Disclaimer: The Equalizer and all its characters are property of Universal and are used here without permission. No copyright infringement is intended.
Finally, Control and Robert had their fill of standing at the fresh grave and started back to their cars.
"I'm parked two blocks over. I'll meet you at O'Phelan's," Control called out to Robert as they parted at the entrance of the cemetery.
Robert stopped walking and stood still, his gloved hands clenching at his sides. "No, Control," he said finally. "I'm not in the mood for company right now."
Control stepped to Robert's side and spoke quietly, "Perhaps you shouldn't be alone."
"I need time," Robert said. "Time to take all this in. Time to think about Donna Morgan's needless death and about Meredith's downfall, about her turning into a pitiless murderer who traded another woman's life for a chance to steal eight hundred thousand dollars." He cleared his throat, "And I need to think about my part in destroying Meredith, for souring her so on the world, that she was willing to sacrifice another person to get what she wanted. In a direct way my actions years ago paved the way for the murder of Donna Morgan the day before yesterday."
"Don't be ridiculous!" Control blurted, "How many times must I say it? You are not responsible for what happened! The choices Meredith Browning made were all her own."
"Were they?" Robert said morosely as he stared out at nothing. "I wish I can be as sure as you."
"Come to O'Phelan's with me." Control said, patting his arm, "Be with the people who care about you, Old Son. It won't help to torture yourself with the past. Come on."
"No, I'm not fit company right now." Robert said, annoyance creeping into his voice as he adjusted his scarf around his neck. "I need time to myself. I'll be fine, I do assure you Control. I just need some time." He strode away.
After walking for what seemed like miles, Robert came across the entrance to a bar that could only be described as a cheap dive. He knew that he didn't want to go home to his empty apartment, and he didn't want to be in the company of solicitous friends. He wanted the anonymity of a bar such as the one in front of him. He needed a drink - a lot of drinks - and he saw that this was the type of place where a man could spirit himself away from his problems and towards oblivion.
He walked into the bar. It was dark, filled with smoke and populated by only a few people at that hour. McCall took a seat and ordered whisky - straight. Then he swallowed it in one shot and ordered another, then another. Then a bottle. Somewhere inside his head, he knew he was acting just as he had five years before, when it all started.
It was 1984, and as the Company's point man for Astiz, in that awful bloody coup, he had spent the day fulfilling his job witnessing the torture of a farmer who had the colossal affront to object to Astiz's soldiers killing families in the squatters camps, killing students, and killing up to a thousand people a month. As the Company representative he had to stand there and watch as that small pig of a man, Captain Vincente, gloried in the act of torturing a poor farmer.
Robert had become sickened with what the Company expected from him. He had been the man who had made possible the coup that permitted Astiz to become a dictator, and the man who was standing by, as that dictator ground his own nation under his boot.
He hadn't wanted to go back to his rooms and face Meredith; she was so young and trusting of him. If Robert went home then, he knew that he would have been harsh with the sweet girl. He didn't have the patience to behave in any manner other than brutally.
Instead he had made his way to a bar that Vincente had assured him was clean and safe for him to frequent. No harm would come to any of Astiz' people there. He knew that only cheap whisky, in large quantities, would lift his spirits and help him forget who he was, and what he was doing with his life.
It was dark filthy room, filled with smoke. Only a few men were there at that time of the afternoon.
McCall walked to the bar and ordered whisky - straight. He swallowed it in one shot and ordered another, then another. Then a bottle. Before long he was talking to the bartender, a man with no hair, a scar across the bridge of his nose, no teeth to speak of and no understanding of the English language whatsoever. McCall had realized that it was the lack of understanding that made the man so easy to talk to.
After a while he became aware of a woman standing next to him. Robert managed to focus and saw that she was one of those garishly made up young women who worked the bars. The room was dark, but Robert could make out that the woman was slender, in her twenties, with the blue-black hair of the women of that nation. At first glance she looked young, but when Robert looked into her eyes, they were old, tired and bloodshot.
"Ju want to come me?" She stumbled over the English, while tugging shyly on his arm, "Ju come me for fun time?"
Robert peered through a drunken fog at her. She tried to smile brightly and Robert noticed that she had a gap between her front teeth. Suddenly he recalled all the anecdotes he had heard about the pleasures that gap-toothed woman can impart onto a man. He looked closer at the woman. He couldn't tell if she was young or if she was suffering from malnutrition, as did so many women in that godforsaken country.
"No, no, " he said, his eyes involuntarily drawn to her small high breasts and the prominent nipples that were barely covered by a sheer red fabric. "No, I don't want to go with you and I definitely do not want a fun time."
Her brown eyes stared at him with what looked like desperation. Robert softened a bit, until the girl slid her palm over his crotch. He threw her hand away. "Go, go! I am not interested in fun!"
