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Old 03-31-2011, 05:24 PM   #1
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Everything Is Personal: Tales From Intersect City

“Its a nice view, isn’t it? I mean, this isn’t the tallest building in Intersect, but its the tallest we can get to easily. Whenever one of you shows up, I like to bring you up here. Up near the ledge.

“So, over there, to the north east, thats the warehouse district. Docks, the river, cargo and all. I dunno, maybe you can find some work up there. And, of course, plenty of cheap bars just to the north. I like a drink just like any working man.

“See those lights in the center, the clock tower and all? You probably won’t be spending much time there. Money and all. At least, I hope you won’t be. If you get my drift.

“The one place down there you might go, you won’t find on your own. But here’s the card. Its called Flux. No sign, no ads, nothing. But they’ll let you in. Little Vegas, I guess. Even you deserve a little fun. Don’t want any explosions all pent up.

“But most importantly, look there, to the west. You probably can’t see it, but thats the Hinterlands. The prison. The big house if you want to be dramatic about it. Its designed to be almost invisible, to just fade into the background. Gotta bunch of scientists and shrinks to build it just that way. But once in a while, if the light is just right, and you are looking in just the right way, it’ll just out at you. A monolith. A warning. You get me?

“None of that matters much. You’ll learn it on your own. But you’d do well to remember one thing: In the Big Juncture, everything is personal.”
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Old 03-31-2011, 05:39 PM   #2
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I’m rapidly running out of rooftop.
“There’s always a fire escape in the movies. Movies, movies, movies,” I chant to myself as the ledge gets closer and closer. My ‘friend’ is closing just a bit faster. Then I’m there, and I drop.

It hurts like hell and my shins feel like they might split open, but dammit if there wasn’t a fire escape!

He tries to follow me, but his momentum betrays him and he overshoots, landing, somehow, on the railing. His arms swing as he tries to find some balance, too stupid to just let himself fall backwards.
It could go either way.
But I can’t let it. I reach out.
He falls forward before my hand gets to him.
Before I could push him myself.
He hits the railing below with a sickening thud and that puts an end to his screams.
It seems to take an awfully long time for him to fall the eight stories.
I find things. Important things. I don’t know how, I’m just walking along and I’ll see something and I’ll know it needs to be somewhere else.
It started out as a game, really. I was a cabbie, you end up with time to kill and so I just started…indulging my whims. A canister of film to the The Daily Scrawl, a box to Knuckles Moynahan, a little doll to Athena, daughter of the richest family in Intersect.
I found myself wandering in patterns on my days off, finding and delivering. Sort of a courier, if you will. Lots of times, cash changed hands. More than I made driving a cab.
So thats what I do now.
Its been dangerous before, but not like this. I had no idea where this envelope was supposed to go, I was ready to put it on the shelf with the others that were waiting for a home, but you learn something is important real fast when a bullet comes through the diner window.
So now I’m running and being chased.
I should find Garrote. She owes me a favor, and can probably protect me, but that’ll only go so far.
I should get rid of the envelope, but thats never worked before. It’ll just end up in my hands again somehow.
So I run, until I find the path that leads home.
Or I run out of rooftop.
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Old 04-01-2011, 03:42 AM   #3
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Somewhere between the the warehouses and the money sits a large building made of glass. It is a classy, modern structure whose sides eschew stuffy straight lines in favor of avant-garde curves designed to make one think of flowing water. Its a pretentious display of wealth and power if you ask me. I don't see the water, I see the tits, waist, and hips of a faceless woman, an executive's caged and gilded whore.

I should know. Its taken me three years to find the place. You’d think with a name like Neptune, someone would get its underworld connection. It should have a company slogan like: “Neptune Customer Care, when we say we’re swamped, we mean it.” See what I did there, and they say I have no sense of humor. Neptune is owned and run by the Shikon Corporation and they have their dirty little cocks in everything from black-market pharmaceuticals to human experimentation, but that's just rumor. They guard their research so carefully that little more than their name pops up, even among the shadows. What is known, however is that twenty three years ago an experiment known only as 257 was conducted. That's it, just a name and a year. The rest I've pieced together over on my own.

I know that twenty-one years ago, fifteen privately run orphanages began reporting deaths, most from brain tumors, all showed signs of nervous system degradation.

Ten years ago, Intersect City received a small and almost unpublicized nod from Mensa International as having the largest concentration of prodigious savants of any city in the world: five of the estimated fifty in existence.

Six months ago, three of the five disappeared and just thirty days ago, an email arrived. It was a spam offering me a larger cock in just eight weeks with their new, patent pending, cocksersize program; apparently calisthenics for dicks. I was about to delete it when I noticed that six of the letters were glowing. Now, glowing words and objects are a part of everyday life for me and I’ve learned to rely on them. Sometimes its as simple as the exact food I’ve a craving for - usually chocolate - glowing as I walk down the isle. Sometimes its more complicated, like the homeless guy’s way-too-clean undershirt. Disguises are all in the details. In this case, the letters in question spelled BASTET, the Egyptian goddess of fire and cats. I only knew her by reputation, but that reputation was enough to get my juices flowing and have me begging for more. My eyes scanned every word, caressing rounded vowels, rising and falling over hard consonants. I almost purred when found the two company names, Neptune and Shikon, together.

That's why I’m here. Today the secret comes out.

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Old 04-02-2011, 10:02 PM   #4
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He tastes like salt and sweat and I'm thinking of puking down the front of his cheap ass walmart jeans. He grunts above me.

Fucker, better not touch me.

He's quick. Two minutes and his hot cum pours down my throat, I swallow, not out of some loyalty to the guy above me, but because if he sprays his load over my face or hair, then I'll have to fix it, and dammit, it's still early.

He hands me a wad of cash and stumbles off with barely a thanks, but it's no big deal. I pull a cig out of the pack sitting my cleavage, and stand, the smoke and heat clears out that semen aftertaste, the nicotine clears my head. I take a minute, but not too long cause then old Jim will be looking for me, wondering why after fifteen minutes, I'm not out there covering my beat. The cigarette is smashed between my cheap plastic heels and the dirty asphalt I just was kneeling on.

Worshipping the prick god, I count my cash. Sixty. Not bad. Wish it was more, but a good start for the night. The city is just waking up in my neck of town, the sound of traffic slamming into me when I appear out of the alley. I look over to see Roxy leaning against the wall, she nods twice. Jim is about. Knew it.

"Where you been cunt, I saw him stumble out of here a while ago." Jim said softly, from just behind me.

A sigh escapes my lips, I straighten my dress, red. My brown hair is covered by a platinum blonde wig. No matter if I tell him to fuck off, if I tell him that I was scurrying after money, that I was screwing an entire hockey team, nothing will matter. I hold out forty of the sixty I just made and say nothing.

Without a word he takes it, he slinks off back to his car to keep an eye on us ladies.

A minute while I look up at the city and how beautiful it is at night. The lights bright and hopeful, even here. I suppose there might be others who feel sorry for me. Even wanting to help me out of this "lifestyle". But, whatever, I can work with it.

A packed car pulls up on the curb, and I move to the car side, acting marginally interested, but not going anywhere until I know the particulars. The particulars being, whether or not there is a cop, whether or not they have money, if they are sober, and how many I might have to take on at once.

"Hey baby, we got your money right here." The college kid gyrated his hips lewdly for my "benefit" apparently.

Reaching my hand into the window, I press the front of his jeans without preamble.

"Nope sugar, I'm more than that. What else you got?"

"Three even." This time it's his friend. The one in the driver seat. He has an expectant expression, and is exited and nervous, I can tell from the way he clenches the steering wheel. He wants this. The friend is armor.

"With your buddy, you get an hour. Get rid of him and you get two." I'm being stingy but, I want the cash.

The driver looks at his friend. "Get out."

His friend is dismayed. "But I thought- Dude!"

"Now." The words are sharp and clipped. No playing here I thought. This man means business. The friend gets out and shoots me a dirty look.


"Thank you." I take the door and step into the mini-van. Always cracks me up to be in a model white picket fence car and fucking some guy.

"Where?" He asks and assumes I know where to go in the city so we can be alone. He's right. I do.

"Straight, take a left at the next light, and then head to the bridge, look for the turn off on the right and pull in. We will be left alone."

He does, and I watch his profile for a few minutes, but he's silent and concentrating. We are there in a very short order.

He turns to me, and looks to the back.

"I want to be ridden, I want to see your tits and I want to be dirty." He says this without passion in his voice, like a business deal.

"Then get back there and get hard." I rearrange my top and pull out a condom, handing it to him, I remove my cigs and my phone, where I see there is already a text from Jim. Rolling my eyes, I head to the back and watch as he has already lain across the back seat, his pants around his ankles, and his cock rapidly hardening, his eyes are also closed. Whatever he's imagining he is good at it. His cock is very nice, and I move closer and slide a condom over it, before straddling his hips and sliding him inside me.

There is a single moment for me where I do actually like my job. For some girls it's when they get paid, for me it's the moment I get a man inside me, a man who is clean, healthy, and of good size. It doesn't happen often... but when it does, it's fucking awesome.

"Ride my cock." The words leave no other options for me. I do. Sliding him and out of me. Sometimes I can do this without even paying attention to the guy under me, I make plans with my friends, or daydream, saying the 'ooh baby' and 'you're so big' without thought or feeling, but I don't think that will be the case tonight.

Every inch of him widens me, and I can feel every inch spearing into me. I surprise myself by getting wet, he slides in and out with ease. His hands grasp and squeeze my tits, pinching lightly at my nipples accompanied by the little sigh that escapes my lips.

I pick up the pace, and lean down next to him.

"Squeeze my cock, little bitch. That's it. Fuck me, ride me harder. You know how I like your cunt wrapped around me."

And that's when it happened. I stopped riding him for work, and did it for myself. I forgot the city outside and paid attention to cock inside me, to the finger in my mouth, his hand on my breast, squeezing moans from me.

Everything feels so good, even in the back of this dingy mini van. I hold onto the nameless man beneath me, I ride him for my joy, taking from him my own needs. My cunt sucking at his cock almost joyfully, enjoying something that is not ever really enjoyed. My eyes are closed, my head thrown back, and I moan and whimper for his enjoyment, for my own. It's freeing this moment.

"Cum." I don't know if this order is for me. I don't know if he is warning me, but I reflexively tighten around his girth, and my fingers make their way to my clit where they rub in time to his thrusts. Then I do cum, with lights behind my eyes, and the rolling moans that fill the small space, While my cunt gushes around his length. The man under me, groans out his release but I barely notice. He pushes me over, as he climbs out from under me, bent over he pulls his pants up and sits in the driver seat, starting the engine.

I take the hint and pull my dress up and down as I take my seat, pulling my seatbelt on. In short order we are back on the street the lights glaring down like sentinel judges.

He hands me the wad of cash without looking at me.


He takes off into the night, the city swallowing him up.

I hold out sixty of what I just made, and when it disappears I know, I will be fine, especially on this night, in my city.
~"The attention just encourages her."~

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Old 04-09-2011, 10:43 AM   #5
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Under The Streets, Above The Towers And In The Shadows: The Sky King

“No, thats fine, but tell them if it isn’t ready at 8:30 sharp, they should expect to see a significant drop in their popularity.”

My Dara, my PA, will phrase that much less diplomatically. Thats why I have her. Its no cliche when they say that the PA to the CEO of any major corporation has almost as much power as the CEO themselves. And, for all my ego, I know better than to try and bed her. If I did, then my wife would be the least of my worries.

I spend the rest of the day going through the endless reports. The numbers look right, and finance has confirmed them. Three weeks until the new delivery systems are ready and we look to be under budget.

Yeah, I actually am that good at my job.

The suit, new, the wife, gorgeous, the paparazzi, endless.

We can’t make it to the car without having two dozen flashes go off.

I wave, I give a smile, I say something witty and charming. Something Dara wrote.

We’re in the car less than 5 minutes before she straddles me, taking me deep inside her.

I let myself groan.

And again when she slaps my face.

“Say it,” the words drip from her lips.
“I fuck them, I fuck them whenever I want, but nothing feels as good as your cunt.”

And its not a lie. I love her, and lust her, and she’s the single greatest lay in the universe.

I can go for however long I want with the others, but Karen, she does this thing, and I cum on command, like a boy his first time.

Then I hungrily clean my cum out of her.

If we had more time, if there was more traffic, I’d be in her ass making her regret that slap.

The cameras are at the Sakto’s too, but its expected. I head inside, letting her work the crowd a bit. Boys and no few girls flock to her. One of them may get our number and passcode.

