Just spent the last SEVERAL hours dealing with far more drama than I thought one ten-year old girl could drum up! But now, four parents, four girls, one secret pre-teen blog (that is actually funnier than mine) and three Excedrin with a Beck's beer chaser later, I am too freaked out to post anything original.
So, I thought it was about time I gave you a sneak peak into the next book. That's the cover, up there. So enjoy and let me know what you think. I'm going to bed. At 8pm.
Oh, and Hellion, there's a little something for you. Not quite all you wanted, but I'm working on that:
“I thoroughly disapprove of duels. If a man should challenge me, I would take him kindly and forgivingly by the hand and lead him to a quiet place and kill him.”
Okay. Stop me if you’ve heard this before. A pro football player walks into a bar. He falls to the floor clutching his head in pain and says, “I didn’t see that coming.” True story. Although maybe, just maybe it would be more accurate to say the iron rod walked into the football player, but I’m telling it my way.
I managed to kick him in the ribs as he tried to get up before one of his enormous hands (which, I assume, can only have made him good at his sport) grabbed my ankle and pulled me down to join him on the floor. It was at this point he seemed to gain the upper hand. The lumbering side-o-beef with legs climbed on top of me, bouncing my head off the cement twice. This did nothing for my self-esteem in the fight and probably wasn’t good for the “rugged attractiveness” women told me I had. Did you know you actually do see stars when your head is pummeled against something so unyielding as concrete? I know, it seems too cartoonish, but then, there it is.
I distracted my target by biting his forearm. I’m not fond of biting, but in this business, you have to think quickly. As he screamed, I punched him in the throat, causing him to crumple over like a stack of dimes. With Vic face down, I climbed on top and began my chokehold. Frankly, I was tired of using a chokehold. So over done anymore and not terribly elegant.
Vic struggled to free himself from my grip but unfortunately for him, he was losing the flow of both oxygen and blood to his brain and this weakened him. To my surprise, he got lucky and managed to flail out, catching me (quite to his surprise) in the gut with his elbow. I dropped him and he scrambled backwards until he hit the wall.
I walked toward him slowly (yes, for dramatic effect of course). The bastard wasn’t going anywhere. Stupid athlete. They always think they can handle themselves in a fight. The fact is that he is much larger than me. But it is also true that because of this fact, he’s never really had to fight a day in his whole life. Ironically, for his first actual battle, he was truly fighting for his life. A brilliant irony I thought would likely be wasted on him.
My fist hit him square in the face and he slid down the wall. Through the gurgling blood coursing from his nose into his mouth just seconds before I sent the broken shards of his nose piercing into his brain, he asked, “Who are you?”
Bombay. Coney Island Bombay. Actually, you can call me Cy. I only go by Coney when I’m working as a carney. Most of the time I prefer eliminating the middle three letters from my name. It’s kind of like what I really do, which is eliminating bad people.
That might sound a bit simplistic. Sorry about that. But there really is no point in analyzing it any further. I know this because I have a Ph.D. in philosophy and it has driven me to distraction most of my life. It is possible to over think things now and then. After all, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
This, however, isn’t one of those times. This time, the cigar is more than it seems. The rather ugly, large cigar of which I speak (who now lies lifeless on his basement floor) is a popular sports figure who runs an illegal white slave trade on the side. I’ve never been much of a sports fan. It seems wrong to me that professional athletes make millions of dollars when scientists trying to cure cancer and teachers educating children live from check to check. This gig was my own small contribution to evening things out. You know. The old yin-yang thing.
My Vic was a professional football player who invested in an Eastern European slaver. The slaver sent young women all over the world to work as prostitutes. I say “sent,” because I took care of that bastard a couple of days ago. The athlete was quick to join him. It wasn’t pretty. And honestly, I don’t feel too badly about that.
Most of the Bombays tend to maintain a low profile when it comes to work. Making murder look like an accident seems to make them feel better. I don’t really go that route. My preferred modus operandi is to actually make it appear to be foul play. And if you knew how bad these people were, you’d probably agree with me.