A woman's voice, deeper and velvety, spoke up from behind him. "There are other pleasures to be had Commandante," she said in English with a thick Spanish accent.
He spun on his chair to face the woman.
"Other pleasures more satisfying than fun," she breathed, "You are a man who knows this. No es eso verdad?"
This woman was more to his taste. She was a deep bosomed, raven haired, fully mature female in the lush bloom of her thirties. Her jet-black hair had been curled and it swung in waves around her face. She wore beet red lipstick and as she pressed herself to Robert, he felt the softness and the weight of her heavy breasts against his arm. Her scent was a mixture of cinnamon and the aroma of bread baking, a yeasty smell that aroused him instantly.
Robert, more than a little drunk, looked her over from top to bottom. She looked back at him appraisingly, bold and proud, sure of her allure. Finally he realized that this woman could offer the carnality, the animal lasciviousness, the unchaste activity that would bring about, for a few moments, a surcease of the sorrow that threatened to drown his soul.
He lifted one eyebrow in interest and that was all she needed. She reached around him and snatched the glass of whisky that sat on the bar and finished it. Setting the glass down, she threaded her arm around his and then Robert saw her nod to the bartender, who lifted a fresh bottle of whisky up from behind the bar.
"I am Rosa," she murmured in his ear. She looked at the smaller woman, "Inez, la botella."
Robert leaned on her as she escorted him up the steps to a room above the bar. The small woman, holding the bottle, trailed behind them.
As well versed as Robert was in sexual variations, the woman was his match. In fact he was so preoccupied with Rosa's overwhelming talent for pleasure, that he never quite noticed when Inez also slipped into the soiled, rumpled bed.
But then Robert didn't remember many specifics of that three headed, writhing mass of moaning flesh that he and the women created together that night. He could only remember flashes of moments, of sights, of smells and of sensations. The salty taste of soft flesh, the musk smell mixed with cinnamon, the spasm of glorious release and the building, once again, of gluttonously ardent lust.
He knew that he lost consciousness a few times that night, but each time he was lifted back into wakefulness by hands caressing, breasts rubbing and insistent enveloping mouths intent upon his active participation.
Robert did remember waking up the next morning. He felt as if couldn't breath, as if he was drowning in a sea of cinnamon and yeast. When he finally opened his eyes he saw that he had his head wedged in-between Rosa's legs, his face pressed against her moist, redolent pubic hair. He also became aware of a tugging on his cock, and when he carefully moved his aching head to see what was being done to him, he saw that Inez was sleeping soundly with her mouth firmly around him. She was sucking on him unconsciously, the way that a sleeping baby might suck on her mother's breast.
Robert's stomach lurched as the reality of how he spent the night dawned upon him. Ungentley, he pushed the two women away as he crawled off the soiled bed to the small filthy bathroom.
When he turned on the light and assorted vermin scattered for safety, he lost control and vomited violently into the bowl. He felt as if his head was being split open. The pain of the hangover nearly made him pass out, but he wouldn't let himself fall on that godawful-encrusted floor.
When he finally stopped heaving he carefully made his way to his feet and emptied his bladder, making sure to rub the hot urine over his penis following the old soldiers' custom for warding off the clap. He didn't know if it worked, but after last night and the wretched women he had immersed himself in he didn't want to take any chances. He made a mental note to get to a private doctor as soon as possible to be checked out for the myriad of social diseases the two women might be carrying.
He would have to make sure he didn't infect Meredith. He would have to make up some excuse to keep them from enjoying each other until he was sure it was safe.
He hung his head, and groaned. Meredith! What was he going to tell her? He sighed; he'd tell her he was doing another nauseating job for Astiz. That would also be a good answer for his shunning her body for the next week or so.
He went back into the room with the two sleeping women in it, searched for his clothes and threw them on. He stank like a whorehouse, a combination of cheap whisky, vomit and the heavy odor of female musk, but he didn't want to spend any more time in that filthy room than he had to. He would clean himself thoroughly in his own pristine bathroom in the modern apartment he shared with Meredith in town.
He found his wallet in his pants and was surprised that one of the women hadn't stolen it. He kicked the bed disdainfully and Rosa opened one bloodshot eye.
"Cuánto? How much?" he asked sourly, waving his wallet in front of her.
"Is paid for Commandente," she slurred.
"Paid for? When?"
"Your important friend say to take good care of you when you come into bar, Commandente."
Robert slumped against the wall. Vincente! That's why he so strongly recommended this bar. He probably used these women to service all the government men.
Although it was unfortunate that Vincente would most likely get a full report of last night, at least it was a good guess that the women were checked to make sure they were clean. He decided that he would still find a doctor to check for the clap, but he felt reassured that he might not wind up testing positive.
