The Arabian's Night: Part 2 (Sunset Falls #3)

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01/02/14Sunset Falls #3The Arabian's Night: Part 2(Blog) (Forum)Disclaimer
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T+Moderate violence and property damageSunset Falls #2

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Part 2

Like some sort of fantastic folklore parade came Trolls, Elves, Vampires, Werewolves, Witches and their black cats. A horde of Pixies, glowing like will-o’-the-wisps, and Imps; hopping, prancing, cackling, and swatting at the little sprites like they were trying to catch fireflies. Then came a monstrous Black Dragon, almost as huge as the jinni, with a pair of huge red glowing eyes. Halfway out of the fog, it let out a roar to rival the deafening thunder, and windows all along Main Street shattered and exploded from their frames. That’s when people started running.

As if the Dragon had bellowed a mating call, the full Sunset Falls Police Department came blaring down Main Street, including motorcycle cops in riot gear, two S.W.A.T. trucks, and a tank (they bought that after the T-Rex). Behind them came the police cars, stretching as far as you could see down Main Street; it looked like the townspeople were in a rush to find the last one. No sooner had they all screeched to a halt, than the tank fired, and caught the Dragon square in the chest.

The Dragon’s death roar made you feel almost sorry for it, but it shattered any remaining windows for two blocks in any direction. When it fell, it staggered against a five-story apartment building, which collapsed. Then, it fell right in the middle of the street, and on through, lodging in the subway system, just in time to collide with the seven fifteen. It would take two weeks to clear the rubble, after this was all through.

The Dragon falling caused even the procession of Imagined Nationals to scatter out of the street. The jinni, however, was not deterred. The dying Dragon had caught the jinni’s attention, and just as more lightning started to snake around its body, a S.W.A.T. man lined up his crosshairs on the ruby in the Arabian’s turban, and fired off a shot. The Arabian did a back flip, landing on his face. Before anyone could wonder what happened, a black energy flowed from under the Arabian’s head, and then shrouded him like a cocoon. As yellow lightning started to crackle around the cocoon, the jinni breathed, “No!” Even its whisper echoed like a distant thunder, warning of the storm about to rage.

The lightning was slow at first, rippling here and there across the face of the cocoon. Then, it started to pick up speed, shooting around one way, and then back the other. It got faster and faster, until the cocoon looked like it was completely made up of the yellow lightning, and then, all at once, it exploded upwards, widening as it went. Instead of uncurling, as the first jinni had done, this one’s features shot straight up out of the lightning. Faster than can be described, the torso, head, arms, and then hands grew out of the long, tapering bolt of lightning. It must have been three times the size of the first jinni, and other than the lightning, this new jinni looked just like the Arabian. If the first jinni sounded like the wrath of God, then this one sounded like God’s Dad, if He’d had one. “The Guardian of The Crimson Tear has fallen! After seven thousand years, I am free at long last!”

Part 3

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Please let me know what you think, and thanks! -cb
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The Arabian's Night: Part 1 (Sunset Falls #2)

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01/02/14Sunset Falls #2The Arabian's Night: Part 1(Blog) (Forum)Disclaimer
RatingRating ExplanationGet Caught Up
T+Moderate violence and property damageSunset Falls #1

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Part 1

Sunset Falls is a small town with its western edge brushing the Bermuda Triangle. That same end is also shrouded in a constant fog, and every night, something strange comes out of it. Usually, it’s a nuisance. Sunset has had everything from a T-Rex to an army of invading zombies come out of there. One night, they were swamped by a plague of rats, and they were stuck with them until the next night, when the Pied Piper walked out of the mist, playing the eeriest and most beautiful tune you’d ever care to hear. He led the rats out of town, just as you’d expect, disappearing inside the Triangle. You never know who or what is going to walk out of that fog, but one thing is certain: the Arabian was rare.

Just like everything else that comes out of the Triangle, the Arabian walked into the west end of town just as the sun was setting. When he walked out of the mist, he was looking around and gently rubbing an oversized ring that he wore on his right hand. It had a large topaz in the middle of a ring of small rubies, and it was all set in gold. His turban was black with a large oval shaped ruby in the middle. His pants, shirt, wristbands, and boots were all black, trimmed in red, and closefitting. It was like he was straight out of Aladdin. A scene this calm was very rare. It didn’t last.