Two days later, the police and media seemed to think the Russian mafia was at work here and when the evidence I left behind revealed his crimes, Vic’s jersey and status were yanked from the Football Hall of Fame. My mother and the rest of the Bombay Council were pleased. Dad, an Aussie, had to call to remind me that technically, my Vic didn’t play real football. But that’s Pop, always splitting hairs.
My family history is interesting, in a bloodthirsty sort of way. The Bombays have cornered the market on international assassination for hire since ancient Greece. Every infant born into Bombay blood becomes a killer. We begin training at age five and progress from there. There is no way out. Once you are born a Bombay, your fate is sealed. No one rebels unless they have a suicide wish. Occasionally, one does. What can I say? Every family has at least one idiot. Doesn’t yours?
The job took place in Chicago and a few days later I was in Omaha. The alarm went off at six a.m. and I sat up on the edge of my bed, running my hands through my hair. You might think I’m a morning person. Nothing could be further from the truth. I’m actually more of a discipline guy. I get up to make myself functional. The exercise that follows is simply for masochistic purposes. I’ve been told I’m in excellent shape. It’s the discipline thing.
Wheek! Wheek! Came the brain-splitting cry of my guinea pig, Sartre. The minute I wake up, she reminds me that it’s time for breakfast. She’s affectionate and sweet, but I’ve always suspected that she considers me to be little more than a servant.
“Here you are,” I say as I place a small dish of strawberries, collard greens and baby carrots in front of her. Sartre grunts and begins her feast. I walk to the door of my trailer to get the paper.
I always park in Wal-Mart parking lots. They seem to have an RV cult following. Every one I’ve stayed at leaves a newspaper at my door every morning and has fresh coffee ready before the shoppers arrive. I like that. It’s a nice touch.
Opening the door revealed a bright, late August day in the Wal-Mart trailer and RV park. I scooped up the paper and nodded to the older woman standing in the parking lot, across from me. It was then I realized that I hadn’t put any clothes on. Huh. I shut the door behind me (but not before winking at the lady) and after tossing the paper on a chair, threw on some running clothes. Ten minutes later, I opened the door to find her and several other women standing in the same place. I don’t know what they hoped to see, but clearly my having clothes on had been a bit of a buzz kill. Just for fun I grinned and shouted “G’day ladies” with an Australian accent (something I inherited from Dad). That seemed to do the trick. I believe one of them actually fainted.
A good jog always helped clear my head. With my Bombay-appointed duty over for the year and the carnival season coming to an end, it was time to make my plans for fall. I was pretty sure it was time for a sabbatical. I needed a break from my day job.
Back at the trailer, there were only a few women standing by my door. I thought I heard one of them shout, “Are you going to take a shower?”
I couldn’t resist, so in my faux, clipped, Aussie accent said , “Yes. Can you do my back?”
Four hands shot up into the air. I smiled, “Sorry Luv. It’s just a trailer and you won’t all fit. Maybe tomorrow.”
Sartre squeaked indignantly and I scooped her up as I flipped on the television to listen while I threw breakfast together. Sartre wiggled in the crook of my left arm before sprawling out luxuriously. I found an orange and made some toast while the little pig ran up and down the table. There wasn’t much on in the news, as usual. I had a gig coming up in rural Nebraska. Just a county fair. Then the season would be over for me. Sartre nibbled on an orange peel, never taking her eyes off me. Huh. It’s sad when your own pet doesn’t entirely trust you. But that’s the nature of an assassin pet owner I guess. I gave her some of the fruit and she devoured it. An ad for Disney World came on and somehow managed to get my attention.
I clicked off the tv and pulled open my laptop. After a morning of research, I decided I knew what to do for my sabbatical. Disney World would be a welcome break. I had a few connections there – a couple of my carney brethren that had gone legit. I flipped open my cell phone and dialed. Within moments I had a job lined up from Fall to Spring. After that, who knows what I’d do? I was unattached. A loner, to be cliché - but it suited me.
Besides, I already have a career. I have travel, adventure, five middle-aged women in the parking lot who want to loofah my back and the love of a good, elitist rodent. What else could I possibly need?