At that moment Inez turned over in bed and partially opened her eyes. With a start Robert realized that she was indeed young: much younger in the daylight than she had appeared in the shadows of the bar. She was at most twenty, perhaps even a year or two younger than that!
Still half asleep, Rosa pulled Inez closer to her and embraced her maternally. Robert's head pounded and he swayed with a violent wave of nausea as the realization hit him. The two women were clearly mother and daughter!
Robert yanked the door open and almost ran from the room. Nightmare upon nightmare! Coitus with a mother and child at the same time! He couldn't imagine any act more bestial!
All the way to his apartment, Robert muttered both curses at himself and prayers that Meredith wouldn't be there when he got home. He desperately needed to try and cleanse the night of depravity away. He had never felt so soiled and so filled with disgust for himself and he didn't want Meredith to see him in this physical and mental state.
He got to his building and once more vehemently wished that Meredith would be somewhere else when he entered the apartment. He opened his door and looked around. Silently, he made his way through the rooms and to his delight he was alone. Finally, one lucky break in this whole malefic incident.
After an hour of scrubbing himself raw in the shower, his headache was finally responding to the handful of aspirin that he had swallowed when he first got home.
Feeling slightly sore in certain portions of his anatomy, he dressed himself in clean clothes and dumped the shirt and trousers that he had been wearing into the trash.
He was about to sit down with his first cup of tea in the wonderfully silent apartment when there was a pounding on the front door. He hurried and opened it, angry to be disturbed.
David Holloway, a young American journalist who had been covering the Astiz government for a left-wing paper in the United Sates, stood sweating and pale in front of Robert's door. He and David were barely friendly toward each other, partly because of their differing view of politics but mainly because, although the younger man never had a chance in hell of ever doing anything about it, David was in love with Meredith.
"McCall!" the slender, copper haired man cried when he saw Robert. "McCall where have you been?"
Robert was used to the young reporter's constant state of anxiety. He didn't act like the classic hero, but David had stayed on and covered Astiz and the government's deadly policies long after many supposedly braver men had given up and gone home.
Robert grabbed the young man's arm and tried to get him to stop yelling, the noise was putting his teeth on edge.
"Calm down David," Robert said coolly, "Now tell me - quietly. What is going on?"
David sobbed a breath and wiped the sweat off his now red face. "I looked for you all night. I didn't know where you were. I heard about it late last night, about three hours after it happened." His voice was getting louder and shriller. "You've got to do something! The LOA tortures the people they kidnap! They're torturing her!" His face broke apart and he began to weep, the tears running down his face. "How can you just sit here in this apartment? Why aren't you doing something to save her? I thought you loved her!"
"Who are you talking about?" Robert asked, but now he felt cold tendrils of fear surround his heart and grab at his entrails.
"Meredith!" David screamed, "They took her last night. She saw Charlie and Beth at the Cocina Restaurante and she told them she was waiting for you to join her. They begged her to leave with them, but Meredith was waiting for you and then the LOA stormed in and took her!" David was hysterical now. "Where were you McCall? Why weren't you there to stop them? Why weren't you there to protect her?"
And now, five years later, Robert was sitting in a bar on the other side of the world from Astiz's hell. He took another hit from the bottle of whisky in front of him.
It had all been a set up. Hallowell and the Southern Control at the time, had enlisted that naïve woman, his lady, Meredith into a plot to sacrifice herself for the cause. The two men made sure Robert was occupied that night, so that Meredith could be kidnapped and tortured by the Leftists, all to plant false information with the opposition government.
No wonder Meredith had become soured on life, Robert shook his head. She had thought that he cared about her and would never let anything bad happen to her. And because he wasn't there to save her from evil men, she had been tortured and beaten.
And then after they had returned to the States, Robert followed orders and left her behind, alone, when he was recalled to South America. He failed her once again.
Robert threw back yet another shot and slowly became aware of a woman standing next to him. He glanced at her. She was blonde, with a short skirt and a tube top that wasn't at all sufficient enough to cover her enormous breasts. She was garishly made up, but the thickly applied cosmetics couldn't cover the weariness that marked her face. The smile she flashed at him was too bright and her plump lips were painted red as blood.
"Hey baby, wanna date?" she crooned and pushed her oversized implants at him.
"What did you say?" Robert said, slurring his words a bit.
"Come on, sweet thing, we can have some fun." She made a point of licking her lips, flickering her glistening pink tongue at him.
"Don't want fun," Robert said sourly as he pushed himself up off the barstool. He tried not to let the disgust he felt be evident in his voice when he addressed the woman.
"Do you have a friend who can join us?"
"Sure baby, " she beamed, "But it'll cost you."
Robert put his hands on her hips and kneaded her flesh. "I have no doubt of that," he mumbled as the woman turned to lead him out of the bar. "It'll cost me more than you can imagine."