Model 'A'

by Panzareta

Rodney Lange, Mac 27 | Rated T | 2002 | 3,111 words

 

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"My Muse Has Deserted Me!"

This charming little aria was delivered in highly dramatic tones, and the older woman kept from rolling her eyes with an effort. not again. why me? what could i have done to deserve this?

"My Muse! My Muse!"

god this is sickening. why do i always get the divas? "C'mon now. It can't be that bad, can it?"

"Yes, It Can! You Don't Understand! !My Muse!!"

She gritted her teeth and looked around the dingy restaurant. i moved all the way here to be around professionals, but damned if i don't seem to be a artistic magnet. actors are bad enough, but artists... sheesh! She shivered slightly with a premonition. the next one is going to be a writer, i just know it She tried to be philosophical about it, with little success. the best thing about a big city is that everyone is too busy with their little own lives to have any interest in anyone else, thank god

"Well, you're not going to find your muse in here."

"I'm not?" Reddened eyes streaked with mascara turned dolefully toward her.

"No. You're not." This was delivered in a brisk, no-nonsense tone.

"But...."

"Your muse is waiting for you out there. Now go."

"Are you sure?"

"Yes."

"Really, really sure?"

"I'm positive. Now go find your muse before it gets tired of waiting for you."

After a brief argument over the check, the older woman watched her friend leave. hope she makes it home ok

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Rodney lounged casually near the streetlight, watching the traffic as it cruised slowly by. He was broke again and jobs were hard to find. The last doctor who treated him for dizzy spells had warned him that there were signs that his head injuries were beginning to have a noticeable effect on him.

"Keep it up, Lange, and your sister will put you in a nice little room somewhere so that you can drool happily all by yourself. Is that what you want?"

Rodney had been frightened enough actually to listen for once. He had never dreamed that he would end up like this when he'd won the Golden Gloves title. All of the coaches were certain that he had a bright, promising future ahead and he had even been invited to try out for the Olympic boxing team. Everything had seemed possible then.

But then, something had gone wrong. He had never quite figured out what had happened. He hadn't drunk back then, refusing to touch any alcohol or tobacco. Some of his former teammates taunted him, thinking he was a snob, that he thought he was superior to them, but they were wrong. Rodney was determined to be the best, having watched his own father's slow deterioration into madness through alcoholism. The old man had returned from the war a broken shell.

April tried to help him, but as much as he loved his sister he couldn't bring himself to confide in her. She deserved a better life than taking care of her little brother. Rodney knew what a burden he was. April would never get ahead if she continued to care for him, so he'd left -- in fact, he'd left several times, but then he would begin to worry about her and return for what he'd intended to be a short visit. The short visits would become longer as he'd try to find a job to help out, but the only jobs he was offered were those of a hired thug. Rodney refused them, which seemed to leave only one option--to sell himself.

Rodney was feeling nervous and noticed that his hands had a very faint tremor. He was nervous, that was all. One drink was all he needed. One little drink and he'd be fine. Just one little drink... He quickly ran his hands through his dark hair, distantly realizing that he needed to get it trimmed. It wouldn't hurt to wash it either. As soon as he made some money, he'd clean up and try again for a real job. But first, he needed to find a client.

A sleek dark Lincoln drew alongside and a window rolled down. Rodney strolled over, trying to appear cool, inclining his head slightly to the unseen occupant.

"Get in."

The door opened, Rodney climbed inside and the Lincoln drove off into the night. Twenty minutes later, the Lincoln returned and Rodney climbed back out. True, he was only ten dollars richer, but the whiskey had been first class and Rodney felt better. *Much* better indeed. He pulled his black leather jacket tighter against the cool night air and settled back to wait.

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She stumbled wearily home. Home. The place where she had once so happily lived with *Her Muse*. And now... Now Her Muse had abandoned her.

but i've gotta finish this commission. i took the money, bought the marble special, everything special - Innobotics wasn't just a penny-ante company, they were real money - and now when i'm ready to start, nothing Well, she had to try. She had to have something to show her client, and they would want to see results. Or if not results, then a beginning. But she needed a model. Someone new, someone fresh, someone... male. It dawned on her that she really should pay more attention to where she was walking. This section was rather rough. She looked around, trying to decide if she could find a taxi.

Before she could do anything, she noticed a young man standing under a streetlight. Maybe, just maybe... my Muse! Peering closely through her remaining contact, she sized him up. Tall, young, and best of all, good-looking. No, he wasn't *just* good-looking, he was amazing-looking. She felt sober now, and she knew what she had to do. She had to obey *Her Muse*.

"How much, darlin'?"

Rodney turned around, startled. What the...? Where had she come from? He knew that he should have heard her approach, but he hadn't. Oh well, he had time to make nice with the lady. Even if she didn't turn out to be a client. His preferred clients were men, but that didn't mean he couldn't be polite. Especially to slightly inebriated, frowsy, older women. Poor thing looked to be two steps away from a bag lady. He smiled kindly at her.

