Back in May 2015, I hosted a challenge entitled Stop Bickering! at The Garden of MC Forum where the purpose was to write stories involving a way to put an end to the constant fights of some rowdy neighbors. This was my entry for it and gave birth to a rather peculiar character you’ll get to “see” more of in other stories of mine.

If there’s one thing you should know about me is that I love peace and quiet. No, wait… let me rephrase that. I don’t just love it, I need it! When you’re in my line of work, there’s nothing better than silence and complete relaxation after dealing with all the stress.

What do I do for a living, you ask? In good honesty, that’s classified information, but I was a bit careless just now so I might as well tell you. Part of the story, at least.

You can think of me as an “information expert”. Yes, I’m specialized in procuring and dealing with all sorts of sensitive data. I’m the one businessmen, politicians and even Chiefs of State call when the going gets tough, and conventional means simply won’t cut it. I collect, replace, destroy… I can be as clean or as dirty as required if the money is good.

And now, the word “mercenary” is stuck in your mind, right? I don’t like that. It’s true I owe allegiance to no one but myself, but I do have a code. My principles may be a bit fuzzy at times but I’m trustworthy, dependable, and very, very good at my job.

If you had told me a year ago I would be living on the top floor of Silver Bell Towers, I would have laughed. It’s something I never considered on my own despite the reputation of the place. Nonetheless, here I am, courtesy of one of my most recent employers who was very pleased to hear that the paper trail that implicated him in the theft of two crates of Nazi gold no longer existed. The luxurious apartment was a sincere gift, and also a silly attempt to get laid. Clients can be dumb too, you know?

Anyway, don’t think you can parse anything useful of what I just said. Even if you do uncover something you’re not supposed to from these little tongue slips, I’ll make sure you don’t get to repeat it. For now, please be quiet. I feel like telling a story, and I want you to listen closely.

This is a story about the Powells. Derrick Powell and Martha Powell. Newlyweds, recent tenants, major annoyances. When they moved in, everyone was delighted by the Hollywood looks, the impeccable hair, and glistening teeth. Smiles were exchanged faster than a supersonic jet, hands were shook, touched and rubbed in both conspicuous and inconspicuous ways, and eager lips sang ballads of everlasting joy within this placid, loving community.

It was all rainbows and unicorns for about two months or so. Then, the fighting started and the illusion’s true colors were unveiled.

There are many underlying reasons for their constant outbreaks, far too many to share, but here are the basics: Derrick believes his wife is cheating on him with a Finnish plastic surgeon. She, in turn, is convinced he’s cheating on her with a bodybuilder he met at the gym a couple of days before the wedding. From what I’ve been able to gather, they’re both right, but neither one of them wants to acknowledge the fact. They’re both proud people who like to come out on top at any time, regardless of consequence.

To be honest, I’ve been very patient with their antics so far, but not anymore. I need my beauty sleep, my Zen moments before the next assignment. Seeing no one else dares to do anything, I’m going to take matters into my own hands. As a matter of fact, I just did.

I take it you never heard of RSBs. It stands for Remote Smart Bombs, clever little hi-tech gadgets that come in all shapes and sizes, and are a must for dealing with irksome individuals and situations. I deployed one through the ventilation shaft straight into their house and, according to my calculations, it has already begun to work its magic. Come along, now. Let’s check it out.

All apartments inside Silver Bell Towers can only be accessed by the combination of a special keycard, and a randomized frequency generator within a state-of-the-art control panel. The silver rectangle crisscrossed with pulsating blue lights certainly looks daunting but is no match to my decryption software. One press of a button, a single swipe from left to right and we’re in.

The Powell’s apartment is a lot darker than I expected, and a quick glance is enough to realize their taste in furniture is borderline atrocious. Why would anyone think those asymmetric chairs and that pink glass table go hand in hand is beyond me, but I digress? Our furious lovebirds are awfully quiet, now. Always a good sign.

They’re standing in the middle of the living-room in a semi-catatonic state. His left hand is raised up high about ready to execute a painstaking downwards motion towards her face, and her mouth is wide open, locked in the middle of a silent scream. It seems the gas I released in the apartment couldn’t have come a moment sooner.

Now, then, time for some much-needed changes. The first thing to do is adjust their bodies properly and the sofa is inviting enough. The chemical compound they’ve been exposed to has left them extremely malleable and open to outside suggestions so let’s get started.

