Digitally transcribed for the Gardner Francis Fox Adventure Library
He came toward the bunk where I lay looking at him from under my plucked brows. He waved the pieces of paper as if it were a baton and he a conductor getting ready for an overture.
“The Count is a H.A.T.E. agent, as we L.U.S.T. agents know. What we don’t know is how big can their set-up be, here in the States?”
“And you want me to find out?” I asked disbelievingly.
“Exactly,” he grinned, sitting on the edge of the bunk.
“You’re putting me on. What can I do?”
“Go find out.”
I scowled at him, turning over and holding the covers above the bulge of my breasts, “You go find out,” I muttered. “Go raid that yacht of his.”
“We do that,” he remarked virtuously. “He’s out in international waters. There would be an incident with the Italian government if we did that.”
“Send a couple of scuba divers to blow the damn boat up.” He nodded. “We thought of that. But that would only remove some of the H.A.T.E. crowd. We want them all.” His hand touched my thigh, patting it. “This is where you come in, oh sexiest of spies.”
“The girl in those pictures. She belongs to H.A.T.E.”
“Her face was turned away,” I pointed out. “She’s a smart cookie. She knew the camera was snapping away. She made sure nobody could pin anything on her.”
David looked dejected. “I know that. I’m just hoping you might be able to recognize her from the body. You can study the photographs, see if you can find a birthmark or something.”
I glanced at him from the corners of my hot little eyes. “If you’re implying that I’m a gay girl, David Anderjanian—”
He spread his hands. “I said no such things.”
I lay back on the bed, staring at the ceiling. The covers were pulled down a little by my action so that the upper swells of my pale mounds jutted, upward. David stared at them.
“At least, I don’t think I’m gay,” I went on. “Maybe it’s because I’ve never had the opportunity.”
“Look, Eve. Forget I said anything.”
“It might be interesting to give it a try.”
I put my hands up behind my head and caught hold of the headboard. David could see all the way down to my nipples. In my several months of training, David Anderjanian had never so much as made a pass at me. It was a little disconcerting to a girl who prided herself on her stark attraction to the opposite sex.
I tensed my arm muscles, pulling my body backward toward the headboard. My nipples came into view. David stared at them and licked his lips. I eased my grip but I did not cover myself up. I wanted to punish him. Let him suffer a little.
He shifted on the bed, turning away. I grinned at him. Well, maybe he was human, after all. He just was too proud to let me know he wanted me.
I wondered how David Anderjanian would do with the ten treats of Venus. I cuddled my buttocks deeper into the warm sheet, remembering pose number seven especially. When I had looked into that mirror I caught my breath. I sat up.
“David!” I screamed.
He looked scared, “Wha—what is it?”
“What about em?”
“I have an idea.”
He did not look scared any more. He was studying my nakedness which was on view for his inspection all the way down to my navel. My breasts shook a little as I put out a hand, pointing.
“My robe, darling,” I breathed. “Get it, please.”
He grinned wickedly, “Why don’t you get it yourself?”
His eyes locked on mine. There was challenge and deviltry in his stare. All right, mister smarty-pants (and how I hoped they smarted!), here’s where I take your dare.
I threw back the covers and lifted my legs, David grew very red as I let them open for a moment before I swung them up over his head and around to the side of the bed.
“All right, David dear. I’ll get my goddamn robe.” I smiled at him sweetly. I got up and walked across the cabin to the chair where I had tossed my robe last night. I hoped my behind was shaking, I hoped David was staring at my back view and seeing how nice, and shapely my legs are and how soft and white my back. I hoped he was hurting from looking.
I lifted my robe and turned, giving him a glance. He was looking, all right. And hurting, as well. I took my time with, the robe, shaking it out, as if there were dust all over it, knowing my breasts would be jumping like balloons in a gust of wind.
“You’d better put that thing on, he growled.” I pretended to be surprised.
“What?” He went on staring. He said, “The robe. Get into it.”
I looked down at my naked self. “Why? What’s wrong?” David groaned.
“Oh! All right, David.”
I slid an arm into the robe. “I honestly didn’t think you were human,’ I told him. “I thought maybe they drained all the manhood out of you before they made you my case officer.”