After he had looked around him, the Arabian threw both fists into the air and yelled, “Long live the Imagined Nation!”

As he yelled, a reddish-orange energy seeped out of his ring. It wound around him once, widening as it went, and growing up as it widened. As it reached about fifteen feet over his head, it began to take on features. The top of a head appeared, then shoulders, then back muscles, then arms. As it continued to grow, uncurling from its fetal position like the bloom of some fiery flower, it threw it’s hands in the air, just as the Arabian had done, rolled its head back to see the sky, and in a voice like the wrath of God, repeated, “Long live the Imagined Nation!”

As it shouted, a bluish-white lightning rolled around its body, popping and crackling its way up the entire length of the creature, and finally jumping from its fingertips. As the lightning lit the sky, a rumbling thunder shook the sleepy town, and grew louder and louder, as dark black clouds rolled in from the Triangle. All anyone could think was, “God, I hope he’s on his third wish.”

The residents of the Falls have a saying: “Sunset’s not the only thing that falls around here,” because you don’t live there without seeing some property damage. When the jinni appeared, people started hitting the streets. You’d think that it would have people terrified, but the people of the Falls are a pretty jaded bunch. They’ve practically seen anything you could think of. Most people just stood in the street outside of their apartment buildings to watch. The atmosphere was kind of like a block party in a hurricane.

As people started asking what the Imagined Nation was, they saw their answer. Everyone in the street parted to the sidewalks, because out of the perpetual shroud of fog came every creature you can imagine, marching down Main Street.

Part 2

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Please let me know what you think, and thanks! -cb
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The Arabian's Night: Prologue (Sunset Falls #1)

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T+Moderate violence and property damage

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Prologue

A young priest knelt before the altar, silently praying beneath the glow of several rows of candles. Worn around the edges, a Bible lay open before him, but at the moment, his eyes seemed to be focused on the large wood and brass cross in front of him. His hands clasped in front of his face, he absentmindedly bit on one of his thumbnails, as he contemplated his prayers. As he reached the end of his prayers, he made the sign of the cross as he stood up. Closing his Bible and picking it up, he walked quietly across the large sanctuary, still biting his thumbnail.

Entering a door on one side of the sanctuary, he proceeded down a short hallway. Its low ceiling and narrow passage made his boxer’s build seem even larger than it was, and also served to make him feel a little claustrophobic. Fortunately, that led out into a foyer the size of a large living room, and past a small office that looked out on it. As he got to the office, he stuck his head inside, and knocking lightly on the doorframe, he said, “Father Canon, would you please inform me when His Grace arrives? I’ll be doing some research in the Archives. You can buzz me there.”

Father Canon was of slighter build, so the small office seemed to fit him well. He looked up from his desk, and the light glancing off of his round spectacles seemed to detract from his already slight smile. “Of course, Father Thyme.” He looked back to his desk, made a note on a Post-It, and stuck it to his phone.

“Thank you,” replied Father Thyme. As he continued through the foyer and down the next hallway to the Archives, he smiled to himself. Father Canon was a good man, and even younger than he was, but he was a man of few words. It made him hard to figure out. Father Thyme shook his head and laughed lightly as he entered the Archives. Something for another time.

He set down his Bible and took a hardbound journal off of a shelf above a desk. Laying it open to a blank page, he tapped the fingers of one hand on the blank pages, while momentarily biting the index fingernail of the other. Pacing the room for a few moments, he walked back over to the desk, looked at the blank pages, and then closed his eyes. He said, “Father, I need to know about a place called Sunset Falls.” As he said that, an oval of golden light, surrounded by a greenish gold aura, appeared in the air behind him, growing as large as a doorway. Without saying a word, he turned and walked through the portal, and then back out again. Looking at the blank pages once again, he said, “Thank You, Father,” and sat down and started writing.

Part 1

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Please let me know what you think, and thanks! -cb
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Who Is Poker Face? (Larsen #5)

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MViolence.Larsen #4

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Back at the Police Department…

“Poker Face! Who the hell is Poker Face?” yelled the police chief.