The food is marginally undercooked and unacceptable. We eat, though, and talk, and share secrets. Her and Dara, they are the only ones who know me.

Tonight’s chef will be fired before the end of the night.

So says me.

Back in the car, I make her pay. Much to both our delights.

And at 3am, she slips from our bed, silently, to not wake me. Dara is waiting for her.

ArcTech Industries runs the city in ways I don’t even always understand, and I run ArcTech, and will for the next two hundred years, if things go as planned.

I am Elliot DeTerge. And I am the most important person in Intersect City.

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Old 04-29-2011, 09:22 PM   #6
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Chapter 1: Seducing Babylon

The plan is simple; walk in, get the data, and walk out; but the devil is in the details.

Wrapped in secrecy, Shikon Corp. has kept its secrets because its computers are completely off-grid. There is no outside access anywhere: no email, no Internet; nothing.--they don’t share research, they don’t write in academic journals. Physical entry is guarded by both retinal and facial recognition scans, neither of which I am prepared to counter. While Shikon is inaccessible to a frontal approach, Neptune corp is a different matter entirely and I find myself approaching the gates of Babylon herself.

Today, I am Melody Smith. I am one of five new temps sent to fill in the rank and file. My normally spiked, red and black hair lies flat under a blond wig, and Doc Martins have given way Nine West Pumps. Everything about me is subtle, subdued sexuality, from naive lips with just a touch of pout, to the browns and golds that add soft depth to already hazel eyes. My reflection passing through the front doors is part confident and capable, part compassionate and vulnerable. She also seems to have forgotten that top button that keeps her push-up cleavage caged and bound. Eyes or tits boys, anything but my ID.

I slide past security with a coy smile and a demure drop of my gaze, and am soon moving along Neptune’s halls coated slick with money and power; it’s everywhere. Stainless steel and glass give a clean, almost antiseptic feel, while modern art pieces suggest the same subdued sexuality, bound in line and form. Metaphor, this place is rife with it, from the elevator that spreads her legs for anyone who pushes her buttons, to the row-after-row of dressed up drones, chosen as much for their figure as their ability to type. And now, I am one of them, just another cubicle whore pressing keys, only my keystrokes are eloquent and expressive. Hacking is seduction, each keystroke luring data betwixt here and there; one and zero, on and off.. moan and whimper.

Five point two minutes later and I am teasing the last little bits of code. This is what I came for:

Experiment number 257, Congenitally Induced Savantism through embryonic chromosomal replacement of segment 7q22 to 7q31.

The human mind receives approximately eleven million bits of information every second from its senses. Of these, ten million come from the optic nerve, another million from sound, a few hundred thousand from the others- 1.25 terabytes of information per second, stored and processed by the subconscious, while the conscious mind can only process about fifty bits per second.

Fifty bits per second. That’s being generous, if you ask me.

Researchers have long looked for ways to exploit the unconscious mind’s raw computational power. They’ve tried occultism, psychotherapy, hallucinogenics and even direct cortical stimulation - colloquially known as electric shock therapy. They’ve had little success.

My monitor flickers again, this time an angry red; took them long enough. No time for snail reading, I page down again and again pausing only milliseconds at each screen. Words fly, nothing but data etched in my brain.

...amniotic induction....prodigious savantismeidetic memory...
ninety-five per-cent mortality... neurological degradation.. tremors....subconscious projection....

What the fuck am I?

I have perhaps a minute. No time to close the file or erase my tracks, but then again, I don’t intend to.

These computers are called dumb terminals: network access only; just a monitor and a keyboard. It’s a setup designed to keep a tight lock on what comes in and what goes out. No ports or drives meant I had to work on the fly, the first stage being nothing more than a few lines of active X in Excel. A tiny snippet polling buffer seventy-seven at precisely the same time as the watchdog scanned for malicious code. Computers are so easily fooled. Following that, I had but to suppress and simulate the watchdog’s period handshake with the mainframe and I was in.

See, while I knew I couldn't just hop into the dragon’s belly and expect to get out again, I also knew that, as a front, Neptune has to appear to be a normal modern customer service organization with normal corporate security. Start issuing military grade crap and people are going to notice. This was their Achilles heel. Using their own firewall as a backdoor was pure genius and there was no way I was deleting that.

You don’t erase art, you sign it.

Zero-One-Zero; three numbers hovering dead-center on a blank screen. The drones will wonder why someone would stick a zero in front of a ten, while tech support will read it as two and snicker at non-Vulcan inferiority. None of them will realize they’ve been flipped off-- knuckle, finger, knuckle. Fuck you.

On the surface it was just a bit of fun with the intellectually challenged, a custom screen-saver embedded with a simple but effective virus. It will do little more than fry this machine’s minuscule cache to make it look like I wanted to cover my tracks. The real message lies within the virus code itself: alternating hex, binary, and octal numbers threaded throughout. Those in the know-- those who I want to know--will find this. They will decode the letters one by one, N.E.P.H.T.H.Y.S.

I stand slowly and a quick glance highlights the scene, three suits glowing softly from behind their office window. Soft glows are good, it means that they have not yet been alerted and that means that security wants this tight. Don’t spook the rabbit. No, it’s glaring colors you have to watch for and there are two at the moment, the one on my monitor and the one above the elevator ticking numbers, thirty-two, thirty-one, thirty; ten floors left. I’ve got precisely fifteen seconds before those doors slide open, but I am already moving down the hall. I fall in with a group of five others and walk brazenly out the front doors, just another drone leaving for lunch. I hope they got a good view of my ass on the way out, because that’s the last time they’ll see it.


I finally know what I am. I am a synesthete. Relationships between things are shown to me in light and color, an overlay of data onto a mundane world. Everything from the prison tattoo on the security guard’s arm, to the clean undershirt of the cop disguised as a bum, its all data. It all has a story to tell. I am also one of five survivors of the costliest experiment ever conducted in the Shikkon Corporation’s shadow labs. I am their savior. I am their nemesis, and I am marked for retrieval.

I am Nephthys, and this is my world.

Everything Is Personal: Tales From Intersect City
The Case Files of Massacre State Asylum
The Foundling

Massacre State Asylum
The Monster Academy
The Price of Ommission

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A Fey's Exploding Brain
My Home: The Vortex of Silk and Teeth
Part of me is always here. (Thank you, Minx)

Two people without whom I would be really, really, really, really, really sad.
Aus and Vail
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Old 04-24-2012, 08:39 PM   #7
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Leah's Story: Chapter 1 - The Witches Whisper.

“Jesus, Leah, this isn’t about last month? I told you...”
“Don’t be stupid DeTerge. I don’t get upset because you don’t want me to be your girlfriend.”
I do get upset because of the stupid pride he took in making me cum.
After longer than I’d like.
Some day, men will realize that if it takes them forever to get us there, its a problem with them.
Anyhow, Karen is a much better fuck.
And his pride is aesthetically displeasing.
“Then why?”
“Same reason I always go.”

Call me what you want. Sometimes its VP Of Internal Operations. Sometimes the Executive Assistant that really runs the company. Sometimes the advisor to the govenor.
I like being in back.
I like my secrets.

“Leah, baby, I don’t know what you want, what makes you happy.”
“I know.”
“I’m leaving.”
“Too late.”
And so ended Tori.
Just like the others.
Magic words.
‘All there is.’
‘What next?’
Those end everything.
I quit.
Get myself fired.
Get one of us to walk away.
I won’t stand still.

I love the city. I always have. I wasn’t born here, but I...travelled...a lot when I was growing up. I always made sure to come back here, often as possible.
I was here before the Midnight Quake, and after, after the rebuilding.
It looked different, but it was still the same city.
As cliche as that sounds.

“Kid, you keep looking at the Hinterlands like that, you’ll end up in a room there.”
“How’s that so different, flatfoot?”
“They hate cops in there.”
“Lots of’em hate us out here.”
“Yeah, but you can get hookers out here.”

There’s lots of easy locks in this city. If you know the right passwords. More, still, if you know the witches.
And I do.
The witches like me for some reason.
The whispered a name in my ear.
I will find it.
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Old 09-02-2012, 12:20 AM   #8
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For those who care, Rebecca Garrote and Intersect City can now be found at Silk And Stiletto Stories
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Old 09-03-2012, 06:28 PM   #9
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Old 11-26-2012, 10:25 AM   #10
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He’d heard it called the “Concrete Jungle” and he’d even been to many. He wasn’t easily fazed, either by concrete jungles or vegetative ones, but this was different.

This was Intersect City.

Towers, buildings, full of lights.

Fuck me, he thought, haven’t they heard of global warming?

Intersect City, where everything and everyone comes together, like the rivers into a basin…. like the Nile into the Delta.

Or like sewers to a shit farm.

He didn’t want to be here, but he’d done a lot of things that he didn’t want to do. A guy walked past him, his hair done up like a cockatoo, filled with more gel than a roomful of Elvis impersonators. The guy was talking to himself as he walked past, and his voice was only slightly less grating than that of a cockatoo and made less sense. If Cramer had cared, he would have shaken his head in pity.

But he didn’t.


He kept walking, past Cockatoo Man, through the night, the wind blowing up the street, channelled by the buildings around him.

Concrete. That’s what the buildings were made of and they were more solid and had a stronger core than any of the humanity he saw around him.

Yes, he thought, night is the best time to walk through Intersect City. You couldn’t see the grime, the cracks, the lost dreams of a once optimistic vision that had long died. The darkness also brought the cover he needed, the cover his prey needed. He was looking for someone and they only came out at night.

If you lay down with the dogs, then you wake up with the fleas.

He smiled to himself.

The flea hunter.

Cramer was not a naturally nocturnal man. He liked the sun. He liked the day. There was less that could be hidden in the bright light. But sometimes, he had to come to the city and sometimes he had to go out at night. He shrugged his shoulders as he walked.

A job is a job.

He might have come to the city only sometimes, but he always got what he wanted.


He could surf tomorrow. He could swim tomorrow. He could run tomorrow.

Tonight….well….tonight he had to be in the city, the Concrete Jungle, with the sharks, the snakes, the spiders and the foxes. All of these were there where he came from, but the predators here were different. The predators here all looked the same and they were less trustworthy.

A shark that was full, that was satiated, would never kill until it need to again. Here, in Intersect City, they never needed to kill, they just….liked it.


Cramer was here, looking for a shark. He had to find one and prise it from the school. It wasn’t like he couldn’t handle a school, but he wasn’t being paid to do that, and he never did anything he wasn’t paid to do. He kept walking, against the breeze, the odd body bumping into his shoulder. No apologies, no sidestepping, just forward. He knew where he was going.

Scum on the surface of a pond always drifted to one end. He was headed to the bad end of the pond, the end where the scum was.

Then he’d be paid.

He stopped suddenly and someone bumped into his back and then walked off, muttering.

Cramer smirked.

I should be more considerate.

He looked into the door of a bar, focusing to look through the glass panels, grimy with dust and exhaust fumes.

It was the one.

He patted the outside of his coat and felt the automatic in the pocket. He didn’t need the reassurance of knowing it was there. He knew it would be there, but it was a reflex, a way of composing himself for what had to be done. He didn’t really need the automatic at all, it just made everything less….


Cramer didn’t like messes. He was anal about it in fact. Cleanliness is next to Godliness. His mother used to say that. But then, she used to say crime doesn’t pay.

He shook his head.

Ignorant bitch.

He didn’t need the gun, but he liked to be ready.


Otherwise, there’d be no….


Or happily ever after.
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Old 12-04-2012, 10:12 PM   #11
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Remoras and other musings

A cliché.

Sometimes he was that.

Like now.

He could walk in there and do it the hard way. He could clean the place up and get what he came for, but that would be….


He smirked.

Talking French. Getting ahead of myself. Uppity fellow, aren’t I?

In the end, Cramer was more worried about the fact that he was talking to himself rather than he was thinking in French.

C’est la vie.

Fuck me. Stop that.

He pushed on the door and entered the bar. Obviously, the term “bar” in Intersect City was a loose description. The place was a dive of the worst variety, and Cramer had been in some of the lower ranking worst varieties. He scanned the room as he walked towards the centre of the bar, his feet sticking to the carpet, hundreds of drinks spilt, their residue making a small squeaking sound every time his shoes broke free from their hold. The carpet and its spilt alcohol were like sirens holding him to the floor.


He shook his head.

I’ve read too much Homer.

He smirked.

Someone had to.