David stood up. He started walking toward me.
“Now, look.” I said, holding up a hand.
He grabbed me, held me against him. He kissed me with his open mouth and his tongue. I went limp against him.
He was a big man, maybe even bigger than the Count. He was lots stronger, too. I thought his grip would flatten my breasts against his chest.
He let me go. My breasts filled-out again. “Get into your clothes,” he choked. “Or I damn well will forget all that L.U.S.T. has taught me and throw you on the bunk.”
“Yeah,” I breathed.
David shook a finger under my nose, of all places, “You belong to L.U.S.T. So do I.”
I nodded eagerly, “We sure do.”
“I’m glad you agree. Now get dressed and meet me in the briefing room in fifteen minutes.”
“You’re full of jokes. What about that offer to throw me on the bed?”
“Some other time.”
“You’ll never get the chance,” I threatened. He grabbed me and kissed me again. I wrapped my arms about him. I started to belly dance against him, but David was like stone. He grabbed my arms and pushed me away.
“You aren’t human,” I wailed. “I have a will of iron,” he stated. I leered. David sighed and moved past me to the door. “You aren’t going out—like that?” I asked. He shook his head. He stood facing the door and did not move until I had put on the panties, bra and knit suit he had brought from my Miami Beach apartment.
I went to the door and opened it, saying, “Be my guest.”
“When this case is over…” he began. I sniffed and flaunted a shoulder at him. In the briefing room, he brought out the pictures and spread them on the table at my direction. He looked at me suspiciously.
“What are we supposed to be looking for?” he asked stiffly.
“The girl’s face.” He glared, putting out a hand for the photos. “You said yourself that her face was turned away from the camera at all times.”
“I know I did but there’s a chance that…”
Last night there had been a number of mirrors in the yacht stateroom. I remembered turning my head to look at our reflections while the Count was going through his paces. There was a bureau mirror in these pictures. It might just be possible that the girl had turned her head away from the camera toward the mirror in one of them.
My finger stabbed out. “There!” I shouted gleefully.
“There what? Oh,”
He snatched the picture up, staring down at the reflected face we could make out plainly enough. It would show up better in an enlargement. I opened my mouth to tell this to David but he was ahead of me.
Over his shoulder he said, “Great work, number Double Oh Sex.”
I stuck out my tongue at him.
He brought back an enlargement in a little while, handing it to me. “You keep this. Study it. I’ll have copies made and passed around. I’ll alert the Central Intelligence Agency and the FBI to enlist the services of the Miami Beach police force. We ought to get some results inside a day or two.”
“Lucky us,” I smiled. “I’m going to mention you in my report,” he told me. I applauded. He scowled “You have the wrong attitude, Double Oh Sex.”
“Will you stop saying that!” I yelled. He looked surprised, “I meant it as a compliment.”
“If you feel so complimentary, why don’t we go out to dinner tonight together. On the expense account. As a kind of reward.”
“Mmmmm. Maybe we could.” He got that thoughtful look which meant I might be in for trouble. “You’re giving me an idea.”
“I hope it’s a pleasant one.” He nodded. “It is. I was thinking that if we’re really lucky, we’ll get word of the girl in the pictures before then. We can have dinner where she eats.”
I kicked out at him with a slippered foot, He dodged back, laughing. I said, “Maybe I ought to go out to dinner with George Norton. He appreciates me.
“You’ve never been appreciated by me or you wouldn’t say that,” he informed me.
“You aren’t married, are you David?”
“Not yet,” he agreed cheerfully.
“Thirty years old and never a bridegroom,” I commented, shaking my head. “It looks bad. I have a theory about men like that.”
He went red and took a step toward me. “For that I ought to teach you how much I go for women,” he growled. Then he added softly, “I don’t have a drop of queer blood in my body.”
I smiled like an angel. “We’ll see,” I murmured sweetly. A whirlybird met us ten miles off the coast of Florida. While David stood watching, I mounted the swaying rope ladder to the helicopter cabin and swung in by way of a strong hand offered me by a grinning, fellow L.U.S.T. agent. “Nice work, Double Oh Sex,” he murmured.
