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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.