There were about twelve people in the bar. Well, not about, there was never an about with Cramer: there were twelve people in the bar. He walked towards the bartender. Even in the dim light, he could see that the man was not in the best condition. His eyes were sunken and his face was a jaundiced yellow. The hair he had left was combed over his scalp and shone greasily.

“Beer,” said Cramer.

Please or thank you hardly seemed appropriate.

Or necessary.

Comb-over barman nodded and went towards the tap to pull him one. He grabbed a glass and then Cramer stopped him, looking at the glass and raising his eyebrows; it was dirtier than a blue-assed fly’s outhouse.

“Mate, from a bottle. Urquell.”

If I’m going to drink in Intersect City, I better get my hepatitis shots.

Comb-over barman nodded. He put the filthy glass back in the rack and then turned around to the glass-doored refrigerator behind him. He pulled out a bottle, ripped the top off on the opener fixed to the wall beside the fridge and then sat it on the bar, pausing in front of Cramer.

“I’ll run a tab.”

Comb-over barman shrugged his shoulders and moved back to where he’d been sitting earlier at the other end of the bar.

Things to do, places to go.

Cramer lifted the bottle and tilted the neck towards his jaundiced friend.

You need some fucking sun, mate.

Cramer took a deep draw on the bottle, enjoying the hoppy flavour. He turned and leant back on the edge of the bar, looking around the room slowly. His eyes stopped at a table in the far corner furthest from the entrance. He saw the shark. He was in a school.

He smiled and then took another swig of the beer, almost half of it was gone now, but Cramer had always liked his beer….too much, sometimes.

Not this time.


He’d drunk before in Intersect City.

With her.

But this wasn’t with her.

This was business.

He looked at the table of men. Four. Not many….

For him.

He slowly swung his head and looked across to comb-over barman. The bartender was watching him carefully. He may have been a shell of what he had once been, but he wasn’t stupid, and Cramer respected that. He gestured towards the refrigerator and then raised the bottle to his lips to finish it. As soon as he’d put the empty bottle down, there was a fresh one waiting.

He smiled at comb-over barman. He was developing affection for him, like a spider that you have in the corner of your porch. Just there.

“Might be best to take a break, mate.”

The less than hirsute bartender looked directly at him with his dull eyes and nodded. He took the empty bottle and then walked towards a door at one end of the bar. He opened the door and then walked through it, closing it firmly behind him.

Smart guy....except for his taste in hairstyles.

Cramer returned his gaze to the table with the four men.

A shark and three remoras.

To cliché, or not to cliché….

Homer. Hamlet. Alliterative. Well….technically Hamlet was Shakespeare, whereas Homer was….Homer.

Cramer’s face was impassive as he looked through the smoke-filled bar towards his prey, but he was thinking, not just about sharks and prising them away from the school. No, Cramer was thinking about what the fuck he was doing thinking of Homer and Shakespeare when he was about to end someone’s life.

Thinking about how he shouldn’t be thinking and not thinking of what he should be thinking.


Kill them all or just kill the one he was paid to kill? He patted the pocket of his coat and felt the gun. All of them would be easy. One of them easier still.

A dilemma.

It wasn’t often that someone in Cramer’s line of work had a dilemma that wasn’t life threatening or at least highly problematic. Usually, the decision could mean the difference between life and death. Sometimes, the decision was just deciding between the lesser of two evils.

The devil and the deep blue sea.

He smiled.


That’s better.
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Old 01-29-2013, 06:24 AM   #12
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Thank you

The beer went down easily.

Cramer took a smaller sip and focussed on the table with the four men, the one with the shark, Sonny Garcia.

It wouldn’t be hard.

A job.

Four or one?

Fuck, he wasn’t a franchise. He didn’t offer four for one deals. He was here to kill Garcia and that’s what he’d do. The others didn’t look brave enough to stand in his way.

That was the sad thing about human beings, especially those with nothing inside, nothing to fight for. Cramer wasn’t big, but he did what he said he would do and people knew that. Cramer was hard.

Fucking hard.

The guys at the table with Garcia were talking and laughing, drinking their beer and slapping each other on the back. Soon the beer would run out and they would look to the bartender.

My man. Comb-over man.

The barman wouldn’t be there and then they’d start looking. Cramer didn’t really have the patience to stay in the bar while they played hide and seek looking for the barman.


It had to be now.

Stop killing time.

It was time to start killing.

He kept watching them as he lifted the bottle to his lips and drank the last of the beer. Sonny would be carrying, but he wouldn’t have a chance. The others would freeze in shock. He didn’t know if they were carrying, but they would be so grateful it wasn’t them, that they would freeze.

Cramer smiled.

Fuck yeah.

Tough guys were tough guys when everyone around them was weak, vulnerable, low hanging fruit. It was all relative. Put one of these tough guys in the same room with him and they were fucked.

They were in the same room.

They were fucked.

Cramer decided he’d kill them.


Like a dodo.

What the fuck was a dodo anyway?

Wikipedia that.


His back against the bar, he worked it out. He’d wait till they wanted the next beer. One of the lackeys would come to the bar. With the bartender gone, there were now eleven people in the bar. If someone used their mobile phone, the cops would be there in two minutes, maybe three minutes at the most. It wasn’t the best part of town and that meant the cops wouldn’t be too far away.

Cramer had no fear of the cops. He assumed they had no fear of him. He didn’t know exactly because they didn’t run into each other. That was part of the job….not running into cops. He didn’t intend to start now.

I'll wait.

They would run out of beer and one of them would go to the bar. He had two guns and four men to deal with. He smiled.

Easy peasy.

But he wanted Garcia to know.

Know why.

Know who.


That meant taking out the other three in thirty seconds and then having a minute with Garcia and then thirty seconds to get out of the bar and disappear.

Cramer started to count in his head.

One cat and dog.

One second.

Two cat and dog.

Two seconds.

He kept counting, getting into the rhythm of keeping time. He had to get the job done in ninety seconds. Ninety cat and dogs.

Sounds like a Disney movie.

Cramer leaned back against the bar, watching the table and one hand in his pocket, holding one of the guns. Automatics. Glocks. His favourite.

Taking them all out. She’d like that.


It wasn’t in Cramer’s nature to please, but he knew she’d like that.

The lot?

He could see her smiling.

One of the men pushed his chair back from the table and started to rise. Cramer placed the bottle on the bar carefully and stood up straight. He started to walk towards the table. The man got about three or four metres from the table and was nearly passing Cramer. The guy didn’t stand a chance; Cramer kicked his leg sideways, crunching his foot into the guy’s knee. It popped and the guy started to go down and then Cramer brought the butt of the gun down on the top of his head. There was a momentary resistance as the butt hit his skull and then it moved a little further and he felt a spongy mush.

The guy dropped face first onto the ground.

One cat and dog….

The men looked around, their eyes wide. Their eyes never got a chance to get smaller. Cramer had already pulled both his guns and aimed them at the men either side of Garcia and put a bullet into the head of each man. The back of their heads sprayed blood out onto the wall behind them and then one slumped off his chair and the other one fell forward onto the table, his head hitting the surface with a thud.

Three cat and dog….

He stood in front of Garcia and had the guns on either side of his head, a barrel in each ear.

Five cat and dog….

Garcia twitched.

“Move and you’ll fucking die,” Cramer said softly.

Eight cat and dog.

He had eighty two seconds. He could have more, but that wasn’t the game. The game was ninety seconds.

I did all that in eight seconds?

“What do you want?” asked The Shark.

Garcia didn’t look comfortable now, he looked scared.

“Nothing,” said Cramer.

They sat there, Garcia with the barrels at his ears and Cramer, looking at him.

No one had moved in the bar, just as Cramer had thought.

Eighteen cat and dog.

“I can pay you,” said Garcia.

Cramer smirked.

“She already has.”

Garcia’s eye’s widened.


Cramer nodded.


Twenty three cat and dog.

There were small droplets of sweat starting to form on Garcia’s forehead. Carmer stood there, guns pressed into Garcia's ears. He enjoyed watching him squirm. The man wanted to move his hands, desperately, but he couldn't.

Cramer watched him.

His hands are empty, but his ears are full.

Thirty cat and dog.

I have one minute.


Cramer smiled, his lips turning up at the corners of his mouth.

“Don’t beg. It’s weak.”


Cramer rolled his eyes.

Thirty eight cat and dog.

“Shut. The Fuck. Up.”

Cramer looked down at Garcia’s crotch and he saw a wet patch that was starting to spread over the front of his jeans. He rolled his eyes.

Weak cunt.


“You’re the spot,” said Cramer.


“Yeah. Lady Macbeth wants the spot out. You’re the spot. I’m the bleach.”

“Lady…. Macbeth? Who the fuck….?”

Cramer smiled, both guns on either side of Garcia’s head, the barrels in his ears.

Forty seven cat and dog….

“She's doesn't like problems. She needs you gone. She wants you gone....the spot.”

Garcia was shaking in front of him and he could see more sweat beading on his brow, the drops starting to link together into small rivulets, slowly trickling down the side of his head. He had a gun on him, Cramer knew that, but one move and he was dead.

“How….much?” asked Garcia.

“Not enough,” said Cramer.

“But, I can….”

Cramer pressed the guns a little tighter into Garcia’s ears.

“No. You can’t,” he said.

Fifty two cat and dog.

Shit, I still have time to….

“Woe, destruction, ruin, and decay,” Cramer said softly, “the worst is death, and death will have his day.”

Garcia looked at him, sweat dripping from his forehead and onto his cheeks.

“Please….no....whatever it takes….whatever….”

Cramer continued.

“Go thou, and fill another room in hell. That hand shall burn in never-quenching fire….”

Sixty three cat and dog.

Garcia’s eyes were red now and he was shaking.

“What the fuck is that?” he cried.

Who the fuck is that, mate, who.”

“Who then….please no….”

“It’s Richard the second.”

Garcia was crying now, the guns pressed tight, his hands wanting to move, but frozen with fear.


“He came after Richard the first.”

Seventy two cat and dog.

Enough. Get the fuck out.

“Out….damn spot,” whispered Cramer.

He quickly pulled both guns to the front of Garcia’s face and placed the barrels on his eyes.


Cramer pulled both triggers.

Seventy seven cat and dog.

I may still catch the news.
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Old 02-05-2013, 08:35 PM   #13
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CLOSED, moved to here.
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Old 06-05-2013, 06:14 PM   #14
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The Assessor, Part The One

Nothing bruises you like Intersect City.

The rust gets under your skin, the smog fills your lungs, and the adrenalin poisons your blood.

Its a fun time.

But me, I wasn't staying. Not this time.


Or so I thought. The sound of an unexpected voice is the kinda thing that can fuck up your day.

I don't think that's how normal people view it. But I'm an Assessor.

We like things predictable.

"David Arinas?"

I still hadn't turned around. There really wasn't supposed to be anyone on the rooftop except me.

And no one was supposed to know me by that name. Not in a generation.

I turned slowly.

What choice did I have?

The man behind me, the man who knew an unknowable name, was barely a man at all. I wasn't convinced he could buy a beer.

I attempted to come up with a reasonable response, but failed, so I replied "Can I help you?"

"You are David Arinas!"

"Is there something you want?" I asked, unwilling to concede the point.

"I know you. I mean, I've known of you! My parents used to talk about you all the time! They even drew pictures!" He replied with the excitement usually reserved for favorite celebrities. This was all wrong.

"Who are your parents?"

"James and Rhonda Melst. You knew them..."

"In Nicaragua," I let slip. None of this was supposed to be possible. James and Rhonda underwent the treatment. They shouldn't have been able to say a word about me.

I scrolled through everything they would have known, then everything they might have known, then how I could kill this unlucky kid the most efficient way possible.

"You were the only thing they talked about in the last years," his tone became somber. "Alzheimer's and all. I thought they were making you up but they told the same stories and drew the same pictures."

Ah. That made a little more sense. Brains break. Broken brains don't hold conditioning well.

Morality and immorality are, basically, the same thing. Its just perspective.

I've been trained differently.

I've been made dangerous.

I've been made amoral.

I am completely willing to do whatever has to be done.

I didn't want to kill this kid, but I didn't want to not kill him.

A dead body is always a risk to the mission.

Someone who knows as much as this kid might know is a risk to my career and, more to the point, my fucking life.

I did, though, like James a lot. He was a good man, had my back when others would have run.

So maybe I'm not completely amoral.

I don't know.

"So what are you..."

That was the last thing the kid said that night. I'd closed the 20 feet between us
before he could even realize it. A palm strike and he was out.

I decided to compromise.

