I was halfway up the wall of the Embassy building.
The suction discs at my knees and elbows held firm to the cold stone, but my muscles were quivering with the strain and I was gasping for breath. My sweating forehead touched the wall while I panted for renewed strength to go on up to the window fifty feet above me. I had to enter that window to commit a robbery.
I get in spots like this, from time to time. My name is Eve Drum. I am the lady from L.U.S.T.— the League of Undercover Spies and Terrorists—a branch of the United States Secret Service out of the C.I.A. by way of the National Security Agency. My assignments take me into die-ins and kill-ins from time to time. I get to do groovy things like zap murderers, steal formulas, hijack scientists. Like now, I was trying to break into the Russian Embassy building.
Tough assignment? You bet. But as the Marines say, the impossible takes a little longer. So I dragged some more city-polluted air into my lungs and started moving upward toward the living room of the Visiting Dignitary Suite. There was a code-book in a wall safe there that L.U.S.T. wanted for its own.
So here I was, my otherwise naked body wrapped in a skin-tight black cotton body stocking, making my climb. My garment had a hood attached that covered all my head except the lower forehead, cheeks, eyes, nose and chin. In it, on this dark night, I was just about invisible. There was a belt about my middle that had little compartments in it for holding various odds and ends that I might need to accomplish my job.
Slurp, slurp, slurp; the sound of suction discs letting go their hold as I inched my way further up the sheer stone wall. I did not look down at the almost empty street, and I was only faintly aware of the whisper of tires as a car or two went along it; I looked at stone and then more stone, and to vary the monotony I glanced upward at the window that was my goal. I seemed no nearer to it than when I had paused to rest.
All good things come to an end, however, so my right hand finally hooked its fingers on the ledge of that window as I hauled my girl-girl body upward to peer into a dark room. Nobody home. Hooray for my side. I fumbled at my belt for a nifty little length of blued steel that us cat burglars find very handy for opening reluctant windows.
I slipped the strip into a tiny opening between the upper and lower window, slid it around, unhooked a bolt, and moved it back—very gently. All this time I was praying that the suction discs on my knees would continue to grip firmly, and that my left hand, with which I maintained my balance on the window ledge, would not go weak. It was a long fall to the pavement far below.
I crawled onto the ledge. I opened the window.
Then the Drum body slipped through the opening and I planted my feet on a thick rug. I rested my behind on the inside part of the window ledge and stripped off the suction discs, dropping them near the window for easy recovery if I had to go back down the way I had come up, in a hurry.
My cotton-clad feet made no sound as they took me across the room toward a picture hanging over the mantelpiece. There was a safe dial behind the picture, but our man in the Russian embassy—a servant from the Ukraine who had discovered the fleshpots of New York and needed money to enjoy them—had informed us that this was just a dummy safe. You could turn the dials but no safe door ever opened. It was a fake, it had no combination, it was there just to fool an eager-beaverette like me, if I didn't know better.
The safe was inside a step table beside a lounge chair. The table was fastened to a steel plate bolted to the floor. Nobody but nobody could carry off that safe. The only way to get at the code book inside it was to open its door.
My father is a locksmith. He has taught his only daughter all he knows about the art of opening safes. As a result, I am an expert at opening any and all types of safes, which is why I get juicy assignments like this one I was working on now.
I knelt down, I plugged a stethoscope into my ears and placed the disc against the surface of the safe. My fingers touched the dial and began to move it slowly.
I also held my breath. Even with a stethoscope to magnify its sound, the click of a tumbler is not very loud.
It seemed to take forever, but finally—
The number was 20. I went on turning the dial. Click again, at number 14. More turns, slowly, And then the third click, at 31.
In a shade under thirteen seconds, the safe door was open. I slid a hand inside. I brought out a sheaf of greenbacks, American style. There was more than twenty thousand dollars in that packet. I sighed for the might have—been, back to my adolescent years when I had decided I was going to be Penelope Courage, girl safe-cracker. Alas for girlish dreams.
