Monday, November 9, 2009

NaNoWriMo '09, Chapter Nine: Friends in High Places

The below is a section of the novel that I wrote for National Novel Writing Month. It isn't a stand-alone story, and it's probably not worth your time to read. The goal of NaNoWriMo is to write a 50,000 word novel in a month so wordcount is valued above quality. This is a good thing, as it encourages people to actually finish a project. Nobody expects that the result will be ready for public consumption without heavy editing. If you want to read it for some reason you can view the whole thing in one place HERE although that's still totally unedited and terrible. You have been warned.

The fed by the door looks all sour when the new guy walks in, like someone just pissed in his Cheerios. "Good evening, agent Barker." This new guy is a little older than your average man in black, maybe fifty, and he's got a shit-eating grin on. Something about him is familiar, but I'll be damned if I can put my finger on it. He looks around the room, nodding at nothing. Admiring the so-called security, I guess. They've got me in a flimsy green plastic chair that looks like it came out of a kid's playhouse, and the barrels of assault rifles are peeking out at me from slits in the walls. Nothing good to throw, and nothing to hide behind. Fine by me; I didn't go to all the trouble of setting this up just to make waves before I can even talk to the director.

"Eddie Shorthand, working with the feds. I never." He's still smiling, like this is some big joke. "Still, it suits me just fine. Truth be told, Eddie, that strike at the Spider was just to get Franklin anyway, so this is keeping that whole mess from being a waste of my time." He actually loses the smile for a second, looks concerned. "Speaking of wastes… is it true Big Dave is dead?" Hang on a second here. Did a fed just refer to him as 'Big Dave'? Who the hell is this guy?

"Yeah. Thanks to you guys, and Franklin, and some Mexican feds. A real team effort."
He sighs, like this is actually bothering him. It's got to be a trick, but it's still strange.
"You know," he says, "I worked with Dave a long time ago. Back before Disney, before all of this crap when he was just a kid. He had his power back when nobody knew they existed."
Oh, shit. As if I didn't suspect it already, this asshole just told me they don't plan on letting me get out of here alive. Is he seriously talking to me about whatever secret shit they were into before Disney? The other fed looks like he's choking on his own tongue, but this guy just keeps talking. "Dave was… a good guy. I really hoped he would make it through this whole mess. But then again… we're on different sides now and I guess, all things considered, the world is safer with him dead. Still… it's a shame, right Eddie?"

This is some kind of trap, but I'll go with whatever they want for now. "Yeah. That pudgy turd was a lot of fun, when he wasn't trying to go all mister wizard on me. Get a few drinks in him and he would start to argue about math or chemistry or something."
The weird fed smiles again and looks off into the distance. "At least he spared you the physics talk," he says, "that's a good way to scare off drinking buddies."
"Shucks, fed, you had a real soft spot for him. Actually, though, the physics crap wasn't too bad. I didn't understand most of it, but he did manage to explain quantum entanglement to me." If Dave had some sort of contact with the feds he would have brought it up, right? I mean, at least when I told him the plan.

The fed is about to say something else when he straightens up and holds a hand to his ear. He pulls out his phone and stares at the screen, and I swear he's nearly dancing he's so excited. I guess they found Franklin right where I said he would be. It's a shame there's no way to let the king of teleportation know what's about to hit him - I would love it if he could see my smiling face when he goes. We can't have everything though, right? This should be over by now; they should have had a guy in position when Franklin arrived. How long does it take to pull a trigger?
"Your boys might want to hurry things up; I can't promise he'll hang around all day."
Nothing. They're completely ignoring me.

If I know Franklin, he's busy thinking about how great he is. The thing is, he was almost right. We were all impressed with him once. Teleportation? With precision? Fantastic. He could get supplies for everyone - money, guns, anything. But then, he never felt like it. Last time I heard someone say this I punched him in the face and broke his nose just because it made him sound like such an ass, but there's some truth to the saying: lead, follow, or get out of the way. Franklin didn't do any of those, and now he gets to learn what happens.

It's funny, at first I was just pissed that he left me behind in the Drowned Spider. It was all about revenge. Now somehow it feels like business. Just a business arrangement, in order to secure this business meeting. Nothing personal. Well, no, that's a lie. Not so much personal. Not all personal.

The fed lets out this big breath and stands there with his eyes closed for a second. Did they screw up? No… he's smiling. Sick bastard. I mean, yeah, I set it up and I'm glad he's dead but looking that happy about it is a little messed up. He's taken out his earbud and put the phone away, and he reaches over to shake my hand.
"Eddie, I want you to know I'm going to live up to my part of the bargain and make sure you get your meeting with Director Doyt. I assume you have more than just Franklin to offer?"
I shrug, but of course I have more to talk to them about - I wasn't going to count on getting a face-to-face with Doyt if I had already run out of useful information.
"Please understand, Eddie, that Director Doyt is a diseased hemorrhoid on the asshole of humanity and you're going to need to tease him with the promise of something more before he comes into a room with you."

This time the fed by the door actually does choke for a second, and then glares at the weirdo so hard you would think he's trying to burn holes in his sunglasses.
"Agent Black. Can I speak with you in the hallway?"
Black, I guess, smiles at him as sweet as honey. "Not at the moment, agent Barker. We can talk about it at my disciplinary hearing if I ever have one. I'm sorry, Eddie, where were we?"
At this point I don't care if it's a trap or not, this is comedy gold. I can't quite read this Agent Black guy, he likes us freaks but wants us dead, works for the feds but hates them. Maybe it's all some complicated act, but if so I don't see where the payoff is.

"A teaser, huh? Okay, try taking a look out the window. I'm guessing right about now a storm is brewing that the weatherman didn't see coming."
Black just nods once. "It's been building all day. Excellent."
He pulls the phone out again, and hits a single button. "Doyt! How lovely to hear your voice. I'm here with Eddie Shorthand… Edward Shorehoff, yes. Since his intel has paid off and resulted in the death of Franklin Jeremiah Reese, I was hoping you would meet with him as agreed." There's a pause, and then Black looks at me and rolls his eyes. "As a matter of fact, I do think it's a good idea Doyt." He circles his fingers and flaps his arm up and down, the universal sign for jerk-off. "He has further information, about the strange weather pattern in the area. I've tried to interrogate him myself, but he quite understandably wants to talk to you first. Of course. Good to hear, Doyt."

He puts the phone away again and walks over to the other fed. "You were going to file a report on me, I'm sure? You should go ahead and get working on that. I'll wait here." The fed looks like he can't decide, but finally he shoots me a dirty look and storms out. Agent Black looks over and shrugs.
"What can I say? I'm trying to get fired."

Before I can say anything he leans close to me, dropping his voice to a whisper.
"Eddie, I want to thank you for your part in completing my agenda. I hope you understand when I say I don't want to be anywhere near you when you meet with Doyt."
Is this guy for real? "Agent Black, I don't see what you would have to worry about. They've made sure I don't have any weapons, and I'm surrounded by guns."
"Yeah," he says, "that's what has me so worried. Hey, if you see Emily again keep an eye on her for me, okay? She's a good kid too. A lot of you guys are good people. Not you, obviously." And he winks.

Black walks out, leaving me with the empty room and gun-slits in the wall. I want to know who the hell agent Black is, I want to know why he had such a hard-on for Franklin, I want to know what Dave did for the feds. But right now, I need to stay calm. I have to remember I just had big bad Franklin whacked, and I'm surrounded by feds with guns. I have to focus on now, on my meeting with Doyt. My big opportunity to talk to the head fed. Soon, everyone is going to find out that Eddie Shorthand has friends in high places.