Frankie Fey

by Rigby Taylor

Chapter 23


An Internet search for Thrope turned up nothing apart from a Sci-fi tale about a girl who had a one night stand with a Japanese thrope. Who or what the thrope was remained a mystery.

'Just dial the number on the card. It's only half past four, he could still be at the office.'

The phone was answered by a girlish voice. 'Dubbledada yoldiniys, Juriddian speaking, how may I help you?' At least that's what it sounded like. Frankie wondered if it was the same in other countries and who taught them to speak incoherently and if there was some sort of malicious plot behind it.

'I'm sorry, I understood neither your name nor your place of work.'

It was no clearer the second time and it was too hot to protest, so he gave up. Taking his lead from the receptionist, he slurred the Thrope person's status so it could sound like either Mr. Mrs. or Miss. 'I'd like to speak with Mzr Thrope.'

'Miss Thrope is out of the office at the moment. May I know who's calling?'

'Frankie Fey.'

'What do you wish to speak with Miss Thrope about, Mr. Fey?' A reasonable question, considering the woman's probable wealth and the enemies she must have accumulated along the road to fortune.

'I've been told that Miss Thrope is buying forested acreage blocks of land near the city, and as I have one to sell in the Blue Mountains, I wondered if she might be interested.'

He was asked to hold the line. Three minutes later she returned. Miss Thrope will see you tomorrow at eleven-fifteen.'

'Where?' Frankie asked.


'Where's here?' He just avoided snapping at her.

'Colonial Chambers.' She disconnected.

Ingenio was smiling. 'You look peeved.'

'A little girl just hung up on me.'

'What did you learn?'

'It's Miss Thrope, not mister, and her office is in Colonial Chambers.'

'Sounds like an old toilet. Where are they?'

'The bitch hung up without telling me.'

Ingenio searched and found a street view of a colonial style, two-storeyed office building in a cul-de-sac down by the inner harbour.

Frankie peered over Ingenio's shoulder, 'I expected a glass and steel high-rise office suite. Perhaps she's not so bad after all if she prefers a pleasant building like that.'

'We'll discover that tomorrow at a quarter past eleven.'

They found Con up in the observatory, asleep. Taking a freshly baked Madeira cake, the three men wandered down to Karmai and Sylvan's to tell them about Miss Thrope. Over a cup of tea they decided they'd all go into the city early the following day to check out the area, because knowing the environs when dealing with strangers could never be a bad thing.

'At nine o'clock the following morning, the five men parked their vehicles several blocks away from Colonial Chambers and went their separate ways, not acknowledging each other when their paths crossed as they checked surrounding buildings, the little park, the wharf behind the office, entrances and exits, security, roads, and who was coming and going. At ten thirty Karmai entered the restored elegance of the reception area and stared at the list of tenants.

'Snake! What the fuck're you doing here?' The voice was soft, almost a whisper, but it carried and Karmai knew it instantly. His face cracked into a wide grin.

'Buddy!! You're looking respectable!' he said just as quietly. 'What's the matter? Someone died?'

The well-fed middle-aged man of a similar ethnic persuasion to Karmai, put his finger to his lips and beckoned him to an open door. Karmai followed into a well-appointed office and looked around appreciatively. Buddy left the door ajar. 'Believe it or not, I am respectable, Snake,' he said once they were inside but still speaking softly. 'You are looking at the concierge of Colonial Chambers.' He grinned and grabbed both Karmai's hands in his own. 'What are you doing here? Can you hang around till I get off? What've you been doing since… Are you married? Got kids? You're looking fit!'

'You're looking pretty good yourself. What've you been up to?'

'Got a couple of kids, fifteen and sixteen. This job pays well. Got me a house out west. No complaints from the missus—well no more than usual. You?'

'Still working at the place in the hills. Different owner, though. Good bloke.'


Karmai shook his head.

'What, no sex?'

'I get plenty, but without the hassles.'

'Yeah. That's the downside.' He shook his head and grinned. 'What're you doing here?'

'A friend wants to see Miss Thrope.'

Buddy pulled an astonished face. 'Why?'

'He wants to sell his place and she's been buying that sort of property. What's she like?'

Buddy peered into the foyer. 'I'm also security,' he explained, 'so have to know who's coming and going—and make sure no one's listening.'

Karmai was staring at his friend. 'We've been whispering. Isn't that sick? As if we're still in the lock-up. I've just realised… I don't think I've ever had a conversation with you at normal volume. In fact, have we ever met outside?'

Buddy's smile was sad. 'No. We met when we were thirteen in Cairns Youth Detention centre, then in Townsville a few years later. Then in Brisbane for too long, and then you disappeared. It's thanks to you I'm alive. I'd have topped myself if I hadn't had you to offload all my crap.'

