Thursday, April 20, 2006
Fixer [Interim Title] Chapter 8
Yes, you get a full chapter today! I'm up to 50,000 words in the mainline. It's starting to wrap up nicely. Still a few mysteries to solve before we wind down, and more than one funeral to attend, so it'll end up well past my 60,000 word goal for the first draft before I get all those threads tied together.
I made my way towards the weights, as my friend from the red Beemer
tried to pretend he wasn't watching me, then I stopped right in front
of his stationary bicycle and said, "Can you spot me?"
Poor fool almost fell off his bicycle. Which is hard to do, when
said bicycle is bolted to the floor. But he was in a jam, so he said
the only thing he could say:
"Thanks!" I said, giving him my most winning smile. "I really
I headed over to the bench press, Beemer boy in tow, and shoved the bar
onto the uprights, then a 25 pound weight on each end. I lay down on
the bench and waggled the tips of my fingers at the bar -- short arms
suck. My friendly ogler got the hint and bumped the bar down into my
hands. I pumped out ten reps, then nodded at him to bump the bar back
up on the uprights.
"They got you working long hours today," I said to my new buddy as
I waited between sets.
"Interesting BMW you're driving. Air America? America
Import/Export? Hello? Where's your imagination?"
I lay back and waggled my fingers for the bar again.
"I don't know what you're talking about," my new buddy said.
I pumped out another ten reps. I felt the last one. It almost made
me forget about the pain from the rope and cigarette burns.
"So what do you want to know?" I asked. "I'll answer any question
you ask, if you answer a couple of mine."
"Are you always this weird?"
"Sometimes I'm weirder," I said, grinning. "Anyhow, I remembered
something about a CIA-created venture fund. What do you bet that I'll
find out that Akilna Software was one of the companies funded by the
"You're good," I said. "What's your name?"
"Yeah, right. And I'm Britney Speares."
It was time for another set and I waggled at him again. I started
running out of gas at the sixth rep. "Larry" gave me just enough
assist to get over the bumps, then at the last rep bumped it up to the
bar. Somebody had taught the boy good manners.
"So how long you been working for the CIA?" I asked him.
"Larry" looked like a deer caught in the headlights, clearly seeing
disaster but not knowing what to do about it.
"I work for an import-export company," he said.
I pointed Larry at the squat machine. I heaved a 45 pound
weight onto my end, he heaved another 45 pound weight onto the other. I
got under the bar and did one rep.
"So you're just a random stalker?" I asked.
A big guy named Red overheard the last. Red was the kind of guy who
bench-pressed 300 pounds and squatted more. He had muscles on top of
muscles. He was also bald and, I suspected, his balls were about the
size of ants from all the steroids. Despite that, he was basically a
nice guy. He spotted me sometimes, and usually talked to me like I was
his little sister, not like I was someone he wanted to fuck, not that
there was a lot down there to fuck with given how much juice he'd shot
himself with over the years. I liked Red, insofar as I liked anybody.
Red came over, and at my stalker's shoulder said, "Is this guy
botherin' you, Kathy?"
I looked at "Larry". "He's been stalking me. Maybe we should find
out who he is."
Red placed hands the size of a saucer on both of "Larry"'s
shoulders. "I suggest you get your wallet out and show the little lady
your ID, mister."
My favorite stalker sighed, and pulled out a wallet and government
ID. His ID said that he was Wallace Johnson, and that he worked for
"FBI?" I raised an eyebrow. "I get it. The CIA isn't allowed to spy
inside the United States." I looked up at Red. "Thanks, Red. I guess
he wasn't stalking me after all, he was just being very, very
"No problem," Red rumbled, and patted me on the head, which I
usually hate but I know Red just works that way. That little sister
thing. Then Red rolled off to push some other incredibly heavy lump of
iron to some other place repeatedly.
"So what should I call you, Larry or Wallace?"
"Just call me Wallace," my new friend said grumpily.
I got back under the weight, picked it up off its stops, and
signalled Wallace to flip the stops out of the way. I did ten
repetitions, then signalled him to flip them back.
