“Take a seat —-.” My boss’s smile couldn’t be wider as he gestures to the swivel chair across from his desk. And surprise surprise—it’s markedly lower and far less comfortable than the plush monstrosity he’s plunked his pale flabby buttocks down in.
“Yes sir. What did you want to see me about?” My eyes flick nervously up to the armoire-sized quartet of goons that are hovering behind his shoulder.
He tents his fingers, then leans his elbows onto the desk. “—-, we’ve recently found out that you blog and Facebook under a fake name.” He throws a folder onto the desk and nods at it, indicating I should take a look.“ ‘Kent Wayne’ is it? You write nonsense that glorifies your genitals and makes fun of our staff here at Serf Propagation Inc.”
I pick up the folder and begin paging through it. Within it are surveillance photos of me between Man Child shots without a mask, as well as sheafs of documentation tracing internet routers and addresses to my real identity. There’s no use denying it. I close the folder.
“What do you want?” Again, my eyes flick up to the square-jawed goons behind him, all wearing sunglasses and ill-fitting suits. “Who are they?”
His grin widens, now positively sharklike. “Contractors. Igor here—“ he nods briefly at the goon leader, “—is a mid-level manager over at All World Compliance Ltd., and we’ve hired him to help us address this problem —-, or should I say ‘Kent.’ ”
Igor nods at my boss. “Thank you.” He swivels his weighty head toward me. “You are Kent Wayne, yes?” He sounds like a cartoon version of a Russian; think Boris and Natasha from Rocky and Bullwinkle.
He casually steps behind me, clapping a grizzled hand on my shoulder. “All this talk about making fuck with soccer mom…that is you, yes?”
I rub the back of my neck and hiss awkwardly through my teeth. “Ah…I’m not sure that ‘making fuck’ is the right way to—”
“Whatever,” he says. He takes his hand off my shoulder and waves it dismissively in the air. “Is no important.” He continues walking, leans against my boss’s desk, and crosses both arms, leveling a steady gaze at me. “What IS important is you stop now. You stop writing, you stop making fuck…you stop. Understand?”
“You…” My uncertain gaze flicks between the goons and my boss. “You want me to stop being Kent Wayne?”
He nods. “Exacto knife.” (I think he meant to say “exactly”)
I clear my throat. “Well. Um. Sorry, but that’s not gonna happen. You see, writing allows me to—”
He clucks his tongue and shakes his head. “No no no. Is no good. You see,” here he unfolds his arms and cracks his knuckles, cuing his thugs to follow suit, “if you no agree, then we pull your spleen out through pee-hole. You understand, yes?”
I wrinkle my brow. I’m not sure whether that’s even possible, but I get the gist. “I’m sorry—Igor, was it?—I’m sorry but I can’t—”
He snaps his fingers and gestures briskly to the thugs. He says something that I can’t understand, and they start moving toward me, grinning like Orcs about to chow down on Merry and Pippin. Oh shitfuck. Only one option left. I reach into my pocket and open my eReader to Echo. Magic flash.
Suddenly a voice from above rasps, “Let the Man Whore go.”
We all look up, and there’s one of those do-not-fuck-with-me-I’ve-mastered-Tae-Bo-Jiu-Jitsu-Muay-Thai-and-countless-other-disciplines-while-running-a-billion-dollar-corporation-and-dealing-with-adderall-crazed-kids super alpha soccer mom spread-eagled on the ceiling like Batman before he swoops down on evil shitbags and beats the holy piss out of them via any number of obscure martial arts. She’s wedged herself between two rafters by pressing against them with her arms and legs, and now lets herself fall, executing a series of quadruple lutzes, back flips, as well as a pair of aerial twists on her way down. She lands in an anime-style crouch before Igor, who takes an involuntary step back. Then she gets up and stand between me and the goon, fists clenched by her sides.
“He’s mine,” she deadpans.
It takes a second for Igor to regain his composure, but when he does, he starts guffawing. His goons and my boss follow suit. Igor points a thumb at the soccer mom and says in a laughter-choked voice: “Little lady thinks she can stop All World Compliance. She thinks—YAAAAAHHHH!!!” He’s interrupted by the soccer mom gripping his thumb and breaking it with a dry crack. She twist-pushes her hips into his, lining up for a shoulder throw. She bucks forward and Igor comes sailing around, then, as he hits the deck, she jams her knee into his mid-back and snaps his neck with a quick jerk of both hands. Every one of us is shocked into silence.
My boss stammers, “Is he…is he…”
One of the goons yells, “She killed Igor! GET HER!”
What happens next is remarkable because it’s so damn fast and drama-free. There’s no music, no screams, no protracted fight. The soccer mom mows through the remaining goons with utter efficiency, landing three-hit combinations of gouges and breaks, followed by full-power strikes to the throat, collapsing larynxes before anyone can scream. It’s over in a matter of seconds.
She points a finger at me. “You. Whore. There’s an overly large red Volvo hybrid SUV double-parked in the lot. Get in it, don’t touch anything, and keep your mouth shut.”
I swallow dryly. “Yes ma’am. Do you have—”
A set of keys comes arcing through the air. When I catch them against my chest, I see that a glittery trinket (one that spells out NAMASTE under a giant happy face) is affixed to it. I scurry down to the lot, and get in the Volvo. I watch the glass windows of my office building, observing the soccer mom mowing through security guards like a combination of Jack Reacher, the Dark Knight, and Pai Motherfuckin’ Mei. A shiver runs through me—it’s equal parts awe, horror, and delight—and I can’t help but smile.
‘Make fuck’ indeed.
When faced with a soccer mom that’s probably connected to a red telephone which is locked and guarded within the darkest annals of some nameless government agency and can only be accessed by a geriatric covert ops director who needs to satisfy a biometrics scan, I’m perfectly fine with being the beta. Get Echo Vol. 1 on Kindle here: Vol. 1 on Kindle. Vol. 2 on Kindle here: Vol.2 on Kindle Vol. 3 on Kindle here: Vol. 3 on Kindle #kindle #kindleunlimited