Tangible Schizophrenia


The Diddler

Author: Guede Mazaka
Rating: R
Pairing: El/Sands
Disclaimer: Never mine, always R. Rodriguez's, dammit.
Feedback: Yes, please. One-liners, paragraphs, whatever.
Notes: For ldhenson in return for the icon and for the lovely comments/fic. Excerpts from Edgar A. Poe's "Diddling," which should be required reading for all Sandsfic writers. //words// in Spanish.
Summary: The dissection of the manipulative methods of one Agent Sheldon Jeffrey Sands.


"Diddling, rightly considered, is a compound, of which the ingredients are minuteness, interest, perseverance, ingenuity, audacity, nonchalance, originality, and grin."

Sands had never believed in black or white, except as an old, primeval stage in film development. Because really, there were so much more interesting things to be found in color. Especially red. Red could be made to go with anything. And green, which made the world spin right round, baby. Put those two together and what did you get?

Shit brown, of course. Mexico's real national color. Well, he could work with that. With proper application of force, all sorts of little treasures could be stirred up out of the dungheap.


"Your diddler is minute. His operations are upon a small scale…Should he ever be tempted into magnificent speculation, he then, at once, loses his distinctive features, and becomes what we term 'financier.'"

A little accommodation here, a slight winking there, and soon Sands was sitting on a pretty comfortable living. Cartoons and grungy shorts in the morning, squealing grease-painted whores at night, and in the middle, pibil with tequila and lime at the next bar. Maybe some idle chat-up of the barside fool, and come daylight, there was a new body floating down the river. Not that anyone cared-though of course they noticed-and that, friends, was what Sands liked about this place.

Belini pretty much epitomized everything Sands hated about Mexico: cunning, dirty, always aiming for king rat instead of conqueror cat. But the man told a good tale. A very good tale. He spun wheels in Sands' rattletrap-got the steam going, you know.


"Your diddler is guided by self-interest. He scorns to diddle for the mere sake of the diddle."

Orders, smorders. Yeah, Sands would do it. But he'd damn well go his own way about things, and not the precise pencil-sucking, paperwork-fucking way of the same fuckwits that'd banished him down here.

As he'd not mentioned before, he didn't mind Mexico. But it was the principle of the thing. Him, Sheldon Jeffrey fucking Sands, getting exiled for being too good.

Too good. Well, to hell with that. It was time to get down to business and buy this country's feet right out from under her, then sell it back for a more-than-tidy profit. No more playing.

Okay. Maybe just a little. For old times' sake.


"Your diddler perseveres. He is not readily discouraged. Should even the banks break, he cares nothing about it."

Motherfucking goddamn dick-cunt. His eyes, for the love of little balls. Who did that? Huh? Who?

This was his game. It'd begun with him, and he sure as hell's cooks wasn't going to let some frigid bitch and her medieval-minded mummy-dad end it. Sands was going down. Downtown. And he was taking things back.


"Your diddler is ingenious. He has constructiveness large. He understands plot. He invents and circumvents."

Doctors and nurses, superiors and inferiors. Nothing but toys, in the end. Sands stuck around long enough to bounce a few plump breasts in the back corners, to get his cane and his sunglasses. Then he walked back onto his beat, searching for-

--ow. Fucking chair.

Searching for one particular trail. What, you thought he was done? Hell, no. He'd just started to learn the rules of the new game in town. And after all, Sands was never one to pass up a good spot of entertainment.


"Your diddler is audacious.-He is a bold man…He conquers all by assault."

Sands was hesitating. Sands never hesitated.

It was just a bar, this was just another chat, and the twit was just a mariachi. With yeah, big guns, but who didn't around here? Even the grannies talked bullet bores and sighting angles over their crushed veggies and half-plucked chickens.

Step. Step. Whack.


"Hello, El. How you doin'?"


"Your diddler is nonchalant. He is not at all nervous. He never had any nerves. He is never seduced into a flurry. He is never put out-unless put out of doors. He is cool-cool as a cucumber."

All right, there was a wall. A hard wall. Against which he was being repeatedly slammed. "Hey, you bast-"

//Shut up, shut up, shut up! I don't want to hear any more words from you!//

Christ, couldn't anyone be reasonable anymore? The art of conversation was clearly underappreciated by these fuckmooks. "I didn't say-ow!-anything yet. And-God, ow! Ow!-you…owe me."

And now he was in the dirt, holding raw-rasped elbows and knees. "Am I pointing a gun at you? No. Which in this country makes me…what, one in millions?"

A considering pause. //Talk.//


"Your diddler is original-consciously so. His thoughts are his own. He would scorn to employ those of another. A stale trick is an aversion."

Fifty-to-one El was straight. A hundred-to-one that he'd take a shotgun to any experimentation. Well, fine. Sands hadn't been just any agency whore, and now that he was officially 'out,' he had no intention of continuing in that vein.

But a few little distractions didn't mean anything. So he'd do those-just to throw off El's stride, give himself some kind of edge. Insincere flirting was Sands' house specialty, after all.


"Your diddler is impertinent. He swaggers…He sneers in your face. He treads on your corns. He eats your dinner, he drinks your wine, he borrows your money, he pulls your nose, he kicks your poodle, and he kisses your wife."

Maybe it was an anniversary. A birthday. A deathday. Some goddamn occasion of El's and Carolina's, so now the mariachi was feeling lonely. Yeah, that was it.

That was why El wasn't backing away. That was why Sands was-every single fucking time-shoved up into the wall, legs sprawling to either side. Hands trapped above his head and words caught in his throat because one very skilled, very forceful tongue was blocking the way. And, coincidentally, blocking the thoughts from reaching Sands' mind. Which was why he was still kissing back, and was moaning, and was goddamn jerking his hips up into El's other hand.


"Your true diddler winds up all with a grin. But this nobody sees but himself…He goes home. He locks his door. He divests himself of his clothes. He puts out his candle. He gets into bed. He places his head on the pillow. All this done, and your diddler grins…a diddle would be no diddle without a grin."

So Sands had managed to get himself half of their only bed. He was all curled up, sticky and sore and generally quite satisfied. Body-wise, anyway.

Something wasn't right. Strike that. Nothing was right. He didn't feel like smiling. In fact, he was worried, and getting more so by the minute. Because he wanted more of this particular blow, and El was the only supplier in town. And El probably had the same potential future as a mayfly, that one-day wonder of a pest. Which, logically, meant Sands wanted to keep the big dumb jangle-ass alive.

Thus following that Sands cared. Oh, shit.

Behind him, El shifted and draped an arm over Sands' waist, spooning up to him. //What?//

"You. Skullfucking lunatic. You're going to die."

//But not while you're watching//. Christ, but that was a cruel humor lacing the other man's voice-whoever said this guy was a hero was a complete and utter moron. //You can't help it, can you? Welcome to hell//, El whispered to the nape of Sands' neck, pressing a grin into the skin there.