Nicole Wallace looks up at the sound of her newest name. It's not a bad name, Samantha Johnson, acquired from an unfortunate woman who had never been able to hold down a stable job and made most of her money selling drugs instead. Poor girl was dead now. It was terrible what poison - by which she meant drugs - could do to a person.

"Sammy, got someone on line three for you." Her boss and, if she plays him right, future fiancé, informs her. "He's already paid up for the next twenty minutes. Don't waste his time."

"Great, thanks." Nicole replies, only barely managing not to roll her eyes. She picks up the receiver of the phone next to her and hits the button for line four. Cradling the phone with her shoulder, she glances up at the dusty clock that hangs on the wall to her left. Only two more hours of this. Two more hours of providing audial sex to strange men whose voices ooze bald, sweating mediocrity. They are disgusting, but she delights in how pathetic they are. Grown men that only know how to act like adolescents.

Working for a sex line wasn't her first choice of jobs, but with minimal 'official' papers and no references, there weren't many options available to her. Plus her boss, who owns the company, makes quite a chunk of change. She figures that by the time she has finished another couple weeks of raunchy phone calls, she will have him wrapped tightly enough around her finger that she will be able to quit. But, for now...

"Hey, baby, I'm Sammy. What's your name? How are you doing tonight?" Nicole affects an American accent - which had taken her months to perfect - as she croons into the phone.

"Hi. I'm... Rob. And I, ah, I'm doing okay. You?"

Nicole nearly drops the phone. That voice... she would recognize that damn voice anywhere, and it most certainly is not the voice of a middle-aged failure living out of his mother's basement. It is the voice of a clever, infuriating, neurotic, yet oddly attractive NYPD detective. She takes a deep breath, realizing she has let the silence go on too long.

"I'm going great, baby." She decides to continue on like this was nothing more than an ordinary call... except it will be so much more fun for her. "So what are you looking for tonight, honey?"

"Wow, you really get right into it, don't you? That's good. I like that. I'm...

I'm going to be honest with you, Sammy, was it?"

"That's right."

"Right. I've never really done this before, Sammy. How do you - how do you usually start things?"

Nicole isn't sure she believes him, but she smiles and explaines anyway.

"The easiest is when you already have something in mind, but... I can make something up if you'd like. Tell me what you want, honey."

"I..." She hears his breathing change on the phone. She wonders if he is already masturbating. "I want to... to dominate you."

"Okay. I can certainly... do that." She swallows. This is what he's into? Why is she not surprised? "Close your eyes. Imagine me. I'm your slave. We-"

"No. No," He cut her off. "It - ah - it needs to be more real. The slave thing is... it's over-done. It's a cliche. You can do better than that."

"Alright." She smirks. This sounds like the Detective Goren she knows and s. She licked her lips and decided to play a little game. "You're a... bounty hunter. A strong, brilliant bounty hunter who uses his wit to catch all sorts of criminals. You're very good at what you do. You've apprehended everyone you ever set out to catch...everyone but one. Me. I'm the only fugitive that's ever gotten away from you. For years you've chased me around the world. Asia. Europe. Australia. Right back here to America. Now, finally, you've got me. You've cornered me in an alleyway out behind a bar. It's dark and there's nobody around. Nobody that will care, at any rate. The alley is a dead end and you're looming between me and the exit. I have nowhere to run. What do you do?"

On the other end of the line she hears Goren move, probably adjusting his position. She can practically hear him starting to engage in the fantasy. She knows she has his interest, her fantasy is so close to the truth that he has to be wondering, suspecting and second-guessing himself. But as far as he is concerned, as far as anyone is concerned, Nicole Wallace is dead. This fantasy's parallel to his real life is uncanny and implausible, but it has to be nothing more than a coincidence.

"I've had dreams like this," He mutters. "I push you up against the nearest wall, face-first, and start to search you. My-my hands, uh, run down your sides. I check your pockets, roughly pass over your breasts. Then I check down the outside of your legs. Nothing. I force your legs apart, to check the inside of your legs."

"If you wanted me to spread my legs for you, all you needed to do was ask."

Nicole purrs into the phone. "I let you frisk me, and I try to press my body into your hands."

"I shove you closer to the wall and cuff your hands behind your back."

"Mmm, kinky. I wriggle my hands until they brush against your big, hard cock through your pants. Do you have a permit for that gun, or are you just overjoyed at finally having me vulnerable in your custody?"

"Shut up. I turn you around to face me. The back of your head hits the wall, not hard enough to do any damage but enough to hurt. I wrap my hands around your neck. Your throat is so small, pale and delicate compared to my hands. I could kill you right now. It would be so easy. I know... I know how criminals work. Nobody would ever find your body."

Nicole feels a moment of genuine fear. His voice is low and gravely, but he doesn't sound aroused anymore. He sounds vicious. She believes him, believes that if he had the chance he would crush her windpipe without batting an eye. Her underwear is damp and she feels sick. She swallows and takes a deep breath.

"You won't do it."

"Won't I?"

"No. If you kill me, you can't collect the reward."


His yell makes her jump. She glances around to see if anyone else noticed The other girls are either on calls of their own, or resting their heads against the table and wondering for the umpteenth time where they could possibly have gone so wrong in their lives. Her boss is in his office, probably surfing through internet porn. At any rate, nobody noticed. Nicole isn't sure if she's relieved or disappointed. She tires something different.

"Everyone will think you failed. I'll be the only one you didn't catch. It ill mean I'm better than you. If you kill me, I win."

Never before has her voice been so close to shaking. Goren growls. Fucking growls like a feral when he speaks again, the rage and darkness is gone. He sounds hollow.

"I don't say anything. I flip you around again and yank down your skirt and underwear. You're wet, because you get off on the fear. Hatred is your favorite aphrodisiac. I fuck you roughly from behind."

Nicole moans. It isn't genuine but it sure as hell sounds it. She feels like she's going to vomit.

"I dig my fingers into your hips. You're going to have bruises in the morning. I pull out. I cum, you don' I leave you there. Handcuffed against the wall in the alleyway. Nobody ever sees you again. You lose."

The next sound is a click. Then dial-tone.

Shaking, Nicole places the receiver back on its cradle. As she silently excuses herself to the bathroom, she wonders if Goren scared himself as much as he scared her.