Jay Lake (jaylake) wrote,
Jay Lake


Discussing Theseus and Ariadne in a desultory fashion via IM this morning with karindira and specficrider. That made me think of my story "Glass: A Love Story", from Greetings From Lake Wu Powells | Amazon ].

Here's a somewhat extended passage.

Deke quickened his step toward the docks just as a coal-black 1958 Plymouth Fury cut across the sidewalk with a squeal of brakes and the reek of carbon, blocking his way. Towering chrome fins glittered like butcher knives in his face as an enormous man in a satin East Side Greeks bowling shirt stepped out of the car.

"Hey, friend," said the Greek. He glanced at a Polaroid in his hand. He looked and sounded like every tough guy boxer Deke had ever seen. Even his lips had muscles. "You're Deke Zeiss, right?"

"I'm busy," said Deke, his mind on his beloved's broken heart. He bent to peer under the Fury. The glass trail led on through the shadows. "Catch me later."

The Greek flipped over the Polaroid to scrutinize a note taped to the back, bushy black eyebrows scrunching together. Then he glanced up again. "My name is Al, Al Lecto, freelance contract enforcer. Nothing personal, you understand, but I'm here to serve notice the Bull Market Syndicate is calling the mortgage on your right kidney. Seems your collateral property's in the upper G.I. tract of some high school cheerleader at Troezen Baptist E.R."

Oh crap, thought Deke. The ring. He needed Aria a lot more than he needed his ring, but he needed his kidney, too. He'd counted on paying back the Bull Market Syndicate once he married Aria -- if his hopes for his job didn't pan out, she came from money, Troezen aristocracy, although she'd always been coy about the details. He'd never met her parents. Aria said they wouldn't approve of his East Side origins, that they should wait until Deke had made his name. Stalling for time, Deke squeezed her flaccid toe for luck. "That was fast."

"The chick swallowed the ring in her chocolate malted right after you split the Ball Glass," Lecto explained. "LifeFlite dusted her off the roof pronto. Her family's already filed a salvage claim, which means you got nothing. Me, it's just a job. You, friend, it's a kidney." The gigantic man winked and pressed a business card into Deke's hand. "You've got twenty-four hours to come in. We do it the easy way, you show respect to Torres, everybody walks out okay, plus or minus a few stitches and some urine throughput. Miss the deadline, I'll arrange involuntary renal extraction and Torres will have me take your spleen and gall bladder for penalty. You'll be lucky if you don't bleed out then. Call when you're ready."

Deke glanced at the card, not really focusing on it. His lower back twinged, his body forecasting the world of hurt he would soon be in. "Love," he said quietly. "I did it for love."

"Tombstones all over Troezen Memorial Gardens with that chiseled on 'em," said Lecto. "I should know, I planted half those guys." He chuckled, a noise like marbles in a steel chute. "Still, love's not a bad excuse." Lecto touched an eyebrow, an abortive salute. "Eumenides Contract Enforcement, at your service. Give me a shout, friend, you ever need anything done."

The Greek jumped back into his Fury, slammed it into reverse with an audible clank, and plowed into traffic without ever looking backward. Deke stared at the card as the Fury peeled out and vanished down the street. The card had Lecto's name and company, a cell phone number and something scrawled in blood red felt tip across the black letterpress printing. "It's more than just a kidney," the note read. "Torres wants your ass."
Tags: stories, writing

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