One of the rookies spoke up. “Well, apparently Chief, he’s the new mob boss in town. He...”

The Chief turned on the rookie, who had been standing nearby, and leaned close to his face. “Oh, really? Are you sure about that, Muldoon? ‘The new mob boss?’ Gee, I’m so happy that you cleared that up for me. The bulletholes in the back of these victims’ heads had me thinking he was a circus clown!” The Chief slammed down the photos of the victims he had been waving around when he was yelling at Muldoon. “Now! What I want to know is who Poker Face is, people! I seriously doubt that his mother gave him that name at birth. If we don’t find this guy soon, he’s going to tear this town apart, looking for that ding dang vigilante, ‘The Face!’ These two have got some sort of war going on, and I want it stopped!

The Chief punctuated his sentence by slamming his fist down on the desk again. A full coffee mug jumped off the desk, shattering on the floor, sending coffee in all directions, and a spoon skittering across the floor. The room was totally silent, and everyone seemed to be holding their breath, looking wide-eyed at the Chief, waiting to see if he was going to blow up again. He stared at the broken mug for just a minute, and picked up a napkin off the desk. He picked up his foot, and laughed to himself, as he started wiping coffee off of his shoe. Nobody moved, staring in disbelief, wondering that the Chief was laughing, and not turning beat red in anger. Suddenly, the Chief’s head jerked up, and he barked, “What the hell is everyone staring at? Didn’t I just give everyone a job to do? So hot dammit! Hop to it, people!” He took three strides towards his office, spun on his toe, and thrusting a stubby finger back in the direction of the desk he’d been standing at, he hollered, “Muldoon! Get that mess cleaned up!”

“Y-yes sir, Chief!” Muldoon jumped into action, kicking a roller chair as he half ran around the desk, and knocking over a cup of pencils, as he reached out to steady himself.

The Chief scowled at Muldoon, and spun on the balls of his feet, striding back to his office in a huff. As he went through the doorway to his office, he grabbed the doorknob, and flung it behind him. Just before it shut, his hand snapped out, and caught the edge of the door. Flinging it open again, he pointed back into the room, at no one in particular, and yelled, “And another thing: From now on... I don’t wanna see anything but paper cups in here!” With that, he slammed the door, and let down the venetian blind over his door. The office was suddenly abuzz, and everyone went back to work.

To be continued.

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Please let me know what you think, and thanks! -cb
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The Face (Larsen #4)

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MViolence.Larsen #3

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Meanwhile, high above the city...

The punk was terrified. “Y-y-you can’t do this, man! You can’t! You’ve got to turn me in! All the goodguys do that!”

Though he was apparently faceless, with no discernible eyes, mouth, or open nostrils, the cloaked figure spoke. “Who says I’m one of the goodguys, Buster?” He sounded cool. Not heartless-cool, but popular-cool, like a radio DJ that knows all the right things to say.

“H-h-how d-do you kn-know m-m-m-my n-n-name?” Buster stammered.

“It’s painted across the back of your jacket, punk. Not the brightest move for a mugger. Afraid that little old lady would forget your ugly face, Buster?”

Buster made a weak attempt at denial. “I was just gonna help her across the street, man! I swear!”

“At least halfway, anyway. Right?”

Buster looked back over his shoulder. “Oh God. Oh God, please. Please, man! Please don’t drop me!”

The faceless figure leaned over the ledge of the building, apparently looking down. “What’s the matter, Buster? Don’t you think the fire department will get here in time to catch you?”

“H-h-hey! Th-this isn’t funny, man! Let me down!”

“Are you sure about that, Buster?”

Buster realized what the faceless man meant, and screamed. “No! No! That’s not what I meant! That’s not what I meant! Pleaseohpleaseohpleaseohplease! I swear, I’ll never touch another little old lady! IswearIswearIswearIswear!”

“See, Buster? I knew you could overcome that stuttering problem, with the right motivation. Now get this, punk: I ever catch you so much as kicking a dog on my streets again, I’ll make sure you pay. Do we understand each other?”