“Oh, not you too,” I sighed. Word always gets around. David stuck his head up over the bottom of the door. When he saw my face he said hastily, “I was only kidding.”
“Oh shut up. Just take me home. I need a bath.” He looked so gloomy on the way home, I felt sorry for him. After all, maybe he was being complimentary. It must be tough on him to send me off to an orgy on a H.A.T.E. yacht while he was cooped tip in that submarine. Maybe I would make it up to him tonight.
“David, what are you going to do now?”
“Escort you to headquarters for a briefing. Then I’m going home and take a nap.”
“Oh, good. I liked a man well rested.”
The pilot grinned. David has very red ears when he gets angry, I discovered. Well, I was going to pile up the zees, too. Last night had taken something out of me.
L.U.S.T. headquarters in Miami Beach are in an old hotel. L.U.S.T, has the two top floors. Nobody is allowed above the tenth, so the eleventh and twelfth stories are all ours. It is like stepping onto a movie set, coming out of the elevator after seeing the first-ten floors from the rattletrap cage that takes us upward. Actually our elevator is a special job, camouflaged to look like an Otis reject. It can do a number of surprising things like pump gas into it or fire-upward or down with hidden cannon. I never did find out why they spent so much moola on a silly elevator. Maybe it was part of a senatorial pork barrel.
Those first eight floors—gaah!
But the eleventh and twelfth were sheer Hollywood. Plush carpets. Redwood desks that seemed to have an acre of polished top. Behind doors that opened only to a special electronic impulse, were computers and maps and half a hundred science things about which I knew absolutely nothing.
I followed David meekly. He had one of the gadgets that opened the doors. I didn’t. He opened an oak door for me. I walked into a blue and gray room where a man in his fifties was seated at one of those big desks. I knew he was a military man at first glance. His back was ramrod stiff, his hair was cut very short to his head, and his face was tanned to the color of bronze.
He stood up at sight of me, making a little bow. “Miss Drum, good to have you back safely.” He had a New England twang in his voice.
“It’s good to be back, sir.”
“General Moffitt,” murmured David. “General Moffitt,” I amended. The general waved David and me to seats facing him. He had a file—I suppose it was my file—before him. He kept looking at me instead of the file, so I smiled at him.
“Miss Drum, I have memorized the facts on you,” he said slowly. “Your success against the Count justifies our belief in you.”
I began to get suspicious. The general sounded a lot like David Anderjanian who always soft-soaped me before lowering the boom. I uncrossed my legs, and seeing where the general was looking, I crossed them again, slowly.
“Uh—where was I?” asked the general. I wanted to tell him he had been midway up my under thigh about where a garter-clasp was digging into me, but I merely, said, “About to clobber me with a new assignment.”
He broke off, looked at me and at David, who shrugged. He chuckled and threw up his hands, “You are deceptive, Miss Drum. You look—er—so innocent that . . . no, that isn’t quite the word I have in mind.”
“So physical?” I wondered.
He nodded. “Yes. So physical that a man never thinks you have a brain in your head. You do, which is great for L.U.S.T. but not so good for H.A.T.E. Now then, let’s get down to business.”
He opened a drawer and lifted out a wooden box. He opened it and peered inside. Smiling, he drew out a pair of sheer panties and held them up.
“These are yours, Miss Drum. You will wear them on your next assignment, the details of which I’ll leave to Anderjanian.”
I looked at the panties. They were brief enough to be modish but I did not like the row of tiny red rosettes that formed a fig leaf decoration at their crotch. I told the general and he laughed.
“Those little red roses may come-in handy. They are tiny but powerful bombs, Miss Drum. In the event you find yourself confronted by overwhelming odds, you whip off one or two of them, heave them—and duck.”
I went white. “You’ve got to be kidding! Me wear those things around my—that is, on my panties? Suppose I get hit by a car? Or stumble and fall? Oh, no. Not Evie girl.”
The general looked embarrassed. “Miss Drum, these mini-bombs are for your protection—not your destruction. An enemy agent might get the opportunity to ransack your handbag so that if you were carrying a revolver or some other weapon in it, it might be taken away from you. But your panties would be more or less safe.”
