The Black Knight Squash Fiction League Match


Chapter 4—Six Degrees of Separation

By David Smith

Suds. Lots and lots of slippery suds.

Perhaps it was surviving the earth actually moving, but Kim had truly unleashed the hounds in the club’s shower. While Christian was appreciative of her, ah, athleticism, he was strangely grateful when the hot water began to fade. He truly had been distracted, though Kim did not seem to notice.

Damn that backpack. Damn Kyle.

Awwww,” moaned Kim softly into his neck. “The gas must be out, too. That’s the last of the hot water.”

You know, there might be a leak. Maybe we should get out of here,” he said as an idea started to form in his mind. Take advantage of the unexpected, and he thought he knew just how to do that. “Let’s get dressed before we catch cold,” he said, wrapping her in a towel.

Kim sighed, realizing a cold was the least of her problems. But she refused to surrender the moment to those dark thoughts, and turned her attention back to…”Yo, Chris! What’s the hurry?”

Gotta bounce. I have to go check on my place. Is there someplace you can stay for a while? I promise I’ll catch up with you a little later in the day.”


Feeling a little whammed-bammed-thank you ma’amed, Kim declined Chris’s offer to walk her to her brother’s house in the Marina. She chuckled as she realized it was several whams, more than a few bams, and quite frankly, she was pretty thankful. Thank you, sir! The imagery caused an appreciative shiver to scurry up her spine. With a wry smile, she decided to forgive Christian his quick exit. “Don’t sweat the small stuff, girl!”

Damn, are the mobile phones working?” Kim muttered to herself as she tried to reach her brother for the third time. She decided to continue on to his place and check it out. He was no doubt tied up with the earthquake’s aftermath. Assuming his apartment had survived the tremor, she would hang and wait for him there. With this emergency ongoing, her brother wasn’t likely to be home for some time.


Christian felt bad for his quick exit from Kim. Unlike the superficial “Bethanys” he usually hooked up with, he found Kim had stirred something in him. Beyond the obvious physical attraction, he sensed there was a deeper connection. He knew he wanted to follow this through, and that was a feeling he hadn’t known since they had found him on the kibbutz and recruited him into the Service. Ironically, he realized his ability to follow through with Kim might be out of his control.

He couldn’t dwell on that. He had to clean up his current mess, or he would be using his “go” bag sooner than he or the Service wanted.


Bethany’s phone startled her as it began playing Kelly Clarkson’s “Never Again.” That ringtone warned her that Kyle was calling. “Can this day get worse,” she wondered?

She stared at the phone as the call bounced into voicemail. Seconds later, the chime signaled a new message. With a feeling of dread, she punched up her voicemail and listened for Kyle’s voice.

Not Kyle. Shockingly, a women’s voice. Loud. Frantic. Kyle’s current high-priced trophy named Krystal, who Bethany had heard was a former stripper, seemed to be trying to find her boyfriend---and was in near-hysteria!

Bethany—this is Krystal! I live with Kyle. Do you know where he is? I know he went to San Francisco, and I’m sure he went to see you, you little bitc…, sorry. That was wrong. I saw the news—the earthquake. I need to make sure that he is ok. Please, I am crazy with worry. Did he tell you? I am pregnant…twins…what am I fricking going to do without him? Call me. Leave a message if you get voice mail. I have a massage at 2, so my phone will be off for a couple of hours.” Click.

Krystal to the Main Stage.

Bethany would have laughed at the vapid bitch, if she wasn’t chilled by the thought that Kyle was here, in San Fran. This can’t be good. Oh, no, this can’t be good.


The morning fog was beginning to lift as Det. Shay Samuels parked behind the squad car. Recognizing one of the uniformed officers, he asked, “Walsh, where’s the Medical Examiner?”

Could be hours before someone is here, Detective. They are all tied up with the quake--20 dead and a dozen rescue efforts ongoing.”

Walsh and Samuels strolled over to the white sheet-covered lump. Walsh ran it down for the detective. “Big guy, fully clothed, not too long in the water. No ID. The handcuffs are sure odd.”

Sex games?”

Doubt it. Where’s his partner, if that were the case. We’ll have to wait for the ME to check the body.


Christian jogged through North Beach to his apartment. He and the rest of the city were going to go through serious caffeine withdrawal if they didn’t get power restored quickly. Not an open Starbucks or Peet’s to be found.

A quick right on Lombard and he could see his apartment building at the base of Telegraph Hill, still standing with only cosmetic damage to the faux Victorian fašade. An improvement. From the plumes of smoke rising in the distance, he knew other parts of the city had not been so lucky. He had to move quickly.

Christian dashed inside and surveyed the broken glass in his apartment. Minor, no sweat. His nomadic life kept him from accumulating life’s normal clutter. Futilely, he checked the power. Moving swiftly to his bedroom closet, he removed the false panel behind his clothes. He pulled out his emergency bag and his “go” bag. Preparation was the ultimate advantage. He removed the small, emergency radio and cranked it up. A quick spin down the dial, and he realized that many of the radio stations were still off the air. He zeroed in on the all-news station whose transmitter was apparently not damaged and listened as he changed into his running clothes.

Earthquake officially 7.6. Fillmore district badly damaged. Heavy equipment brought in on several rescue efforts. No word of a body in the bay yet.

Chris grabbed a few key items from the bags, and left.


Kim found her brother’s place in good shape. She let herself in and again tried unsuccessfully to reach her brother. She dialed Christian’s number from memory.

Hey! Good to hear your voice,” said Christian as he juggled the phone and locked the door to his apartment. “Where are you?” He bounded down the stairs two at a time.

At my brother’s apartment on Bay. You?”

Just heading out to take care of something. And I need coffee.”

When you are done...hey, the lights just came on here. Come over when you are done and I’ll ….uh… happy to froth your latte for you,” Kim teased.

Deal! Just give me a couple of hours. Text me the address.”

As soon as he ended the call, he heard the ding and checked his message.

5416 Bay, Apt 3B. Name on bell is Samuels. C U soon.”

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