Buster looked back over his shoulder, struggling in the ropes he’d been tied with, trying to slowly pull himself in with the one that was holding him suspended halfway off the ledge. “Yes! Yes! We understand each other! We understand each other! Yes! Yesohyesohyes...”

“Good.” The faceless man turned to leave.

“Hey! Wait a minute! Aren’t you going to pull me back in? You just can’t leave me here like this!” Buster looked back over his shoulder. Morning rush hour was just beginning.

“Don’t worry, Buster. At this time of morning, someone will see you from the offices across the street soon. They’ll call someone to come get you. In the meantime, why don’t you hang out here, and think about what I told you?” The faceless man disappeared into the shadows of the roof.

Buster started trying to pull himself in, peering frantically into the shadows. “Hey! Hey! That’s not funny man! Pull me back in! Hey!”

The voice of the faceless man called from the shadows, “Buster.”

Buster stopped struggling, straining his neck forward, looking wide-eyed and hopefull into the darkness. “Yeah?”

“Don’t struggle against the rope so much. I’m not sure how old it is.”

Buster's lips puckered, and he froze perfectly still, his neck still craned forward, and still wide-eyed. His eyes flicked down at the rope, and the sweat started running off his forehead in dime sized droplets. He stood like that for another twenty-five minutes, feet poised on the edge of the ledge, and leaning outwards, before the fire department got him down. The police found a note on the other end of the rope that read:

Check his pockets. –The Face

Buster was arrested for possession of a concealed weapon and two stolen wallets. He swore he was trying to return them to the old ladies they belonged to.

Back at the Police Department…

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Please let me know what you think, and thanks! -cb
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And Now For the News (Larsen #3)

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12/30/13Larsen #3And Now For the News(Blog) (Forum)Disclaimer
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MViolence.Larsen #2

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Two years ago...

A lone figure stands in front of an appliance store, watching a TV in the window.

“Welcome to the Larsen Channel Seven News. I’m your anchor, Phillip Thyme...”

“...I’m your co-anchor, Paige Webb...”

“...I’m Rudy Day, with the weather...”

“...And I’m Duncan Shot, with sports.”

“Our top story, today: The Gaslight City has been in a state of war for the last six weeks,” began the anchor. “The death of Larsen’s reputed top mobster, Lowell Mohne, also known as ‘Big Wheel,’ has created a power vaccuum that has underlings and rivals vying and dying, in an insane attempt to grab the reigns of power in this gang infested city.

“The list of known mobsters fighting it out for control of the city are: the Blowfish, Paleface, Poker Face, Rubberhead, and even the Recluse – a mob boss who some claim is only an unsubstantiated myth. Several public figures, believed by many to have ties to Larsen’s organized crime families, have also been rumored to be involved in attempts to gain control of the The Gaslight underworld. Chief among them are noted philanthropist Benny Factor, and labor union boss Fortunato Amontillado.

“Adding to the confusion and the violence, a number of vigilantes are apparently waging their own private wars against the gangland forces that are vying for control of the city’s vices. When asked if police were sanctioning these vigilantes, or at least turning a blind eye to their activities, we had this comment, from Chief of Police, Carlin Brown:”

A video clip of the Police Chief plays. He’s at the head of a pack of reporters who are following him right up to the station doors. “Sanctioning? Don’t be ridiculous! As far as I’m concerned, we don’t know any more about these ‘heroes,’ than we do the thugs and gang bosses that are tearing this city apart. For all we know, these vigilantes are after the reins of criminal power for themselves! I’d just as soon take them down, as any gang boss in this city!”

The scene shifts back to Phillip Thyme in the studio. “Strong words, from Police Chief Brown, but are they enough? Already, public opinion seems to be shifting, from support of the police to support of the city’s vigilantes. Our Man In the Street has more.”

“That’s right, Phillip,” chimed Paige as the camera shifted to her. “Mike Rofon is standing by at the sight of what appears to be yet another vigilante action. Mike?”