"So I'm not going to ask why you're following me, because I know
why. I know how too, you have a transmitter under the bumper of my
car, which is why you are in sight only when I'm away from the car for
a while or am out running. Just one question -- when I was at that
house in West San Jose, were you following me then?"
"I was a couple of blocks away," he said grumpily.
"When I didn't move for a while, did you drive by to see if you
could see anything?"
"Yeah, but you weren't anywhere in sight. I figured you were in the
"I was in the garage," I said. I waggled my wrists at him. "Some
creep knocked me out and tied me up to the rafters, then had fun
poking me with a lit cigarette. It would have been nice if you'd been
Wallace looked uncomfortable. "Hey, I'm sorry. But you're okay,
I got under the weight again, waggled at Wallace to move the stops,
and angrily heaved it up and down another ten times, the last few
times pushing it up through sheer willpower through the burn. I came
to a halt, catching my breath and signalling Wallace to flip the stops
"No I'm not okay," I said. "Let me tie you up to some rafters and
poke you with cigarettes and see how you like it. I had to shoot
someone. Have you ever shot someone? Have you?" I saw the look on
Wallace's face, which was a look of total incomprehension, and said
"Of course not. Let me tell you about shooting someone. You're scared,
you're upset, you're stressed out, you're jacked up on adrenalin so
far that your blood pressure is about to pop your eardrums out, and
you're looking at the person you just shot and wondering if you're
going to have to shoot him again to keep him from hurting you, and
you're trying to hold yourself together long enough to take care of
business. It's one of the most horrifying and terrible things that any
thinking feeling person could ever have to do. And you ask if I'm
okay? Fuck no I'm not okay. I need to throw some weight around."
We did the ten more reps thing. I fed on the anger, pushing so hard
that my vision greyed out on the last rep. Then I pushed Wallace to
the next exercise, pullups. I'd already done my share of chinups
today, but those hadn't been weighted behind-the-neck pullups. I
snapped on the weight belt, directed Wallace's hands to my hips to
keep me straight up and down, and jumped up to the bar.
"So, do you think I'm cute?"
"Uhm, yeah", Wallace said. I pumped out ten behind-the-neck
pullups as Wallace's hands kept me stable, then dropped back to the
floor, and turned around. Wallace's gym shorts showed that Wallace
hadn't been kidding.
"Cute enough that you'd be very, very angry at anybody who hurt
No hesitation. "I'd hurt them bad."
"Good," I said. "Just one thing." I poked him in the chest, looking
up at him. "Don't you ever, ever, ever kill somebody that I've already
put down. That's for me to do, not for you. Got that?" I was looking
up at his face, which was showing nothing but confusion and a little bit of
fear, and he backed up involuntarily a step. "Do you understand?" I
demanded of him.
"I... what... okay. Okay."
"Because when you kill someone that I want to talk to, I become
very, very angry. And when I become very angry, you don't want to be
near me. So you don't do that. Do you understand?"
"I understand," he said, the fear and confusion mixing on his
face. I was still poking him in the chest, and he was still giving ground.
"So did you kill that man in the garage?"
"What!" The combination of outrage and befuddlement on his face was
impossible to fake, so I smiled.
"Of course you didn't. You're a freakin' Boy Scout, Wallace."
I had Wallace spot me through the rest of the exercises I intended
to do that day. By the time I was done, my restlessness had turned
into a feeling of satisfaction and contentment as the brain chemistry
kicked in. Even my burns didn't feel so bad anymore. Most of my harsh
had mellowed quite well, thank you. Most. Not all.
I wiped the dripping sweat off with my towel, and said to Wallace,
"Okay. Now we go talk to your boss."
Posted by: BadTux / 4/20/2006 10:56:00 PM
You'll have to let us know what the title is, so we can buy this when it's published!
Love the serialization!
(She needs to give 'lil Wallace a pat on the butt at some point... ;) )
# posted by SB Gypsy : 23/4/06 8:36 AM
I have other plans for Wallace. Turns out Wallace isn't quite as much a boy scout as we think, though he is still on the right side of the law (mostly -- he might be guilty of tampering with evidence).
But I still have that scene to write, so I'll see how I can work your pat on the butt in there, heh!
# posted by BadTux : 23/4/06 9:25 AM