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Thursday, August 18, 2011


There's always so much blood. Exiting the basement Carl headed up the stairs. He needed a place to hide out for a while and Rico's wife (rest his soul) was kind enough to offer. He would clean up the mess in the basement later. Right now, he needed to wash up and change his clothes. He got the information he needed out of his contact but it wasn't easy. Not that he was complaining. If things were easy, he would be dead ten times over. His hand absently rubbed his chest before realizing what he was doing. Damn pain was back. Having an objective helped relieve the tightness, but whenever Carl had a minute to think - to feel... Hell, you don't have time for this, Carl.

Entering his room, he slammed the door closed behind him. He needed to keep his mind focused. He one step closer to his goal. One step closer to Esmeralda.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Cold Turkey

He missed his Cairo deadline. Not a big deal, just didn't get paid. His two week desert detour waylaid his plans. Carl got his strength back but there was a deep ache in the middle of my chest. If he had anything left of his heart, he’d blame that. He was sure it would go away soon. Being back in the Tonga Islands had put him in touch with his contact for a new job. Carl was on his way to meet with him now. Unfortunately for him, Carl feel like being difficult.

A yellow cab dropped him off in the old industrial part of town. Most factories were now abandoned or run down. Looking across the street Carl saw a man leaning against a white van. His smile felt fake and a little feral as he made his way toward the man. At his approach he began to hear the light coo'ing coming from the van.
Damn, he was gonna do something stupid, he could feel it. Carl felt his body tense up, making his motions jerky when he reached for the clip board stretched out for him. Signing his name 'Fuck You', Carl quickly stabbed the pen into the guy's left thigh. The guy’s scream snapped the tenuous hold Carl had on his emotions. Pain exploded over his knuckles as the guy’s lifeless body hit the ground. Son of a bitch that hurt. Shaking out his hand Carl looked over the guy at my feet. Out cold.

The smell hit me in the face as soon as he opened the back of the van. Damn doves. Carl hoped sleeping beauty enjoyed the ride. Tossing him without a care, his body smashed several dove crates. Birds and feathers poured out the back. Tossing the clipboard on the guy's chest, Carl closed the doors. It was time to go someplace nice and quiet. This guy was gonna spill all his secrets before Carl was done with him.

In the game of connect-the-dots, you gotta start somewhere.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

How Hot Do You Like It?

"Who is Esmeralda?"

The question so innocently asked brought back memories of that betraying smile. "My dead wife." Carl’s voice, roughened from lack of use, sounded more gruff that he mean it to. Her young face creased in a frown. She told him her name was Akila. She and her family were traveling to Cairo and came across his corpse. Apparently Akila thought differently. She convinced her family to take Carl with them and had been tending to him since.

"You say her name often, in sleep. When did she die?"

It was too bad Akila had learned to speak English. He lucked out there. The only one in her family, which apparently was a point of pride for her. Childhood arrogance made him sick.

"Two years ago." Short answer. Hopefully that would end it--
"You talk about her as if she is alive. You say, 'I will get the answers I need from you.' and 'I will find you.'."

If he had his strength back, Carl would walk out of here. If the world wasn't so fucked up, he would laugh at his situation along the way. A kid, interrogating him. Maybe if he closed his eyes she would go away.
Fat chance.

"You are not sleeping, Mr. Carl."

He wished he was. But there was too much that needed to be done. Too many questions that need answering. He was gonna find Esmeralda. And when he did, he was gonna rip those pretty wings of hers off and make sure she could never fly back to heaven.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Am I Awake or Still Dreaming?

Something stinks... and damn, I think it's me.

Carl was laying on something hard and his eyes just didn’t want to open. Either that or they were open and he was dead. Shit, if he were dead it wouldn't feel like a two-ton flying elephant just crash landed on his head.

"You're awake?"

Was he? Hell if he knew, but that voice... It sounded familiar. Carl tried to open his eyes again and grunted in pain. A bowl was pressed against his lips and he instinctively opened his mouth. Cool liquid ran down his throat. More. He wanted more. His eyes strained to open as his salvation was taken from him.

"I will give you more later. Rest now."

Finally he managed to get his eyes open but the image was blurred. Shadows and light. Movement to his left had Carl turning his head only to have pain sear through his brain. He must have made an audible protest because that familiar voice came back.
"Do not move. Rest now." Her irritation clear.