'Likewise, Buddy. It wasn't one way. I was fucking lucky you were there every time they locked me up. How'd you get on your feet?'

'A prison visitor—not one of the usual bible bashers, but a decent atheist, took a liking to me and gave me a job. That's all it took—a regular job. Crazy eh?'

'Crazy isn't strong enough. They know that imprisonment, beatings, solitary, verbal abuse and all the other violent crap that goes on, makes kids worse, while responsibility and a bit of help turns them into law abiding decent people, but they choose torture because that gets them votes, then wonder why things get worse.'

They shook their heads, not wanting to remember any more.

'What about your Thrope woman?'

'She's an ugly bitch with a capital B. I keep praying someone will slice her into bits and feed her to the sharks. What the fuck's she buying property for?'

'Profit. She's been sending heavies to owners of large blocks of land to terrorise them into selling their properties for peanuts, then she sells the land at a gigantic profit to developers.'

'Sounds like her. She wants to get rid of me; says I lower the tone and blacks aren't trustworthy. Why's your friend selling to her then?'

'He isn't. He wants to meet her and see if he can persuade her to give the properties back to his neighbours.'

Buddy's eyes widened, then he opened a gigantic mouth and nearly choked on suppressed laughter. Wiping his eyes he spluttered, 'Never make me laugh like that again.' He started giggling. 'Anne Thrope doing something decent? Ha!'

'Does she have any weak points?'

'Well…' Buddy peered out the door to check no one was listening. 'I happen to know, via a friend who services upper-crust females, that she is a sucker for tough, hairy, butch mature guys. She likes to humiliate them, make them lick her arse and pussy, then shits and pisses on them. Ties them up and hurts them till they beg her to stop.'

'Charming. Which begs the question, why does your friend do it?'

'Three thousand dollars for an hour's pain and disgust seems worth it to him.'

Someone moved a chair in the foyer.

'Hang on. There's someone out there.' Buddy stood in the doorway and asked politely, 'Can I assist you, sir?'

'I'm just looking around. I love these old buildings; there are so few left.'

'Lots of people feel the same. We had a busload of Art History students last week. But please stay in the foyer and don't go upstairs. The tenants are very particular about privacy.

Karmai was wondering if he should go and tell Sylvan where he was when Buddy returned.

'That bloke out there!' he whispered, 'He's exactly the type the Thrope bitch loves to torment. I'll bet he's here for her.'

'Actually, he isn't. He's my…' Karmai hesitated, then decided not to be a wimp. 'He's my partner. My lover. We've been together for three years.'

Buddy's grin was even wider than before. 'Snake! That's brilliant! Seriously, I always thought you were too nice to get trapped by a female. He looks real nice; invite him in.'

'We're pretending we don't know each other because we're wondering… if my friend can't persuade her to do the decent thing, we might be able to…' he broke off suddenly aware that he'd given everything away. Face stricken he gazed in horror at Buddy, 'Fuck! You won't give us away, will you? I have to know before we fall into a trap. I was so crazy thinking about Sylvan out there, and daring to tell you and being so happy that you didn't call me a fucking filthy queer that I totally let my guard down and…' he grabbed buddy by the shoulders and stared into his eyes.

'Your secret is not only safe, but you've got an ally. If I can be any use whatever, you let me know. Got it?' He held out a hand and they shook. Karmai hugged his old friend but couldn't speak from relief.

'As it happens, I've an idea,' Buddy said thoughtfully. 'Invite your boyfriend in.'

Karmai went to the door and beckoned, then introduced his two friends.

'Snake tells me you'd like to get close to the Thrope?'


'I've a mate who's an escort with an agency that provides vetted escorts to wealthy females. The agent checks the guys' security clearance, health and financial insecurity and guarantees they will do whatever they're asked and tell no one because they desperately need the cash. My mate's next appointment is in two days. I know, because he rang me and said he couldn't do it anymore because next time he would either throttle her or kill himself. He's a good bloke, but a gambling addict. He asked me to lend him the cash so he could quit doing her. But I know I'd never see it again and I'm not that flush and I wouldn't mind if he did throttle the bitch. However…' he paused, thought briefly, then looked up with an impish grin. 'As you want to get close to her and are exactly the type she likes, why don't you give my friend the three thousand, and take his place?'

'Doing what, exactly?'

Buddy repeated what he'd told Karmai.

'No wonder he wants out. She'll be out of commission before I do anything like that!'


'But there must be protocols, proof of identity, things he has to say or do before he's allowed inside. She may be kinky but she's obviously not a fool. I'll have to meet him. What's his name?'


