Oops, I Did It Again!
The first time I laid eyes on Sabrina Sparks she was three sheets to the wind as she sat behind the wheel of her black Porsche. She had just whipped the car into a spot between two other cars parked at the Studio City Post Office and missed my Chuck Taylor’s by mere inches. She flung the Boxster’s door open, nearly falling out of the car and onto the rough payment. She reeked of too much booze and pot, laughing as she staggered past me as she offered a “My bad” giggle of an apology for her near miss. I recognized her immediately. At 16 her fame was just beginning. She was even more beautiful in person than on that dopey Disney show everyone knew her from.
A few weeks later walking across the parking lot of the Trader Joe’s, Sabrina almost hit me again. I think that’s the moment we fell in love and within weeks we were living together. I was working as an investigator in the DA’s office in those days and our affair got the media talking. An affair between a 16 year-old pop singer and a 45 year-old civil servant will get tongues wagging, so naturally, my bosses didn’t approve and I was allowed to resign. Eventually, time and fame outgrew our affair and after three years together, laying next to me in bed Sabrina explained that we weren’t meant to last forever.
It’s a dreary Thursday and I’m at Barney’s Beanery on Santa Monica. I’m downing the last of my Dewars and soda when the bartender says, “Call for you, Kirk.” Who the hell knows I’m here? I can’t afford to not take the call…
“I need a favor.”
“Don’t say my name, Kirk, somebody might overhear. Are you still driving that piece of shit you call a car?”
“1962 was a great year for me, the Volvo 149 is a classic.”
“Can you come out to Malibu?”
Sabrina gave me an address to her private escape at the far end of Malibu. She made clear I was not to be seen parking at her home and to slip in via a side gate.
In the beginning, after our affair ended, I did private security work for Sabrina while all the while harboring hope that we somehow might get back together. The last job I did for Sabrina was help her out of jam with a fan, after she was acquitted of manslaughter at trial when by all rights she should’ve been convicted. I hadn’t seen or spoken to anyone in her camp in a dozen years since the coverup. I drove as fast as I could toward Malibu wondering where her personal demons took Sabrina this time. Like all her fans I heard about the rumors of drug addiction and knew the trouble it could bring.
The house is at the summit, the street curving downward in either direction away from it. As instructed I eased my way onto the property via the side gate. I walk past an old Porsche. The front door is locked, the windows all dark, so I double-check the address before ringing the bell. From the outside the house looks like a simple bungalow, but in this neighborhood looks are deceiving to say the least. I reach to ring the bell. Sabrina opens the door with a finger at her lips.
“Been a long time, babe,” I say.
“Shut the fuck up and get in here,” she hisses, pulling me inside.
She wears a black silk camisole, garter belt, black stockings, 8 inch-heels and nothing else. She kisses me passionately and before I can recover Sabrina is holding my hand and drags me down a staircase into what turns out to be an enormous living room area with a panoramic view of the Pacific. There’s a shiny spiral staircase leading down, and in the misty moonlight I can barely make out more of the house going down the bluff. On the stairwell Sabrina draws me close and thrusts her tongue in my mouth kissing me hard. For the first time I begin to feel uneasy about what Sabrina is doing here, what does she want with me?
I pull away determined to find out what I’m getting into. “So what’s the favor, Sabrina?”
“The favor, old man, is I’m feeling horny, and I want to make it with you. We were so good together--”
“All of a sudden? It’s been a long while for us.”
“Blame my management team. I’ve missed you. You want me, don't you?”
I have to admit I did and in a flash we’re down the stairs and into the biggest bedroom I’ve seen. The room smelled like lilacs but also a faint smell of cigarette lingered.
“You’ve had some bad habits, I didn’t know smoking was a new vice.”
“It isn’t. You want to get naked, or aren’t you getting turned on by what you see?” she asks, and by way of an answer I jump her and we fall toward the bed.
In three minutes it’s over, which embarrasses me but seems just fine to Sabrina. She slips out from under me and edges into the bathroom. I get up and it’s then I see the body on the floor barely hidden under a pile of clothes.
“What the fuck?!”