"May I help you, ma'am?"

"You heard me, doll-face. How much?" Her slightly myopic stare was replaced by a unexpected smile. Rodney felt suddenly uneasy.

"I'm sorry, ma'am, but I don't think..." There was an unexpected snort from the lady that somehow fell short of amusement and sounded suspiciously like annoyance.

"Doll-face, you don't need to *think,* now do you?"

"Ma'am..."

"Three hundred. Cash. My place."

"Three..."

"Ok, five. Now let's go."

Rodney wasn't stupid. Five hundred would help a great deal. Life was very expensive, and it was hard to find customers who paid decently. It would feed some of his habits, for a time; something that he was just beginning to realize cost a lot of money. He studied her carefully. Older than he liked, dark blonde hair with an average shape that seemed oddly solid and powerful for a woman, but still rather nice-looking. He could do this. For five hundred, he could do almost anything.

"Yes, ma'am." He turned slightly to offer her his arm.

"Nice t'see you got some manners, doll-face. Let's go."

The woman seized his arm roughly and Rodney barely kept his balance. He was convinced that he would have bruises on his left bicep the next morning, and risked a calculating glance at her. She was attempting to drag him along, humming under her breath, but she seemed harmless enough. She was relatively steady on her feet, though she displayed a rather alarming tendency to sway from side to side. It was almost as if he she were walking on the deck of an invisible ship. Rodney shook his head slightly as though to banish such foolish thoughts and decided to keep his guard up anyway. It wouldn't hurt to play it safe.

"Where exactly do you live, ma'am?"

"Quit callin' me ma'am; I ain't that old. Not far, not far at all. It's just a little ways down the road here."

"But where...?"

"Don't ya worry, doll-face. We're almost home. See this is my corner, 53rd and 3rd. See?"

Rodney looked up at the sign and decided that the neighborhood was safe enough. He followed her, curious to see what would happen next. They slowly entered the small airy apartment. She tossed her coat at a nearby coat rack, unaware that it fell promptly to the floor, and headed down a short hallway. Rodney said nothing but picked up the coat and carefully straightened it on the coat rack along with his own beloved leather jacket.

"Find the coffee, baby. I got to sober up."

Rodney rummaged through the kitchen and decided to play along. After all, five hundred dollars meant he could be patient. The kitchen was small but very clean and well-stocked. As the coffee started brewing, he noticed that the woman had disappeared. Frowning, he wondered again if this was some kind of trap. Nah. Just a lonely older woman who wanted his companionship for the night. He hoped she intended to practice safe sex, but it was still nice to know she wouldn't be getting pregnant.

The woman suddenly reappeared and studied Rodney with a bright, owlish look.

"Thanks honey, that smells good. I hope it's 'bout ready."

"It is." He rummaged in the cupboard and placed two heavy mugs on the counter. She was already placing milk and sugar on the table, along with iced tea spoons--which, Rodney was pleased to note, were clean.

"Why don't you go put some music on?"

Rodney looked around, spotting a rather archaic stereo at the far end of the living room.

"Sure, fine. Anything special?"

"Anything you like, hon. Just keep it down, ok? Don't want the neighbors calling the cops now, do we?"

Rodney shrugged slightly and moved farther into the cavernous room, forgetting the cardinal rule of boxing--always watch your back. The woman studied his movements carefully, making sure he was engrossed in her collection of cds, before she quietly removed a small, unmarked bottle from her spice cupboard. Moving cautiously, she added several drops of clear liquid to Rodney's cup.

"Find anything yet?"

"Yeah, just a sec."

Rodney made a quick selection--most of the cds were by really old bands he had never heard of but for what he was being paid, he could listen to anything. He walked back to the kitchen, where she was pouring the coffee into the waiting mugs.

"Here ya go, doll-face." She held out a newer mug to him, one that bore the logo of a new company, Innobotics.

"Thanks."

Rodney drank the hot coffee, noticing that she had added extra sugar to hers.

"Why don't you get undressed, doll-face?"

Rodney paused for a moment then shrugged. He decided to make a show for her, slowly stripping his dark silk shirt from his well-muscled torso. Her wide smile and sparkling eyes showed that it was obvious that she appreciated his efforts and he dropped his hands to his waist. He intended to unbutton his jeans, but something was wrong because she seemed to be watching him with a look of assessment rather than arousal. Rodney sat down rather suddenly, feeling as though he was standing to near a fire.

"What... th...?", he struggled to get the next words out. "You... poisoned me."

"Don't be stupid, sweetie. You aren't poisoned."

"You... poison... me. ...something to... my coffee." Rodney's voice sounded unusually hoarse in the stillness and he was losing the ability to speak.

"Well, yes. Yes, I did. But it isn't poison. It's just a very strong... drug." Her voice had a strangely virtuous note as she sipped her own coffee, watching him carefully. "Lie down there on that couch, doll-face."

