Goody lay bound on the floor of Desdemona’s “office”, a small second bedroom where she kept stacks of books about witchcraft and other nefarious branches of the dark side. He had read the spines of most of the books he could see and now concentrated his efforts on waking the deeply slumbering Henry McHenry. The guitarist lay on his side, his hands also bound behind his back. McHenry did not seem to care; he snored peacefully, his body content with the lack of movement and circulation. “Henry,” Goody said, softly enough not to arouse Desdemona.
She and Ted, the ex-incubus, had retired to the second bedroom after tying Goody’s hands behind his back and closing the door as they left. Goody assumed that they were hammering out the final details of the double kidnapping. He wondered where in the hell he was going to get five million dollars. Good God, Goody thought, even if they settle for half—where in the hell would he come up with two and a half million dollars. He was certain that Desdemona would end up shooting he and McHenry. She was not a stable woman—and Goody was now convinced that the evil was stored up in the hairy mole. Even if she was not a witch, that mole could be home to nothing but malignancy and rot.
McHenry stirred and stopped snoring. “Henry,” Goody stage-whispered. “Wake up!”
McHenry turned his head and grimaced when he tried to follow with his body. “Bloody fuckin’ hell,” he muttered, opening his gummy eyes. “What the fuck…” The guitarist’s eyes scanned the room, eventually coming to land on Goody and he began to struggle against his bonds. “Sweet Jesus,” he cried out. “What kind of shit is this?”
“We’ve been kidnapped,” Goody said. “We’ve been kidnapped, tied up and stored in a spare room—a room filled with volumes of malignancy and propaganda from the Netherworld.”
McHenry gamely struggled against the bonds for a few minutes, grunting and panting and eventually working himself into a good sweat. “Good God,” he gasped. “It must have been a demon that tied these knots…” He rolled onto his back, which looked horribly uncomfortable to Goody, who remained on his side. “My head is dancing the God-damned Conga,” Henry whispered, his voice harsh and tired. “And my mouth tastes like somebody shit in it…”
The door opened and Ted came in, smiling. “Good morning, kids,” he said. “I heard ll the rustling and figured you must be up and about…” He turned to McHenry. “Hi! I’m Ted—what was it like to play with McCartney?”
“For fuck’s sakes, you crazy bastard,” Henry spat. “Untie my fucking hands!”
Goody had remained still on his side, watching the hallway for signs of the crazy Witch-Woman. “Where’s Desdemona,” he asked.
“She’ll be along shortly,” Ted said. He spoke to Henry McHenry. “I’ll untie you if you promise not to try anything stupid.” He paused for a reaction—there was none. “Now listen to me,” the ex-incubus spoke in a low voice. This caught McHenry’s attention; he stopped writhing on the floor. “I’m trying very hard to get you two out of here in one piece—do you understand me?” Henry nodded. “Now then—Desdemona’s got her heart set on this whole kidnapping thing. Don’t ask me why—it doesn’t make a fucking bit of sense to me…So anyhow, I think I’ve got her talked into a reasonable amount of money.”
“Go on,” Goody said.
“But she’s crazy,” Ted said. “If there’s an outburst from you two, she’s liable to come unglued and kill everybody—maybe even me.” He shrugged. “Crazy bitch.”
“Just what in the fuck are you talking about?” Henry McHenry was subdued and bewildered. “What fuckin’ money?”
“Can you get any Beatle cash?” Ted smiled at Henry.
“Not fuckin’ likely,” McHenry said. “Just as likely to shit a block of gold out of my arse…”
“Just asking,” Ted said, turning his attention back to Goody. “Can you come up with fifty thousand dollars?”
“Why fifty thousand dollars?” Goody asked.
“Now you’re picky?” Ted shook his head. “Because I convinced Desdemona that she could relocate and get a good toehold in Northern California for fifty K…”
“Is the crazy bitch going to kill us?” McHenry rolled onto his side with a grimace.
“I don’t think so,” Ted said. “Not if you pay her off and promise not to turn her in…” Both men nodded. “But I’ll tell you one thing—if she smells the slightest insincerity, she’ll start shooting, you got me?”
“Yes,” Goody said.
