Literary Yard

Search for meaning

By: Stephen Tillman

Scott Carmintz’ first thought on seeing the gorgeous woman striding toward the bar was, high-class hooker. She was wearing a backless sundress barely covering her ass. The dress had a V in front coming down almost to her navel. He was surprised, since five-star hotels rarely let hookers operate on their premises. As he watched from the doorway, two different men approached her and were given the brush-off.

Soshe’s not a hooker, he mused. What the hell. What’ve I got to lose? Those guys were, fat, old, and out-of-shape. I’m not.

He walked to the bar, took a stool next to her, and said, “Hi. I’m Scott.”

She looked him over, smiled, and said, “Lydia.”


Lydia sprawled atop Carmintz. Both were naked, sweaty, and breathing heavily.

“Even better than last night,” she said, her breathing getting back to normal.

“God, you’re beautiful,” he said as he put both hands on her shoulders and pushed her into a sitting position. “I can’t stop looking at you.”

She grinned and started to respond when her cell phone buzzed. She reached over to the night-table and looked at the caller-id. “It’s my husband. If you do anything to make him suspect I’m not alone, I swear I’ll cut your nuts off!”

Carmintz made a zipping motion across his lips as Lydia said, “Hi Babe. Everything on schedule?”

Carmintz heard the voice on the phone say, “There’s been a snag. You sound a little out of breath.”

“I was just about to step in the shower when my phone rang,” Lydia lied, pushing Carmintz’s hand away from her nipples. Stop that! she mouthed. Aloud she said, “I raced over to get the phone before it went to voice mail. What’s the problem?”

“Courtney’s sick.”

“Oh my God!” Lydia exclaimed, a look of consternation on her face. “I’ll get the next flight out.”

“No, stay,” the voice said. “It’s just the flu. She played listlessly in the game last night, and complained she was freezing afterward. I took her to see Joe. There’s nothing you can do here. The suite is booked for the week and already paid for. At least one of us should get away from the ice and snow.”

“Are you sure? I don’t want to leave you alone with a sick kid.”

“I’m on break. Won’t be a problem. You had to set aside time months in advance. Enjoy the sun.”

“I feel guilty.”

“You need the time off,” the voice said and paused. There was a faint noise in the background. “I hear the princess calling. Gotta go. Love you.”

“Love you too.”

“Courtney?” Carmintz asked, as he once again began fondling her breasts.

“My ten-year-old daughter,” Lydia said. She began to wiggle her hips. Carmintz could feel himself growing hard inside her.

“You must’ve been a child bride.”

“If only. Had her when I was twenty-six.”

“Hard to believe,” Carmintz said, bouncing her up and down. “What game?”

“She’s a hockey nut,” Lydia said, moving faster. “Best player on the team. Better than the boys. She threw a fit until we agreed to let her come down with her father a day late so she could play last night.”


“It’s been fun,” Carmintz said, as he slapped Lydia lightly on her rear, stood up, and brushed sand off his legs and bathing suit. “I’d like to stay for the rest of the week, but I’m due back at work tomorrow. My flight leaves in a few hours.”

Lydia sat up on the beach blanket, reached behind herself, and retied the top of her string bikini. Anyone looking would’ve gotten an eyeful.

Carmintz pulled her to her feet, put his arms around her, and started to say something. A scream came from down near the water. A teenaged boy lay on the sand trying to staunch the flow of blood from a large gash on his thigh.

Lydia raced over, with Carmintz close behind. “Let me look,” she yelled. “I’m a doctor.”

“I’ve called 9-1-1,” someone said.

“His femoral artery is torn,” Lydia shouted. She thrust her hand inside the tear in his thigh. Almost immediately the blood flow became barely a trickle. “I’ve clamped it so he doesn’t bleed out. Tell them to hurry. They can still save his leg.”

Five minutes later the paramedics arrived. One of them handed Lydia an arterial clamp. She attached it to the artery, stood up, and said, “You got here just in time. My hand was beginning to cramp.”

The paramedics placed the injured boy on a stretcher and hurried off. Lydia looked down and made a face, as she saw her front had blood on it.

“Impressive,” Carmintz said, giving her a kiss. “Didn’t know you were a doctor. I really have to go. Maybe I’ll see you some time.”

“Yeah, maybe,” Lydia said, watching his retreating back.

She started toward her beach blanket when a hand grasped her left arm. She whirled around and saw a beefy man incongruously dressed in black, oxford shoes, green Bermuda shorts with yellow vertical stripes, and a red T-shirt.

“Pardon me, Doc,” the man said. “You just saved Junior’s life. Mr. Bartorelli wants to thank you in person. He’s on that boat out there.”

Lydia saw a large yacht, well over a hundred feet long, anchored a few hundred yards off the beach. “I did what anyone with appropriate training would do. Tell Mr. Batonelli I said…”

“That’s Mr. Bartorelli,” the man interrupted. He started pulling her toward a motor launch. “I have to insist. Mr. Bartorelli doesn’t take no for an answer.”

