Hot Dagger of the Spanish Temptress is a short story whose protagonist, inspector Franco Fog, known from The Vengeance of Women is supposed to solve o riddle of certain building constructor’s death. When he is just about to bring the case to a close, he meets a mysterious Spanish girl, who is skilful at throwing knives as well as practicing magic. How will it end for Franco Fog? Cover designed by Michał Olejarski Translated by Nina Wagner.Marcin Brzostowski (1969) is a contemporary Polish writer who comments on current issues and scandals by means of absurd and grotesque. Hot Dagger of the Spanish Temptress, after Sweet Bomb Silly and The Vengeance of Women, is his third work translated into English.
Hot Dagger of the Spanish Temptress
© Copyright by
Marcin Brzostowski & e-bookowo
Cover designed by Michał Olejarski
Translated by Nina Wagner
Publisher: Wydawnictwo internetowe e-bookowo
All rights reserved.
Konwersja do epub A3M Agencja Internetowa
When inspector Franco Fog opened his eyes, the first thing he saw was a canvas depicting a nude ginger-haired beauty cuddling a bunch of wild flowers against her breasts. A moment later, his nostrils caught the smell of an intense feminine perfume and, willy-nilly, he attempted to recall where and with whom he had spent the previous night. It seemed quite obvious that the bed he had slept in was not his. What is more, he was not able to remember the name of the owner of the incapacitating fragrance – the fragrance that was reigning over everything his eyes could embrace. When he sat up and started buttoning up his shirt, he remembered that right before midnight he was at the ‘Night Walker’ club, famous for exquisite drinks and equally uncommon clientele. He was sitting by the bar and sipping vodka with a slice of lemon when suddenly, right in front of his eyes, he noticed a chessboard with chessmen set with surgical precision. At that very moment, a young brunette came up to him, grasped his glass and, without saying a word, she made the first move in the game. She beat him in a few simple moves, drank up his vodka and, looking meaningfully at the door, suggested leaving the place together. When they got out into the street, the girl pulled him by his old-fashioned tie and provoked him to a passionate kiss which evoked his genuine desire. Then, they got into his faithful Mustang and rushed to the address pointed out by the girl. Unfortunately, everything that happened later on, despite numerous attempts made by the inspector, still remained to him a sweet and incredibly alluring mystery.
Smiling faintly, Franco Fog stood up and, searching for a drinks cabinet, he looked around the spacious and tastefully furnished living-room. There were two sofas and some armchairs but his eyes stopped at a small bookcase and numerous pictures hanging around. The majority of them were exquisite marine aquarelles, but the most impressive pictures were the nudes. Some were painted with an incredible assiduity and even such a layman as Franco Fog had to appreciate the craft of the artist. Some of the paintings were visibly different in style; they looked as if they were painted just with simple and random brushstrokes. The inspector was savoring the wonders of nature he was exposed to, but even the excessive feminine beauty could not quench the thirst growing in him. Despite his strongest efforts, he could not find the drinks cabinet and with painful expression, he opened a huge glass door leading to the terrace. He made a few steps and only then he understood he was quite far from the centre of Warsaw. The view was awesome. The Vistula River and a small bay were revealing to him all their beauty. There was also a path crossing the property and leading straight to the banks of the bay, and a small pier where a motorboat and a tandem canoe were moored. Franco Fog saw on the horizon, exactly in the place where the bay waters and the river current were meeting, an elderly man sitting in a boat and beginning the day with relaxing fishing. The sight of a fisherman at dawn seemed strangely familiar to him, yet at that moment the inspector was unable to assign it to any picture he had in his mind. Franco Fog felt jealous of the ease the man in the boat was experiencing and decided to go back into the living-room to find some bottle as quickly as possible, even if it had to be only a bottle of cold water.
The inspector closed the terrace door, straightened up his trousers, and once more looked around in the search of something to drink. The reconnaissance ended with a fiasco and when he was just about to sum it up with some crude curse, he noticed a young brunette who just came into the living-room through the front door. He could scent her seductive perfume even more distinctly than before and had to put a great effort in keeping a stone face. He knew she was a woman fully aware of her charms which, as he correctly presumed, turned the world of men upside down. He did not want to be just another cheap prey of her, so he expressionlessly nodded her hello and glanced carefully at her perfect figure emphasised by a beautiful floral dress. The girl returned the smile, dropped a curtsey like a schoolgirl and said:
“Morning, senor. I wanted to wish you a good day.”
The brunette’s words were like a balm to Franco Fog. They immediately soothed his headache and the unsatisfied thirst. The old stager did not want to reveal his admiration, though. He replied plainly:
The girl took his words in silence, put her hands on her rounded hips and, looking straight into her interlocutor’s eyes, she asked:
“A beautiful stranger, or an ugly stranger?”
“Does it matter?”
“Yes, it does. Very much.”
“Then,” the inspector resisted her devilish look, “definitely a beautiful one.”
“And do you remember my name, senor?”
“Well…” Franco Fog scratched his chin. “Yesterday, you made my head spin so much, I completely forgot.”
“It’s not good, senor. Not good.”
“Maybe you’ll remind me, then?”
“My name begins with the letter ‘L’ and ends with the letter ‘A’.”
“Luisa?” The inspector experienced a flash of brightness.
“A pretty name.”
“Now, even prettier.”
“Luisina Amanda Conchita Prudencia Nuniez!” The girl shouted and stamped her foot. “There is a Spanish and Gypsy blood flowing in my veins. Ole!”
Franco Fog took a fancy to the temperamental behavior of the girl and eager to show her due respect, he decided to introduce himself immediately. He came up to the closest armchair, rested his palms on it and said with a half-smile:
“If you don’t mind, I’ll attend to the formalities, as well. My name is…”
“Franco Fog”, the brunette stopped him mid-sentence and completed his presentation herself. “You don’t think I would be unwise enough to be unaware of whom I spend the night with, do you? I know who you are very well.”
“Is that so?” The inspector looked at the girl with a genuine interest.
“Well then,” the brunette prepared to recite an entry from a non-existing encyclopedia, “inspector Franco Fog, age forty three, single, serving in the Police Headquarters in the homicide department. Started service in the Mounted Police in the harbour district. Twenty reprimands, eight citations. Twice decorated. Do you want me to keep going?”
“No, thank you. I can see you are well prepared.”
“This is not all, senor. I also know your preferences and weaknesses.”
“You want some proof?”
“Hmm… Sort of.”
Luisina accepted the inspector’s doubtful attitude, swept back her thick black hair and, with a face of a meek kitten, she went back to the door. A moment later, she came back holding a tray with an open pack of Camels, silver Zippo lighter and a glass of a superb whiskey. She approached Franco Fog and, still with the face of a sweet flirt, asked:
“Did I pass my exam, senor?”
“Are you satisfied with me?”
“You must be a saint, Luisina!”
“Thank you, senor. Always at your service.”
The inspector was totally taken aback. He reached for the glass and drank the life-giving liquid and then, much more cheerful, he asked:
“How come you know so much about me, Luisina?”
“You’ll find out in proper time.”
“Sooner than you think, senor. And now,” the girl touched a small injury on Franco Fog’s ear, “I have to put some band-aid on your ear.”
“It won’t be necessary”, the inspector instinctively touched the slightly burning spot, “but how did it happen?” He asked, noticing a tiny smudge of blood on his hand, and he looked at the girl.
“I’ll explain that later.”