No Medals, No Matter!

PG 13

All I had was the idea and the wish they were mine.

"Jos'f, have you lost your mind?" Mick paced the perimeter of the patterned rug in front of Josef Kostan's desk.

The vampire billionaire sat back, his fingers meshed behind his head, "Me? It's a noble cause!"

"Noble?" Mick shook his head in disbelief. He'd only known Josef Kostan for about 55 years yet this had to be one of his most frivolous schemes.

Drawing careful thought, as if to justify a major financial venture then with a wink he popped back, "Fact is vampires cannot compete in the Olympics, so I'm showing my support for the brotherhood of sports by sponsoring a team."

"Canne d'Arme?" Mick made that face, where his brows knitted and brushed a slow thumb over his full bottom lip, "Do they even qualify for a medal?"

As if Josef had ignored Mick's question he reminisced. "La canne was demonstrated in 1924, now that was an elegant Olympics!" Josef laid down the Bristol board and picked up the sample athletic pants as if to scrutinize the shade of maroon. Josef seemed to ignore him as he flipped the pages of the team uniforms and equipment. The athletic jacket's Intricate Jacobean patterns were gaudily woven in shades of blue interspersed with some white. Then he snapped out of his reverie, "Oh, it's a demonstration sport, no medals!"

"La canne, Canned'Arme, what exactly is it called?" Mick caught the artist's art board and smirked at the artist's rendition. The model appeared to look 7 feet tall and 110 pounds dripping wet. The redhead's hair was swept up in a tight ponytail animated by the model's pose with the tapered chestnut stick.

With a shake of Mick's dark curls he ran his tongue over his lip and sipped at his scotch, "So, your girls….may I guess where you found them?"

"Boyo, I am crushed, they are not my girls. They are 'cannistes' and they are athletes." Josef withdrew a cigar, admired its aroma, cut the end and offered it to Mick. With a shrug Mick looked at his watch and then accepted the Churchill.

"Jos'f" Mick began to object then put the cigar between his lips and Josef lit it. By the time Mick had puffed the cigar to life he had dropped his objections. Then as if the thought returned, Mick pointed with an enthusiastic finger, "You're sending a dozen women to England to give demonstrations of a French sport for what 2 or 3 rounds of 2 minutes each?"

Josef leaned parked his left buttock on the end of the desk and puffed away, eyes closed in the throes of the tobacco's heady taste and aroma. "Quality of life my man, grace, beauty, balance!" Josef hefted the cigar in the air as if he were waving a national flag.

Mick drew a closer look at the stack of signed posters on the credenza, "Isn't this Mallory and Becca?" The PI was doing the math on Josef's scheme. "You've taught them a French form of self-defense, sponsored the team and probably been taking a tax deduction on twelve former freshies."

Feigning his mortification Josef laid a pale hand over his undead heart, "I am crushed that you would think I would take advantage of the noble Olympic system. Those young ladies are athletes!"

"Yeah, Veronica was a swimmer at USC, Molly was a gymnast for Stanford and Kathy" Mick tapped a finger on the photo of the redhead on the end, "Kathy was a sailing champion from St Mary's."

"For a vampire who hasn't fed fresh in 25 years you are one attentive bloodsucker!" Josef sublimated his laughter; he loved to bust Mick's chops over bagging his meals. "Really, Mick, these ladies gave me 4 years of honorable service. They kept themselves in tip top shape to feed me. I owed them something other than a termination with a silence clause."

Now Josef stood shoulder to shoulder with his younger compatriot, "I figured they'd be seen in this demonstration sports perhaps they'd pick up some modeling or film work and make some more pocket cash."

Mick cocked his head to the side to examine the pair, each with a stick in their hand, wearing protective suits and fencing helmets. Their positions were downright 'gymnastic' in their flexibility as they tried to score more points than their opponent during the match. Josef's index finger traced the image of Molly's extended leg, "Points are scored for style, according to the correctness of body positions during fighting." Mesmerized, the two vampires stared at the images of the women's lithe shapes in battle, the ying and yang of the defensive and offensive strikes.

As if in unison Mick and Josef's heads tilted far to the right side, honed in closer than vampires needed to stare and then tilted their heads the other direction and held the objects of their admiration in silence.

After a deep inhalation of fragrant smoke Josef extended his offer, "Besides, I was going to invite you and Blondie to join me in London, let your hair down" then with a wink of an eye he added, "Let Beth's hair down."

Mick registered a low growl at Josef's remark and weighed the offer, "You know what Beth'll say?" Mick spun on his heel and headed for the scotch decanter.

Josef assumed a feminine pose to imitate Beth. Speaking is a soft, Beth-like voice he swiveled his hips as he followed Mick to the bar, "Oh, Mick, you know I love London! Can't we go? Can't we go?"

Mick threw his head back in laughter, "You demonstrate no shame when you pit Beth against me."

"I always say a wise business man exploits weaknesses, before all else, be armed!" Josef took the decanter from Mick's hand and topped off his own glass.

"Machiavelli said that." Mick corrected, shifting his eyes sideways to pin that fact on Josef. As Josef was about to open his mouth to answer Mick pointed the lit end of the cigar at him "And you weren't even born yet".

They shared the laugh at Josef's claim and then sat for a spell to enjoy the peace and quiet of the tall ceilinged den. When the silence became too much for Josef he winked and grinned. "Jacqueline has a younger sister starting UCLA in the fall." Josef's voice caressed the sentence, his appreciation of Jacqueline evident by his tone. "Mireille is coming in on a fencing scholarship; she'll be a natural for this!" Josef tapped Jacqueline's figure with a light finger.

"Because…?" Mick drew out the question.

"Because 2016 is in Rio!"