I put back the money and drew out a narrow book. One rifle of its pages told me it was the code-book. I reached into my belt, lifting out a special Minox infrared camera. With this little beauty I could take snapshots in a dark room with perfect ease.
I opened the book and started clicking away. No sweat. I figured I was home free. The Minox was filming page 4 when a light went on in the next room, which, judging by the startled glance I gave it over my shoulder, was a bedroom. I stabbed my eyes around the living room where I was bent double at the step table. I could see everything in the living room quite clearly, now.
There was a mirror on the wall to my right, over a built-in bookcase that extended from the fireplace to the far wall. The mirror showed the bed, and the figure of a shapely brunette standing beside it, letting a mink stole slide off her glossy white shoulders.
She was no Russian, not that dish. Svelte and smooth inside a Givenchy original, her milky skin bulged at the low vee of her bodice, where the gown panels were trying to help her support her love jugs at the proper angle. She was forty inches there. Me, I'm only two inches smaller, so I ought to know.
Her shoulders were like cream and her flawless white arms were unmarred by so much as a goose-pimple.
A man said, in a thick Russian accent, "We have the whole night before us, Magda dear. There is no rush.” He came into view, big, blond and handsome in a bullish sort of way. His deep chest and broad shoulders made me think of weight-lifters. I shivered as I imagined the strength of those long arms of his. There was the faint trace of a scar about his chin. He was one gorgeous male animal.
His arms caught the brunette and crushed her against him. His open mouth came down on her parted lips. They strained together.
I shook myself back to duty. No time to indulge in voyeurism at the moment. I had a job to finish.
The Minox camera clicked. I turned a page. The camera worked again. Only a few more pages to go, and I would be done.
Somebody moaned. I risked a glance at the mirror over my right shoulder, and froze with my finger on the shutter release. The Russian was visible only from the waist down. The rest of him was hidden by the skirt of the Givenchy original.
He was holding the brunette over his head with his arms rigid and his hands around her waist. His head was somewhere in between the thighs that formed a fork above him, enveloped by the skirt.
The girl was doing all the moaning. I didn't blame her. They were both fully dressed, the girl hadn't even taken off her gloves. Somehow, it seemed more entrancing, that way. My mouth was dry and my heart speeded up its beat.
"Serge! Oh my God—Serge darling!” Her voice was only a whisper, but it sounded clearly all through the suite. She was hung up on what his mouth was doing under her dress. The brunette was visible only from the waist down, her top half was obscured by the top of the door lintel between the living room and bedroom. But her hips were squirming, bumping and grinding, as her escort held her helpless above his face.
A sympathetic quiver ran through my loins. I envied my fellow female her enjoyments of the moment.
They call me Double Oh Sex at L.U.S.T. headquarters. I have a weakness when it comes to the intimate pleasures in life. But I also have a sense of duty. I turned back to the code-book.
The Minox clicked and clicked. The brunette was babbling silly things by now. Gasps and grunts punctuated her words, with an occasional sob of delight thrown in for good measure. The sweat was standing out at my temples and my hips were moving with involuntary jerks.
I risked another look in the mirror. The brunette had her skirt up to her navel now, and her nyloned legs and bare thighs made parenthesis marks that held a head between them. She was wearing a garter-belt, nothing else. It looked as if Serge had a brown topknot above his blond hair.
Then he swung her away, let her dangle in the air a moment, and dropped her fanny—first onto the bed. She bounced a couple of times and then sat up, stripping the Givenchy original off over her neatly coiffured brown hair. Big white breasts capped with swollen red nipples bobbled heavily to her movements.
I licked my lips, unable to tear my eyes away. Serge Akonov—I recognized him from the newspaper photos. He was a visiting Russian dignitary in Uncle Sam country to check Russian security precautions at all the embassy buildings. Now he was stripping down. His black bow tie flew one way, his evening shirt another, studs popping like peas from a pod. Off came his undershirt to show a hairy chest, layered with muscle tissue. I blinked at that build. He must have been a weightlifter, at one time!