Sabrina is out of the bathroom dressed in all black, buttoning her jeans as she strolls toward me.
“Yeah,” Sabrina says, looking down at the pile. “That’s Malcolm, he claimed to be an exec at one of those boutique agencies. He’s just another bottom feeder. He somehow found out about the last favor you helped me with and wanted money and in return he promised to get me back in the game. Arenas, TV, the whole bit. I faked it a few times putting him off with sex. Then tonight the price went up, I shot him instead. Point blank. Fucker tried to burn me with a cigarette before he went down.” I looked at poor Malcolm and he moved slightly, his eyes widened begging for help.
“Holy shit! He’s still alive.”
“He won’t be for long.”
“When did this happen?”
“About five minutes before I called you.” She sits on the bed, her arm reaching toward her heels resting on the floor, wanting for me to ask her what to do next. What I do next is pull my cell from my pants pocket. I flip it open and wait for service.
“That’s new. What the hell are you doing?”
“I’m calling EMS.”
“If I wanted to call EMS, I would’ve called them myself. Cancel the call before I cancel you.”
And then I see the gun in her hand.
“You’re going to help me cover this up.”
“No. I don’t think I will. Not this time. I made one mistake tonight. Not again.”
She motions with her little automatic. “You don’t have any choice. Either you do or you don’t. And if you don’t I’ll end you right here and figure out a story for the cops.”
“Still carrying that snub .38? I know you are, I felt it for a few seconds when you were on top of me. Take it out slowly, toss it on the bed.”
Before I do, I give it one more try. “C’mon! We have to call EMS.”
“Like hell we do. Kirk, I want to be famous again but not for being this year’s girl in the trial of the century, got it? That’s why I called you.”
She wasn’t watching. I was texting my problem to Lt. Garcia at the Sheriff’s Department. “What did you think I was going to do, finish him off?”
“You’ve done it before for me. Now toss the cell and your gun onto the bed.” She shrugged. “He’s toast no matter what. You and I are going to drive him out to Angeles National Forest. Angeles National Cemetery is more like it, they’re always finding bodies in it. Years from now, hopefully.” Sabrina laughs, a staccato, high-pitched giggle I’ve never heard from her before, and it scares me even more than I already am.”
“Then what happens?” I ask.
She looks at me strangely.
“What happens next? I thought you’d guess. You and I live happily ever after, of course.” She motions with the gun. “Pick him up. We’ll take him down to the garage. His Hummer is parked there.”
“I can’t. Not alone anyway, he’s 375 pounds if he’s an ounce. You’re going to have to help me.”
I bend down toward poor Malcom but instead grab a handful of clothes, I tossed them toward Sabrina and beat feet toward the stairs. I heard the shots but didn’t feel them.
Outside I race toward my car, branches smacking me in the face and arms and I hit the street doing 90 miles an hour. I figure Sabrina isn’t nuts enough to take another shot but she does missing me and shattering the window of a Mercedes. I’m in the Volvo now fumbling to get the car started when another shot hits. This time it’s my shoulder, then I get moving toward the PCH. I reach for my cell before remembering that it’s still on the bed, along with my gun. There aren’t many pay phones in L.A. County anymore but I remember there might still be one at the Malibu Store, and I race toward my last hope.
I’m on with the 911 operator telling her what happened and she tells me they have a car already at that address because of shots fired…
Tongue-tied I say send EMS too, that a dangerous, crazy woman who has killed already is also at that location and be prepared to deal with her, she’s a pretty convincing liar.
Then the phone slips out of my hand and I slump to the ground against the wall of my salvation. A gentle breeze blows across my wet stomach as I feel the blood leaving my body and I hold my hand up illuminated by the lights of my car. In the distance I hear sirens rushing from every direction. I can feel the tension start to drain from my shoulder, and I put my weight back onto my feet just as I catch sight of pair headlights speeding toward me. I see the flash of a gun as a Porsche pulls into the lot, the face behind the wheel bearing down on mine, laughter fills the air, and all I can think of is how pretty she still looks…
And I hear, "Oops, I did it again!"
Jake James is a writer living in North Carolina.