As usual, here is your warning that this story has cursing, sex (not graphic), innuendo, and violence. It’s my Rated-R action adventure called Derailing Bedlam. This is the fourth outing (third official) for Cassidy and Lloyd, so feel free to click on one of the two covers to see how it started. Each one is 99 cents!
Thumbing through his new collection of books, Lloyd pays little attention to the people who are staring at him. The large machete on his side makes the other diners nervous, especially since it reveals his infamous identity. Thirty minutes pass before the tension dissipates, but any sudden movement or noises from the serial killer revives the sweat-inducing sensation. He smiles at the waitress who delivers a large pizza and a pitcher of water with sliced strawberries. Unlike the others, the teenager shows no fear at being so close to the maniac and blushes when he meets her curious stare. Reaching into his pocket, Lloyd gives her a box of mechanical pencils that she is thrilled to receive. After watching her happily skip back to the cashier with the much needed supplies, he puts his books back into their case and grabs the largest slice even though he is not exceptionally hungry. With an impish smile, the black-haired man slips a tiny bottle of tequila out of his pocket and is about to put a few drops on the other pieces when he is smacked upside the head.
“Don’t even think about it,” Cassidy says as she puts her jacket on the back of her chair. She is about to sit when she realizes that her black shirt is backwards, so she casually turns it around without taking it off. “I would have been here sooner, but I made a new friend. She’s a local gunsmith, so I’m going to visit her again before we leave. My sniper rifle needs some complicated maintenance and I want to get some armor piercing rounds. We’ll see what other goodies she has for me to play with.”
“Just watch out for lockjaw and dehydration,” Lloyd replies with a chuckle. Sliding a drink to his partner, he holds up the tequila bottle to show that it is still full. “As promised, I will explain why I wanted to take this job and get these books. The truth is that I feel like reading more than cereal boxes and comic books. These are authentic copies of old adventure stories, which take a little more brain power for me to enjoy than movies. Yet, I’m willing to make the sacrifice to improve my adventuring skill, develop new murder methods, and make myself a better conversationalist. Just because we’re wandering killers for hire doesn’t mean we have to remain mental savages. Look, I even got a pipe and monocle from the deal.”
“Katie gets hot and horny when you tell her adventures, so you got the books to help with your foreplay,” the mercenary bluntly states. Watching her friend deflate, she takes a slice in each hand and devours the smaller one. “I was kidding, but now I’m . . . Think I could borrow one of those the next time we’re in Ohio? Anyway, I was thinking we could head east and visit Neddy since we’re not on the Trade Barons’ shit list any more. Caught some rumors about a job out in Montauk too, but it could be a trap. The naval blockade might be getting bored again, so they could be trying to tempt people into escaping. Hear anything interesting here or are you along for the ride?”
Lloyd puts his feet on an empty chair and runs his finger around the image of a disfigured cowboy on his shirt. “Nothing beyond complaints about bandits and the usual. We should probably swing by Derek and Angela to see if they need a shipment delivered. I got a message that they want to start developing a Half-Dead repellant using whatever is in me that keeps them at bay. Not sure I like that idea since it involves probing and not the entertaining kind. That reminds me that I need to take a pill again. Almost thought I was going to be off my medication, but getting too close to D.C. triggered something.”
“They tell you how long you need to be on those meds?”
“Another four months to make sure the radiation is out of my system.”
“Didn’t realize it could even work that way.”
“Nobody did, but the first medication screwed up my body chemistry and now I just want to get back to normal.”
“That boat sailed and sank into a fucking whirlpool long before we met, Lloyd.”
“You know what I mean, kid.”
Clattering dishes from the kitchen and hushed whispers from the patrons cause the pair to swiftly reach for their weapons. Lloyd nods his head to the front windows, which are partially blocked by two white vans that have been parked on the sidewalk. Black-tinted windows prevent anyone from seeing inside, but one of them is cracked open enough to let the muzzle of a gun poke through. Cassidy signals to a side door that they can reach and taps the table, making sure her partner knows that she wants to use it as a shield while they run. She is about to spin around and fire on the vans when the vehicles back away from the windows to reveal a limousine sitting in the middle of the street. Armed guards and snipers take positions around the area and do their best to stay out of the locals’ way while making sure they are seen by their targets. Red beams of light dance through the window, but disappear when someone inside the limo whistles for the soldiers to stand down.
Lloyd and Cassidy watch as a familiar, purple-haired figure steps out of the vehicle and briefly leans back inside to talk to somebody. Clapping her hands over her head, Katie the Duchess of LaSalle signals for all of her men to relax. Seeing that a nearby guard refuses to stand down, she pulls a pistol out from under her burgundy dress and casually shoots the man in the head. The warlord waves back at the limousine, which begins heading down the street towards the fanciest restaurant in Owosso. Coming to the pizzeria’s doors, Katie realizes that her elegant dress will never fit through the narrow opening, so she begrudgingly removes it to reveal jeans and a bulletproof tunic beneath. Handing the garment to a nearby bodyguard, she pats the shotgun on her hip to make sure he knows to be careful. By the time she enters the building, many of the patrons have already paid their bills and snuck out the back. Casually taking an abandoned drink and slice of pepperoni pizza from a table, the smiling woman heads for her friends and takes a seat on Lloyd’s lap.
