Badtux the Snarky Penguin

In a time of chimpanzees, I was a penguin.

Religious fundamentalists are motivated by the sneaking suspicion that someone, somewhere, is having fun -- and that this must be stopped.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Fixer [Interim Title] Chapter 5 Part 2

Chapter 1 Part 1 Chapter 1 Part 2 Chapter 2 Part 1 Chapter 2 Part 2
Chapter 3 Part 1 Chapter 3 Part 2 Chapter 4 Part 1 Chapter 4 Part 2
Chapter 5 Part 1

I woke up with a throbbing headache and a bad attitude, the latter of which, however, had nothing to do with having my hands tied over my head to the rafters of a garage, and everything to do with me berating myself for my own sloppiness at letting someone sneak up on me like that. The smell of piss filled the air, and the dampness at my crotch told me where the smell came from. Unlike in cheap crime novels, in real life near-suffocation often causes loss of bladder control. Don't ask me how I know.

A man wearing a black ski mask moved into my field of view. He was twirling an unlit cigarette between the fingers of his right hand, an oddly hypnotic sight.

I shook my head a bit to shake loose the cobwebs, then said to him, "This is kinky as hell, dude, but couldn't you just ask me for a date like any sane human being?"

"Who are you?"

"Kathy Varis. I'm a landlord and real estate investor. I own some apartments in East San Jose and a few rentals elsewhere. What's the deal here? Hell, if you got some whacky weed growing in the garden it's not something I give a shit about, I'm in real estate, not gardening. Could you let me down from here?"

"Why are you poking around?"

"I told you. I'm looking for real estate to buy. I thought maybe whoever owned this place might be looking to sell. Could you let me down? Please? I promise I won't beat you up." I gave him my best "cute" smile, tilting my head a bit and emphasizing the fact that I'm a girl and quite petite besides, hardly a physical threat to any grown man.

"I don't think so," the man said, and he lit the cigarette.

I involuntarily sucked in my breath at that, knowing what came next. "C'mon, man, look, I don't know who you are, I can't identify you, I don't know anything. C'mon, just let me down? Please? Pretty please? I mean, if all you want is sex, you don't have to do this, okay? C'mon, give a girl a break!"

Then he touched my exposed belly with the lit tip of the cigarette, and I involuntarily screamed in pain, sobbing and crying, tears streaming down my face. "I don't believe you," the man said. "Who are you?"

"I'm Kathy Varis! Look in my handbag! Look at my wallet! C'mon, man, you don't gotta do this, just ask me, ask me anything! Just ask!" The tears were dripping off my chin, and I put a little-girl waver in my voice that was just sickening.

The man might have been smiling under his ski mask, but I couldn't really see. All I could really see was the tip of the cigarette, glowing, glowing, coming closer and closer to my face...

"You have a beautiful face. It'd be a shame if anything happened to it. Who hired you?"

"Nobody," I said. "I work for myself. I just wanted to talk to whoever lives in this house, that's all. That's all!"

The lit cigarette touched my face in an explosion of pain that jerked another scream out of me. I closed my eyes and my breath hissed between clenched teeth. Then I opened my eyes again.

"This makes you feel good, dickhead? Getting a woody? You're pathetic. Just another two-bit goon who ain't gonna last to his 30'th birthday. So fuckin' pathetic you can't even get a girl unless you knock her out and tie her up in your garage. You're so gay that you ought to wear pink underwear, but you don't want to admit it, so you start beating up some random woman who made the mistake of tryin' to see if anybody was home? You ain't shit. Just another loser."

"Shut up, bitch."

"Or what? You'll kill me? You better kill me. Else your life ain't worth shit. Fuck, your life ain't worth shit anyhow, so pathetic that the only way you can get a woman is to hang her from your rafters? When was the last time you had a real girlfriend? Never, I bet. Losers like you spend all their time jerking off to dirty pictures when they aren't killing their neighbor's cats and plucking the legs off of newts."

"Shut up, bitch!" The man stepped forward and slapped me. I kicked him in the balls, thanking myself that I hadn't been slacking off on the leg extensions at the gym, getting a good extension indeed.

The last thing any man expects from a cute and petite young woman is physical violence. The look of astonishment and pain on his face was worth stopping to see, but I wasn't stopping. I pulled myself up and over the rafter I was tied to, then brought my right leg down to my hands and transferred my holdout gun from the ankle holster to my hands. Then I shot the bastard.

Or tried to, anyhow. He'd seen the gun coming out and managed to roll out of the way despite clutching his balls as if that was gonna make them stop hurting, and you try shooting with your hands tied together, it ain't easy, even with a pocket pistol as small as a Kahr PM9. I shot again and managed to get his leg. My third shot went through his shoulder and he went down and quit moving, passed out from the shock, perhaps because he'd tried to stand on his leg and there was bone poking out where my bullet had shattered the bone. I managed to transfer the pocket pistol back to its holster, got my shoe off, and transferred the small knifeblade under the insole therein to my mouth. I tried sawing at the nylon rope that held my hands to the rafter, but it just squirmed under the blade. So I dropped back over and chinned myself on the rope to keep it under tension, and started sawing, cutting strands one by one.

I'm no longer the thirteen year old gym rat who could do more chinups than any boy in my 8th grade class. I'm not as flexible, for one thing. But I've had more time to pack on muscle, and most of the twenty pounds I've added since then are muscle. Still, by the time the rope frayed and finally let go my arms were on fire and shaking with fatigue. But I did it. Coach Davis would have been proud.

My bag was sitting in the corner, the opposite corner from where my mystery assailant was parked. I dropped to the ground and rolled over to the bag, and pulled out my Glock 17 and brought it to bear on the jerk. I gingerly went over and kicked him in the ribs, pistol ready to give him more of the medicine he deserved. He didn't make a sound. I grabbed a roll of duct tape out of my bag, taped his hands together, and swiftly searched him. No ID. No wallet. I pulled up the ski mask and looked at his face. He wasn't my mystery admirer in the red Beemer, he wasn't anybody I'd ever seen before. I got the digital camera out of my bag, and took a picture of his face for my own edification. Then I pulled the ski mask back down over his face, duct taped his feet to his hands, grabbed my bag, and trotted to my car.

Remember, this is a *first draft*, and we're only about 7,000 words into the novel. Why the hell was this dude lurking around? What's he got against perky little blond women? Why are you asking me? I want to find out too!

Posted by: BadTux / 4/08/2006 12:57:00 AM  


...Still on the edge of my seat! (how did I miss this one???)
# posted by SB Gypsy : 10/4/06 9:40 AM  

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