by C.M. Decarnin
What the hell kind of place was this?
Everyone in costumes, full makeup -- well a lot of them were.
That carcinotropic son of a bitch.
Krycek slid along the wall, looking warily.
Several of the patrons took instant and inordinate notice of him.
The guy with the green skin and red eyes had slid up on him somehow.
Melodic like Marlene, but meaningful like Mae West.
This time, I'm killing the son of a bitch. First thing I get back
East Coast --
The eyeballs red -- Christ. Beyond living the fantasy.
"I haven't seen you here before, and trust me, I would remember."
"I just came in for a Dos Equis."
"Somehow, I knew that. Your cigarette-smoking friend didn't tell me
sending D.C.'s answer to James Dean."
Not the exact countersign but close enough. Something told him nothing
freak did would be exactly what was expected. The little pointy horns
looked so real --
"I can't wait to hear what you're going to sing for us tonight."
Huh? was not an emotion he felt very often. That sense that
went one way but his train had gone another.
The red eyes were flicking around over the crowd. "And I see a number
our patrons feel the same anticipation. A word in your shell-like ear --
this place is safe, so is the street and the parking lot, but make sure you
aren't followed when you leave here, 'kay? I'll have the bouncer -- a jewel
beyond price -- bar the door, but -- Now. What song suits your fancy? And
do you really drink Dos Equis, by the way?"
Krycek had forced his mind into his least favorite mode: I don't know
the fuck is going on here/ready for anything, shit shit shit.
"I don't drink. And I thought you were going to provide the --
Red eyes appraised him anew.
"Our addicted friend is a barrel of laughs, I see. He didn't
tell you how
And I am so killing him...
"It's simple yet piquantly mindbending. I can tell what lies in your
future. And other places. But only while you're singing karaoke."
It will involve slow torture...
"Right. I'm out of here."
"Performance opens the soul in ways few beings can cope with or shield.
does make a kind of admittedly perverted sense, I assure you. Speaking of
"I thought you could only do it when someone was singing."
"You had a song going through your mind. I caught a whiff."
God damn it.
Mulder should be here, not me.
Thank god he's dreaming on his couch in Arlington.
A vision of the way Mulder would touch the microphone up on its stand...
hesitant... Mulder would die before he would do this... A lot of things
Krycek did that Mulder wouldn't touch with a ten-foot pole... A lot of
things Krycek was...
Red Green gestured toward the stage. "Since you came unprepared, I'll
a song for you. If it helps, bear in mind you'll never see any of these
gentlefolk again. I'd tell you to picture them in their underwear, but
that's not a place most people want to go with this crowd."
Nothing was touching him, yet he was being led toward the stage. The
-- that jackal -- had laid a lot of emphasis on this intelligence. Krycek
had learned to tell, by bitter experience, when the hyena was merely
toying with him. The old croc expected something out of this. If it wasn't
Krycek who learned it, it would be someone else... and no one would tell
This can't be happening.
Someone else would know something he didn't...
The karaoke monitor was explained to him, not rocket science but he was
having a hard time integrating -- in fact he was hyperventilating --
Cold. Dead. Down.
I'll picture them in their fucking coffins.
A look out over the variegated audience and the image was both less final
and less comforting than expected. He looked hastily down at the monitor
suddenly terrified of missing the first line. Music was starting,
nigglingly familiar though not exactly the way --
Oh shit. No. No.
He's going to beg to die.
The first words came up on the monitor. Krycek's mouth opened and
gritting, croaking, weak yet all too magnified voice from deep in a personal
realm of hell didn't exactly sing,
"They say we're young
and we don't know,
Won't find out unti-i-ill we grow..."
Payback is a white-fanged BITCH, Cancer Man...
A murderous look caught eyes deeply in need of Visine intent at him, from
table near the front row. No smile of reassurance, no nod, just absorbed
Mulder must never know.
Or I'd have to kill him.
"Well I don't know
if all that's true
'Cause you got me, and baby, I got you..."
He had never realized before that this song, once it began, could never
actually end. It just went on, into eternity. E = mc2.
"I got flowers...
in the spring.
I got you, to wear my ring."
