© Copyright Quicksylver, Inc.
From "Should Old Acquaintance be Forgot" - G Russell Gaynor
A soft smile had formed on his face and it seemed to have found a home there. Stanley was definitely having a good time! The collage of voices as people tried to talk to, talk at, and talk over each other had mixed into a sound that was hardly orchestral, but it was a rhythm he could put to the background of the area. Champagne bottles popped like timpani drums and glasses clinked providing the chimes and bells.
Of course, there was also music to go with the affair and Stanley spun, pulling Agnes closer to him. She giggled as she leaned against him, only to be spun around again and caught just before she could fall.
“Oh my!” his wife exclaimed as her eyes flared. She looked up at him, and suddenly Stanley could dance no more. He just stood there, holding his wife and gazing into her green eyes. Stanley slowly brought her up as she gently touched her hand to the side of his face. He closed his gray eyes and sighed, bringing his wife in for a kiss. She shuddered for a moment, remembering why she had fallen in love with the man the first time, and every day all over again.
“Thank you,” Stanley whispered after their lips parted.
“For saving me,” he replied, spinning his wife once more. He brought her back to his body and her back rested against his chest. “I’ve saved countless people…”
“We can just leave it at them,” Agnes offered.
“But you are the only one who saved me!” Stanley continued.
“I think there would be a few who might argue that point.”
“They’re all dead and they saved some wingnut in a kick-ass suit; you saved Stanley Abner Kieslowski.”
“It was the least I could do,” Agnes smiled as she was turned to face her husband. “Are you having a good time?”
“I sure am!”
“And how many times have you mapped the crowd and the room?” she asked, keeping her smile.
“Five times the first,” Stanley replied, losing his grin. “Seven the second.”
“And three members of the wait staff are on the take,” he notified. “Small time pick-pockets with poor organization; grifters at best. I think there are three men here with their mistresses-”
“On New Year’s Eve?!”
“And at least six married women with their lovers who aren’t their husbands,” Stanley quickly added. “Other than that, only four people here are packing weaponry and body armor, and they don’t mind showin’ it! I think they all work for the slick haired idiot in the funky green suit.”
“I believe that is Mantis,” Agnes added.
“Easy, Fido!” she chuckled. “The type of funky green, not an alter-ego!”
“He’d be better off with one,” Stanley weighed. “At least then he’d have an excuse.
“But, yes, I am having a good time,” he repeated, smiling at Agnes. “When was the last time we celebrated the New Year together?”
“The last time you were in traction during the holidays,” Agnes replied. “But don’t think for a moment that I’m complaining,” she quickly added, patting Stanley on the shoulder. “You’re a good man who’s done wonders with his life. Those wonders have taken time, effort and sacrifice. I’m just glad you had room for me on your road.”
“Without you, there would have been no journey,” Stanley testified.
“Horse feathers!” Agnes replied. “Your ride wouldn’t have had power windows is all!”
“Power windows, power brakes, AM/FM/satellite radio… rack in pinion steering, turbo boost, nitrox, mini-guns, rockets, energy shields…” a chuckling wife kissed her husband to stop his listing.
“Point made. And you’re welcome. You need to know one thing though: you saved me first!”
“I keep forgetting we met on the job,” Stanley reflected.
“I’m sure that it is just another memory you’d like to keep to yourself,” a young man said as he walked closer to the couple. Stanley had felt his approach. He had even made his four accomplices. He just hadn’t been sure if he was being paranoid, or just sharp. “But I’m afraid you’re on the menu for my mental feast tonight, old man.”
“What? What’s going on here?!” Stanley said, turning to face the man, looking every bit the normal old man he had been accused of being.
“Save it, grandpa,” the blonde-haired man spat back. “I’m a telepath, and it never escapes my notice when I can’t read someone.”
Stanley assumed the crotchety old man demeanor and started taking off his watch. “Son, someone should teach you some manners.” Stanley detected the other four stopping their approach. The punk must have a link with them. It didn’t even look like he had to concentrate to speak to them. That was bad news! But he took in a deep breath and handed his watch to Agnes, followed by his two rings. “You care to step outside?” The young man’s brow jumped up over his blue eyes and he laughed.
“Sure! Let’s… step outside!”