?”
    “Not anymore it doesn’t.”
    “But there is learning, señor ,” she said, “and then there is learning .”
    Gaita walked to the carved oak bar in the corner, poured herself a finger of rum, and tossed it down like a thirsty sailor. “This place is, in itself, the university. The pupils learn, but the instructors, they do not realize they instruct.”
    I wasn’t sure I was following her. Curiouser and curiouser, as Alice said.
    “The world is in a state of, how do you say it? Flux. Of change. There is much trouble ahead. Not long ago, my people were promised that Castro would be gone and Cuba ours again—then your president was shot like a dog in the street, and where are our dreams now?”
    I shrugged. “Your people had the CIA and the Mob and everybody else helping you, not long ago. But those days are over.”
    “Perhaps. But the struggle goes on. And men in your government, when they come to this place that they find so enjoyable, they are the instructors. The...” She searched for just the right word. “...the unwitting instructors.”
    “Pillow talk,” I said, smiling a little, getting it now.
    She smiled back, drifting nearer where I sat. “And we are the ones who learn, and who pass what we learn along to those who can use it most profitably.”
    “Nice,” I said. “So who gets squeezed in the middle?”
    “You do not yet understand.” She sucked in her breath and began to prowl the room, as cat-like as her name promised, touching decorative items idly along the way. “We are pro -American, but for all the Americas.”
    “Then you have others besides U.S. citizens on your client list?”
    “Naturally.” She turned, smiling again. “Many men from below the border have a passion for your pale blonde women. This... type also has a place here in this house. It is very profitable.”
    “I would imagine.”
    Her hair tossed as she slowly shook her head. “By profitable, I do not mean in the monetary sense...at least not primarily.”
    This was a whorehouse dealing in state secrets and probably blackmail, and the money the girls made was only incidental.
    I leaned back in the chair and opened the other beer she had set out. “Sooner or later you’re going to get to the point, honey.”
    Her laugh was sudden and low, but with a lilt to it. “We have a quarry, one Jaimie Halaquez, who must be found. It is a matter of necessity and pride and as an example that will prove a deterrent for others in the future.” She stopped, her mouth pursed. “The trail to Señor Halaquez is not so obscure as you might think.”
    “Really?”
    “Oh yes. Señor Halaquez was a frequent guest here, and as such, certain things were learned about him. Not from him as much as about him. In retrospect, we should not have been surprised by his betrayal.”
    “Pedro said it was a complete surprise.”
    She sighed. “We knew that Halaquez was a traitor by definition— after all, he worked for Castro, took money from that regime, and yet he helped us. This blinded us to his most obvious trait.”
    “That his chief loyalty was to himself.”
    “ Si , señor .”
    I smirked at her. “You really couldn’t have stopped him?”
    “For

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