A small image floated in front of him. Dark hair and chocolate eyes on a young girl's face. Carl don't know her. He wanted to ask questions. Find out who she was and where he was but he could feel his eyes growing heavy. Her last command to rest was whispered and distant as sleep took him.

Friday, August 12, 2011


Esmeralda paced her hotel room like a caged tiger. It was happening again. Everything had come full circle and she was hurting him all over again. Damn it.
She could feel the world pressing down on her. The weight on her back threatening to crush her.

She didn’t say goodbye to him when he was dumped in the desert. Didn’t shed a tear. It would not be the last time she saw him. There was no doubting that. She just had to make it look convincing to the others. Just make it look like she wanted some sort of revenge on him rather than just killing him, outright.

She would keep him safe. That’s what she did two years ago and that’s what she would continue to do.

Even if it cost her her life.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Sun and Sand

Looking out across the vast expanse of sand and heat, Carl felt sick. His bruised and battered body couldn’t take much more of this. When he arrived in Cairo last night he expected trouble. He expected those bastards to be waiting for him at his hotel. He expected to have to fight his way out; spraying blood and shell casings along the way. But what he never expected was to see his dead wife sitting on his bed without a care in the world. Smiling up at him as Carl entered, he never saw the fist that was thrown. Never even tasted his own blood as his lip split or felt the boot kick that knocked the wind out of him. All sensations were trained onto one target. Esmeralda. Her smiling face was the last thing he saw before the butt of a gun knocked him into sweet oblivion.

His footsteps faltered in the sand as the image came back to him again. That smile. The dimple on her left cheek in harsh contrast to the dangerous glint in her eyes. And there's the grand mystery of it all. Who was that woman Carl had mourned for two years?

Swallowing had become a chore as his feet moved automatically to carry him across the sand. Tying his shirt around his head provided small relief from the sun but nothing could relieve the deep ache in his soul. Those bastards left him in the middle of the desert with nothing but the clothes on his back. He’d been walking for two days. Exhaustion pulling at him from all directions. He wouldn’t last much longer.

Her smile was the last thing he saw as the ground rushed toward his face. The sweet embrace of darkness welcomed Carl home...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Good Night in Hell

Sometimes the night can play tricks on the senses. You lie awake in bed and see shadows creeping across the balcony outside. You hear the snick of a lock being picked with quick efficiency. You smell the stink of hot sweaty bodies on the breeze created from an opening door. If you close your eyes, you can almost feel the sweet caress of a bullet gliding across your cheek - and the hot sting of fire blooming in it wake. It's a good thing the night swallows the screams of pain that erupt, like a lovers kiss in the heat of ecstasy.

Reality set in when Carl realized that his arm had already grabbed the gun under his pillow. Firing in quick repetitions, he was vaguely aware that the screams were not his own. The weeping coming from the corner of the room was not his inner child crying to be heard in a world without ears. The blood splattered on his bed was not his life spilling forth in a gruesome effigy.

They were all dead. Why hadn’t the weeping stopped?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Peruvian Heat

He didn’t quite understand it. How did he go from being a lowly smuggler to the top of some hit list? Two weeks after his friends death and his kidnapping, he found himself taking international jobs just to avoid getting killed. Though, it didn’t seem to matter where he went, death followed him around like a bitch in heat. He thought the change of scenery would do him some good and help lose his tail. That’s the only reason why he took this job in Peru.

However, getting doves to clear through customs was like getting a hard-on while your arm was being chewed off by a bear. Being stuck at the airport in Peru for 2 days had mired Carl’s sense of adventure. The lukewarm coffee in his hand tasted like an ashtray and his translator kept pointing and laughing at those damned doves like they were clowns at a circus. Carl reached his breaking point the longer he sat there listening to the gentle coo'ing and high pitched cackle coming from the corner. Realizing the Styrofoam cup had had the life choked out of it, he released his iron grip. With coffee pooling on the floor, Carl allowed the cup to fall to the ground in a muted splash. Closing his eyes briefly he took a deep breath. What he wouldn’t give for a bottle of beer and a lap dance. Getting to his feet he made his way to the corner where his translator and those filthy birds awaited. Having seen his approach, the translator attempted to cut off Carl’s progress.
"Disculpe, señor but your papers are still being verified and..."
Grabbing the front of his shirt, Carl forcibly made him address the workers at the counter.
"Every minute those doves are not on that truck, I’m gonna start knocking teeth out." Shaking the translator he instructed him to repeat his threat to the individuals behind the counter. Turning the translator's attention back to him, Carl continued.
"And when you run out of teeth, I’m gonna start breaking some bones."
Trembling in Carls grasp, he relayed the message while apparently adding some of his own persuasation. He must have said the magic words because the agents busily shuffled papers around and headed over to one of the back rooms. Releasing the translator, Carl relaxed against the counter but kept his eyes firmly fixed on Señor Dickhead.
"Don't move." He was sure the translator’s quick steps back were only a vain attempt to put some breathing room between Carl and himself, but Carl was done screwing around with this jerk.