“Oh, this is far too much grease for my sensitive stomach,” Katie announces as she makes herself comfortable. Waving the waitress over, she opens her satchel to hand the young woman a neatly pressed maid outfit. “This is yours if you can get me a Greek salad with extra olives and a dozen garlic knots. Thank you, dear. Now, how are my favorite partners doing? Pardon me, but I shouldn’t call you that. We’re more than that. Cassidy, you are a dear friend who shares my love of guns, business, and self-indulgence. Lloyd . . . I’m really happy to see you too, lover. I got into a delicious knife fight last week that made me miss you. The bed is far too big for little old me to sleep alone these days.”
“Are you talking about the main bed, the one on the porch, or that one we put on the balcony?” Lloyd asks with a lick of his lips. He leans toward Katie at the same time she grabs him by the cheeks, the passionate kiss nearly putting them on the table. “Yes, we’ll do whatever you want. Who do you want killed? Is it an escort mission because I’ll do that too even though they always suck? By the way, I didn’t hear your accent.”
“Hard to hear her speak when you’re tonguing her uvula,” Cassidy retorts, her hands ready to save the pizza if her friends get too amorous. She stretches to catch Katie’s hat, the bowler’s bent raven feather nearly touching the greasy meal. “Not that I’m unhappy to see you, but what brings you here? Especially with such a display. You don’t wander away from Illinois unless it’s important and that means a big job.”
“You had to ruin the bloody mood,” the warlord mutters while turning around in Lloyd’s lap. Reaching back to stroke his face, she arches her back when he runs a finger up her spine and nibbles her ear. “Fine, I’ll sit over there, Killjoy Cassidy. Besides, there will be plenty of time for playful fun on this job, which I will be joining you on. That is not negotiable. What do you two know about trains?”
Cassidy shrugs as she answers, “They’re only found in Nebraska these days.”
“Don’t pee on the third rail, but that might be the subway,” Lloyd adds with a grin.
“They’re a bitch to attack because of the armor plating.”
“Magic ones are invisible to satellites.”
“It’s too expensive to rebuild and maintain the tracks these days.”
“Children love talking ones, but I think they’re kind of creepy.”
Katie holds up her hand when her food arrives, the waitress politely accepting what she knows is a fetish costume. Pouring herself a glass of water, the warlord gestures for her companions to enjoy their meal in silence. Her eyes scan the room, but never linger on any of the remaining patrons for more than a second. Katie subtly reaches for her gun when the bell over the door rings, but it is only a woman with three kids entering the pizzeria. She watches them take a booth, the tired mother doing her best to calm her hungry children. After a few minutes of listening, the cautious warlord is sure that they are what they seem. Pulling out a bag that holds various spice and herb bottles, she calls the waitress over and whispers that the family can have whatever they want from the menu. Waving to the youngest of the kids, Katie goes back to her salad and picks out all of the olives to eat last.
“You ever think of having one of those, Lloyd?” the warlord casually asks, catching the serial killer when he is drinking. She laughs at his explosive reaction and tosses him a slightly used napkin. “Now, there is something going on with a train that I cannot discuss in public for various reasons. Mostly, I don’t want someone else getting this job before us. If you’re not doing anything, which I’m sure is the case, then we can meet my new partner and your temporary employer to discuss our terms. Oh, I do so love being vague and mysterious. It’s like we’re spies preparing for a secret mission.”
“Doubt it because the guy in charge of this story loves explosions and car chases far too much,” Lloyd interrupts, earning quizzical stares from his companions. Taking a large bite of pizza, he lets the awkwardness linger for a minute. “Never mind. It’s tough to agree since we don’t know what’s going on. Don’t get me wrong, bunny, but Cassidy and I would like a little more incentive before we agree to anything.”
“I fully understand and expected that you would need a down payment to get you into this meeting. After all, this is very sudden,” the warlord admits while pushing her dishes away. She waves to a guard outside who enters with a case that he places on the table and opens to reveal a pristine Tommy Gun. “Rumor has it that you’ve been looking for one of these, Cassidy. I recently received a shipment that included a few of these babies and I’d be happy to give you this one along with a case of ammunition. This is a bonus along with whatever you are offered by my partner.”
“A shiny Chicago Typewriter to call my own,” the mercenary whispers as she reaches out to the weapon. When nobody stops her, she pulls the case onto her lap and runs her fingers along the barrel. “Get me a guitar case to put this in and we have a deal. You and I will have to talk about future ammo deliveries since this is a gorgeous masterpiece that I plan on using every chance I get. Oh, it still has that new gun smell too.”
“Do you two want some privacy?” Lloyd teasingly asks. He finishes his food and dabs at his lips, but the guard does not pull out any cases for him. “This is mean. Am I supposed to go along blindly because you’re my girlfriend and my partner is hooked? Everyone seems to think I’m some unthinking, inhuman, random killing machine. I have feelings and thoughts and dreams like any other person. So, what do I get for my troubles?”
Katie slides back onto his lap and puts her lips against his ear to whisper, “You and I get to fuck each other’s bloody brains out every night while on this job. If that doesn’t hook you then know that I have new lingerie for both of us and mastered a few more recipes for us to work on together. Remember our Valentine’s Day meal? Imagine doing that every night for the next three or four weeks. We might even eat a few of the meals.”
“Do I get to lick the spoon?”
“Only if you ask nicely.”