Its amazing how easy a lobotomy it to perform with the tools I normally carry.

I mean, I had to look it up online, but after that...
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Old 10-31-2013, 08:21 PM   #15
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Number one.....with a bullet.

The sirens were getting louder.

Cramer looked around the room at the people sitting in shock at their tables, making sure to get eye contact quickly with each one, his face expressionless. He was sure after what they’d seen that they would be brief with the cops. No one would want to be involved and it would be in their best interests to forget most of what they’d seen.

Not that they would easily forget the Pollock-like display of Garcia’s head all over the wall and floor.

He shrugged slightly to himself.

Art is a personal thing

One person’s art is another’s…..

Cramer put the guns in the pockets of his coat and then walked back behind the bar and opened the door. Comb-over man was sitting in a dark alcove, drinking from a bottle and shaking. Cramer didn’t bother to check what he was drinking, but figured he deserved it. He reached into the back of his pants and pulled out a loose twenty he had in there.

“Sorry about the mess,” he said, his mouth curling upwards on one side as he spoke to the jaundiced barman. “Buy yourself another drink.”

He placed the note in the man’s shaking hand, nodded, and then proceeded down the narrow passage until he got to a door that led out onto an alley. The cops wouldn’t know the exact place yet, as he doubted anyone in the bar would have sent a message. He walked quickly along the dark alley, small lights on the walls of the buildings lighting the way.

Cramer reached the main street on the other side of the block and then once again he was in the stream of people. Two police cars went by quickly with their sirens shrieking and he knew he was clear as they were probably still working out where the shots were from. Someone outside the bar would have alerted them, but the sounds could have come from any number of buildings, especially in a place like Intersect City.

Less sharks for one night.

He kept walking quickly, bumping shoulders with people beside him or coming towards him. Soon he was a couple of blocks clear of the bar and he thought he should make a call.

To her.

He pulled out the phone as he walked, the screen lighting up brightly when he turned it on. He punched in a number and raised the phone to his ear as he kept moving.

“Cramer?” she answered.

“You’d better hope so,” he said.

She laughed softly.

“It’s always you, Cramer. The day it’s not will be a sad day indeed.”

“Especially for me,” he said flatly.

“So?” she asked.

“So, it’s done.”

She paused. “Just Garcia?”

“There was some collateral damage, but I’m sure you would approve.”

“Yes, you know me well enough to know that.”

“I let him know who and why. He knew when I pulled the triggers….”

“Triggers? Good. I wanted him to suffer.”

Cramer nodded with the phone to his ear.

“He did. Pissed his pants, the weak fucker.”

“You have such a way with words, Cramer.”

“Well I did quote some Richard the second to him. I was pretty chuffed about that,” he said. “Sister Mary Frances would have been proud of me. She could never get me to read….”



“You just blew away and killed God knows how many people, and yet you ring me to tell me how proud you were of quoting Shakespeare.”

“A man’s gotta have an interest outside of killing people.”

“You’re odd, Cramer.”

He looked around him at the people on the street, still walking slowly, the phone pressed to his ear.

“You live in Intersect City and you think I’m odd?”

She laughed again.

“You may need to stay here for a while longer.”


“I knew you’d be pleased,” she said. “It’s nothing too difficult for someone of your capabilities.”

I’ve heard that before….

Usually before a rising body count.


“Really. Think of it as a favour for me, for a friend.”

“I don’t have friends, just people I tolerate.”

He heard her chuckle.

“I’m hurt, Cramer.”

“No you’re not,” he said quickly. “I have to get rid of this phone. I’ll call you soon….well, soonish.”

“Thank you. And Cramer….”


“Look after yourself,” she said softly.

“I always do.”

He pressed a button on the phone, ending the call and looked around for a bin as he walked.


Another day in this fucking hole.
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Old 11-05-2013, 04:19 AM   #16
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Where there's smoke.....

Cramer sat at the desk in his hotel room. It was a nice hotel. He figured if he was going to be in the City, then he may as well make himself comfortable. Right now, in the early evening before dinner, he had his feet on the desk, a beer in one hand and a new phone in the other.

He rolled his eyes and almost chuckled.


Life doesn’t get any better than this.

He’d spent the day just walking around the city, getting a feel for it and then buying the phone. Ten bucks. He’d caught the news on television of Garcia’s demise in a bar. They’d called the weedy little runt a “crime lord.”

Shit, must be easy to be a lord these days.

I must be a knight or something.

The Lord, or at least the Lord that everyone in this crackpot world referred to, was supposed to be some sort of omnipotent being that saw everything. Garcia hadn’t seemed very omnipotent when the barrel of a gun had been placed on each of his eyeballs. He’d actually seemed a little, well…..little. It always amused Cramer that people who had such big reputations and were feared could in reality be so small when he actually caught up with them. Of course, ideas such as reputation and fear were based on one’s actually cultivating them and caring about the thoughts and behaviours of others. Cramer didn’t care about all that. It could be useful to have a reputation or be feared, but in the end, in those moments of solitude or a confrontation with one person in isolation, when there was no crowd, no help, nothing but yourself, then nothing mattered except what you really were. The minutiae of life and death had nothing to do with perception or an aura. You were either good enough to stay alive or you were….


And Cramer knew what he really was.

He wasn’t a construct built up in the minds or thoughts of others. He wasn’t constructed in the discourse of people, like a fake persona, where if you let the air out, it would just diminish until there was nothing. He was….him.

I’m doing too much thinking. I think I’m getting all….connected to myself.

He smirked and raised the bottle to his mouth, taking a healthy slug of the beer.

If I’m not careful, I’ll be going to the theatre and poetry readings soon.

He shook his head.

Maybe even go to a fucking yoga class.


He looked at the phone in his other hand and then decided it was time. He punched in the number, her number, and finished the bottle of beer as he raised the phone to his ear and looked out of the window in front of his desk, the dusk starting to fall.

She answered on the first ring.

“Hello, Cramer, I see you have a new phone.”

“Yeah, you know me and my love of gadgets.”

She laughed softly.

“I’m afraid you’re the least technically connected person I know, but I find it endearing.”

He shrugged to himself in the room.

“I’ve never seen anyone win a fight with a phone or a computer,” he said. “Oh, unless it’s one of those computer game things….though I think I once stuck a guy’s head through a large television. Does that count as technically connected? It had wi-fi.”

“Only if you then logged on and downloaded something,” she chuckled.

“Oh….I downloaded,” he said. “I felt quite good after it. I can see why computer games are addictive.”

He heard her breathe in over the phone.

“I watched the news and it would appear your handling of our job made quite a splash.”

“At least his brains did anyway,” he said.

“Aaah, you and your turn of phrase, Cramer, always to the point.”

He got up as she spoke and retrieved another beer from the fridge, returning to the desk and putting his feet back on it. He thought for a few moments and then spoke.

“So I’m staying….for you. What do you need?”

She paused.

“Have you ever heard of a Macguffin?” she asked.

“Isn’t that some sort of cute-looking seabird?”

“Don’t be silly, you know well enough that’s a puffin,” she said. “A Macguffin is something that seems to be important or that people want to seem to be important, but it’s really unimportant and is meant to distract others from what is important.”

Cramer smiled as he took another sip of the beer.

“That’s a lot of…. importants, ma’am.”

“Don’t ma’am me, you’re older than me, for goodness’ sake.”

“Thanks for reminding me,” he said, with a mock sigh.

“Anyway, Garcia was a Macguffin.”

“Well if he wasn’t, he is now,” said Cramer. “Unimportant, that is.”

She giggled.

“Yes, I guess he is, but he never was.”

“Can I tell you something?”

“What?” she asked.

“Even if people were listening in on our conversations, they would have absolutely no fucking idea what we were talking about.”

She laughed. Cramer wasn’t a sentimental man, but he liked hearing her laugh.

She hasn’t had much to laugh about.

“I like to think that’s more because of your unintelligible Cramer-speak than me, dear Cramer, but I suppose you’re right.”

“Unintelligible? I’m hurt.”

“No you’re not,” she said. “So Garcia was, and still is, a Macguffin.”

“I like the idea of a Scottish Hispanic….you know, global village and all that stuff.”

“Stop it, Cramer,” she giggled, “you’re distracting me.”


“No you’re not.”

“If you keep telling me how I feel, maybe you should get into the tarot card or horoscope business.”

“Well, funny you should say that….”

Cramer took another sip of his beer.

I’m never funny.

“Go on then,” he said. “Tell me your grand plot with Macguffins and stuff.”

“I need something….something important.”

“And this is an easy job?” he said. “All of a sudden it doesn’t sound so easy if it’s so important.”

“When you first met me, you remember how I was, don’t you?”

Cramer took his feet off the desk and sat up straight.

“I….do,” he said slowly. “No need to revisit it.”

“I appreciate that, but, dear chivalrous Cramer, there is a need to revisit it,” she said. “You helped me then, but now I can help myself.”

Cramer was quiet for a moment.

“I’ll always help you. I’ll always be there….”

“I know that,” she interrupted, “but I need to help myself too. Having you there certainly makes me feel better, but I need to help myself. I need to fix things myself. Not always have you fix things. Do you understand?”

Cramer nodded in his room.

“I do.”

“I need a book, well, more a diary. It has names, dates, places. If I get that book, then I can help myself,” she said, pausing for a few seconds. “Then, I can make things right.”

“A book?”

“A book.”

Cramer ran his fingers through his short hair.

“And this will help you, make you feel even better?” he asked.

“Yes. I will still need your help, but I think I can do most of it….after I have the book.”

Cramer sat silently with the phone to his ear.

“Well, I guess it would be nice to not have you in my hair as much if we can get this done,” he said. "You know, once you've helped yourself and all."

“Oh Cramer, stop trying to be all….Cramerish….this is me you’re talking to,” she said. “You like me in your hair.”

He made a show of sighing loudly.

“What hair I have left that is.”

She giggled and again he smiled to himself.

“Don’t you get all old on me Cramer and start thinking about your mortality,” she said. “I need you.”

“I wasn’t thinking about my mortality at all. Have you ever seen me die?”

“No, and that’s the way I like it. So….”


“You’ll help me find the book?”

“I could put on a big show and pretend to think about it and pretend not to care if it helps you and try and not commit and um and aaah and all that shit….”

“But you won’t pretend?”

“I won’t,” he said. “I’ll help you get the book.”

“Thank you.”

“But this better not be a Macguffin. I’m the real deal. My time is too important to waste on Macguffins and side plots. I’m a star.”

She laughed softly.

“Oh, this is no Macguffin, dear Cramer. This is for fucking real.”

“Hey, that’s not very lady-like,” he said. “I’m a classy guy….and….for fucking real? What happened to the easy job?”

More laughter.

She’s laughing a lot. This must be big.

“I love you,” she said.

He didn’t know what to say to that.

I love you too.

But he didn’t say it.

“We’ll talk tomorrow,” he said, “I have to get something to eat and I’m scared to go out too late at night in the big city. People seem to get their heads blown off around here.”

“Yes, they do. Take care, Cramer.”

“I always do.”

Cramer ended the call and threw the phone onto the desk. He looked out of the window, the sun fading now, leaving the room dim.

I always do.
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Old 11-14-2013, 06:22 AM   #17
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Run, run, as fast as you can….

Cramer felt his knee throbbing when he woke, so he did what he always did when that happened.

He went for a run.

He felt like he had to do it….too much poor food, too much sitting around, too much….


He started out and soon he was in his normal rhythm. It had seemed like a good idea when he started, but he knew it was counter-productive to be running somewhere where the air was thick with pollution. He’d only been sitting around for a day since blowing Garcia’s retinas into the ether, but a day of inactivity was a long time for Cramer. All the sitting around and waiting had made him edgy. If there was one thing he hated, it was sitting around doing nothing. Instead, he’d decided to go for a run, sucking in deep breaths of contaminated air, but at least he was moving. At this time of the morning, all the denizens of Intersect City were either asleep or just passive bodies around him.

He drew an imaginary line at the corner of a building and when he crossed it, he pushed himself out to three quarter pace for a while, his feet hitting the ground and then pulling him forwards in long strides. He felt old, he knew he was old, but he still had it. In short bursts, there was no difference between what he was ten years ago and what he was now. It just meant that things had to be done more quickly, no time for hesitation, no time for outlasting his foes, whoever they might be.

I’m old, but I’m not done.

She was going to call him later and then he could start working. The quicker he started working, the quicker he could get back.


Out of the City.

She’d asked him the question as if he could say no. He didn’t like the City and he didn’t like that she lived there, but he couldn’t say no, not to her.