“Write her a fucking check,” Henry McHenry said. “You’re the rich writer—get us the fuck out of here…” He turned his head to Ted. “Untie my fuckin’ hands, will ya?”
“I’ll untie your hands,” Ted said. “But I’m telling you…”
Henry nodded. “I know, I know—I’ll be a fuckin’ angel—just untie my hands before the fuckers fall off!”
Ted bent and untied the guitarist’s hands. “Good Christ,” McHenry said. “You must have been a sailor…”
Ted untied Goody’s hands and the two men stood. Goody picked up his hat from the desk. “Do you think you can come up with the money?” Ted asked.
“I’ll try,” Goody shrugged. “I think so—I don’t know…”
“Well, it’s time to negotiate with Desdemona,” Ted said, leading the two men out of the bedroom.
“My head feels like a bag of shit,” Henry said, rubbing his temples as he followed Ted into the living room. Desdemona sat in a chair in a black negligee, pistol in hand. “Christ on a bike,” Henry said. “Look at the tits on you!”
Desdemona was not amused. “Sit down.”
Goody and Henry sat on the couch, across the coffee table from Desdemona. “No offense, Darlin’,” Henry said. “But that’s quite a pair of fun-bags you’re packin’”
“Why don’t we get started,” Ted spoke before Desdemona could shoot the Irishman.
“Good idea,” said the Witch. “Has Ted told you about my compromise?”
Goody nodded, wishing for the thousandth time in the past months that he had never laid eyes on Desdemona, the Witch. “Yes, he did.” Goody said. “That’s fine—I’ll come up with the money, but you’ll have to let us go.”
“I don’t think so,” Desdemona said. “Can’t you make calls from here and get the money?”
“You’ve got to be kidding,” Goody said. “I don’t even remember the name of my bank…I have to go home and get the information.”
“Out of the question,” she said. “And that was too easy—maybe I should make you get me more money…”
Ted shook his head. “Des—stick to your plan. He doesn’t even know if he’s got fifty thousand. But at least it’s a reasonable amount for him to try to come up with…”
Desdemona frowned. “We’ll all go to your house.”
“It’s an apartment,” Goody said. “A little one-bedroom apartment that I bought years ago—when I had some money…”
“It’s a dirty fucker,” Henry added. “He certainly doesn’t have a maid…”
“Henry…” Goody shook his head.
“That’s it then,” Desdemona said, rising from the chair. Her breasts swayed as she walked over and leaned into Goody’s face. Henry’s eyes grew wide as he stared at her pendulous bosom. “I’m going to go get dressed and we’ll go—but if you try anything funny, I swear to God, I’ll shoot you where you stand.”
Desdemona walked down the hall. “I think she’s serious,” Ted said.
“I think she’s seriously stacked,” Henry added.
Goody lived but four blocks from Desdemona, so the four of them walked to Goody’s two-flat, with Henry McHenry voicing complaints the entire way. His head still hurt and if he didn’t find a toothbrush or eat some fruit his mouth was going to turn black and his tongue was going to fall out. “That would be a blessing,” Goody said. The wind howled and they turned their collars up to protect themselves against the cold.
“Fuckin’ cold town,” McHenry muttered. “Sucks the life right out of ya…”
No one spoke as they reached Goody’s building. Henry whistled. “Nice fuckin’ car—McCartney must’ve tracked me down.”
Ted was the only one to glance at the Jaguar parked against the opposite curb. He nodded his agreement. “Definitely a Beatle-mobile.”
Goody fished the keys from his pocket just as a gust of wind caught the brim of his had and swept it from his head. He dropped the keys and grabbed for it, but it carried up and away, quickly out of his reach. Henry jumped as the hat flew by, but he also was too late. “Hey,” Goody yelled, starting after the hat.
“Fuck the hat,” Desdemona said.
Goody stopped in his tracks. She had the gun in her pocket and Goody knew it was trained on his spine. If she shot him and he lived, at the very least he would be crippled and wheelchair bound, so that the Roving Cancer could feast on the lower half of his body. He watched the hat soar over the rooftops. “Yeah,” he said, hair whipping into his face. “Fuck the hat.”