Wednesday, January 09, 2008


Story time - Part 6

"Terry Harkness awoke from his slumber when he heard a slight sktch from the direction of the hotel room's closet. The former CIA operative with hair-trigger senses waited, as was his habit in these matters, a full five seconds; then he heard the slight noise again. Triangulating it with his keen ears, he deduced that it was being made by a shoe on the linoleum. Amateur, Harkness thought instinctively, you should've worn tennis sneakers. Automatically lunging for the gun he always kept nearby, a habit he'd acquired during his undercover days, Harkness spun and shot at the intruder while still trying to shake the cobwebs of slumber from his eyes.
"Unfortunately, the other man--he could see it was a man in the pale moonlight that filtered through the Venetian blinds of the window--was not as complete an amateur as he'd have preferred, and had begun moving evasively as soon as he'd realized that he'd blown his cover. Nonetheless, the bullet grazed his arm; but held in his other arm, Harkness beheld a rather nasty-looking handgun.
"'Who are you?' Harkness demanded.
"The reply consisted of a short, sustained burst of hot lead; catlike, Harkness avoided the bullets and, with one powerful somersault, came within five feet of the assailant. Unlike him, he would not miss from this range.
"'Drop the gun!' he commanded. The man complied.
"Harkness's mind was racing. 'Who are you?' he repeated. The man remained silent.
"'Who sent you?' he pressed. 'Talk now, scumbag, or I'll shoot!'
"His would-be killer grinned, revealing ugly, uneven teeth in a mouth exposed beneath the black stocking that covered the upper half of his face. 'You vun't dare kill me,' he said with a trace of a Hispanic accent. 'You vant answers? Drop your gun, too.'
"'Now, who said anything about killing you?' Harkness asked innocently.
"Then he shot the assailant in the kneecap.
"The man would have screamed with agony had Harkness not immediately leapt upon him and clamped his hands around his mouth, effectively muffling the perp. After all, he didn't want any valiant staff members barging in; this wasn't one of those cheap dives he had so often frequented--sometimes on business, sometimes not--in the old days.
"'They may be able to save your leg,' he snarled into the man's scrunched-up face. 'It depends on how fast you'll be able to get to a hospital and the quicker you answer me the faster you'll be able to reach one, comprender, amigo?' The man nodded, sweat pouring off him like a river. Harkness could smell his fear. 'And don't scream,' he ordered, letting go and backing off, gun once more levelled at the wounded man.
"'Sheet, man, you crazy!'
"'Crazy is as crazy does. Now, who sent you?'"
Have you made up your mind yet on this point?
Gimme a few minutes to think it over.
A few minutes?? You haven't published a continuation since September! Surely you should have some idea by now.
Right off the bat, I'm eliminating the Far East.
Because Far East = ninjas and then you'll never stop bugging me.
Can I help it if I like ninjas?
And if any Americans are involved it's not going to be solely them. I'm thinking something international--no, not including the Far East!--or one of the smaller European countries.
'Cause nobody'd suspect them, right?
Get outta town.
But my heart wouldn't be really into surrecting yet another global covert crime cartel. It's a hackneyed plot point that's been done to death in countless novels and...
Your choices are Near Joke and Hackneyed. Great. So pick one!
All right, I guess Hackneyed takes it.
Great. And why perchance can't it include the Far East?
Becase Far East = ninjas and--
Forget the damn ninjas! It's the 21st century, the age of cyberspace, and you can't not bring in the Japanese for terrorist tech support!
All right, mister, you've forced my hand... the novels set in a different time period.
I smell cop-out.
It's set in the '70s-'80s. Which means no necessary Japanese involvement--and also no having to invent world leaders or anybody of pretty major importance.
Yep. Definitely cop-out.
Shush. Now, where was I?
"'I dun't know, man!' whispered the Latino. 'Just a--ay!--a voice on the tellephone. He--aack!--wouldn't say a name. Sheet, you really effed up my leg. Hurts so bed.'"
The only thing here that "hurts so bed" is the dialogue.
Well, sorry, I guess we'll just have to scrap that Pulitzer acceptance speech I've been working on.
"'If you're in too much pain, that can easily be remedied', the impassive ex-spy responded, shifting his gun hand meaningfully.
"His would-be assailant quivered like a tub of Jello."
I hate Jello.
And I hate you constantly interrupting me. This is MetFanMac, signing off!

TODAY'S BOOK: "The Vampire Hound", by Jim Kraft ((c) 2001)


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