The scene shifted to a tall brown man in a black wool overcoat, facing the camera with mic in hand. People milled around in the background, some trying to wave at the camera from several feet behind the reporter. “Thank you, Paige. I’m here live, in front of local nightspot, Songbirds, on the scene of what appears to be yet another gruesome slaying, perpetrated by one of the city’s mysterious vigilantes. With me is Rusty Etticut - eyewitness to the horrific events of just a half hour ago. Mister Etticut, can you tell us what happened here?”

A man hyper on the night’s adrenaline started, “Can I? Oh man! It was incredible! BLAM! That was it! The guy didn’t say nothin’, he didn’t take nothin’! One minute, he’s standin’ on the corner, next minute, he gives the chalk outline there a new ‘do, and my car’s got a new paint job! Y’know what he did then? He just strolled on through the crosswalk, like nothing happened, and helps some blind woman across the street! It was crazy, man! The guy was just crazy!

“Another grim eyewitness account of the vigilante activity on our city streets. With the Larsen Channel Seven News, I’m Mike Rofon. Back to…”

The lone figure turns away from the window, pulling his tattered trenchcoat a little closer, and starts down the street, thoughts livid. Moron. "Crazy," he calls me. What if that parasite had decided to prey on you, next? You ought to thank me. After all, it’s your town too, and I just saved you, as a taxpayer, the cost of a trial, not to mention the daily expense of keeping the scum in jail. I just shot him in the head, like I’d do any sick animal. You just might make it home tonight, because some little hood hears what happened here, and gets scared I’ll do him next. They know if I come down on ‘em, there ain’t no talkin’ their way out of it, because I don’t listen. Anybody who thinks you gotta listen to the badguys talk, while they figure out how to escape, has been readin’ too many comic books. I shoot first, and don’t ask questions. I’m doing you a favor, you little shmuck, because the street punks fear me. They’ve even given me a name… They call me "Scatterbrain."

Meanwhile, high above the city...

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Please let me know what you think, and thanks! -cb
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Exit (Larsen #2)

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12/30/13Larsen #2Exit(Blog) (Forum)Disclaimer
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MViolence.Larsen #1

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Three years ago...

Jason Bleu ran blindly through the parking deck, looking desperately for a way out, wishing the woman he dragged along with him would quit screaming. Another shot echoed off the walls, and the man and woman jerked suddenly to the left, heading for a stairwell. As they did, an explosion of sparks and glass caused the man known as the Blue Canary to jerk the screaming woman into a dive between two parked cars.

Clasping his hand over the woman’s mouth, Jason whispered urgently, “Shut up! Shut up! Do you hear? You’ve got to shut up!” he demanded, shaking the woman to get her attention. Pausing a moment as he felt the woman’s body relax a little, he said,”You picked a real bad time to come back from the grocery store lady, but I’m trying to get us out of here, okay?” A fearful shudder ran through the woman’s body, but she managed to look at him from the corner of her eye, and nod her head.

Releasing his grip on the woman’s arm, Jason stared at the woman’s face for a moment, as she turned to see him better. Her tears running over his fingers, he realized he was still covering her mouth. Removing his hand, he whispered, “What’s your name?”

Taking a deep breath to calm her shaking, the woman sat up a little, and straightening the strap on her dress, she whispered back, “Amanda. Amanda Coney.” Jason looked away for a moment, as if he were trying to place the name. Amanda added, “I sing down at The Paper Umbrella.”

Bleu smiled. “Yeah... Yeah! I’ve seen your act,” he lied. Amanda smiled. Looking underneath the car, Jason saw feet at the other end of the parking deck. Gulping back panic for a second, he sat up and put his hand on Amanda’s shoulder. Looking her in the eye, he said, “Okay, Amanda, I need you to listen to me for a second. We’ve got a bit of a problem here. The guy shooting at us is a professional. He was looking for me, but you just happened to get in the way. If we’re going to get out of here, you’ve got to do what I say. This guy doesn’t like to leave any witnesses.”

Fear making her voice shake again, Amanda asked, “Who is he? Why’s he trying to kill you?”

“His name’s Exit,” Jason whispered. “He’s a hired gun. He shot out that exit sign on purpose. It’s his trademark; kind of like signing his work. He’s letting us know we can’t get away. It’s a game he plays with his victims, like a cat and mouse. Only in this case, it’s cat and Canary.” Motioning for Amanda to follow, Jason started crawling between cars. “And if we don’t get out of here,” he whispered, “he’s going to get two songbirds for the price of one.”