“I need to shower first,” Lydia said and pointed to her beach blanket. “Those are my things back there.”

“You can shower on the boat,” the man said. He waved his hand at another beefy man and added, “Freddy will get your stuff.”


Lydia climbed up the ladder and onto the yacht. She was greeted by a large, heavily muscled man wearing swim trunks. He had hair over most of his body and a significant paunch. She sensed the power in him.

“Mr. Bartorelli, I presume?”

“Call me Angelo,” Bartorelli said, stepping forward and hugging her. “You saved my kid’s life. I told the schmuck not to dive off the rocks, but did he listen? Course not. Lucky for him you was there. If I’d known the doc was so hot, I woulda dove off the rocks myself.”

“Glad to help,” she said. Surprisingly, rather than being repulsed by his gruff familiarity, she found herself attracted to him.

“Guido said you wanna shower,” Bartorelli said. With his arm around her waist he led her into the interior of the yacht. As soon as they were inside, he untied her bikini top, pulled it over her head, spun her around, started kissing her, and slid her bikini bottoms down off her hips.

“Shower!” she managed to get out.

“Afterward,” Bartorelli said, pushing her into a stateroom.


Eight years later.

Lydia grimaced when the office phone rang. She looked at the clock. 5:30. Office hours were over. She sighed and picked up the phone.

“There’s an FBI agent here to see you, Doctor,” the receptionist said. “I was just leaving. He says he knows you.”

What the hell? she thought. FBI? Crap! “Send him back here.”

“It’s been a while, Lydia,” Scott Carmintz said, as he entered her office holding up his credentials. He took a seat.

“Hello, Scott,” Lydia said coolly. “I doubt you just happened to stop by after eight years for kicks. I’m busy. What do you want?”

“Your daughter’s quite an athlete.”

“She is,” Lydia agreed, tapping a pencil on her desk in annoyance. “Why are you here, Scott?”

“She could’ve had a full ride to just about any school in the country that has a women’s ice hockey program. Instead she’s at Brown.”

“She plays hockey at Brown,” Lydia pointed out, making an effort to keep from screaming.

“Ivy League. No athletic scholarships.”

“Since you’ve obviously checked us out, you know my ex and I have no problem affording Brown,” Lydia said. Then raising her voice, “For the last time, what the fuck do you want?”

“Angelo Bartorelli.”

“What’s he got to do with anything?”

“You’re ‘friends’ with him,” Carmintz said, making quote marks with his fingers around the word friends.

“I’ve been ‘friends’ with many men,” Lydia said, also making quote marks with her fingers. “Including you. But that was just a one-night stand.”

“Actually it was a two-night stand.”

“So it was,” Lydia said and chuckled. “Tell me what you want and leave. I don’t have time to reminisce with you.”

“Bartorelli is connected,” Carmintz said, getting serious. “He’s not a nice guy. We want to put him away.”

“What do you expect me to do? Arrest him for you?”

“His home base is in Providence. You’re planning to go there to see Courtney play this weekend. We want you to call on him wearing a wire.”

“You’re an idiot,” Lydia said, rolling her eyes. “Even if I were willing to do that, which I’m not, when I’m with Angelo I’m not wearing much. You think he’s going to ignore a little black box taped to my chest while we’re doing it? If he catches me with a wire, I’m dead.”

“Bartorelli uses his yacht for transporting contraband,” Carmintz said, leaning forward and putting his hand on Lydia’s desk. “Including several times when you’ve been aboard.”

“So what? I didn’t know anything about it.”

“Just being present means you can be charged with aiding and abetting. Even if you’re eventually acquitted, it would cost a bundle, it would take a long time, your medical license could be suspended, and it would leave a permanent stain on your record.”

“You fucking creep!” Lydia screamed. She jumped up, grabbed a stapler, and heaved it at Carmintz. “Get out! Get out! I can’t believe I thought you were a good guy!”

Carmintz knocked the stapler aside, got to his feet, came around the desk, and took Lydia by her upper arms. He turned so that her attempt to knee him in the crotch was blocked by his thigh. He winced as she kicked his shin. He turned his jaw into hers as she tried to bite him. He pulled her against him so that she had no leverage to hit, kick, or bite.

“Calm down and listen to me for a second,” Carmintz shouted, holding her struggling body.

“Okay, I’m calm,” Lydia said, surrendering to his superior strength.

As soon as he released her, she slapped him across the face. He pushed her into her desk chair, got behind her, and held her down by the shoulders.

“That really hurt!” he said, wanting to rub his face, but afraid to release her.


“Trust me when I say this wasn’t my idea.”

“I wouldn’t trust you for shit,” she said, trying to spit at him, but unable to turn her head far enough.

“If I have to, I’ll put cuffs on you,” he said, putting his mouth close to her ear. “Just let me explain what we have in mind.”

“Fine. Explain.”

“We know you’re likely to be in flagrante delicto with Bartorelli. The wire you’ll be wearing will be concealed in some earrings. You can leave those on.”