You’ll help me find the book?

Of course, he would help her find the book.

Silly question.

She was thinking of him, knowing that when he started something, he finished it, no matter what the consequences. She worried about him. She was the only one who did.

I love you.


He stepped it out a little more, nearly at full pace, the buildings going past in a blur on one side, the parked cars flying by on the other. He needed to think and Cramer could only think when he was doing something, whereas others stopped doing something so they could think. Standing still meant dying. Standing still got you nowhere. Standing still….


He could feel his body heating up and all the old aches starting to appear, but he kept running, not at one hundred percent, but his “not at one hundred percent” was better than the one hundred percent of most.

Stopping would be weak. Cramer had lived with pain all of his life and it wasn’t always in his knee or his ankle or his shoulder. Pain was always there.

Just fucking run.

She wouldn’t ask him lightly. She was….her. There were things between them that could never be understood by anyone else. Most people would cringe at what he knew about her, or they would judge or talk. Most of the talkers weren’t talking anymore. Even running, Cramer could smirk about that. He’d made sure the talkers were quiet.

Ultimately, that’s why he here was here, running on the streets of Intersect City. She needed him, so that’s where he would be. She was the only one who ever needed Cramer, who knew him, who could call him and talk to him. For most people who came across Cramer, those who saw him, they usually found that he was the last thing they would ever see.

He pushed harder. Now he was close to one hundred percent effort. Cramer was in full flight, sucking in air, his body almost making a “whooshing” sound as he sped along the pavement. It was only for a short time, but it was Cramer like he used to be, the best. His body was moist now under his shirt, covered in a film of sweat and he could feel the sharp pain growing in his knee.

Fuck that.

Another block.

Then I’ll stop.

His knee was screaming now, but he reached the end of the block and then started to pull up, gradually slowing until he was at a walk. He kept breathing through his nose even though he was alone, showing control, showing that he wasn’t spent. His knee was throbbing fiercely, like a knife had been plunged into it, but he maintained his gait, not allowing the pain to change how he moved, change who he was, change anything.

Fuck pain.

It’s only a knee.

He walked at a steady pace. He still had a few blocks to go, but there was no rush. Cramer was on his own time. She would call when she said she would, after breakfast. They had no strict guidelines, they just knew that they trusted each other. They were the only ones that each of them could trust. Soon he would know what to do and if there was something he most wanted, it was something to do, something to fix.

For her.

Then he could leave the City and she would have what she wanted. She would be safe and maybe she would be….fixed and leave the City too.

The sweat trickled down the back of his neck, tangible evidence of his effort. He liked results, the signs of what he’d done and sweat was a tangible result.

Like bodies.

Cramer kept walking. He wasn’t far from his hotel now.

Bodies piling up.

How…..Cramerish, she would say.

He smiled at the innocent way she would say that.


He didn’t think he was a bad man, he’d never thought that, it was just that bad things were drawn to him. Bad things found him and then he did something about them.

He fixed them.

For her.


She’d brought bad things with her, they’d followed her, but he’d done something about them. He thought he’d handled all that there was to be handled, back when he’d first met her. He was a pragmatist, not the most sensitive or empathetic person, so he’d figured she was ok once he’d removed her….problems. He’d been wrong, not for the first time. Now, there were more bad things and she wanted them all fixed. Now she wanted to be ok forever.

He kept walking, his pace steady. He was nearly at his hotel.

Time for breakfast.

And then she would call.

He would help her make it ok.

She wanted to be able to do it for herself. He wished for her sake that she could.

But if she couldn’t….

He would help her make it ok.

He always did.

He was Cramer.
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Old 02-02-2014, 02:19 AM   #18
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Cramer and Dr. Seuss

Cramer stood on the corner after breakfast. The wind was funnelling up the concrete canyons that were Intersect City and he wore a long Drizabone coat over his tshirt and jeans. He leaned against the light pole, short grey hair and his hands in his pockets, watching the milieu of citizens going about their daily business.

Fucking cold.

The city was not nearly as threatening in the daylight as it was in the evening, but that didn’t bother him. What bothered him was that the city had two sides and there were two different populations, the day people and the night people. The night people ruled the city and the day people let it happen.

What a life.

As long as they could earn their pittance and get back to the safety of their apartments and their mundane life before it got dark, the day people didn’t care about who really ran the city. Cramer could never understand this, but then, he didn’t really understand much about most people or the city.

His eyes kept scanning the intersection, looking for her. He didn’t want to be here. He didn’t like the city, but she needed him, so he was there, standing on the corner in a long coat, a gun in each pocket.

He snorted to himself, thinking of what would happen if he lived in the city.

No one runs anything I don’t want them to run.

He slowly took his left hand out of a pocket and looked at his watch: 10:30am. She’d be here soon, she never let him down. Of course, he’d never let her down either, but Cramer knew that most people were not as au fait with quid pro quo as they both were.

She was the only person who knew Cramer, or at least, she was the only living person who knew Cramer.

He slid his hand back into the pocket of his coat and scanned the intersection again and smiled. He watched a small figure walk to the edge of the kerb across from him and settle at the back of the crowd waiting to cross the street.


She had a coat on too and the hood was pulled over her head, but she was the only one who moved like that. He looked up directly at her as she stood waiting for the lights to change, his face expressionless.

The lights changed and she briskly crossed the street towards him, her small face breaking into a smile that was big enough for the both of them. She walked up to him and wrapped her arms around him, her head nestling into his chest.


He hesitated for a moment and then raised his arms and placed them around her stiffly, a small smile on his face that she couldn’t see. She stood back a little and pulled her hood away, standing on her toes so that she could kiss his cheek.

“It’s not often someone is happy to see me,” he said.

“I’m not…someone,” she said, with a smile. “You love me.”

He pursed his lips in a small smile.

“So you say.”

She nodded, laughing softly.

“I do.”

He looked at her, his eyebrows raised.

“And…..green hair?”

She chuckled.

“I knew you’d be surprised. For a killer, you’re very conservative.”

“I think you look like something out of the Lorax.”

She grinned.

“The Lorax?” she said. “No Shakespeare or Keats or Dickens today. You’re becoming….common.”

The side of his mouth curled up slightly.

“Common is good. No one notices common. I don’t like to be noticed.”

She stepped back from him a little, her arms still around his waist.

“Everything you do is noticed, Cramer, it’s just that people don’t know it’s you. You’re very good at that.”

He shrugged slightly.

“I’m good at a lot of things.”

“Except humility?”

He nodded and smiled.

“Except humility.”

She let go of him and slipped the hood back over her head.

“Fuck, it’s cold,” she muttered.

“Such language,” he said, as her hand slipped into his. “The city is rubbing off on you.”

She shook her head.

“No, I’m only here to finish this business, then I’m gone.”

“With me?”

“With you,” she paused for a moment. “If that’s ok, of course.”

He nodded and his voice went lower.

“It’s ok.”

She took a few steps and pulled him with her and they began to walk down the street hand in hand. Her hand felt so small in his and all he wanted to do was pick her up and wrap his arms around her.

Not now. This is her deal. Her job. I'm only here to help.

“This is the end game, dear Cramer,” she said, her eyes looking forward as they walked. “I want to finish this, to cleanse myself, to start again.”

He nodded.

“I understand.”

“But I need to do it my way.”

“I understand that too, I’ve thought about it. It’s not easy for me….to follow. But if it’s you,” he paused, “I can follow….this once.”

It was her turn to nod.

“Thank you.”

They walked, crowds around them, but Cramer felt like they were the only two people on the street. He understood that she wanted to do this, although it didn’t make it easier for him and he would never lie that it was. There was a lot of programming he needed to get past before it would be easy and Cramer didn’t think that he would ever fully get past it. He rationalised that if he helped her in this project and respected her wishes, then that was the best he could do for now.

They stopped and stood at the kerb waiting for a light.

“So where are we going?” he asked.

“A travel agency.”

“I don’t need a holiday.”

“Well, we’re not having a holiday just yet, my lovely Cramer.”


“You remember how you found me?”

He nodded, squeezing his lips together, his cheeks hollowing as he looked forward and avoided her eyes.

“There’s no need to raise it again. I know, you know. It’s there….forever.”

She squeezed his hand gently.

“I know that, but the people who run the travel agency, I’ve found out that they were the ones involved in getting me here.”

He nodded again.


The lights changed and they started walking again.

“Yes,” she said. “So they’ll know who hired them to….get me.”

“Sounds plausible,” he said, happy to be just listening. Cramer could listen to her for hours.

“And they’ll have a book,” she continued. “The book will have the names of everyone that hires them.”

“So it’s just not for you then?”

“No,” she replied. “It’s to stop this happening to others too.”

“So noble.”

“Don’t fuck with me, Cramer,” she said, lightly smiling. “Nearly everything you do is noble. In fact, you’d be a perfect guy to bring home to the parents.”

“If I didn’t hurt people and shoot them, I guess.”

“Well everyone has their quirks,” she said. “Yours is killing people.”

“Wow, one minute I’m conservative, the next I’m quirky. I might be the next big thing.”

“The world’s not quite ready for that, I think,” she said. “Maybe you can revel in your quirkiness with me for a while?”

Cramer smirked as they walked.

“I wouldn’t like being popular anyway,” he said. “It would be difficult to get my work done, as in fact it will be even now.”

She looked across at him as they continued to walk down the street.


“Well, how do you expect me to keep a straight face when I’m looking at your hair? All I can think of is that damned Lorax.”

She stopped suddenly, looking at him and laughing, her hand still in his.

“Oh, Cramer, I love you.”

He frowned with a wry smile on his lips.

I love you too.

But he didn’t say anything.

Last edited by Fish_Tales : 02-02-2014 at 02:23 AM.
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Old 02-11-2014, 06:44 AM   #19
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Come Fly With Me

They walked for two more blocks. The traffic, both vehicular and pedestrian, had slowed as the people in the city settled down to their work. Cramer never felt as settled and comfortable as when he was with her, but he thought that in this instance it was not necessarily a good thing.

Comfortable people die.

He would feel better if he was doing this himself, the usual way. She called, he did what had to be done. It had been that way for a long time. Now, she wanted to do it together.

For her.

It was not the best way to do it, but it was the right way.

For her.

He felt a pull on his hand as she slowed and then stopped, turning to face the entrance of a tall building. He stood beside her.

“This is it,” she said.

Cramer nodded at her and then looked back at the building. The sign at the top, more than fifty stories high, bore the name of an insurance company.

“So they must let some space in here,” he said.

“Yes,” she said.

“I guess abducting young women is not exactly the sort of business you want to get too big or otherwise you have to put a sign on the top of your building like other companies do.”

“Oh, they’re big alright,” she said quietly, “they just know how to hide it well.”

Cramer gave her hand a small squeeze.

“Like me.”

“Not from me you don’t,” she said, squeezing back.

“I haven’t asked you,” he said. ”What are you calling yourself for this part of the job?”

She squeezed his hand again and breathed in slowly through her nose, her lips pressed tightly.


Cramer raised an eyebrow and glanced across at her.

“The name they gave you? Are you sure? You don’t have to….”

“Stop it,” she said quickly. “It’s the name they know me by. I want to scare the fuck out of them the way you do. I want them to know I’m coming, that we’re coming.”

She paused for a moment.

“Only you know my name, dear Cramer. I don’t want anyone to ever use that, except you.”

He kept looking forward at the entrance to the building and she continued.

“You picked me up. You put me back together. You held me. You fed me. You talked to me. You brought me back. No questions. No judgement. You….loved me. No one, but none one, except you can use my name.”

This time she squeezed his hand so tightly that the tips of her fingers turned white. They stood in silence for a few moments before Cramer spoke. He never knew what to say when it was like this.

One day I’ll know what to say.

He hoped that his hand was good enough for now. He had to deflect what he was feeling, for him and for her. Now was not the time for him to stop being him, stop being Cramer. She knew, but he still had to deflect.

“Who is it we’re looking for?”

“James Clifton. He’s the CEO of Getaway Travel.”

“A way with words,” said Cramer, rolling his eyes.

She giggled softly.

“Not like you.”

“Of course not, I’m the smartest guy you know.”

She laughed a little more loudly.

“You most certainly are.”

Cramer turned to face her.

“Now….um….Mia,” he said. “How is this supposed to work? You’re in charge.”

He spoke with no hint of condescension. This was her job, her rules.

I promised.

I’ll follow.

“Thank you,” she said softly.

He shrugged and smiled as he waited for her to continue, all the while holding her hand even as they looked at each other.