Crawling behind Jason, Amanda whispered, “This is a game? This guy needs a hobby!”

Still crawling, Jason looked back over his shoulder, and said, “This is his hobby!”

Amanda said, “Oh,” and started crawling a little faster.

Crawling around the bumper of a car, Jason tensed up, eyes bulging at two .45’s pointed at his nose. Looking up to see who was holding them, he let out an exasperated sigh of relief. “Oh! Man...” Before he could continue, he was shoved to the concrete, and one of the guns reached past him to hit Amanda upside her head, knocking her unconcious. Coming up cautiously and looking back at Amanda, Jason whispered, “Geez, April! Did you have to knock her out?”

The woman with the guns smiled. “She was going to scream.”

Edging beside her to look through the same car window, Jason snickered and said, “Shyeah, right. Admit it, you just can’t stand to see me with another woman, can you?”

Smiling again, April answered, “Only in your fantasies, Mr. Bleu. You’re late for your appointment; Mrs. Flowers was expecting you over an hour ago.”

“Yeah, well, I’m in demand today.”

Sighting the gunman through the car window, April said, “So I see. Who’s your playmate?”

“Miss April, but we can discuss that later.” Jason paused for a moment, looking for a smile on April’s face. Not seeing one, he continued, “I think that’s Exit.”

Then April smiled. “You’re kidding.”

“Would I kid a woman with guns?”

April’s left eyebrow arched with her smile, and she shook her head lightly, still looking at Exit. “You’re incorrigible, Mr. Bleu.”

Jason grinned. “Nah, it’s all just a part of my overabundant charm, Miss Sh...” Amanda groaned as she started to come to, drawing Jason and April’s attention, as well as Exit’s. “Aw, great,” griped Jason.

Poised on the balls of her feet, April tightened her grip on her gun handles, and whispered, “You two get out of here! Mrs. Flowers is waiting downstairs in her car; get her away from here!”

Motioning towards Exit, who was running towards them, Jason asked, “What about him?”

April whispered tensely, “He’s riding with the coroner.” With that, she leapt up firing both guns, and hollered, “Go!”

Two years ago...

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Please let me know what you think, and thanks! -cb
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Big Wheel (Larsen #1)

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Five years ago...

The gaunt man sat in his wheelchair, a jacket draped over his slightly hunched shoulders. He tilted his head slightly, narrowing his puffy eyes at the informant standing before him. Pulling on the long cigarette filter with his lips, he put a finger over each ear, and in a low, croaking voice, he said, “Sawed-Off...”

The little man who had been standing next to the boss’s chair swung his arms upward, and in his hands was a shotgun with the barrels shortened. Before the informant could move, his kneecaps were blown out from under him. The thug screamed.

The boss pulled the cigarette out of his mouth, and calmly said, “Shortcut...”

The other little man came around the table. Grabbing the man by his hair while he was still on the floor, and jerking backwards, Shortcut drew a switchblade out of his pocket, and in one motion, he clicked it open and slit the informant’s throat enough to stop his voice. Except for the thug’s gagging, all was quiet.

The boss spoke again, “Next time, Pigeon, don’t perch on my fire escape. Call Mr. Byrd an ambulance, gentlemen.”

Shortcut spoke up, “Hey, Mr. Byrd, you’re an ambulance,” followed by Sawed-Off shooting the informant once in the chest.

A thin smile came across the boss’s face, and pulling the cigarette filter from his lips again, he said, “Yeh... that’s a good one.” The two little men high fived one another. Shortcut walked around to the back of the boss’s chair, and reached up to pull the thin man’s jacket a little further over his shoulders. As Sawed-Off went ahead to hold the door, Shortcut started pushing the boss’s chair towards the front of the restaurant. As they were going by the bar, the boss croaked, “Just a second, Shortcut.”