The brunette leaned forward from the edge of the bed, undoing his belt, running the zipper down. Her hands and his met as they pushed his evening trousers and shorts toward the floor.
“Oh my!” the brunette cried. “Yeah, hey,” I echoed softly. He was a man-man, this one. What the French call envitaille. Big where it counts. With a soft cry, his girl friend fell upon him with caressing hands, almost crooning to herself.
I pinched my hip. To business, Eve! This is no time for second-hand thrills. Determinedly I turned back to the open safe. I dusted the code-book against possible fingerprints, then put it back into the safe exactly where it had been. I ran a cloth over the safe dial. I closed the Safe door and shot the sliding panel that hid the safe into its slot in the step table.
Minox tucked into its belt compartment, I rose to my feet. A few steps and I would be at the window, fastening on my suction discs and making my descent.
I took one last look through the open door into the lighted bedroom. Or at least, it was meant to be a last look. What I saw froze me to the carpet.
The brunette was bending forward, presenting the big blonde Russian with her derriere and widespread thighs. Serge Akonov was thrusting into her in that dog fashion, taking her savagely. I saw the big breasts swing and sway to each push, I heard the sound of their conjoined parts. Serge stood with his eyes squeezed shut and his mouth open as he pounded pleasure into his girl friend.
But it was not this that made me go rigid. It was the sight of a girlish hand sliding into a pocket of the tuxedo jacket the Russian had been wearing. The brunette was bringing out a small black book, gripping it between forefinger and second finger, the way you might hold a playing card to sail it through the air.
She turned to look back at the man. His face was thrown back so his closed eyes faced the ceiling. His mouth was wide open and his breath sounded like a forge bellows. His hips drove back and forth so swiftly, they made a blur.
He could not see the motion of her hand, nor did he glimpse the little black book sailing out of the room, through the doorway to land inches from my foot. Then the woman raised herself slightly and gave herself over to the delights of the flesh.
I put out a toe, I nudged the book. Ought I open it? Take it with me? I bent down, squatting on my hams. I sent a glance into the lighted bedroom. Serge was drawing the girl backwards with him to the edge of the bed. He sat down, keeping her with him. Her stockinged legs were draped over each of his rock-hard thighs as she faced away from him, hips jerking, crying out harshly in her pleasure.
Her eyes were closed, too, by this time. So I opened the book and glanced through it. It was in Russian. I can speak and read that language, but what I saw made no sense. Whatever this notebook contained was in some kind of code.
One thing I did understand. Three numbers.
20, 14, 31. They leaped off the page and hit me right Smack in the eyes. This was the combination to the step-table safe. But why did the brunette want this combination? Was she after the code-book, too?
It put a different light on things. I could leave now, walking down the stone wall, or I could wait until the girl tired Serge out and he fell asleep. She would come in here, she would open the safe, she would take out the notebook.
And then what? Did she want to photograph its contents as I had done? Or would she steal the code-book itself? I did not want that to happen. If the Russkys realized L.U.S.T.—or any other organization, for that matter—had broken its code, the code would be changed. And all my work this night would have been for nothing.
No, I did not want the brunette to steal the notebook. I would have to stay and stop her. I wondered how long I would have to wait before Serge Akonov would fall asleep. I had instant entertainment to help me pass the time, of course; all I had to do was look through the door into that lighted bedroom. The only trouble with that was, the entertainment was getting to me; I wanted to be part of it, too. And that was out of the question.
To while away the time, I got everything ready for a fast getaway. I put suction discs on my knees, slid them up my arms. I raised the window slowly so I could duck out fast. From a compartment of my belt I lifted a small hypodermic filled with a go-sleepy-bye solution. The sounds in the bedroom went on. Serge was grunting thickly and the brunette was sobbing hysterically. I tiptoed closer.
