Wednesday, September 03, 2008


Story time - Part 8

"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--"
I am so sick of this!
Huh? What are you doing popping up here? I haven't finished recopying the chapter so far.
That's right! Copying and recopying and bloody recopying! It's boring!
Shut up and let me finish.
"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!'"
Shut up.
"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."
Shut up.
"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."
I can't take it anymore!
I thought I told you to shut up!
But you don't even want to continue the stupid thing!
T-that's a lie!
Your nose is growin'.
Of course I want to continue the stup-- the story! Why wouldn't I?
I'll tell you why. You no longer care about it. How long has it been since the last update? Five months? Six?
Nine, actually.
Nu, so let it be nine. And before that? 'Bout once every three.
Gosh, it has been a while.
Listen, man, you've moved on. You're doing bigger and better stuff. The bait 'n' switch stuff? Writing posts with your fists? Intrawebal Nobody Cares Day? That's your gig now.
I suppose you could be right.
Closest I'll ever get to a ringing commendation from you, then.
But that doesn't mean I can't complete this recopy!
"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?'
"'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.'"
He was right, you know.
Who, Khaaan?
Yeah. No real Latino talks that way.
It's phonetic.
Ohh, phonetic. Now I see.
Sarcasm is uncalled-for, mister.
At least get rid of the Transylvanian "phonetics", then.
If it will shut you up, gladly.
"'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.
"'All right, all right! I trace de call. It come from fancy-shmancy hotel uptown, de Ritz. Don' shoot, pliss, I dunno what room! Got paid half up front, half after I bump choo off.'
"Harkness went to the door an glanced up an down the hallway. Empty. Perfect. 'HELP! HELP!' he bellowed in his celebrated foghorn voice. 'There's an injured man in room 471! HELP!'
"Confused voices started up in thew other rooms immediately. He slammed the door and raced for the window. Then he paused. 'How much they pay you?'
"'Huh? Forty-four t'ousand. In halves. Why?'
"'Just checking my price tag.'
"'Where you goin'?'
"'Same way you got in, amigo. Ciao!'"
Well, there you have it, then. Recopy's finished.
All right! All right! You got me! I no longer give a darn about Terry Harkness and his mysterious mission! I don't care!
Cheer up. We can still make a mountain out of this moles***.
Hang on, I'm thinkin'... I've got it!
Spill it.
This is no longer a novel written in installments! This is... The complete first chapter of an awesomely epic 1,000-page manuscript!
...Keep talkin'.
Well, this manuscript, see, it has unfortunately been mysteriously lost forever, and thus no one will ever be able to read it.
You know, that just might work.
You said it! So, until next time (which will be never), this is MetFanMac--
And MetFanMac--
Signing off!

TODAY'S BOOK: "The Great Gilly Hopkins", by Katherine Paterson ((c) 1977)


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