A Farewell to Legs: An Aaron Tucker Mystery - By Jeffrey Cohen


Cheri (pronounced “She-REE”) Braxton got out of bed and walked to the bathroom door, not bothering to cover her naked body with a sheet, the way they do in the movies. She’d never understood that: two people have just spent the night going at it like sex has just been invented, and the next morning, they’re always covering up, as if they hadn’t just spent ten hours looking at each other’s good parts.

The guy in her bed, Louis (pronounced “Louis”) Gibson, pushed back the few strands of hair left on his head and admired the view as Cheri walked to the bathroom. He smiled as he always did, and it was convincing, ingratiating, and emotionless.

“Baby,” he said, “I like nothing better than watching you walk away.”

She stopped, turned, and modeled her form, giving him a good long look. “What’s the matter, Louie?” she asked, her voice a disgusting drawl she thought sounded cute. “You don’t like seeing me walk toward you?”

“Of course I do,” he said flatly, dismissing her. “I was trying to be romantic, and you spoiled it.”

She harrumphed, and walked into the bathroom. Cheri had intended to splash some cold water on her face and pee, but if that was the kind of attitude he was going to have, Louie could just lie there and wait while she took a long hot shower. She turned on the water in the tub and opened the medicine cabinet. Might as well brush her teeth, too.

Louis put his hands behind his head and lay back on the pillow. This thing with Cheri was already starting to get old, he thought. Six weeks, and she was pissing him off as often as his wife. At least his wife had waited until they were married a couple of years before she started complaining that he wasn’t romantic enough. So he’d gotten her pregnant again, and then she had so much to do watching the boys that she didn’t have time to nag about his ignoring goddamn Valentine’s Day.

Cheri, though, was another story. She’d broken the land speed record for annoying Louis. A nice ass—he’d certainly admit she had that—but she had a mouth on her, too, and who needed that in a mistress? Mistresses were for sex, for chrissakes. If he wanted backtalk, he could stay home. It was a good thing this relationship would be over soon.

Louis smiled as he lay there. If he wanted, he could find six or seven other girls within a week—exotic ones, too. Not white bread bores like Cheri Braxton. Life was good these days. The right people were getting elected, and that meant contributions were pouring in. He had his pick of the women he knew, and he had plenty of money. More than anyone knew. What else did a man need?

Louis closed his eyes and smiled contentedly.

Cheri stayed in the shower as long as she could, until she couldn’t think of any other body parts that needed cleaning. And the longer she stayed under the hot water, the more steamed she got.

Who the hell did this joker think she was? A $40 whore he could call whenever he felt like it, screw however many times he could that night (which was usually once), then turn and leave and not call until he got horny again? Why not leave money on the dresser when he left? She had a college degree, after all! She worked for a government agency, and had the potential to move up into a managerial position. She didn’t have to put up with this from a guy 15 years older than she was!

She got out of the shower and put on a terrycloth robe hanging from a hook on the back of the bathroom door. Screw him! It wasn’t like she loved the little jerk. She didn’t even like him. But he had powerful friends, and she had ambition. Still, no job she could get in this government was worth having to put up with him. She could find somebody else to screw, and maybe even enjoy it.

Cheri opened the robe and looked at herself in the full-length mirror on the back of the door. Not bad at all for 27. Everything was still where Nature had put it. Gravity hadn’t started its inevitable pull to the ground. She looked damn good, if she did say so herself. Better than she’d been giving herself credit for. Better than anybody old Louie out there would see again, for a long, long time.

That was that,