The big blonde man had the girl perched upon him, her legs wrapped about his middle as he walked up and down the room, supporting her with his huge, hairy hands on her buttocks. I sighed, staring. Sergy-boy really liked to work at his fun, first holding her over his head and now this. Oh, well, there's no accounting for tastes. I shrank back into the shadows, taking my eyes away from that living tableau. It was easier to wait here in the darkness and not see what went on in that bedroom. Just listening to the sounds they made was bad enough. Bed-springs creaked, then began a steady pounding as Serge and his girl friend played at zig and zag. I glanced at them out of the corners of my eyes. She lay on her side, her stockinged legs bent up to her breasts while the big blond Russian lay behind her and at an angle. I gulped. This was a variation on the manner which the Roman writer, Martial, spoke of as a favorite posture of the lady Phyllis. In the Arabic countries, this method of copulation is known as the neza el kouss, the rainbow arch.
They shifted position again. I realized what the brunette was trying to do; she wanted to exhaust him so he would fall asleep. When he was snoring, she would come in here and make her try for the code-book. Her plan was a good one. The only trouble with it was, Serge Akonov was no ordinary man. He took what she had to give and returned it with such generosity that the brunette was almost passing out herself.
Once she slid from the bed and ran across the room naked, breasts shaking wildly, to fetch a bottle of Smirnoff vodka. Serge bellowed in glee at the sight of it. He tipped it to his lips and finished off the fifth without taking the neck of the bottle from his mouth.
He hooked the woman by her soft thighs and dried his mouth on her flesh. He chuckled at this—it pleased some primitive sense of humor in him, I suppose. When he felt his lips were dry, he lifted her, with his hands under each thigh just above her knees, and lifted her up across his loins.
Serge Akonov was ready for action again. I was ogling them openly, by now. I had forgotten I was the lady from L.U.S.T. and that my case officer, David Anderjanian, was waiting for me to make a rendezvous with him and turn over the Minox with its precious film. I was just a wanting female, jealous of all the attention the brunette was getting.
The big blond man was taking her in the Oriental yumha-ee position, squatting on his haunches with the woman spread wide and half-lying across his knees. From that he swung with practiced ease into the purushayat, in which he lay flat on his back while the brunette crouched above him. Then he rolled her over on her belly and without breaking contact, speared her in the coitus a tergo pose.
I have no idea how much time had elapsed. I was beginning to think he would never be done with his pussycat playmate. Then, when I was almost tempted to forget the whole thing, I heard him groan and mutter. “I think that is—enough for now,” he mumbled. I waited, watching the brunette lift her naked body from the mattress on which Serge Akonov lay stretched, breathing heavily. She slid to the edge and sat there, studying his features. Apparently she was familiar with his habits, because there was a satisfied look on her face as she waited for that sign.
The sign came, I assume, because suddenly she was on her bare feet and walking toward the darkened living room. I stepped into darker shadows, though I knew her eyes, used to the bright lights of the bedroom, would be as good as blind in this blackness.
She bent over, unwittingly showing her Smooth white buttocks to my eyes. She had a body Venus herself might have envied, did this brunette woman. I had seen it in transports of bliss, quivering to the forceful heaves of the big Russian, shaking all over as delight fed her every sense.
At any other time, I might have used her to relieve the itch in my own flesh, but frivolity had no place here. I'd already wasted more time than I should have in this room. Just as she was straightening up, I stepped forward.
I swung the edge of my hand in a karate chop for her right temple. Not too hard, or I might have killed her. I just wanted to put her in dreamsville for a few hours. As my hand slammed into her, she gave a choking sound and her knees bent.
I was about to put the little black notebook into my belt when I got a better idea. I got out my little Minox, opened the notebook and began taking snaps. I would have a bonus for David Anderjanian, my case officer. When I was done, I slipped the notebook into the brunette's hands. When Serge Akonov woke up, he would find his brunette bombshell lying here, sound asleep. Of course, he would have to wake up before she did, or, all my trouble would be wasted.
I walked boldly into the bedroom. There was an electric clock on the night table. I set it to ring ten minutes from now, and pulled out the alarm. Serge Akonov would wake up, he would go looking for his pussycat playmate, and poor pussycat! I ran from the bedroom, through the living room. I stuck my backside out the window, clamped first one knee-cup and then the other to the stone wall. I closed the window. I could not re-lock it, but I felt confident that nobody would pay any attention to it, especially as there was a sheer drop of over a hundred feet to the pavement below.