Making a vague wave of his cigarette towards the bartender, he said, “You’re closed today, Thomas. Make sure you call Miss Numbers, and let her know how good you did. Don’t forget to include the cleanup and repairs of your floor.” Pointing over his shoulder with his thumb, he added, “And call Amantialldo, too. Tell him to do something with that side of beef back there.” Looking towards the door, he took a slow drag on his filter. Exhaling suddenly and settling back in the chair, he ended, “Let’s go, Shortcut.”

Thomas came around the bar, and still wiping a glass out, said, “Sure thing, Big Wheel, I’ll take care of it. You wanna take anything with you?”

As Shortcut turned the wheelchair around backwards to pull it over the threshold, Big Wheel waved away the bartender’s offer, smoke from his cigarette trailing after and around his hand. “Nah! Thanks anyway, Tommy. My liver can’t take too much of that stuff anymore.” Jostling over the door sill a little, he added, “Why don’t you have this thing leveled out, while you’re talking to Lotta. Put a ramp in, or something; my kidneys ain’t what they used to be, either.”

Tommy nodded with a friendly smile on his face, and said, “It’s already done, boss. Say hello to Olivya for me.”

Big Wheel’s eyes softened, seeming to get a little puffier, and he hunched over a little more. He motioned for Shortcut to push him back inside the bar. They jostled over the sill again, and a vaguely pained look washed over the boss’s face. Rubbing his side a little, he tilted his head to one side, and after taking a pull off of his cigarette filter, he blew the smoke out in a quick, thin cloud, and said, “You oughtta come by and see her sometime, Thomas. She’s been asking about you.”

Thomas shrugged helplessly, and said, “Talk to her mom, boss. She...”

Big Wheel pushed up on the arms of his chair with his elbows, and with a hoarse shout, yelled, “To hell with talking to her mooomm!” He dragged the word out in a mocking tone. “Her mom left, and she’s living in my house! And I say a girl needs her father! Now, the last time I checked, that was you!” The boss’s hoarse voice became a cough, and recovering himself, he said, “I’ll take that drink, Tommy.”

Tommy reached around the corner of the bar, and pulled a bottle of bourbon and a shot glass from under the counter. He poured a shot, and handed it to Big Wheel. After downing the liquor, and handing the shot back to Tommy, he put his fingers against his Adam’s apple, and cleared his throat. It was a long, wet sound, and after he’d gotten it up, he swallowed, sniffed, and continued on his rant. “You think I give a damn what she wants? She has your baby! She takes out a restraining order, because you had a drinking problem at the time, and then she leaves! Why? Because she wants to be a damn big time singer! So she takes off to Hollywood – Hollywood! And changes her name! If her mother was alive…” He glances at the ceiling quickly, and with smoke trailing from his cigarette, he crosses himself, saying, “God rest her soul, this would kill her!” Big Wheel jammed his cigarette filter between his lips, but jerked it out again, before he really had time to puff on it. Waving it at Tommy, smoke trailing, he continued, “I’m telling you, Thomas, if she wasn’t my own flesh and blood, I’d have her whacked!”

Finally taking another pull on his cigarette, Big Wheel settled back in his chair, and let the smoke out in a long, slow cloud. He started talking again, while Shortcut reached up to straighten out his jacket. “Thomas, you have the day off. You make those two calls, and then you go out somewhere. While you’re out, you find your daughter a gift; a doll, or something nice like that. You get it wrapped up all nice and pretty at a department store somewhere, and at seven o’clock tonight, you bring it over. We’ll have dinner, and you can visit with your little girl. And don’t you worry about no restraining orders, either, you understand? I own the police in this town, and ain’t a one of ‘em haulin’ nobody off from my house for visitin’ family. Alright?”

When Big Wheel stopped talking, Thomas realized he’d been nervously wiping the same bar glass ever since he’d come around the bar. He set the glass and the bar rag down on the counter quickly, and wiping his big hands on his apron, he took one big stride to Big Wheel, and taking one frail hand in both of his, he shook it firmly, and letting it go, he said, “Thanks, boss. I can’t tell you how much this means to me. Really. I’ll be there; seven o’clock sharp!”

