That night John sat at his desk and studied the photographs he had taken of the mystic diamond in the museum in Cairo. If only he'd overcome his natural inclination to be painfully honest and law-abiding, and stolen the damn thing, Marcia would never have been placed in danger of losing her virtue, her soul or her darling little house in the suburbs, all of which she had devoted so many years to enriching and guarding and never, ever letting a demon besmirched, corrupt or destroy with plastic explosives.
A distorted shadow drifted across the window behind him.
Jane sauntered into the atrium, her black curls bouncing in time with her bountifully displayed breasts; her cheeks flushed a pretty pink. "Marshall?" Her pale blue eyes searched the room. "Oh, Marshall, where are you? I need you NOW."
John got to his feet. "I'm sorry, who are you?"
"You don't recognize your own girlfriend, honeybunny?" Marcia, who secretly thought of herself as Jane, stepped into the library's overhead lights, which revealed that her black hair was actually dark brown. Her dark eyes, which sometimes only looked pale blue in the moonlight, met his. How silly she'd been, she thought, blushing, to mistake his library for an atrium, of all things. "I've had a very hard day at the law office, Marshall, and I'd love to unwind with a Manhattan. Would you make me one, sweetie pie?"
Two shadows darted past the window behind John. One was man-shaped, the other resembled a goat dressed in Armani.
John frowned. "You work at a library, you don't drink alcohol, and I'm not a Marshall -- I'm only a detective."
"Oh, you big silly!" Marcia laughed as hot color flooded her cheeks. "I meant to say, I'm tired from a long day at the library where I stacked a lot of books and remembered how I used to do the same thing when I worked at a law office a long time ago. And I do drink now and then, sweetie pie, I just never told you before now because I didn't want you to think I was a breast-flaunting lush." She tilted her head to look up through his sky light at the stars. "I thought he was called Marshall?"
An enormous shadow slithered across the window behind John's desk, unnoticed by Jane or Marshall. The shadow might have been that of a forty-foot-tall cobra, if cobras came with four heads and little pickles sticking out of their chests. If cobras have chests.
He came around the desk. "John. The name's John." He glanced up. "Why are you looking at the ceiling?"
"I could have sworn there was a skylight to the Story Goddess up there." Marcia popped open the first two buttons on her skimpy blouse as desire made her face hot. "Forget about it. Comere and give my babies a nice kiss. Don't be shy -- you'll never see a bigger or a better rack than this, sugarlips."
An army of shadows marched across the window, blocking out all light and hope with their evil numbers and dark, dismal, demonic, destitute, dirty desires, all of which they directed toward Marshall's nicely-shaped fanny.
John glanced down. "Actually, I have. Frequently. Sometimes hourly."
Marcia tucked in her chin, saw two small but nicely rounded breasts, and screamed. "Oh my GOD!" Her face reddened as she tore open her bra. "What happened to my implants? I paid twenty grand to have Dr. Sue gimme big beautiful bountiful bouncing bazooms!"
John carefully and respectfully covered up her nakedness. "Marcia, you don't have implants. You don't even have twenty dollars left in your checking account after you pay your bills every month. You give it away to charity, remember?"
"My name is Jane!" Marcia snarled, her color high. "I'm heiress to the Acme Slaughterhouse fortune! I don't even like books or charities! And why do you insist on calling yourself John, Marshall? What am I, a hooker?"
"No, darling Marcia." John took her gently into his arms. "You're a victim of a salvaged scene. Just as I am, darling Jane."
"But, Marshall!" Jane turned red with her distress and clutched at John's lapels. "We can't throw out all this work! It took her months to write that first draft. It must be saved!" She pressed her enormous breasts against his bare chest and parted her scarlet lips, panting on him a little as desire tinted her face a beautiful rose. "We'll just have to wing it, you hunka burning love."
"Stop acting like your first draft!" John thundered. "You've evolved! You're better than that slut!"
As the tsunami of dark shadows tried to cross the window behind him, John drew his gun and shot out the glass. The early morning light from the non-existent atrium hit the shadows, which went POOF! and were no more.
"Damn waffling shadow creatures. Now." John cradled Marcia's thin sweet face between his palms and kissed her pale pink lips. "Repeat after me: You are a nice girl librarian, I am a troubled but valiant cop. You are modest, I am obsessed with my penis. You are virginal, I should be a walking STD. You are Marcia, I am John."
"You are Marcia, I am John." She smiled shyly. "Just kidding." She glanced down at her small but nicely rounded breasts, which were almost buried under all the clothes she now wore. "I give all my money away to charity, for real?" When he nodded, she swallowed hard and eased open her tweed jacket, twill vest, white lace blouse and exposed her plain white cotton bra. "You could still, you know."
"Comere and give your babies a nice kiss?" John teased.
"No." Marcia blushed furiously. "Lend me twenty thousand dollars."