Several -- entities -- in the audience had drawn close, following him with
all their senses, as if... why he thought it he didn't know, but... as if
they felt the blood on him. It sure wasn't his wavering sandpapery
terrorized voice that held them rapt. At least he hoped not. Oh Christ, a
high part --
"When I'm sad, you're
And if I get scared, you're always around."
Bloody right you're around when I get scared, funny how that works you
freaking sadistic Fibbie asshole and he wasn't thinking of Cancer Man at
all any more, just those hard, painful fists of Mulder's waling into him
"So put your little
hand in mine,
There ain't no hill or mountain we can't climb..."
His whole body was trembling, he was on another plane of existence,
humiliation, pure adrenalin, sweat, failure, death, shock, inescapability
-- high as a kite -- the first time -- that first time --
He hadn't been able to stop shaking for an hour, the first time. He'd
forgotten that. Completely forgotten.
Though he remembered exactly how the man had doubled over, after the bullets
had finished pinning him to the wall, so slowly... like he would never reach
But he had. And Krycek was already running. Anonymous weapon
left at the
scene. Anonymous ticket to nowhere that mattered.
A woman looking away had thought he had palsy.
Mulder up against him at the airport.
"I got you to kiss
I got you to hold me tight.
I got you, I won't let go..."
His voice sounded like he had run three miles with Mulder on his heels.
Christ there were no more words!
Panicked, his eyes ransacked the screen before he realized the impossible
had happened. The song was over.
He was free.
Back on the ground in another minute and they would never, never get him
Applause threw him into consternation, particularly strong from his groupies
in the front row. One smiled with unabashedly impossible teeth, in yellow
gums. Definitely make sure he was not followed out of this dive.
He took the steps down off the stage with huge weakness of his ankles and
thighs. Red Green beckoned.
He sat down. It wasn't really a choice.
He might never use his voice again.
The reminder would be too horrific.
A Perrier with a wedge of lime sat in front of him. He wouldn't be
pick it up without the clinking ice giving away his shaking.
God he was thirsty.
He swilled the blest freezing-fizzly down in one long drink.
Red-Eye still hadn't said anything.
"Well?" Krycek husked finally.
I never claimed I could sing, this was your idea.
"Dear boy... I can't tell you."
System lockdown. Dead eyes, dead voice. "What?"
Welshing was something he knew how to handle.
"Because if I tell you... it might not happen. And it has to happen."
The green-skinned -- man (mental question-mark) looking at him with...
Which he knew somehow was the last, the very last, emotion you ever would,
or ever wanted to, see on that hawk-nosed, handsome, smooth-green,
Not good, not good --
How come I believe this?
"I need something to tell Cancer Man." No panicking. Stay with
Business. Takin' care of --
A smile twitched the scarlet lips. He wondered what that tune
The Man in Green. Then, "No, we wouldn't want to disappoint the suits. Not
that they worry me, child." A different smile, and Krycek was utterly
down-deep certain they didn't. Plans began zipping through his hindbrain.
Someone who wasn't afraid of the Consortium could be very -- "But he'll
call me directly. I somehow got the impression he doesn't trust you to
report our -- findings. I'll be sure to say your participation is essential
to success. Without specifying whose success. Mustn't have him trying to
kill you again -- third time's the charm and all that. I wouldn't advise
you to kill him just yet, either."
Frowny-face. He really wanted to kill Old Smoky.
A green forefinger wagged chidingly. "All in good time."
Krycek felt like he could walk now. He looked around and didn't like
number of eyes he saw looking back at him. He stood up.
"Oh -- and give my best to your red-furred, bushy-tailed friend."
zeroed back in. "Oh yes, he loomed large in your psychic legend." Eyebrows
moved flirtatiously. "He's someone I'd like to get up there some night."
If he couldn't smoke the Smoker, at least Krycek could exact revenge on
"You will. I promise you." He could taste it between his teeth.
Red-Eye mulled. "Maybe a few choruses of "Let It Be"."
"Yes. Yes," said Krycek. Yes he said yes he said yes.
He went out singing vengeful opera in his heart, hearing the gush of
disappointed sighs as the large orange bouncer blocked the door behind him.
just put it behind you and get on with your life.