Pressing against the stone wall, I began my descent. It was easier going down than it had been coming up, maybe because I had the force of gravity on my side now. Slurp, slurp, slurp, and I was halfway down; a few more slurps and my right foot touched the top of a stone wall that bordered the garden attached to the embassy building. I dropped over the wall, onto the sidewalk. One glance up and down the street showed it was deserted.
I ran with one elbow scraping the wall so I could stay in the shadows. When I reached the corner, I turned right and ran along the wall for another thirty feet. Then I planted my spine against the cold stone and waited.
A car turned the corner, a Toronado with David Anderjanian driving it. I gave a big sigh of relief, sagged a little, and then stepped into the pool of light from a streetlamp as the Olds pulled in to the curb. I opened the door, got in, and let the back of my head drop onto the head-rest.
"How'd it go?” David asked, easing the car from the curb.
"Good. I got a free sample, I think.”
I told David everything except some of the more esoteric details of how Serge Akonov had made love with his girl friend. David listened quietly.
"Good girl,” he complimented me, and patted my thigh.
His hand felt good. My flesh was still charged with the sights and sounds of the night, but I was too tired to respond the way I often do when David pats me like that. I just shivered and closed my eyes. I wanted a bed, but I also wanted to be alone in it. I lifted his big hand and put it back on the steering wheel.
David Anderjanian is a big blond Viking of a man, six feet four and just as strong as Serge Akonov, I am sure. We have a thing, David and I. We turn each other on real good. But not tonight. So I just lay there in the blackness of my closed eyelids and let him drive me to my apartment.
I live good, as a L.U.S.T. agent. What the hell! The pay is fantastic, but so are the risks you take, earning it. So in between assignments I live like a queen, in a duplex job in the East Seventies. The rent is ridiculously high, but I like luxury. As the car braked, I opened my eyes.
"I'd ask you in, but one thing would lead to another.” I murmured, reaching for the doorknob. "So I'm going beddy-bye all by myself, David. See you sometime after I get about twelve hours sleep. Ta—ta, honey.”
I drew the mink coat, which I'd left in the car while I went wall-walking, around the Drum chassis and stepped out onto the sidewalk. I sleepwalked through the thick glass foyer doors, nodded like the sleepwalker I was to the attendant, and let the elevator carry me up to the fifth floor.
I walked into my apartment and headed for the bed. I fell face-down on it and I didn't even take off the mink coat. I drifted off to sleep thinking about what might have happened in the Russian embassy between the brunette and Serge Akonov while David had been driving me home.
The Drum eyelids lifted at three o'clock next afternoon only because somebody was knocking down my apartment door. I fell off the bed, got up, still half asleep, and staggered through the living room to fumble around for the doorknob.
David Anderjanian was there, bigger than life. “Honey, I'm going to pin a medal on you. Know what you've done? No, I can see you don't.”
He stepped in and closed the door behind him. He grinned down at my half-closed eyes and my body that swayed from side to side with the languorous aftermath of deep slumber. His hand caught me, drew me toward my big modernistic divan.
"You'd better sit down for this one—because it'll knock you off your pins if you don't.”
“Yeah.” I managed brightly. I fell onto the divan and immediately let my eyes close. I think I actually slept a few moments before David woke me by shaking my left leg.
"Eve, listen! You know what was in that notebook you told me about? Eve? Eve, dammit! Listen to me.”
“Uh—huh. I am, David."
“You are like hell. I ought to push you under a cold shower, that's what I ought to do. Matter of fact, maybe I ought to get in there with you.”
I opened one eyelid, letting the other one go on sleeping. “In a cold shower with me? Darling, I didn't know you cared.”
“I care—and so will you when I tell you. Honey you're going to put your grubby little paws on five billion dollars—“
That did it. I opened my other baby blue and stared.