“If you think that’s going to get you anywhere, you’re delusional,” Lydia said with a mirthless laugh. “When he’s with me he doesn’t talk about whacking the governor, or whatever the fuck you want to charge him with.”

“Believe it or not, we’re aware of that,” Carmintz said. He started to massage her shoulders. She began to relax a little, but he still kept a wary eye on her. “We’ll be right outside the building. If he says anything threatening, we’ll be there in no time. What we want you to do is plant the earrings somewhere he won’t notice. Then we can listen to his conversations.”

“That’s it? Just plant the earrings somewhere? You’ll forget the aiding and abetting bullshit?”

“That’s all we want. If there were any other way, I wouldn’t be here. I got my boss to agree this is a one-shot deal. If it doesn’t work, we won’t ask you to do anything else.”


“I gotta admit, Doc,” Bartorelli said, as he collapsed on top of her, satiated. “You’re as good as you ever was. Just as foxy, too.”

“You’re pretty good yourself, Angelo,” Lydia said, having a little trouble breathing with Bartorelli’s weight on her.

The door opened and Angelo Bartorelli, Jr. came in, along with Guido and Freddy, Bartorelli senior’s main gofers. Junior was carrying a device of some type.

“What the fuck!” Senior exclaimed angrily, levering himself off the bed.

“Sorry to bother you, Pop,” Junior said, a smug expression on his face. “Someone’s broadcasting from in here.”

Junior brought the device close to Lydia’s ears. It let out a loud squeal.

“Them earrings,” Senior roared. He pulled her off the bed, grabbed her earrings, and yanked them off. Her earlobes started to bleed. “They listening to us right now?”

“Not while this is here,” Junior said, bringing his device right next to the earrings. “It blocks the signals. I knew this bitch was too good to be true.”

“I’m disappointed in you, Doc,” Senior said, a sorrowful expression on his face. “You’re gonna regret doing this.”

“I didn’t know there was anything in the earrings,” a terrified Lydia said. “Someone gave them to me.”

“Don’t try to bullshit me, Doc,” Senior said, harshly.

“I saved Junior’s life!”

“Don’t mean shit,” Junior said. “Was a long time ago.”

“No, we gotta show the doc some consideration,” Senior said, putting his hand on the back of Lydia’s neck. “See normally, what we’d do if some bitch pulled shit like this, we’d let the boys have fun with her. Then we’d kill her real slow. Lotta pain. In your case, since you saved Junior, after the boys get theirs, we’ll do you quick. Won’t hardly be no pain.”

“Boss!” a new thug yelled, running into the room. “Some feds are at the door. They want in.”

Using flex ties the gangsters bound Lydia’s wrists behind her back, bound her legs together, and put duct tape across her mouth. They opened the closet door, slid aside a panel, and carried her into a soundproofed room. She was shoved onto the floor on her back, still naked, and her right arm was tied to a leg of a desk with a shoelace.

“Sit tight, Doc,” Senior said. “We’ll be back for you, soon.”

Where is Scott? Lydia thought. What can I do?

Lydia took several deep breaths to calm herself. With a suppleness unusual for someone her age, she brought her thighs up to her chest and moved her bound hands under her ass and up to her front. She yanked the duct tape from her mouth. A layer of skin came with it, bringing tears to her eyes. Using her teeth she was able to undo the flex ties from her wrists. She quickly released her legs. Finally she was able to untie the shoelace binding her to the desk.

Lydia searched the desk, but the only weapon she could find was a letter opener. It had a point, but no sharp edge. Quietly, she slid back the panel of the soundproofed room, opened the closet door a sliver, and peeked out. Guido was standing at the door to the room, holding a gun in his hand, and looking out.

Now or never, Lydia thought. She shoved the closet door opened, raced out, jumped on Guido’s back, wrapped her left arm around his neck and her legs around his torso. Using the letter opener, she stabbed him in his right carotid artery. Blood spurted as Guido tried to buck her off. She kept stabbing him in the throat and chest. He ran backwards, slamming her against a wall, but she still hung on. He fired several shots, but couldn’t bring the gun to bear. After what seemed to be an eternity, but which couldn’t have been more than a minute, he began to weaken. Finally he collapsed onto the floor.

Lydia pulled off Guido’s shirt and put it on, even though it was soaked with blood. It came down to her knees. She took his gun, thankful she’d gone shooting many times with her father. She found a spare magazine in his pants pocket and replaced the partially used one.

Junior and another man entered the room looking back over their shoulders. Holding the gun with both hands, she fired until the gun was empty, killing both.

Senior barged in, saw what she’d done, and screamed, “You killed my kid, you fucking cunt!”

“Drop the gun, Angelo,” Carmintz said from behind him. “You’re under arrest.”

Instead he fired toward Lydia just as she leaped to the side. His shot took a gouge out of her upper left arm, but missed the bone. Carmintz put two slugs into his back.

Carmintz wrapped his handkerchief around the wound in Lydia’s arm and gathered her into his arms. She clung to him giving huge, wracking sobs. He caressed her until she stopped crying.

“I saved his kid’s life,” she said, wiping away tears. “And this is my reward.”

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