[Note: This is a parody of many of the writers I enjoy reading: Hunter, Greany, Clancy, et al, and how they go into great detail about things I know nothing about, nor care anything about. If you enjoy it, let me know and I’ll keep adding chapters.]
Slick Parkleson grabbed the doorknob, then hesitated.
“Author, wait,” Slick said. “Why are you calling me ‛Slick’? That’s kind of ridiculous, don’t you think?”
“I can choose whatever name I want,” I said. Then I thought, why is my character talking back to me?
“I can hear you thinking,” Slick said. “Change my name, please.”
“What?” I thought. Because I’m not actually speaking out loud. That would be really weird.
“How about Jim? Or Ned?” Slick said.
“Ned? For a superhero?”
“Oh, now I’m a superhero? What are my powers?” he said.
“No, I don’t mean like that, I mean like you’re the best in the world at what you do. No one can beat you.”
“Oh, like an American James Bond?”
“Well, sort of, but not quite.”
“Like the Gray Man?”
“Well, you have some of his qualities, sure, but still, you have more.”
“Like Doc Savage? Ethan Hunt? Bob Lee Swagger? Who?”
“I’m making you like no one else you’ve apparently read about. That’s why you’re so incredible.”
“Then call me Charlie.”
“Because it’s just a regular old name,” he said. “And lose my last name. It’s terrible.”
“Fine. Now let’s get on with the story,” I said, and continued typing, a little frustrated.
Charlie let go of the doorknob. Something didn’t feel right. He edged to the side of the door, then slid several steps away. He didn’t want to get caught in any bullets through the door or just off the side of it.
“It’s me,” he shouted.
He heard the familiar click of a gun being uncocked.
“Charlie?” the voice on the other side of the door said.
“Yeah, I said it was me.”
The door opened. Vance filled the entrance with his wide frame. “Come in, I’ve been expecting you.”
“Seems like you might have been expecting someone else,” Charlie said.
“Yeah, well, goes with the territory, doesn’t it?”
“What territory is that?” Charlie asked.
“Just get in here, smart-mouth.”
Charlie slipped inside and Vance locked the door.
“What’ve you got for me?” Charlie said.
“This one’s important. I need you to save the world.”
Charlie scrunched up his eyebrows. “You want me to what?”
“I need you to save the world.”
Charlie held up his hand to stop Vance from continuing. “Hold on. Did you just replace mission with task?”
“Well, mission was already taken. And you didn’t ask to be named Ethan, so—”
“So, okay, I have something to do. You’re telling me it’s like ‘Task Impossible?’”
“No, it’s not Task Impossible. That sounds too much like the other one. We’re calling it Task Implausible.”
Charlie shook his head, looked out of the page at me, and sighed. “What is it?”
“There’s a sinister organization that’s trying to rule the world. You have to stop them,” Vance said.
“Where are they?”
“Mostly in America, but some are scattered around the globe. So you’ll get to go to exotic places, meet exotic women, and take down the bad guys.”
“That sounds a bit sexist, don’t you think?” Charlie said.
“Look, if you want to complain, complain to the author. He’s the one putting words in my mouth.”
“Okay, hold on.”
“Yeah?” I said.
“What’s going on? You trying to rip off Mission Impossible now?”
“I didn’t name you Ethan.”
“Like that’s a big deal. And exotic women? I mean, come on, I like women, but it sounds like you’re just objectifying them. Can’t you give me a partner who can also kick ass?”
“Oh, you mean like the Gray Man series?” I sighed. This was getting nowhere fast.
“I’m just trying to keep you honest,” Charlie said.
“Then get back in the story. The readers are waiting.”
“Okay, let’s start in the United States,” Vance said. “That’s the main hub of activity for this group. Once you neutralize them, the others will just be mop-up duty.”
Charlie sat at the kitchen table. He wiped his forehead. “Tell me about it. And why isn’t this place air-conditioned?”
“We’re not in the best part of town. That’s part of the appeal of this safe house. I’ll turn that box fan on over there in the corner.” Vance walked over and turned on the fan. It rasped as it spun up to speed, then blew the hot humid air around the room.
“I don’t know that that is much of an improvement,” Charlie said.
“Don’t worry about it. We have a couple of things to do here and then you can leave. First, we’ve got to outfit you with the latest in weaponry and gadgetry,” Vance said.
Vance went to the refrigerator and opened it. The door held several automatic weapons. There were additional pistols and ammunition on the shelving.
Charlie blinked several times. “You keep the weapons in the fridge?” Charlie asked.
“It’s not a fridge. It’s just made to look like one. The real one’s in the bedroom.”
“Okay, what have you got for me?”
“The old department store? Yeah, why?”
“I’ve got a blue light special in here I think you’ll really like.” Vance reached in and pulled a pistol off the shelf. “This here’s a Pig Sour J225-39.”
“Like the readers are going to know what that is? I don’t even know what that is,” Charlie said.