'Short for Victor?'

'Yeah. But should be Victim.' Buddy picked up his phone, spoke, then looked up with a grin. 'Four-thirty this afternoon at his digs?'

Sylvan nodded. 'Let me talk to him.'

Buddy passed the phone.

'Gidday, Vic. Sylvan. Buddy's talked me into doing a deal—perhaps. I'm promising nothing till I've spoken with you. Your place at half past four, right?' …. 'Yeah, I'll get Buddy to show me on a map. Cheers.'

Buddy printed out a map and marked the spot.

Karmai checked his watch. 'Frankie'll be here any minute, so we'll be off. His appointment with Miss Thrope's at eleven-fifteen.' He hugged Buddy. We'll catch up again soon, I promise.'

As they sauntered away towards the little park, Sylvan looked at Karmai and laughed. 'What's the matter? Don't you want to share me with the lovely Anne Thrope?'

'It's not that. It's just that I'll be wondering if you've washed off all her piss and shit before getting into bed afterwards.'

'Good point. I'll have to make sure I don't let it get that far.'

Con and Ingenio were sitting on a low retaining wall that separated slides, swings and sandpit from a patch of grass.

'You can't be serious!' Con laughed when told Miss Thrope's first name. 'No parent would ever call their daughter Miss Anne Thrope!'

'Well it seems they did, and according to Vic, Buddy's friend who fucks her each week at three thousand dollars a pop, she lives up to her name.'

'What does he have to do for that!'

They told him and the laughter stopped.

'She's gone beyond misanthrope, she's a psychopath.'

'And Sylvan's offered to take his place.'

'Only till the fun and games start, I hope!'

'Well before that, if I've anything to do with it. But Vic has to agree and give me all the info.'

'Let's hope you don't have to. Perhaps Frankie's silver tongue will persuade Miss Anne Thrope to be generous.'

'Buddy doesn't give that any chance.'

Frankie's pleas for decency fell on deaf ears. Well, one deaf ear, the other was missing, having been sliced off along with a piece of the woman's cheek and forehead when her defacto in a fit of irritation locked her in the bedroom, electronically sealed all windows and doors, and set fire to the house. She had managed to escape through the toilet window of their en-suite bathroom, slicing off bits of her face on glass she hadn't been able to remove properly. Some people thought her scars interesting, others creepy. Her lungs and throat were also no longer in perfect condition due to inhalation of very hot smoke. Some people found her husky voice sexy, others creepy.

Frankie was repelled. Not by her disfigurement, that triggered a deep feeling of pity, but by her manner. She was standing beside the window with the damaged side of her face in full view. In her forties and a tailored grey suit, she looked like a robust cylinder on two solid legs. Closely cropped hair and little differentiation between neck and small head, created a bullish impression. No makeup had been used to conceal the gruesome scarring that replaced the missing ear, cheek and forehead.

'Thanks for seeing me, Miss Thrope,' Frankie said politely into the silence.

'What do you want?' The voice was harsh and husky, more a snarl than a polite enquiry.

'I have decided to sell my land and wondered if you'd be interested.'

'Where is it?'

Frankie showed her a Lands Department survey map on which he had drawn a line around the property.'

'How much?'

'Fifteen million.'

She uttered a snort of disgust. 'I'll send my valuer to negotiate.'

'Like he did with my neighbours?'

'I don't know what you're talking about.'

'None of them wanted to sell, but were terrorised by your agents into selling for peanuts. I am very relieved to know you knew nothing about it, so I hope that now you do, you will return the properties to them.'

'I didn't say I didn't know what my agents were doing; I said I didn't know what you were talking about. Everyone who works for me does exactly as I tell them and nothing else. People who can't keep their property don't deserve it.'

'A man suicided. A woman ended up paraplegic.'


'If someone wants something of yours, do they have the right to terrorise you into giving it to them?'

'If I can't take care of myself, then I deserve what I get.'

'The law of the jungle?'

'No, the law of human nature. You live in a fool's paradise if you think humans are essentially good. I'm not a Christian, but I agree with their basic premise that humans are born mean, selfish and nasty and remain so. Every Homo sapiens is capable of doing whatever it takes to get what they want; even you, Mr. Fey. And if that means those in the way get hurt, too bad!'

'I appreciate your honesty, but I've changed my mind, I no longer wish to sell my land.'

Miss Thrope's laugh loosened Frankie's bowels. Nauseated, he gave a slight nod, walked to the door and turned. 'Thank you for seeing me; it has been an interesting, albeit depressing experience.'

'And now I've seen you, Mr. Fey, I'm confident I will own your land by the end of the year. Good bye.'

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