Dazedly, Rodney obeyed as he was steered toward the couch. He collapsed rather abruptly, hearing the black leather couch creak in protest. She smiled benevolently, making sure that he was comfortable on the heavy afghan that covered it. Rodney couldn't seem to make his arms and legs work, and she gently lifted them onto the couch. His left arm felt the strangest of all, but he had no way of telling her this. Pulling off his shoes and socks, she traced a fingernail along the sole of his foot, pleased that there was no wriggling. Good. That meant the sedative was working. She began undressing him and Rodney made a small, distressed sound in his throat.

"Don't worry, gorgeous. I only want you t' be still and quiet whilst I work. You can stay conscious, unless you wanna go t' sleep. It doesn't matter to me. There won't be any lastin' side effects, either." She patted him on the head, and Rodney had never felt so pet-like in his entire life. "Now be a good boy and try not t' look so scared. You'll be fine, jus' fine."

Rodney tried to move, to get away from this madwoman, but his limbs were totally immobilized, and he couldn't do a thing but lie there and try to fight the rising sense of panic. His eyes widened as he noticed the camera she held.

"Don't worry, honey. This is just to help me after you're gone."

A single tear rolled down Rodney's cheek, and his gaze turned liquid and eloquent.

"Wow." The woman walked closer to him and gently wiped the tear away. "You really are gorgeous. More than I expected." She studied him, then smiled. "Oh, I get it. You think I'm gonna kill you, don'tcha? Or maybe rape you?"

Rodney tried desperately to speak to let her know of the overwhelming fear he felt. She smiled kindly, and he watched as she sat beside him and patted his shoulder.

"It's ok, doll-face. I'm not gonna hurt or molest you in anyway. Well, technically I already have I suppose, but I'm an artist, a sculptor and My Muse led me to you. You're gonna be im- im- im- , well, you're gonna be a statue." She shuffled away from him, and began to finalize her preparations.

Rodney felt vaguely reassured, though he was far from convinced about his captor's sanity. It was never safe to trust the artistic types; be it art, music, or writing. They were all odd, and he had a feeling that he would be trapped here for a *very* long time. She walked back over to him, studying him once more.

"You know, my sibs ain't ever gonna forgive me for not calling 'em over so they can see you firsthand. We pride ourselves on our taste in men, and you are *yummy*. But...", she sighed, "I never let anyone see my models 'til the work is finished."

Rodney's eyes tracked the woman's movements warily, even though he couldn't move. Still, the woman seemed vastly more interested in her work than hurting him. Rodney wasn't sure about his future though. Suddenly, the woman stopped and looked him over once more.

"I wonder..." she mused. She wandered over to a nearby computer and logged on. Rodney felt a sudden sense of panic, having a very good idea of what she might have in mind. She clumsily hit the keyboard, gazing at the screen with an expression of rapture, chuckling at the responses appearing on it. She stood abruptly, and began attaching a vidcam to the monitor. She smiled serenely at Rodney in order to reassure him.

"Don't worry, not that many people are going to see you, doll-face. Just some sibs, that's all. And I'm not making any money off it either. This is a strictly private preview."

Rodney felt his eyes widening even farther in fear, which did not bring the expected response from his captor.

"Wow, that is so cool. Hold that expression, will ya? They're gonna love it."

Rodney had no trouble in complying with that little request.

Six Months Later...

"What do you think? Isn't he great?" The artist gazed at the finished statue with a benign, almost motherly expression. "Meet Adonis."

"This isn't what the company ordered." The first suit stared at the commissioned statue with a horrified expression. "You'll have to start over."

"Yes, it is. You asked for a male model and that's what you got."

"We wanted a model to use for a laborer, not this... this... "pretty boy."

"So, you wanted it to look like yourself? Why didn't you say so in the first place?" She smiled sweetly, with lots of teeth, at the arrogant suit.

"Now, now let's not be hasty here." The other suit interceded quickly. "You did tell her it was a male model we needed. Nothing more specific than that. Besides, it has a friendly look--we want it to be a helper, something that people won't feel threatened by."

"It looks like a sex model." The first suit was still highly indignant over the statue.

"You shoulda seen him. He was amazing." The woman smirked at him. "Are you jealous by any chance? You seem to be awfully upset over nothing."

"What?" The first suit shrieked even louder. "You mean... you used a...your... lover? This is going to cost us a fortune in lawsuits. You... you..."

"Excuse us a moment." The second suit dragged the first suit off to the side, speaking quietly. "I seriously doubt if things will go that far. It will be at least 2-3 years before we begin full production. Besides, the looks will help it sell even better. And we didn't give her specific instructions, so that court case alone would be disastrous."

The second suit walked over to the artist, who had been glaring balefully at them.

"Don't worry, ma'am. The statue is fine, just fine. We'll be pleased to take it."

"Well, at least you got some manners. I won't worry if you're in charge of him. But that other guy..."

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End

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