“I just want the book, the records, wherever it is they keep their information. I….just….want….it.”

Cramer waited, looking at her. Her eyes were getting shiny, but most people needed this time to let things out before a job, especially a dangerous one, and she had to let it out.

Everyone needs a why. This is her why.

“I want to know who his customers are. I want him to pay. I want them to pay. I want to know who the girls are. I want to know where they are. I….”

Cramer took his free hand from the pocket of his coat and pressed a finger to her lips gently.

“One thing at a time,” he said. “This is your job and I’ll do what you say and give you whatever help you need, but I’m good at this.”

She nodded and whispered through her lips as he took his finger away.

“I know.”

“So I’m hoping,” he said, “that I’m still allowed to make suggestions.”

She smiled, her eyes glistening from the aborted tears.


He nodded.

“Thank you,” he said. “One thing at a time, even though it’s boring. We need to break it up into discrete components. First, we find Clifton and then we find the records, or the book, as you call it. That way, we can tick off each part of the job as we do it. We’ll get the records, that’s the first part.”

“I’m sorry….”

“Don’t be sorry,” he said. “It’s just easier that way and I have more….experience than you at this.”

“Of course.”

“So,” he said. “It’s your job. What are we doing right now?”

“We go in there and find him,” she said. “They only sit on one floor so it shouldn’t be too hard to find him once we’re in there.”

“Do you want us to sneak in or do you want us to smash our way in?”

Cramer palmed the gun in his coat pocket, giving it a squeeze.

“I thought we could sneak in, pretend like we’re looking to book a holiday.”

He smiled.

“See? That’s where you’re more sophisticated than I am,” he said. “I would just blast my way in.”

“It takes all kinds, Cramer. It’s like studying philosophy, there’s no right or wrong.”

“No right or wrong?” he shook his head ruefully. “Sister Mary Frances always had a right or wrong. My knuckles can bear testimony to the fact that I was usually wrong.”

She laughed.

“What?” he asked, frowning.

“I know you better than anyone else, yet I still can’t believe my conservative killer can use terms like....bear testimony to the fact. You’re a dichotomous conundrum,” she said.

Cramer’s expression didn’t change.

“You’re just trying to seduce me with big words.”

She winked at him.

“Is it working?”

“Let’s just say your loquaciousness doesn’t drive me away.”

“You’re hot,” she smirked.

And the next big thing,” he said, “but we should really go in and find Clifton before I’m mobbed by fans. So the sneak….”

“The sneak?” she asked.

“Yeah,” he said. “How do we sneak in quietly without them knowing what we’re there for? After all, I thought you had an idea.”

“Nothing fancy,” she said with a shrug. “We go in pretending to book a holiday. Easy.”

“To where? For when?”

She smirked.

“You really are conservative, aren’t you?”

“I just like to have everything covered.”

“I was going to pretend to have just graduated and you’re my father taking me on a holiday as a treat.”

Her eyes were twinkling now and she grinned.

“Hang on,” he said quickly with a small cough. “Your….father?

“Well, we have to make it believable.”

His brow furrowed.

“Are you saying that I look old enough to be your dad?”

“It’s believable,” she said, starting to shake a little, barely able to repress laughter.

Cramer shook his head slowly.

“You see?”

“What?” she asked, smiling.

Cramer made an obvious show of sighing, but squeezed her hand again.

“This is why I always work alone.”

She took a step towards him and kissed him on the chin.

“Not anymore,” she whispered.

He leaned back a little and ran his fingers through his short, greying hair.

“Yeah, great.”

But he smiled.

It really is great.

End game.

About time.

Be free, Mia.

With me.
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Old 07-16-2014, 03:05 AM   #20
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Succinctness is a Virtue

They stood in front of the building for a few moments.

“Best we get started,” said Cramer, “before I fall to the ground like a whimpering sentimental fool.”

Mia nodded and giggled.

“Problem is, my dear lovely Cramer, you are sentimental, you just don’t admit it.”

He grunted and let her small hand slip out of his as they began to walk to the building’s entrance. They were soon in a small reception area where a single guard in a blue shirt with yellow stains around his armpits sat behind a large counter. Cramer thought it was fortunate that the desk was large as the guard was by no means a small man. Unfortunately, his size was not the result of working out and gravity wasn’t doing him any favours.

Unless eating donuts is working out.

The guard didn’t seem very interested in his new visitors, so Cramer followed Mia to the business display board and found Getaway Travel to be on the third floor. They walked silently to the elevators and one opened immediately.

Not a busy place.


Cramer looked across to Mia as they rode the short trip upwards.


She nodded.

He couldn’t help reaching across and giving her hand a quick squeeze just before the doors opened.

Fuck, maybe she’s right and I am sentimental?

They walked out into a small reception area and there was a glass door straight across from the elevator.

Getaway Travel.

They walked the short distance and Cramer opened the door, holding it for Mia and then following her to the desk where a large woman with short dark hair sat typing. She looked up at them.

“Hi. How can I help you?

Cramer left it to Mia.

“I’m here to talk about taking a holiday. I’ve just finished school and,” she looked towards Cramer, “daddy is going to buy it for me as a present.”

Cramer clenched his jaw.

Daddy. Fuck.

Am I that old?

“How nice of him,” the woman said. “I’m Brenda, by the way.”

“I’m Mia.”

Cramer just stood there and pretended to be completely disinterested. He was looking at the door behind Brenda that most probably led to the office since there were no other doors from the reception area.

Clifton will be in there.

He kept watching the door while listening to Brenda.

“….and where would you like to go?”

“Oh, I don’t know…” said Mia in her best approximation of a young woman with not a care in the world. “I was thinking Europe somewhere. Maybe Paris….”

“Oh,” replied the woman, as if Mia had just suggested a solution to global warming, ”Paris is lovely at this time of year. It’s expensive, of course, but you have graduated after all and your father seems very generous.”

Cramer raised an eyebrow and kept looking at the door. If he clenched his jaw any harder, he’d drive his teeth through it.

“Yes, daddy is very generous,” gushed Mia, emphasising daddy and giving him a light tap on the forearm.

Fuck me. The youth of today have no respect….

The woman picked up some brochures from her desk and placed them on their side where they were both still standing.

“You’re welcome to sit and have a look through those if you like.”

Mia paused for a moment.

“Actually, we’d really like to talk to Mr. Clifton.”

The woman’s eyes opened a little more widely, just enough for them to know that it was an unusual request.

“I’m sure I can handle it.”

“I’m sure you can,” said Mia with a smile, “but I think he could help me better to find what I want.”

The woman sat back a little in her chair.

I can help you. Mr. Clifton doesn’t involve himself with the travel side of the business.”

Mia nodded.

“Not in holiday travel, at least,” she said softly.

The woman’s eyes widened again and she started to move forward in her chair.

“What do you mean….?”

Cramer moved suddenly and in an instant he was beside Brenda, his hip touching her shoulder, watching her hands.

“Don’t move them,” he said quietly. "Not an inch."

He could see the button under her desk. It would be a warning to the office.


Brenda breathed in and her face turned from Mia to look at him.


Cramer shook his head.

“You’re safe,” he said. “….for now. Is Clifton in the office? And please, no noise, ok?”

She nodded.


“Does that mean yes he’s in the office or yes, no noise. Both would be appreciated,” he said, his face cold.

“Yes….to both,” she said.

He nodded and turned to Mia.

“Well, I think Miss Brenda here has been most cooperative. Now we should see Clifton.”

What about her?” said Mia.

Cramer tapped his temple with his finger.

“You’re getting good at this….daughter,” he said sarcastically.

Mia smiled.

Cramer turned back to the woman.

“All your clothes off….now.”

The woman looked at him in horror and then glanced at Mia.


Cramer rolled his eyes and shook his head.

“Believe me,” he said, “whatever you’re thinking, you’re safe. I want all your clothes off. Phones are very small these days and I can’t be bothered searching you. Now….off….all of them.”

Cramer casually pulled the automatic out of his pocket and looked at it, as if it was just something he was interested in. He looked from the gun to Mia, back to the gun and then back to Brenda.

He smiled.

Brenda’s eyes widened again and she stood up, slowly starting to take off her clothing, pantyhose first and then the rest until she was down to her underwear. She stopped and looked at him.

Cramer smiled again.

“Much as I hate to say this, but the lot, Miss Brenda….”


“You’re safe. Now, all of it,” he growled softly.

The woman removed the rest of her clothing and then stood naked. Cramer produced plastic ties from his coat pocket, pulled her arms behind her back and then zipped her wrists together tightly.

“Best you sit now,” he said.

The woman sat back down in her chair and then Cramer knelt down and bound her ankles together the same way. He looped another tie through the one around her ankles and then bound her to the foot of the chair. Then he looped a final tie between her ankles and the chair and tied her to the foot of the desk. He stood up, turned to the desk and took the computer and phone from in front of her and walked quietly to place them on the other side of the room.

“Now, ma’am,” he said, looking at her, “can I trust you to keep quiet? If I can’t, then I can….make….you quiet.”

The woman nodded.

“I’ll be quiet.”

Cramer smiled and spoke softly again.

“Yes, that would be for the best,” he said, nodding. “Thank you.”

The woman was shaking and Cramer knew he wouldn’t have a problem with her. He kept looking at her and slowly pulled the slide back on the gun, making sure that she heard the click. If he did have a problem, then….


Mia had been silent the whole time. He looked at her.

“This is your gig. Do we see Mr. Clifton now?”

She nodded, still looking at the naked woman tied to the chair.

“Yes,” she whispered.

She knows we’re in the game now. No turning back.

In for a penny, in for a pound. Sister Mary Frances used to say that, usually just before she rapped me over the knuckles with a wooden ruler.

“I hate to be rude, but maybe I should go through the door first?” he said.


“But then you do all the talking.”

Mia looked at the gun and then back to Cramer.

“I think your introduction will be most eloquent and well understood.”

Cramer smiled and raised the gun and pointed it at the door before bringing it back to his side.

“I abhor miscommunication.”


Last edited by Fish_Tales : 07-16-2014 at 03:33 AM.
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Old 07-27-2014, 05:49 PM   #21
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If You Want Blood....

Cramer glanced one last time at Brenda strapped to her chair, placing his index finger to his lips and smiling.


But a smile.

Lucky for her.

For now.

“Ok, boss,” he said to Mia. “You ready?”

She nodded.

Cramer walked to the door, then whispered to her.

“I’ll be bad cop and you’ll be good cop.”

Mia raised an eyebrow.

“You’re much worse than a bad cop, Cramer, but I can’t even think of a word for it.”

Cramer smiled and turned back to the door. He figured Clifton’s desk would face the opening. He also figured that he would have a gun close by and a buzzer under his desk as well.

I have to be fast.

I’m still fast for an old fucker.

He looked across to Mia who was now at his side and whispered again.

“On three, ok,” he said. “You remember how I count?”

Her hand reached out to gently squeeze his right hand, the one not holding the gun.

“One cat and dog….” she said softly.

Cramer smiled and nodded.

“Ok. On three. One cat and dog…****o cat and dog….”

Cramer turned on the handle at the same moment as he smashed forwards through the door at a run. It took fractions of a second for him to assess his distance from the desk in front of him and in two strides, plus a jump, he dove over the desk, spear tackling the man behind it.

The two men crashed over backwards and Cramer made sure the other man’s body was below him as they hit the floor.

“Hmmmmph….” was the only sound the other man made.

Clifton had the air knocked out of him as he hit the floor and Cramer’s elbow sat on his chest, the gun in his left hand quickly pressed to Clifton’s forehead as paper fluttered around them.

"Hi, James,” said Cramer with a smile.

Mia came rushing into the room behind them.

“I thought you said on three,” she said.

Cramer pressed the barrel of the gun to Clifton’s head and nodded without turning.

“I didn’t know how much fire power our travel agent friend might have,” he said, looking Clifton in the eyes. “Can’t have the boss getting hurt.”

“How noble of you,” she said, “but you still lied.”

“Well, technically I lied,” said Cramer, “but I think Sister Mary Frances would approve in this specific instance.”

Clifton moved under Cramer’s body.

“What the….”

It was the first words he’d said, the air coming back to him. Cramer moved his free arm down so that his forearm was across Clifton’s throat. He leaned, placing some weight on it.

Just a little.

For now.

Cramer’s eyes looked directly at Clifton’s face. The barrel of the gun was pressed so tightly onto his forehead that there was now a small white ring around it.

“The lady is going to ask you some questions, understand?”

