Monday July 25th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the middleman.

Managed to get about two-thirds of the garlic taken care of this morning, with some help from Max. He enjoyed trimming the excess roots, or giving the garlic a haircut as we were putting it. Probably another half hour or so worth of work remaining... so hopefully it doesn't take me another week to get back to it.

No shaving though. Nor did I start on the blackberries, as a thunder storm was rolling around after dinner. Also: Kat needed some extra help with the boys tonight, so I'll be trying to get up early tomorrow to get going on the pick before it gets too hot.

Reached a milestone with Miles this evening, as I gave him his first bottle. We'd tried before (I can't remember if I'd mentioned it at the time) about a week or so ago? Something like that. Anyway, it did not go well. So it was nice to have this attempt go quite smoothly.

Hurray for a little more freedom for Kat!


From my table at the rear of the bar I have a better view of the rest of the patrons than I care for. It's necessary, clearly, but I'd still rather not know that Baldy Sr. just ate peanuts that he picked up off the floor, or that Jock Number Two has been chugging Jock Numbers Three and Fours' beers every time they hit the can to take a piss.

I won't even get started on what I can see the bartenders doing. There oughta be a law. Well, there probably is one. Maybe somebody should stop in and enforce it.

Anyway. I need to be able to see what everyone is doing in here because the man I represent is more paranoid than I care to think too deeply about. If I start down that road I might start stressing out about my job security and I've got enough worries already, thanks very much.

The man he has asked me to meet here is yet to arrive, but that's probably because I'm an hour early to the party. It's a good thing the drinks here are basically alcohol flavored water, otherwise I might get myself into a bit of trouble trying to fit in.

Turns out, I'm only on my second 'rum' and coke when he shows up. With two bodyguards. That was not the agreement.

"Good evening," I say without getting up. No need to let them see the gun in my lap just yet, you know? "Mr. Herman and Misters...?"

"Misters Noneovyergawdambizness," the guard to my right says with a sneer. The guard on the Mr. Herman's other side chuckles without enthusiasm but with plenty of obligation. I decide that I like him immediately.

"Easy boys," Mr. Herman says as he waves his dogs off to the nearest table. Baldy Jr. was sitting there but he decides, all on his own, to go find somewhere else to take in the evening's sights and sounds.

"Were they really necessary?" I ask, feigning hurt. "I thought we're all friends here."

"In my line of business," Mr. Herman replies as he sits down across from me, "they are always necessary. Sadly."

I nod my sympathies but remain silent until the waitress takes his order and moves on. My left hand, the one that's resting on the gun's grip, is sweating profusely. I remind myself that I'm unlikely to need it - that I've only had to use it once in the last five years - and give Mr. Herman my best smile.

"Mr. Cortez sends his kindest and warmest regards," I tell him, the lie obvious to both of us.

"Tell Mr. Cortez that I... actually, you won't need to tell him anything," Mr. Herman replies.

"What does that me...?" My confusion lasts just long enough for Mr. Herman's guards to seat themselves on either side of me. Before I can move one of them grabs my left wrist and twists it until my gun hits the floor. Then he lets go and pats me on the head.

"It means," Mr. Herman says with the smile of a snake, "that you're in for a very, very long night."


David said...

Two bullet holes resembling bite marks were found on the neck of Reginald Jennings III. He lay in his bed, hands tied behind his back, when the police knocked down his door. It was believed that Reggie had lived a few hours despite the injury. A medical miracle of some sort, or perhaps he had actually been made undead. Until, of course, he was just pronounced dead by the coroner.

Reggie was last confirmed alive at the Mango Bar, not the one on Calle Rue, the one past the tourist beach and before the gas station. He was seen with a man with a beard, who the bartender assumed was there for the Castro look a like contest. He was not. Reggie was to deliver an envelope. One with one thousand US dollars. Reggie handed him one with 900.

Which is why he met The Vampire.

Greg said...

Well done on the weening! And on giving the garlic a hair-cut. But not so well-done on the shaving -- do we have to start shave-shaming you?
I always like your longer pieces, and this is no exception. The details of the bar are nicely put together and give a decent feel for the place, though it might have been nice to know how noisy or otherwise it was. The characters are also interesting and some development on them in another piece would be nice as well (hint :) ). I especially want to know what message is getting sent and how though... it seems as though it's going to be painful and possibly fatal!

The middleman
The art gallery was a tight, claustrophobic space in downtown Sixticton. It was overshadowed by Sixticton's only skyscraper and from the outside looked at those it was hanging onto its plot of land by sheer determination as the larger building tried to force it out. There were forty people crammed into a space that felt busy when there were 8, and overcrowded when there were fifteen, and that was before you took into account the exhibitions, the food (buffet, obviously) and the smoke machine. Sixticton's best and brightest tried to drift around making small talk, but in fact they were compelled to bounce off each other like steel balls in a pinball machine, and a lot of the food was getting knocked off plates and ending up on the floor.
"Lay-deez! Lay-deez!" Vincent Malmouth had found a microphone from somewhere and half-deafened the crowd. Shaking his head he set it down and shouted instead. "People! I'd like to say a few words. I want to thank Theresa Middleman for agreeing to exhibit her work here today, and all of you for ignoring the invitations that were very clear you weren't to bring guests and bringing guests anyway. This show is clearly a success, and you better all buy something before you leave!"
He disappeared in the crush of people.
By a painting of a grey building surrounded by ambulances, entitled "City Morgue, II" a group of elderly ladies discussed the merits of the sausage rolls, and just past the pottery work that might have been plates for ocelots a group of slightly-younger ladies poked the quiche with plastic forks and muttered about butter-cooked leeks. The smell in the room was largely cabbage and mostly overwhelming.
Middleman and Malmouth extricated themselves from the crowd and went outside for a cigarette.
"It's going well," said Theresa, waiting for Vincent to light the cigarettes. "I think I'll make a sale or two."
"You'd better," said Vincent bitterly. "The food cost a fortune! I'm going to deduct the cost from your commission."
Theresa's face turned wintry. "This had better not be a lead up to you telling me you're cutting out the Middleman!"

Greg said...

Sigh. Second sentence, "at those" should be "as though". Stupid autocorrect.

Marc said...

David - good to hear more tales from you :)

Some great details in this one, and I look forward to hearing more about the Vampire.

Greg - shave shaming might actually work. I'll let you know if it becomes necessary :P

Yes, I suspect the message shall be very painful. Perhaps not fatal though. Perhaps.

This art gallery show sounds like hell on earth to me. I'm not sure there's any way you could have gotten me inside... unless I was the first to arrive. And then became trapped by those that showed up later. And... ugh, not thinking about this anymore.