“Ha!” I exclaimed. The general flushed.
He lifted the second object, a silver cigarette lighter. “This is just what it seems to be, but instead of butane gas it shoots a chemical spray that proves fatal to anyone who breathes it. If anybody but you who tries to work it, it won’t. There is a special way to activate its miniaturized mechanism.”
I got up and walked around beside the desk and bent forward to watch his fingers, touch the lighter here and there, very gently. He was not looking at the lighter, his eyes were touching my knit suit where it gaped above my breasts.
The general drew a deep breath. “One thing yet remains. A comb.” He drew a largish comb from the wooden box and touched one end.
A four inch steel blades lid out from the comb back. It glistened under the lights, very deadly. As the general’s hand closed about the comb part, I saw the teeth bend to his grip.
“Oh my, yes,” I nodded.
“Well, there you are. Take them and put them to good use, my dear.”
“The panties, too?”
“They may save your life,” the general smiled. “The roses have to be thrown with some force, so don’t worry too much about detonating them by falling.”
I shrugged. “If you say so.” But I lifted those frillies between my thumb and forefinger and eased them gently into my handbag. The comb and cigarette lighter followed.
“Miss Drum, if you don’t smoke, you’d better buy a pack of cigarettes anyway. You mustn’t carry a cigarette lighter without cigarettes. It doesn’t look good.”
“I will, sir. Is there anything else?”
The general rubbed his hands together. “No, the rest I leave to your case officer.”
David grinned and rose to his feet. “We’ve alerted the FBI and the CIA and the MPF to the fact that—”
“MPF?” asked the general in a puzzled way. “Miami Police Force, chief. Now back to what I was saying. Everybody in those agencies will be looking for the girl in these pictures.” David drew them out and spread them on the desk top. The general opened his eyes wide.
“You’d better let me have a set too—just in case I run into her,” he said hurriedly.
“Of course. These are for you, sir.” David agreed. In the hall I said, “I thought those were my snapshots.”
“You can always get another set.” I shrugged. I did not need them. I would know the hussy in her clothes or out of them, in a wig or with her hair dyed. Women get feelings sometimes about other women. I was having one of those cold little flashes right now.
David drove me home. He would not come to my apartment but said he was going home and to sleep. It sounded like such a good idea, I did the same thing. I stripped, I showered, I slept.
It was dusk over Miami when my phone rang. I crawled bleary-eyed from the sheets and reached a hand for the phone.
“Wait, now. We’ve found her. She’s staying at the Fontainebleau. Every night she dines in the Louis Quatorze Room. After that she goes out on the town, sometimes with an escort, sometimes without.”
“I hope she gets indigestion,” I replied. “I thought you might say that. We’ll dine with her—well, not with her, actually, but close by, certainly.”
I sighed. I knew when I was beaten. “What time, chief?”
He was there at six, while I was still in just my stockings and garter belt. I slipped into shoes and a negligee and ran to let him in.
“You said six o’clock,” I muttered accusingly.
“Well? It’s six. Hey, I like your dress.”
“Ha ha like in funny. David, nobody, but nobody ever calls on a girl when he says he will. She might be in the shower or getting dressed.”
“I know, clever of me isn’t it?”
I marched myself back into my bedroom, determined to dawdle. I was sitting at the vanity table fastening on false eyelashes when he opened the door and poked his head in. “Sorry. I forgot to tell you. Giselle eats at seven-thirty sharp. Say, you do look nice in that garter belt, angel.
I heaved a brush at him. Unfortunately, the brush hit the door.
My evening gown was laid out on the bed. I stared at my reflection in the mirror. No need to wear more than what I had on now, under that gown. Of course I would show plenty of what makes me a woman, but this was the name of the game.
I lifted the gown and wriggled into it.”
“David dear,” I called. “Come zip me up.”
He kissed my bare shoulders and down my spine while he was fumbling with the tab, but it was no more than I expected. I wriggled a little to let him know, I was not displeased. I knew damn well he would do nothing more. Giselle what’s-her-name was seating at seven-thirty sharp. Business always came first to a man like David Anderjanian.
He went and got my mink and draped it on me.
I was ready for the night’s work.