Big Wheel reached up to Thomas, and slapped his cheek lightly. “You’re her father, Thomas, and she’s my granddaughter. I’ll see you tonight. Let’s go, Shortcut.” Shortcut started backing out the door again, and Big Wheel added, “And Thomas, when you come to the house, don’t call me ‘boss,’ or ‘Big Wheel.’ Call me ‘Mr. Mohne.’ I promised my wife I’d never bring that in her house. She’s gone, but a promise is a promise.”

Thomas nodded, wringing his hands like he was still wiping a bar glass. “Sure, Big... uh, Mr. Mohne. I’ll see you tonight; seven sharp.”

“Yeh, see you Tommy.” Shortcut backed up, turned the wheel chair around, and started pushing it down the sidewalk. Sawed-Off let the door go, and fell in behind them.

Tommy caught the door handle as it slowly swung shut, and firmly pulled it closed. He locked the door and turned the “open” sign to “closed.” As he did, he looked at his watch. It wasn’t even nine-thirty. “How ‘bout that,” he murmured. He turned and picked up the glass and bar rag on his way to the phone, and after setting both in the sink, he picked up the receiver and punched in a number on the base. After a few seconds, he said, “Yeh, this is Knox... Yeh, I’m closed... Lemme speak to Miss Numbers... Sure, not at all; I’ll hold...”

Three years ago...

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Please let me know what you think, and thanks! -cb

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6 Comments

Max Action (Ad Heroes #3)

#DateWelcome to Ad Heroes:Choose Your View:Attached to Forum:Back/ Next
312/29/13Max Action(Blog) (Forum)Gen. Discussion(Back) (Next)

Ad Heroes are superheroes that are created specifically for a certain ad, outside of the comics medium. Some are just eye candy, some are funny, and some are just weird. As I run across them, I'll make a blog to showcase them.

Max Action

Max Action was created for The City of North Las Vegas Parks & Recreation Department, as something to appeal to kids. As with most of this kind of pablum, it appears to have gone the way of the dodo, because I couldn't find any reference to it on the Internet.

In 2009 though, Max Action appeared on the cover of the Activity Schedule magazine for The CNLV P&R Department (seen left). He had one picture inside, and a short comic. I have no clue if he appeared in any other issues of the Schedule.

According to the comic, Max Action is thirteen years old, and he doesn't appear to have been given any powers. He seems like little more than an eye catching device to get kids to pay attention to the city's attempts to get them interested in physical activity. ...Maybe if they had put him in a game for the Wii.

Coming to a game system near you! MAX ACTION! Use your controller to kick the soccer ball!

Hm...maybe not. But hey pictures! Click to enlarge:

And here's that comic I mentioned:

By the way, if you've never seen 3 year olds play soccer, it's pretty much like that last frame.

I'm not sure why he refers to his mom in the last panel, or why the artist felt the need to show the audio/visual plugs on the back of the TV, but it's a short bit of fun that you haven't seen in the comics.

I hope you enjoyed it. See you when I spot the next Ad Hero. As always, thanks for reading.

More Ad Hero Sightings <2 (Ad Heroes) 4>
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Megaman (Ad Heroes #2)

#DateWelcome to Ad Heroes:Choose Your View:Attached to Forum:Back/ Next
212/29/13Megaman(Blog) (Forum)Gen. Discussion(Back) (Next)

Ad Heroes are superheroes that are created specifically for a certain ad, outside of the comics medium. Some are just eye candy, some are funny, and some are just weird. As I run across them, I'll make a blog to showcase them.

Megaman

Megaman was created in 2004 for Integrity Chrysler Jeep Dodge, in Henderson, Nevada. There's not much to say about any Ad Hero like this, so all I can really do is quote the ad copy:

Take it from Megaman! - Before you buy - you must shop the Megastore! ...Where you'll always get mega-savings, mega-selection...

So apparently, Megaman has his own secret headquarters in the Megastore. It must have really been a secret, because the dealership closed in 2009. Yet another victim of the failing economy.

At least we have the ad:

I cut the ad out just for the hero picture, so the ad copy got cut off. Sorry, folks!

I hope you enjoyed it. See you when I spot the next Ad Hero. As always, thanks for reading.

More Ad Hero Sightings <1 (Ad Heroes) 3>
1 Comments