Fifteen minutes later he heard the sound of the loading doors being opened while several individuals were rushing around grabbing dove crates. Carl felt no satisfaction. His life, as he made it, left a bad taste in his mouth. Shoving his translator ahead of him, they proceeded to the loading doors and his rental truck.
"You're coming with me." Carl announced, surprising the translator and following it up with another shove. Carl signed for his cargo while his companion climbed into the passenger seat. Climbing in, Carl started the engine. Rapid fire shots exploded the passenger side window peppering Carl with glass and blood. His peripheral told him that the lifeless body slumping forward would be no more use to him. Looks like I'm on my own. Again. Life was forever handing him lemons. It was time to make some lemon-aide. Maybe there was one last thing this guy could do, after all. Strapping several grenades to his dead friend, he reached across and opened the passenger side door. Judging the distance from the approaching vehicles, Carl started pulling pins before finally kicking the lifeless body out to the street. Carl’s low chuckle sounded forced even to his own ears. These bastards just didn’t give up. Seconds later a fiery explosion made him swerve sharply in an attempt to control the vehicle. Thinking briefly of the translator he nodded his head to the fire still raging behind him.
"He was a nice guy."

Nice guys always end up dead.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Smoke House

Nothing ever seemed to go as planned. Sitting in a chair with his hands tied behind his back, Carl reflected on the night. It started out well enough. With the job behind him and a wad of cash in his pocket, he entered the first bar he could find. Drank just enough to chase away the memories of another death on his conscience and then he hit the dance floor. That’s where the night took a turn for the worse. Her name was Gwen and she had a head full of beads and legs as black as midnight dreams. Those legs turned out to be the stuff of nightmares. Only, he didn’t find that out until she closed the hotel door and turned the lights out on him. He was now at the mercy of one very angry woman.
"You stink like bird shit!"
"I bet you have feathers in your pants!"
"So tell me, who did you sleep with to get those birds?"
"Markita! Enough. We don't want him to pass out before we get the answers we need." From the sound of it, they both had Russian accents. This new voice was rough and deep. He must be the boss, but Carl had no idea what answers he could provide.
"Please, Frank. He hasn't even pissed himself yet."
As Markita went to lean against the wall with her arms folded over her breasts in a pout, Frank's meaty face blocked out the only light in the room.
"Now tell me, little mouse. Who are these wealthy industrialists you provide your stinkin' birds to?"
Carl had no answer to that. He only dealt with the delivery man who contacted him and paid him. If he could not provide the answers Frank wanted, would he just kill him? He didn’t want to find out. Coming up with some bullshit to stall for time, Carl never even got the words out.
"Enough of this, Frank! Let's just cut off his balls!" Markita had moved away from the wall and was making a cupping gesture with her right hand. This lady meant business.
Turning around to face Markita, Frank took her in his arms for an impassioned kiss. Perfect. It was just the distraction Carl needed. He had been working at the binding on his hands ever since he awoke. Slipping them off his wrists, he quickly stood and grabbed the back of his chair on the way up. The satisfying crack of broken wood reverberated through the room as Frank collapsed in a heap taking Markita with him. Moving with purpose, Carl punched her in the face before she could unleash what he was sure would be a blood curdling scream. Glancing around he found a table with all the supplies he would need.
Even some he didn’t. The corner of his mouth lifted as his eyes landed on some smokes. Just what I need.
Lighting a cigarette, he headed out the door to bright sunshine and quiet. They had kept him in a lone shack in a deserted part of town. Perfect. No one would see a damn thing. Turning inside the open door, Carl tossed his still lit match onto the makeshift kindling he created. Within moments the entire building was in flames and Carl was walking away.