Clifton had small beads of sweat on his balding head and tried to nod, but struggled with the gun on his forehead and Cramer’s forearm on his throat.

“Yes….” he gurgled.

“I find him somewhat difficult to comprehend,” said Mia.

Cramer relieved the pressure on Clifton’s throat and eased himself back onto his haunches, leaving the gun pressed to the man’s head.

“Say something now, James.”

“Yes,” said Clifton much more easily.

“That better?” said Cramer, still looking at Clifton.

“Yes,” he heard Mia say softly.

Cramer looked back at her. She had moved forward a little, her eyes fixed on Clifton.

“Do you remember me?” she asked.

Clifton shook his head.

“I was one of the girls.”

“What girls?” he said, breathing heavily.

Cramer thumped his free hand sharply into Clifton’s soft belly.

“Don’t fuck with us….”

Mia interrupted him.

“Cramer,” she said. “My way.”

Cramer breathed in slowly through his nose, clenched his jaw and nodded. He then looked back to Clifton.

“Yes….your way,” he said finally through tight lips.

“I was one of your girls,” Mia continued,” the girls you kidnapped and sold.”

Clifton started to tremble and some of the beads of sweat on his head were joining up, forming larger beads and then starting to flow in small rivulets down his shiny scalp.

“I didn’t know….”

Mia raised her hand, shaking her head slowly.

“Please….no bullshit….you know….you….knew.”

Clifton’s eyes started to go glassy.

Cramer pressed the gun down harder into Clifton’s forehead and shook his head.

“I swear, if he fucking starts crying….”

“Cramer,” said Mia softly. “Please.”

Cramer looked to her, then back to Clifton.

“Sorry,” he said quietly. “In my world, cunts lose the right to tears.”

Mia nodded behind him.

“Now, Mr. Clifton,” she said. “We want to know where they go….the girls….who pays you?”

Clifton’s breathing was shallow and rapid now and he started to move his hand. Cramer punched him in his stomach again.

He looked back to Mia and smirked.


Mia’s mouth curled slightly at one side and then she spoke again.

“We want to know who pays you and where the girls have gone. We have to know where they go.”

Clifton shook his head.

“Please, no, they’ll kill me.”

Mia looked at him, then at Cramer, then brought her eyes back to Clifton. She furrowed her brow.

“Mr. Clifton,” she said evenly, “I don’t know these people, but they cannot be worse than Cramer.”

She paused before speaking slowly.

“I assure you, nobody is worse than Cramer.”

Cramer tilted his head at Clifton in a mock coquettish way and smiled.

“She’s lovely with her compliments, isn’t she?” he said.

“I can’t,” Clifton gasped, sweat now pouring from his head. “I just can’t….”

Mia moved closer to the two men.

“You must, Mr. Clifton, or I will have to leave you with Cramer, just like I left Garcia.”

Clifton’s eyes widened and now there was snot blowing from his nose each time he took a laboured breath. His top lip was shiny with sweat and snot and Cramer had to look away for a moment in revulsion.

“Garcia?....You did that….?”

Mia nodded.

“And there were four of them, Mr. Clifton,” she said softly. “Just imagine if I leave you and Cramer alone. Just you….and him.”

She wrapped her arms around herself and shuddered gently.

“Even after what you did to me, even then, I wouldn’t wish that on you.”

“Please,” Clifton said, starting to cry. “Please….”

Cramer punched him again in the belly.

Good Macguffin. At least Garcia’s demise was not a wasted exercise.

Smart girl.

I guess I taught her well.

Really,” Cramer said, looking back to Mia. “I really do hate crying.”

Mia smiled.

“I know, dear Cramer,” she said, “but I think Mr. Clifton is about to help us….aren’t you?”

Clifton nodded, forcing his forehead to press even harder against the barrel of Cramer’s gun.

“And you can tell me all of them, even the one who paid for me?”

Clifton’s body shook, tears, snot and spit running down his cheeks and chin.


“That’s good,” said Mia, smiling softly, “very good.”

Clifton moved his eyes towards the other side of the room.

“There,” he said, “behind the picture. There’s a safe.”

Mia nodded and she moved towards it, a photo of a beach, the waves rolling onto it gently.

Waves were like people.

They came and they went.

Like Clifton.

But he didn’t have to know that now.

She took the photo from the wall and saw the small door of a safe with an electronic keypad, the red lights all showing “0”.

“The code, Mr. Clifton.”

Clifton moaned and then Cramer started to raise his fist again.

“No….please….,” he said quickly. “It’s 4396.”

Mia pressed the numbers in and the small door opened. Inside there was a small notebook and also a memory device.

“I would say voila,” said Cramer, “but that would sound pretentious.”

Mia took the items from the safe and then turned back to Cramer.

“How about eureka?”

Cramer smiled.

“I was always partial to Archimedes, and what better way to make a discovery than in the bath and naked?”

“And then running down the street naked,” added Mia.

“Now that you mention it,” said Cramer with a smirk and a wink, “you’ve just made a pretty big discovery.”

Mia laughed.

“If you think I’m running around naked in this frigid city, dear Cramer, then you have another thing coming. Even for you, that’s too cruel.”

Cramer nodded. Clifton was still crying on the floor.

“I’ve had enough of this snivelling fuck….what do we do now?”

“Well we got what we came for,” said Mia. “It’s probably time to leave.”

Cramer smiled.

“I was thinking the same thing.”

Keeping the gun barrel pressed hard onto Clifton’s forehead, he reached with his free arm behind him and under his coat, pulling out a knife from his pants. One edge was sharp, the blade cruelly gleaming and the other was serrated. He held up it up for Mia.

Her eyes narrowed slightly.

“We have what we came for, dear Cramer.”

“I know,” he said, Clifton starting to sob now. “But I figured we should leave a message.”

“A message?”

“Yes. I subscribe to the theory that people who know what’s coming are more scared and make more mistakes. ‘Tis the way of scum.” He paused. “Didn’t Dante say that?”

“I’m not sure,” said Mia. “It certainly doesn’t sound like something he would say.”

“Ok, maybe I said that,” said Cramer with a smile. “What I’m saying is Clifton here can be our own little post it note, and we leave him here to let the others know we’re coming.”

“A human post it note,” she said softly. “Geeez.”

Cramer moved the knife to be in Clifton’s view.

“Yeah….geez is probably what James here is thinking right now.”

She shook her head slowly, her lips pursed.

“And you think this would be effective, sending a message?”

Cramer nodded.

“Yes, most effective.”

“Well, you’re the best.”

“Yes I am.”

“And the least modest,” she said with a smile.

“Well the best would be insincere if he showed false modesty.”

They were ignoring Clifton, but suddenly he started to sob more loudly.

Cramer frowned down at him, but kept talking to Mia.

“I was thinking something religious, you know, at least it would be worthy.”


Clifton was starting to writhe, but Cramer had the gun on his skull and his knee on his chest.

“Yes. Have you heard of stigmata?”

“I have,” nodded Mia. “Isn’t that where people start to bleed from their wrists and feet and it’s supposed to be the coming of Jesus.”

Cramer nodded.

“Well aren’t you a very good Sunday School student,” he said. “Yes, they were first mentioned in St.Paul’s Letter to the Galatians.”

“Galatians? Who were they?”

Cramer shrugged and shook his head.

“It’s not like I went to Sunday School much myself. The only time I went was to beat the shit out of my high school girlfriend’s minister. He’d been….inappropriate.”

“Dear Cramer,” said Mia, “always trying to save everyone.”

Cramer snorted.


She leaned forward a little and spoke in a whisper.

“Maybe Sir Galahad Cramer, we should send our message and then get out of here? We can always discuss the merits of Dante, the Bible and Malory at another time.”

“Good idea,” he said. “But I think you should leave the room. It will be a messy message and our post it note may end up somewhat….sticky. It's one of the side-effects of stigmata.”

Mia breathed in deeply and nodded.

“Yes, I think that would be best.”

She turned and walked towards the door, the handle and lock smashed by Cramer’s explosive entrance. She paused and looked back at the two men.

“Do what you have to do,” she said evenly, looking down at Clifton with a blank face.

Mia pulled closed what was left of the door and walked into the reception area. Brenda was still in place, but she was crying too.

“It’s ok,” said Mia, “it really is.”

And then the screaming started.

Last edited by Fish_Tales : 07-27-2014 at 05:52 PM.
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Old 08-07-2014, 11:55 PM   #22
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They were in Cramer’s room. He sat with his rear on the desk, the last of the day’s sun filtering through the window behind him. His coat was off now and he felt better for it. He had a beer in his hand and he was listening to Mia, something he found easy to do.

At least easier than most things.

Except killing.

Mia sat on the bed across from him, her legs crossed and her back against the wall. The electronic storage device and the notebook were next to her.

“That seemed too easy,” she said.

Cramer just watched her and took a sip of his beer.

“I’ve learnt to never think of things as too easy.” He paused and took a sip of his beer, measuring his words like he always did. “Or too hard. For me, there’s not too….anything.”

He shrugged.

“Mmmhmm…” she nodded. “I know that. What you did for me was hard….it was….”

Cramer held up his hand, stopping her.

“I’ve told you, there’s no reason to ever mention that again.”

“It’s just that what you did for me when I was nothing to you….”

“You were never nothing to me,” he said, cutting her off again. “You were always something. Now you’re more, probably more than more….now you’re everything.”

There was silence in the room for a moment. It was an easy silence. A silence borne of things that never needed to be spoken, but that were there, as tangible as if there was an elephant sitting on the floor between them.

“Ok, but for the amount of people on his books and for who they actually are, you would think they would be more careful.”

Cramer shrugged again.

“This is Intersect City. People think they are untouchable. They think that no one can touch them. One of the major failings these people have is hubris.”


“Yes, they think they are above everything and that nothing can happen to them or touch them.”

Mia nodded at him, the sun leaving him in a silhouette, his outline visible, broad shoulders, short hair, but the contrast leaving his face darkened, almost invisible. He was calm and capable and if one could love the Devil, then Cramer was her Devil. She always felt safe and invincible when she was with him.

“But things can happen to them,” she said softly.

Cramer nodded and smiled over the top of his now empty bottle.

“They can,” he said impassively. “And they will.”

He walked to the fridge and retrieved another beer, standing at the open door and looking to her. She shook her head, so he closed it and walked back to lean against the desk again.

“So how do we work this?” she said.

“Clifton’s messy demise will attract attention, especially after Garcia.”

“They’ll do something, won’t they?”

Cramer smiled.

“They will and then their hubris will fuck them.”

“Hubris….” said Mia softly, letting the word hang.


“You know, Cramer,” she said, “I’ve never had anyone say that word to me.”

“There are many things I do that no one does.”

“I was thinking it’s more what you don’t do that makes you different.”

“Don’t do?”

“Yes, you never quit. You’re never scared,” she said. “And you never let me down.”

Cramer looked at her.

“The operative word there is me, or rather, you. Only for you.”

He said it without any hint of emotion or condescension and she smiled.

“I know.”

His lip curled slightly.

“I’m sure no one else thinks that of me.”

“Most certainly not Clifton,” she said.

“Most certainly indeed.”

Mia looked directly at him.



“You seemed to be more ruthless with him compared to how you normally are.”


Was it because of me, because he was part of it?”


“I don’t mind that,” she said. “Please realise that. I understand, just so you know.”

“Yes….I know.”

“Because you love me.”

Cramer paused for a moment and clenched his jaw.


Mia smiled.

“That’s not so hard to say, is it?”


“Well, I actually know it is, but I appreciate you saying it.”


She looked across at him, as if drawing her thoughts together. He didn’t feel comfortable when she discussed such things and she knew it. They struck a nerve and he usually tried to avoid it. She always felt the need to draw him out, to make him feel able to say it, to articulate it, to her. Just for her. For her he could do it.


But he could.

“I guess what I was saying,” she said, “without trying to sound sick, is that I appreciate that it’s your feelings for me that cause you to go outside the measured things that you normally do. I know how much you dislike changing what you do.”

Cramer nodded.

“It’s for you,” he said quietly.

“I know that, but I also know that you don’t do anything you don’t want to do.”

Cramer raised one of his palms towards the ceiling and took another sip of his beer.

“True, but it’s you.” He looked at her. "Don't make me say it again."

“You always say that, dear Cramer, and while I sort of understand, I don’t fully understand.”

Cramer lifted himself up onto the desk so that his feet were off the floor.

“It’s simple. You disarm me.”

“Disarm you?”

I have to tell her the truth. I have to let it out. Just talk. She knows anyway, but I have to tell her.