“Just trust me when I tell you this thing shoots very deadly. It’ll fire rounds of .4408 split-point, steel-jacketed, copper-clad bullets at around 525 feet per second. I mean, that’s really fast. For a pistol. Or as we like to say, ‛For a pig.’”
“Again,” Charlie said, “wouldn’t it be simpler to just say it can kill someone with its bullets? That’s what a gun’s for, isn’t it?”
Vance sighed. He looked out at the author, his eyes pleading.
I ignored him.
Charlie felt the weight of the gun in his hand, the cold steel turning his fingers blue. He set it on the table. “This thing’s really cold. You sure that’s not a fridge?”
“Well,” Vance said, “of course it functions like one. But it keeps the weapons dry, and that’s important in this heat.”
“How am I supposed to choose weapons if I don’t know what it is I have to do?” Charlie asked.
“Good point,” Vance said. “Okay, maybe that’s step two. Maybe I should tell you what you have to do first. I mean, in more detail than just ‛kill the bad guys.’”
“Okay, tell me,” Charlie said.
Vance went to the counter by the sink, opened a drawer, and pulled out a letter-sized manila envelope. He threw it on the table. Charlie slapped at it but missed and the envelope slid off and hit the floor.
“You could have warned me you were going to throw it at me,” Charlie said.
“Yeah, then I couldn’t test your reflexes. You might be the most incredible man on Earth, but you have to have some weaknesses. Maybe your reflexes aren’t the best,” Vance said. He bent down and picked up the envelope and placed it in front of Charlie.
“What gives, man? Reflexes? Seriously? How am I supposed to be so incredible if I’m slow to react?”
“Just do your job and you’ll be fine,” I said. “In what book does the invincible hero die?”
“Okay, so I won’t worry about dying. But I don’t want to get too beat up, either.”
“Charlie, if I don’t raise the stakes high enough, no one is going to want to read your story. Now get back to it.”
Charlie opened the envelope. He dumped the contents on the table. He spread out several keys, two passports, three driver’s licenses, and a pack of gum.
“What’s the gum for?”
“I’m glad you asked that,” Vance said. “It’s actually a small C-4 explosive. You just chew it for ten seconds, then apply it to what you want to blow up and get the hell out of the way. It will detonate nineteen seconds after you first bite into it.”
“I have to bite it? What for?”
“To activate it. Think of it like epoxy, only the one side of the equation is your saliva.”
“Why nineteen seconds? Why not thirty, so I can make sure I can hide?”
“Look, that’s all our techs could give us. If you want a bigger wad of gum, yeah, we can extend the timer, but that’d be like trying to chew a jawbreaker the size of a softball. Can’t be done. They tried, believe me.” Vance shook his head, as he remembered the poor agent who had tried to chew the softball-sized gum in testing.
“What’s it taste like?” Charlie asked.
“I think this one’s peppermint. But whatever you do, don’t swallow it.”
“Where are these guys located?”
Vance pulled up a chair. “Their headquarters are out in Colorado. Northwest of Denver.”
“I’ve always liked Colorado,” Charlie said.
“This is out in the sticks. Near a place called Masonville. Their fortress is on Milner Mountain.”
“Never heard of it.”
“Of course not,” Vance said. “I told you they like to keep well-hidden.”
“Actually, you didn’t tell me,” Charlie said. “And you also didn’t tell me what it is they do that makes them so dangerous.”
“It’s run by a group of conservative billionaires. They’re replacing American democracy with an orthodox theocracy, very strict and confining. They are also doing the same all over the world.”
“Why is that dangerous?”
“Because, they believe they can force the rapture.”
“Wouldn’t that mean they’d be gone, and not us?” Charlie asked.
“No. They don’t believe in the Rapture, but their followers do.”
“So they want to get rid of their followers?”
“No. But their followers will work to eliminate what they consider to be heathens. The unchurched. The spiritual but not religious folks. The atheists. Basically anyone who claims to think for themselves.”
Charlie shook his head. “Wait a minute.”
“Okay, author, what’s going on? Putting a little of your own biases into the story?”
“Hey, all of us do it,” I said. “You should read your novels a little closer. They all comment on culture.”
“Yeah, but you just sound a little too obvious.”
“Just get back in the story … there’s a world for you to save.”
“I still don’t get it,” Charlie said.
“Okay, let me explain. Obviously you’re not religious,” Vance said. “If they force the Rapture, the Second Coming won’t be far behind. So, technically, yes, their followers are supposed to disappear first. Then, at the Second Coming, they’ll return to reign holy hell on those who remained behind.”
Charlie shook his head. “Why not just let them Rapture, then wipe them out before the Second Coming?”
“Because no one will be here to wipe out. Your job is to wipe them out before they can Rapture, thus stopping the Second Coming.”
“How many of them are there?”
“You’d better get me more ammo,” Charlie said.Recommend0 Simily SnapsPublished in