He’d have to watch who he chose to dance with next time.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Friendly Fire

Tonga Islands
August 19th, 2003

He was being followed. As sure as he knew his name was Carl Weevilberry, he knew he was being followed. The sweat running down his back told him it was too damn hot to be driving a van with no air conditioning. All that coo'ing coming from the back was like someone stuffed a raccoon in a sack and then put it over his head. Carl suppressed a shudder. After three years of doing the same job you would think he’d get used to it. Nope. He would never get used to those stinking, shitting birds. Couldn't even figure out why he bothered anymore. His hands were sweaty, his bowels clenching -- I shouldn't have stopped for that meat stick -- and those damned doves were driving him crazy. The dove smuggling business was not as glamorous as it sounded. Enough reflecting on bad life choices. Right now, he had to lose his tail, but with his "precious" cargo in the back he couldn't take any unnecessary risks. Looks like he’d be calling in a favor. Two years in the Tonga Islands had given him plenty of time to make a few friends. Lately, though, friends seemed to be in low supply, but there was still one man he could count on. Rico, his favorite rug dealer, owed him a favor. Time to see if he was willing to cough it up.
ring, ring
"Pick up the phone Rico."
ring, ring
"Yeah, this is Rico."
"Rico, it's Carl. I need a favor and I'm cashin' in"
"God damn Carl, you know I don't like it when you call me from the job. Those doves bring back... bad memories.” Carl didn’t ask what those memories were nor did he want to know. Some things a man had to deal with alone.
"Sorry Rico, it can't be helped. I'm being followed and I need you to lose them for me."
"Damnit Carl! That bloody smuggling job of yours is going to get you killed one of these days! You know I wouldn't survive anything happening to you."
"Don't worry about me, man. This feather in my hat isn’t just for bangin' chicks." There was no feather and no hat but Rico loved that expression. Right now, Carl needed Rico on his side.
"Yeah yeah, I know. I'll think of something. Just tell me where you are and I'll make it happen."

Fifteen minutes later Carl saw a familiar Red SUV barreling down the road in the opposite direction. Rico. Friends like that were hard to find. It’s a good thing Carl didn’t have to look any further than a phone call. Suddenly Rico’s vehicle picked up speed. He must have recognized Carl’s van because he veered dangerously close to the median. At that speed, Rico’s SUV was past him in seconds, leaving Carl to follow his progress in the rear view mirror. Tires screeched, metal crunched and a huge fireball plumed skyward. Carl could feel the blast of heat pour in the open window. Rico just took out his tail. That glorious bastard. Carl hoped Rico had made his peace with God, because the devil sure as shit didn’t need any more rug dealers. As Carl saluted the flaming wreckage that used to be his friend, he stepped on the accelerator to make good use of Rico’s sacrifice.
Just another day in the life of “bad luck” Carl. Everyone would be better off if they never knew him. All he needed to do now was deliver these doves, get paid and drink himself into the nearest pair of legs he could find.

Yeah, that sounded like a damn fine idea.

Monday, February 7, 2011

A New Start

(I'm redoing my Dove Smuggler series. Editing/adding/deleting I hope you like it!)


New Jersey
April 24th, 2000

He couldn’t take his eyes off her. That dress was made to tease a man. Specifically him. Whether by intent or not, he took it personally. He couldn’t look away, afraid he’d miss something. The sway of her hips, the glide of cotton against her legs. The low dip of material over her chest. Damn. He felt like a voyeur. And the shit of it was, he wasn’t even doing anything wrong. It was just the woman herself. Made him feel like a peeping tom.
And then she smiled.
The sun was shining but until that moment he never felt the warmth on his skin. He breathed deep and took in a lung full of air that seemed all the sweeter.
There was something wrong with him.
Something that had nothing to do with physical illness and everything to do with the woman currently chatting with a merchant across the street. Sitting outside this cafe had been his escape from the world. His days off were so rare lately that he came here only to relax. Let time stop for an hour or two. He had ordered a cup of coffee that was getting cold. He apparently didn’t give a damn because he was already reaching for his wallet, pulling out a twenty and laying it under his cup. Only, when he looked back across the street there was no woman there. No angel in floral cotton tempting him. Delusion? Imagination?
He looked up and down the street with his hope swirling down the drain. Figures, Carl. The first beautiful thing you find and you lose her. Typical.
The coffee had cooled enough that he scowled into his cup, mentally berating himself for the fool that he was.
“Excuse me, is this seat taken?”
Even without turning his head, he knew it was the woman from across the street. The angel who was meant to save him; rescue him from his own hell.

Her voice beckoned him home.