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In the Dreams of Goats, part 2
Lois hadn’t been expecting Jeff Goldblum that night—she hadn’t been expecting anyone. Lois lived alone in the small house on the corner. She’d recently moved for work and she knew virtually no one in town. No one had any reason to visit her.
When the doorbell rang, Lois was just finishing dinner. She quickly put her dishes in the sink and hurried out the kitchen, through the front room, and to the door. Rising up onto her toes to look through the peephole, Lois was surprised to see Jeff Goldblum standing at her door. Lois had never met Jeff Goldblum before, but there was no doubt in her mind that this was really him. Goldblum was smiling directly into his end of the peephole. His right arm cradled a large bouquet of roses. With his left, he held up a Louis Vuitton shoulder bag just below eye level. Sensing her presence on the other side, his smile widened, and he jiggled the bag as if offering it to her. His whole face seemed alive and, despite herself, Lois could almost believe that he was watching her through the door. Jeff Goldblum had beautiful eyes.
Perhaps if she had stood there longer, studying Goldblum through the peephole, Lois might have caught some hint of the white-hot anger that she would later see bleeding through his mask. Perhaps she would have kept the door closed. Perhaps not—Jeff Goldblum was a superb actor. At any rate, Lois didn’t hesitate. Almost without thinking, she reached down and opened the door.
“Ms. Lois Steingarten?” In person, Goldblum’s smile was even brighter, his presence even more overpowering. Suddenly the focus of his attention, Lois felt giddy and inarticulate.
“I’m Jeff Goldblum, and I’m very happy to tell you that you’ve just won a trip to Paris Fashion Week, courtesy of Louis Vuitton.”
He stepped forward and offered her the bouquet of roses. Automatically, Lois accepted the roses with both hands while taking a step back to make room for him. This put Goldblum in the doorway. He smelled good, like cookies. Somewhere, at the edge of her consciousness, a voice reminded Lois that Goldblum was, essentially, a strange man entering her home, that in this position, and with her hands full of a ridiculous bouquet, she would be hard-pressed to push him out, should she need to.
“May I come in?” He was inside, still smiling, before he was finished asking the question. His eyes never straying from Lois’ face, Goldblum reached back with his right hand and quietly shut the front door. As the latch clicked, his face went dead.
“You live alone, Ms. Steingarten.” It wasn’t a question.
“There’s no one here but the two of us.” He held up the Louis Vuitton shoulder bag again, opened it, and removed the Barretta, dropping the bag onto the floor.
“You know what this is?”
“No. I mean, it’s a gun.”
“It’s a Barretta 92F semi-automatic pistol fitted with a silencer.”
“At this range, even a mediocre shot could kill you easily.” The radiant smile had vanished. Lois could barely believe it had ever been there. “I am a very good shot.”
“I don’t understand.” She could feel her breath quickening. She struggled to keep it under control.
“Maybe not, but I think you do. Sit down, Ms. Steingarten.” Goldblums eyes darted away from Lois’ face and, for the first time, he seemed to notice the bare front room. “Jesus, do you not have any furniture?”
“I just moved here.”
“I know, but you don’t even have a sofa? Or just some cushions?”
“I,” Lois willed herself to be calm, “I have a table and chairs in the kitchen.”
The dead eyes studied her. “We’ll go there then.”
In the Dreams of Goats, part 1
Lois and Jeff Goldblum sat there silently at the small table in the kitchenette. Outside, it was just starting to get dark, but Goldblum didn’t get up to turn on the lights. Maybe he didn’t want them to be visible to passers-by looking in through the windows. Maybe he just didn’t care about seeing things. The clock on top of the refrigerator read 7:48.
The actor shifted in his chair. “Do you smoke?” he asked.
“I quit two years ago, but go ahead if you like.”
He reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a nearly empty pack (a brand Lois didn’t recognize) along with a disposable green plastic lighter. He shook out a cigarette, put it in his mouth, and lit up. He did all of this with his left hand alone. His right hand still held the gun, a Barretta semi-automatic pistol fitted with a long silencer. It was no longer pointed directly at Lois’s face, but Goldblum was careful to keep it at the ready. Still, if she made a run for the door right now, while he was distracted with his cigarette—
“I have reflexes like a cat,” he said, apparently reading her mind. “Don’t try anything stupid.” He sat back a bit and exhaled smoke. His eyes, completely impassive, locked back onto her.
Lois took off her glasses, wiped them on her shirt, and put them back on. “So, what are we waiting for, exactly?” she asked, not really expecting much of an answer.
“Someone wants to have a word with you, Ms. Steingarten. I think you know what about.”
He took another long drag on his cigarette. “Tonight doesn’t have to be unpleasant for you, you know. If you’re smart, if you drop the act and tell us what we want to know, we can all walk out of here happy and healthy, all good friends.”
“Please, I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Goldblum shrugged. “Have it your own way. We’ll get the information one way or another. It doesn’t make any difference to me.” His unblinking eyes drilled directly into hers, until she finally had to look down. Her hands, lying flat on the table, were trembling slightly. She breathed deeply and concentrated all her energy on steadying them.
Jeff Goldblum, Lois knew, was an accomplished actor, but something about his performance in the kitchenette rang false to her. She couldn’t put her finger on it at first, but sitting there silently at the table, waiting for her interview with God-knows-who, Lois at least had plenty of time to think. Eventually she got it. Somewhere behind the soft, impassive voice and the dead eyes, she had caught occasional flashes of tightly controlled anger, even hatred. He had been lying, Lois realized, when he said that her fate didn’t make any difference to him. For reasons that perhaps only he knew, Jeff Goldblum was hoping that Lois’ night would be very unpleasant indeed.