For her.

He nodded.

“From the first time I met you.”

“I was young with no way out.”

Cramer nodded again.

“But you had the spark. Something I can’t really explain. I could see what you could be, and I was going to be a part of making you be that.”

“You’ve done that, Cramer, “ she said, her voice lowering. “I think that I love you more than I love me.”

“That would be silly.”

She looked at him unblinking.

“Piece by fucking piece, Cramer, you put me back together. Loving you is loving me.”

Cramer looked away for a moment before taking a long swig of his beer.

Anymore of this and I think I might do something silly like cry.

He looked back to Mia.

“You are a child of the Universe no less than the trees and the stars….with all its shame, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.”

Mia felt her chest and throat become tight.


“Yes,” Cramer said, “he says it so much better than I could. I wanted to put your dreams back together and even though I don’t agree that the world is beautiful, I wanted to make it so for you.”

He looked directly at her and she felt a tear run down her cheek.

“Ehrmann may say it, Cramer, but you did it and you still do it.”

He nodded.

Mia patted the bed next to her.

“Please,” she said, “just this once, can you come sit next to me so you can hold me? I know it’s not over yet and you promised you wouldn’t hold me till it was over, but please….just now?”

Cramer put the empty bottle down on the desk and moved to sit on the bed beside her. His arm slid behind her and he pulled her into his chest.

“Thank you,” she said. “I love you.”

He rested his chin on her head.

“You know I won’t stop till they’re all dead?”

“Yes,” she said.

“I’ll do anything I have to do.”

“I know.”

“For you.”

“I know.”

They lay for a few moments before she spoke again.

“I can remember the first time, when I was scared, when I was not even feeling human. You counted cats and dogs. I fell asleep. I wasn’t scared. For the first time in my life I wasn’t scared.”

Cramer smiled.

“My cats and dogs are not always so soothing for most people.”

She hugged him tighter, burying her head in his chest.

“Count for me, dear Cramer, please.”

Cramer breathed in and held her, his voice soothing.

“One cat and dog, two cat and dog….”

“I love you,” she said, her voice sounding more tired as he counted.

Cramer kept counting.

I love you too.

“Nine cat and dog….ten cat and dog....”

Last edited by Fish_Tales : 08-08-2014 at 09:24 PM.
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Old 11-04-2014, 02:07 AM   #23
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The Elephant

Cramer sat on the bed with his back against the wall. He listened to her breathing, her head on his chest.

It never takes many cats and dogs for you….

He stared at the window of their room in the darkness, the lights of the city shining through it. He wanted a drink, but he didn’t want to move lest he wake her and there was nothing more important than her sleep, not even his urge to drink.

They hadn’t talked about why they were here.

Why they were really here.

Often many things between them went unsaid, and even though he was normally happy with that, he wasn’t going to be happy with that on this occasion. They had a finite time.

The elephant in the room.

He’d mentioned it obliquely before, but she had been a good student and had ignored and deflected it expertly. He smiled softly to himself in the darkness. She didn’t want to bother him or cause him concern, but they were beyond that. Nonetheless, he admired her for it.

No, I love her for that.

I should just tell her that….

She knows.

The arm that was wrapped around her gently pulled her in closer and he lifted the sheets over her shoulder with his other hand.

From their brief look at the notes, he had already decided who they would target next and he wanted to do it soon. Richard Claymore. He was a politician and Cramer thought that would get the ant’s nest bustling. Nothing attracted attention like a dead future mayor. It would have to be messy. Clifton had been messy, but this would be something else. This would be a Cramer they hadn’t seen in a long time. And they would know it was him, even if they didn’t know his name. They would know he was back.

Garcia had been dramatic.

Clifton had been messy.

Claymore would be a bloodbath.

And they would know it was for her.

He smiled and nodded.

Good. Disturb the nest.

Tomorrow they would they talk about the elephant. He needed to know how much time they had. He never reneged on a promise and all those years ago, he’d promised her this would be done. Time was closing in, not of their own choice, but it was.

And there was nothing they could do about it.

It just was.

He thought of the positive side of the forced expediting. He was slowing down, he knew he was. At least now he could still do this and succeed. He wasn't at the peak of his powers, but he was still Cramer. A less than one hundred percent Cramer was still more than anyone could handle.

He shook his head slowly in the darkness, being careful not to disturb her.

Best to get it done now.

He leaned down and kissed the top of her head softly, before pulling back against the wall again, closing his eyes, listening to her steady breathing. He knew he needed to sleep.

Fucking elephant.
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Old 11-11-2014, 05:42 PM   #24
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Vote 1: Cramer

Cramer sat looking at the laptop on the desk. He still found it disconcerting at how much information one could find just cruising around on the net.

Google will put me out of a job.

But it makes my job easier.

Richard Claymore was on the campaign trail to be the mayor of Intersect City. He was the typical politician – a lawyer, graduate wife and three kids. The funny thing was, Cramer could tell from the files he had courtesy of the now-deceased James Clifton, that Claymore was far from a conservative family man. He’d been a customer of Clifton’s. Or at least, Clifton had been a facilitator. Cramer didn’t know the role Clifton had played, and if he was honest, he didn’t really care. All he cared about was that Claymore had accessed Clifton’s services.

Claymore was a conservative. Everyone was the same these days, so labels didn’t really matter anymore. Politics had become a profession. The original premise of serving the people had long been lost. Constituents were donors, or at the least, their vote permitted you to stay in your job. Yes, it was a job, not an office anymore. No point sticking your neck out for things that wouldn’t get you elected. Did anyone really give a fuck about social cohesion, minorities, equality, about prejudice?

Cramer had no interest in politics. Maybe that’s why politics was what it was, because people had no interest in it and left it to the few who could then use it to their advantage. The apathy of affluence. There was a part of the population that could not be bothered changing anything because it really wasn’t in their best interest. And then there was a part of the population that didn’t bother to try changing anything because they couldn’t see that anything would change. That left the running of government to the few that could manipulate it and use it to their advantage….

Cramer worried that nowadays his mind would wander off in tangents to ideas that were not really relevant to the task at hand. Maybe it was a sign of age? Maybe he was the one who was suffering from hubris?

I need to get back on track.

The task at hand was not to think of the issues of the world, but to precipitate the demise of the sickness in Intersect City. Cramer’s antibiotic was death. He would cure the city of its sickness by lancing the sore with a gun.

I’m a modern-day Alexander Fleming.

He shook his head.

Fuck, Cramer, the task at hand….

He looked up and saw that Mia was still sleeping. His eyes went back to the screen.

Claymore was speaking at a lunch today. It was close to the election and he was obviously doing well, or so the papers said.

Are news stories on the internet still part of the paper when they are not printed on paper….?

Cramer noticed that the lunch was sponsored by ArcTech Industries. It all sounded like sport. How could a political candidate and their functions be sponsored? It smacked of a conflict of interest to Cramer. He made a note on the piece of paper beside him – he would need to find out more about ArcTech. Mia could probably tell him quicker than he could find it out because she lived in the city. If they were sponsoring a politician, Cramer expected them to be a substantial organisation.

He heard Mia stir and he looked up from the screen. Mia rolled over and popped her head up on the pillow to look at him through sleepy eyes. Her green hair was a mess.

A beautiful mess.

“The Lorax awakes,” he said with a smile.

“I must still be asleep and dreaming because it looks like you’re using a computer.”

Cramer nodded.

“Wonders never cease.”

“What are you looking at?”

“I’m hunting. Computers make it so much easier and I don’t even have to shoot people to find things out.”

Mia rubbed a sleepy eye with her knuckle.

“Lucky for them, then.”

“Yes, I think Charles Babbage may have saved more people than Alexander Fleming.”

Mia shook her head and smiled.

“Is there something you don’t know, Cramer?”

Cramer paused and looked at her for a moment, his face turning serious.

“I don’t know how much time we have,” he said quietly.

“Aaah,” said Mia, and she lifted herself higher so that now her back was against the wall. She pulled the sheets up to her hips and looked at him directly. “I didn’t want to bother you with that.”

Cramer raised an eyebrow.

“You always bother me, what’s one more bother?”

She smiled.

“I know, dear Cramer.”

Cramer didn’t smile. He looked at her impassively.


She looked directly at him.

“Three months till we notice and then I’ll be lucky to see another three months after that.”

He nodded. Cramer felt his heart beat slightly quicker, but he didn’t show it.

“We have to be quick then. I promised you,” he said. “I promised you the end.”

She kept looking at him and drew in a breath.

“I don’t want it to be so quick that it puts you in danger,” she said softly. “We do it, but we do it properly. Promise me, Cramer.”

“Why would I promise something I’m not sure I can deliver? This whole thing is dangerous. I only mitigate risk, I don’t eliminate it totally.”

Mia sat on the bed, her face showing her mind in thought.

“This is a new thing.”

“What?” asked Cramer.

“You,” she said, “you not promising me something.”

He pushed the chair back from the desk and shrugged.

“It’s just the truth. I can’t promise I won’t do whatever is required regardless of the risk.”

“But I won’t be here soon, dear Cramer, so it won’t matter if your promise goes unfulfilled. It won’t be your fault. Why risk your own life?”

Cramer turned to look out of the window, the early morning sun starting to stream through it. He clenched his jaw.

“Without you….” he said at the window, then turning back slowly to face her. “What life?”
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Old 12-28-2014, 07:44 PM   #25
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The Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with One Step

They discussed Cramer’s ideas over breakfast. Mia was taking very small bites from a very small piece of toast. Cramer admired her diligence with the toast, but he thought that at the rate she was eating, they would still be there at lunchtime. He was on his third cup of coffee.

“You do realise, dear Cramer, that all that coffee isn’t good for you?” she said.

He raised an eyebrow just as he’d finished taking a sip.

“I’ll take my chances,” he said.

She smiled and shrugged.

“As if you’d listen to me anyway,” said Mia. “I guess you’ve faced scarier things than coffee. So, the purpose of going after Claymore, besides the fact that he’s a closet creep, is to see who it draws out?”

Cramer nodded and Mia continued.

“It makes sense,” she said. “The only problem I can see is that you’re drawing them out and then they’ll be coming for you.”

Cramer nodded and smiled this time.

“Yes, it saves me chasing them. I’m getting old, if you hadn’t noticed.”

“What if a lot of them come for you, what will you do then?”

“What I always do,” he said. “Get them first.”

“You seem pretty confident.”

“I am. Plus I have you on my side,” he said with a grin.

“I’m not sure how good I’ll be in that sort of situation, but I’ll die trying,” she said with a smirk.

Cramer looked at her and narrowed his eyes.

“There are some things I don’t find humorous.”

“Sorry,” she said.

Cramer nodded.

“Claymore’s function today,” he said. “I was thinking we should go.”

“”I’m not sure they would let us in.”

Cramer looked at her, his face expressionless.

“Who said anything about letting us in….”


“Also, it seems that Claymore is backed by a company called ArcTech. What do you know about them?”

“Besides the fact that their name sounds like the address for Father Christmas, they are the biggest and most influential business in Intersect City.”

“What line of business are they in?” asked Cramer.

Mia finished chewing another small piece of her buttered toast and then wiped her lips delicately with a napkin.

“I think the more apt question would be to ask what line of business aren’t they in.”

Cramer nodded.

“I saw on my internet travels that someone called Elliot DeTerge runs ArcTech.”

“Yes,” said Mia. “He’s almost like a rock star here and has the same sort of lifestyle. He’s not all that bad and immoral for a businessman in Intersect City, but I don’t think you’d like him.”

“I don’t like many people.”

Mia smirked.

“You don’t even like me, but luckily, you love me.”

Cramer made a show of sighing as he raised his finger and nodded to the waitress for yet another coffee.

“I’m afraid I do,” he said. “What is DeTerge’s background?”

“Techno geek of some sort when he was younger. It’s not like I’m massively interested in business or anything like that. Anyway, he’s built a conglomerate that now houses all sorts of different businesses. He and his wife are a formidable team.”

“Formidable,” smiled Cramer. “I like formidable.”

“Because it reminds you of yourself?”

Cramer shrugged.

“I don’t think anyone’s that formidable.”

Mia laughed.

“Have I told you that you are very self-confident?”

“Many times.”

“Well, Cramer, you are very self-confident.”

“Thank you,” said Cramer. “So you’ll accompany me to the lunch? It’s at ArcTech.”

“I’ll try,” said Mia. “I’m still not sure how you intend to get in.”

“I thought you were the one who just winged things,” he said. “One step at a time, Mia, one step at a time.”
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