“Derrick and Martha, can you hear me? Your vocal cords are surely a bit sore right now so don’t try to talk. Just listen, nod, and do as you’re told. Sit, please.”

In unison, they respond as instructed, and I fluster a bit on the inside. It’s always a turn-on to exert this type of control, albeit temporarily. If I were looking for a bit of carnal fun, I could even find a way to give some use to their aching tongues right now and…

Hmmm, what was I saying, again? Ah, yes… alterations. Let’s make sure some behavioral patterns don’t ever repeat themselves.

Now, the trick to doing this effectively is to avoid the risk of suppression and promote the transfer of energies from one action to another. The human mind is a sophisticated biological information center with clear and defined organization processes and sets of hierarchies that need to be respected even at an unconscious level. It tends to fight back and reject any sort of imposition that destroys the constancy of the patterns that rule it. This is even more true the more ingrained those patterns are.

For the Powells, their bickering has sort of become second nature by now. They do it so often that I’m not sure they know how to live without that outlet so what we must do is channel those impulses into more consentaneous expressions. I believe Freud called this principle “Sublimation”. The process I’ll be facilitating is not exactly the same but, for the sake of clarity, let’s just roll with it.

“You’ve been quite annoying as of late, you know? All of your suspicions, your raucous altercations at the most inappropriate of times have been interfering with my concentration levels and making me mad. I don’t like to be mad and, frankly, neither should you, which is why I’m going to take the opportunity to set the record straight. Stay still and continue to listen.”

Again, the proper response. If nothing out of the ordinary happens, this shouldn’t take long.

“Okay, here’s the thing. Derrick, yes, she’s been screwing around with Dr. Virtanen, and I can’t blame her, really. When he gets in the mood, he sure lives up to its name and the stream just keeps on running… And Martha, yes, your husband secretly loves cock as well as pussy even though he only just began to accept the fact. You can be mad all you want, but you’re both to blame for the whole situation. The question is: now that you know the truth, what are you going to do about it?

“The way I see it, you can either give up on the whole marriage idea and file for divorce as soon as possible, or you can accept that things aren’t the way you originally envisioned and live with it. Lots of couples have open relationships and are quite happy about it. Whatever the case, the arguments must stop for your sake, mine and everyone else that lives on this floor.

“You’re going to wake up from the stupor very soon and then, you’ll be confronted with this choice. If you go through with divorce then so be it, but if you decide to accept reality for what it is, then allow me to suggest something. Whenever you feel like screaming, shouting or simply hurting one another over things like this, just think about what brought you together in the first place and how good it would be to kiss and forget. If kissing is not enough, then don’t fuck with your heads but use your bodies, instead. The therapeutical value of make-up sex can never be overstated, and it looks like you really need it right now.

“And that’s it. I’ll let myself out and leave you to it. I hope you make the right choice in the end. Oh, and if you wake up thinking this was all a bizarre dream, you’re probably right and shouldn’t bother too much trying to think otherwise, okay? Take care.”

Well, mission accomplished. If you were expecting something more vicious, sorry to disappoint you. I’m no saint, and I may have some growing fetish urges in me but I try to keep interference to a minimum whenever possible. You’re welcome to file your complaints in triplicate, knowing I can very well choose to ignore them or decide to use one of the RSBs on you. Are we clear? Good. Off to bed, now.

* * *

It’s been three weeks since my night excursion to their apartment and I can safely say that the Powells have, indeed, stopped bickering. No divorce in sight, either, so I guess that little spark of romance found a way to prevail after all.

Unfortunately, I can’t call the outcome of my actions a complete victory. The frustrations that haunted them aren’t gone, but rather subdued under the weight of more pressing desires and boy, are those desires loud!

It turns out that the more they think about the bad things happening in their lives, the more they feel they can work it all out in the master bedroom, on the kitchen floor, on the balcony for everyone to see, and so and so on… Martha has proven herself to be quite a moaning minx, and Derrick tries to upstage her all the time with vocalizations befitting of prehistoric men. Both the Finnish doctor and the bodybuilder even join the party on occasions and, you know, everything’s a mess.

There’s nothing I can do about it right now as I’m on my way out to catch a plane to Portugal. Apparently, some wannabe writer there has come into possession of some sensitive intel regarding my covert operations, including my name. I don’t know how that happened, but rest assured I intend to find out. When I return, I’ll have to pay another visit to my lovely neighbors and come up with a good way to make them stop banging all the time! I can hardly wait…

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