Short Story Sunday: The Odd Bodyguard

Hansen didn’t look odd. In fact, he looked fine. He looked more than fine sitting there in his perfectly fitting black custom suit, matched with cobalt blue wingtips shoes, and a tie with a pattern of M.C. Escher’s geese on it. I knew for a fact that under that suit he was built like a model right off the cover of a bodice ripper romance novel. Then there was his face. He looked like Howard Chandler Christy, at least like the early portrait Christy has sketched of himself – all angles and male perfection.
He sat in the seat across from me on the private jet we were taking from New York City, NY to Long Beach, CA. His German Shepard Mazie lay sprawled out at his feet. As usual he was reading something unexpected. Today it was Organic Chemistry for Dummies.
“Are you thinking of going back to school?” I asked.
Hanson looked up at me oddly as if I’d asked him something extremely unexpected. “No,” he said. “As you already know, I was an Art Major, studio art, specializing in both the abstract and portraiture, so I never had the opportunity to study organic chemistry. I find it interesting that the same tiny unseen bits form birds, and the same bits that form apples, and garden compost, and maybe even stardust. We’re all made of stardust. My goal is to understand how we can all be one with the universe. Would you like some coffee? I was thinking of making some. I take mine with coconut milk, but you already know that. Maybe a bit of nutmeg would do the trick for you?
“That would be lovely,” I said.
Today, aside from the crew, it was just the two of us. Three if you count Mazie. We were returning home from a long concert tour. Hansen reminded me that we could have avoided the large carbon footprint and flown commercial but with the recent death threats and my broken arm that maybe it was for the best. He suggested, seriously suggested that we could have taken a freighter through the Panama Canal and landed at the Long Beach port, or even taken the ship around the tip of South America and seen Patagonia. He was dead serious about it. No imagining or daydreaming. He’d given a long description of taking mules across the Isthmus of Panama during the Gold Rush days before the Panama Canal, but I’d fallen asleep.
A few days before our flight he’d saved my life when a long time stalker had tried to pull me into a car. Hansen was weird, but he was the best bodyguard a woman could ever have. I ended up with a broken arm, a black eye, and a ripped earlobe. Hansen had been grazed on his right arm by a bullet and required seven stitches. Of course, he had to explain the historical significance of the number seven, but not before he had my assistant make sure there would be a lavender eye compress waiting for me when I got out of surgery. 
There was something oddly comforting about Hansen’s odd behavior and the weird things he talked about. 
About the time we were over Nebraska, after coffee, he put away his chemistry book and started to fold complex origami animals. Today it was tiny African animals such as hippos and giraffes.
I watched him as he folded and spoke to me of tales of Victorian explorers, bee keeping, and his theories on why I’d had so many stalkers. Hanson said stalkers saw me as a dream girl, something come down from the far off planets, or fairy land, and if they could only catch me and make theirs that their lives would be perfect. The stalkers, he said, never thought of anyone else.  
Then he smiled, a beautiful sort of shy knowing smile, and said, “I might be odd, or so everyone thinks, but I care deeply for you. A stalker on the other hand only thinks of themselves. They are truly disturbed and mentally ill. Stalkers are narcissists at the core. They make me sick.”
“Remember when that woman stalked you?” I asked him.
“It was only because she saw me at the beach. She was attracted to my body.”
“And the fact that you have a cute dog, and that you protect me.”
“It made no sense at all, however…”
I didn’t let him finish, because I’d left my seat and kissed him. 
“Take your jacket off,” I said.
“Of course, of course,” he said. “What about your arm and my arm? I guess we’ll be brothers in arms, but more like brother and sister.”
“Not like brother and sister,” I said.
He sort of laughed. “No, of course not. What was I thinking?”

For the rest of the trip we remained undisturbed in the passenger cabin, just my odd bodyguard and me.
I’ve had people tell me Hansen is weird. Articles has been written about his odd behavior. Hansen drives me crazy sometimes, and I will never fully understand how his brain works, but he seems to understand me. He is one of the only people who truly understands me. 
A week later we walked to the dog beach from my house. Hansen was on the lookout for any signs of danger. I was laughing at Mazie as she ran into the waves with the other dogs, backing and having fun as only a dog on a beach can. I expected Hansen to start telling me odd facts about sand, or the cargo ships we could see offshore, or the history of the domestication of cats, Fortuny Gowns, or some other random fact.
Instead, he said, “I’m glad you’re ok.” 
“I’m glad you’re ok too Hansen,” I said.
A group of young college aged women came up to us and said they were fans. We talked, as Hansen kept watch. I knew he’d protect them as well as me. He’d done that before.
As we walked the beach, and watched the sun set over the Pacific Ocean I felt calm and protected. At the same time, I knew I’d do anything for Hansen. Even knowing how odd he could be. I guess I’m odd that way, but I could only hope that everyone has a little bit of odd in them. A girl can dream can’t she?
~ end







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