Thursday, June 18, 2009

Killer Diller

My next two novels have a shared character central to both, but the protagonist of neither. His name is, simply, Killer. Because that's what he is--a government assassin. Unlike every other government assassin, this one can see aspects of his own future. Which comes in handy if you're a button man. You know where to be and when to be there. More importantly, you know who to avoid and where not to be when you shouldn't.

Strangely, Killer is also not the villain of either story. He's a strange critter, Killer. He has motives that are neither noble nor pernicious. But his motives are his own, and there is good reason for them. But I'm not telling too much. I hope to sell these two novels, and I'm only 20,000 words into the first one. Probably 80,000 more words to go before I can write "The End" on it.

It's called FAMILY. As the word implies, it'll be fully dysfunctional.

Here's a bit of fiction about Killer, by way of introduction.

Killer Diller

Copyright 2009 by

James Robert Smith

The cell phone went off, an almost silent beep accompanied by a modest vibration. Although he carried the cell with him pretty much everywhere he went, Killer never used it to call out. And only one person had the number. Of course, he’d known the call was coming. He was special that way.

“Hello, Agent Nobody,” Killer said, his voice as cool as the opiates running through his blood made him feel.

“We have something for you to do,” the agent told him. The agent’s voice was not quite so cool as his own, owing to the fact that the gentleman on the other end wasn’t high on heroin. Killer had met the fellow on a few occasions, and he seemed as humorless as a hangman. Which is, really, exactly what he was. The only difference was that the agent didn’t use a rope—he used a cell phone, and someone else pulled the trap door for him—and they knew who that was.

“What is it, this time?” Killer asked. He reached out with a pale left hand and retrieved his coffee cup. It was filled with heavily creamed coffee and lots and lots and lots of raw sugar. Quite often, this was his breakfast of choice. He knew that he should eat something more substantial, but...well...who was going to bother an assassin about what he ate for breakfast?

“I’ll need to see you about this one. It’s a special case.”

“Aren’t they all?” He smiled, although no one was in his house to see him smile and he supposed the agent on the other end could only imagine that he’d smiled. However, he liked to think that his voice had conveyed the image through the ether that connected them across so many miles.

“Well, this one is extra special,” the agent said. And Killer did not need to see the man to know that he was smiling. He knew that the government man did not like him. It was possible that the agent even found his station in life to be distasteful. Killer wasn’t sure about that. After all, he wasn’t a mind reader. All he could do was tell the future.

“I figured as much,” Killer said. “I just had a feeling.”

“I wish you’d volunteer more about these feelings of yours,” the agent said. Then he sighed, and immediately regretted the remark. They’d done all that they could back in the halls of government to figure out what made Killer tick. Everything short of hacking him open to see if there was something inside him that made him able to do what he did. And there had been those agitating to do precisely that. But cooler heads had prevailed. An assassin who could tell what was going to happen before it happened was not something to be wasted like a vivisected rabbit.

Killer, however, did not wish to pursue that old line of conversation, and he was quiet barely long enough to make the agent a little bit uncomfortable. Finally, he spoke. “What time, exactly, will you be coming to see me?”

“As soon as I can,” the agent said. “Just wait for my next call. When it comes, I’ll be very close indeed.” And there was dead air.

Killer closed the little red cell phone and put it in the loose spaces of his front pocket, pausing for just a second to mock the agent. "Close indeed," Killer squeaked. As if his talent would allow him to be surprised by a pisher like the agent. He knew pretty much when the agent would arrive. The threads he’d followed that morning in his first waking minutes had all included the agent. Each of them led him pretty much without incident to a drugstore at the corner of Darling Road and Carole Avenue. Each of them had the pair sitting at the last remaining drugstore lunch counter in that entire side of the state, both of them eating hamburgers and fries and drinking chocolate shakes, the glasses frosted with the cold.

But he didn’t know what the agent was going to say to him, exactly. And he didn’t know where he was going to end up. His talent didn’t work quite that way. Sometimes he had to wait to see what was going to happen and which thread he had to follow and which ones to ignore. And which ones to avoid at all cost, of course. He sighed, took a sip of the wonderful white coffee and wondered why his special ability had not kept him from injecting that first hit of heroin into his arm fifteen years before?

“The world is a mysterious place,” he said to the house, empty but for him.

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