To the Victor...


The sound of ceremonial gunfire broke the stillness of the morning. For an instant the only sounds were the muted sobs of many of the mourners and the raindrops that splattered against the unfurled umbrellas. Then the solemn ritual of burial continued.

'What a miserable day,' thought Bodie. It was cold and rainy and as thoroughly depressing outside as Bodie felt inside. Somehow he would have to get through the day; somehow he would have to go on with his life.

Looking up he realized that the service was over and people were moving away from the gravesite, breaking into smaller groups as they walked through the wet grass. Alone for a moment, Bodie looked at the coffin that contained the body of his friend and lover of so many years. It seemed as though he could still feel the smaller body pressed against him. He could taste the warm lips sweet with the essence of scotch or sweet and sour sauce. God, how he had loved Chinese food.

For fifteen years they had shared life and love and now it was over...taken from him by a terrorist bullet. It had been so sudden.

The call had come just as they had walked into headquarters that fateful November morning. The air was crisp and cold but the warmth of their early morning loving still enveloped both men in a blanket that defied even the bitter London winter.

Bodie remembered his rude comment about having to go out to face the May 15 group on a day that had started so beautifully. His lover, who hated terrorists more than any of the other criminals they battled, only barked his anger as they turned and ran for the parking lot and the silver Rover. They were rolling long before any of the other agents had an opportunity to respond and as a result they were first on the scene...first to arrive and run head-on to World War III.

It had all gone down so quickly that Bodie still didn't fully remember exactly what had happened. He remembered the firefight, five minutes of hell that seemed to last for hours. The end, when it came, was surprisingly swift. One minute they were crouched behind a brick wall and the next Bodie was holding a slumping body.

The bullet had entered the back of the neck bringing death to two men, even though one continued to function after a fashion.

A sob escaped Bodie then, as he remembered the still eyes closed in death, the mouth calm in repose, and he sank to his knees in the cold winter morning. Finally he was crying for his dead lover and he no longer cared about the world around him. For over a decade years they had hid their love from the governmental bureaucrats who would have yielded to the demands of expediency and removed both of them from the rank of CI5. But now it didn't matter who knew. Bodie was alone, the sunshine of his life was forever shrouded.

As he continued to sob, a man detached himself from a small group of mourners and with a slump to the shoulders that spoke of shared pain, walked toward the huddled figure of his friend.

Kneeling, the somber man rested a hand on Bodie's shaking shoulder. "Come on, Bodie, you can't stay here. You need to be with people. You know he would have wanted it. He went the way he would have wanted, clean and quick and doing his duty."

"You knew, didn't you? You knew all along."

"Did you really think you could hide it from me? It was all there for anyone to see, if they had bothered to look. Fortunately, most people took you at face value, hardened CI5 agents, and never looked beyond."

"But you did."

"Well, after all, I knew you both so well for so long."

"Oh, Ray, what the fuck am I going to do without George?" asked the bewildered agent.

"Don't worry, Bodie, I'm here for you. I always have been here and I always will be. Now come on, let's go toast the Cow with the finest single malt."

Bodie allowed Ray Doyle to help him to his feet and turning, he paid a final, silent farewell to George Cowley.

Doyle, too, paid a final farewell to the man who had been the lover of his friend and colleague. 'He's mine now, you son-of-a-bitch. I knew I would outlast you and the little games you played to keep him tied to you. But in the end, he'll be mine. He never realized how you used his youth and energy to feed your fires and keep you young. But I knew and I hated you for using him. Did you love him? I doubt it. You never loved anyone or anything except your damn CI5. Certainly you never loved him as much as I do. Well, now I have them both, Bodie and CI5, and I hope your final bed is as cold and empty as mine has been since the day you took him away from me.'

With a final enigmatic smile, Ray Doyle, newly appointed Controller of CI5, straightened his shoulders and followed his friend and soon-to-be lover up the rainslicked hill.

-- THE END --

Originally published in Concupiscence, Manacles Press, 1991

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