by Dennis B. Baylor
I awaken from the darkness. Sensations abound. My body is once again renewed.
I am not alone.
My kidnappers converse in debatable tones. I remain motionless on my side, a smooth seat cradling my withered body. I taste a sloppy concoction of blood, sweat and spit mingling in the recesses of my mouth. The sounds of life rush in my ears only to be overwhelmed by man's technology. The sound of a helicopter aloft in the sky. My mind's eye wonders if the sky is blue or deep gray, possibly dotted with soft, puffy clouds destined to become either barriers or gateways."Is she still out?" I hear. A hand jabs me in the side of my body. I struggle not to react realizing my painful injuries. "Yeah, she's still gone," a baritone voice responds. "Good," is the only thing I hear as darkness overwhelms my brief awakening.
My body goes limp as a prevailing silence surrounds me. The helicopter has landed. My throat constricts wanting to verbally demand silence from my heartbeat as I am forcefully pulled out of the helicopter. My body falls upon a hot ground. Bare arms burning upon a grainy substance. Sand?
The sun completes the baking of my body that the sand had begun. I feel myself starting to visibly shake."She's awake," I hear. Light explodes upon my retinas as the blindfold is pulled off my head. I stare at the insides of my closed, light reddened eyelids while groping upon the hard, loose ground for some purchase of stability. I find a leg, it shakes me free. "No grabbing, Denise," Baritone man orders.
I squint before the brilliant sky, a blue to end all blues. The sun's heat upon me is detoured by Baritone man's hulking body. My eyes lock upon him as I am grabbed from behind and pulled to my feet. I surprise them and myself by neither falling nor wavering. I stand tall at five feet ten inches. I cannot see the man, I assume behind me, as he continues to pin my arms against my sides. Baritone man comes closer."You look so innocent," he says.
Piss off is what I think. "Huhn?" is what I mumble.
He laughs. A deep, hiccup laugh.
I am in a desert. All I see ahead of me and to my sides is sandy soil, rock and brush. Mountains loom in the considerable distance. I assume, once again, the same behind me. I recognize what I believe to be Black Brush and Big Sagebrush. If it is, then I may be in the Great Basin Desert. Not too far from home, but far enough.
Baritone man stares at me. He is a few inches taller than I dressed in a slick gray, sharkskin double-breasted suit. His hair is neatly groomed with peculiar gray streaks flickering throughout. A man I would have found oddly attractive under other circumstances. I hate myself instantly for the disgusting thought. I shake free from my holder and twirl around to come face to face with...oh my, God.
"Denise, where is it?" he demands.
"Mark," I struggle. "What's going on?"
"You know damn well what this is about. If it hadn't been for your interference, none of this shit would be coming done upon me now. I'll only ask this once, where is the disk?"
"I don't know what you're talking about," I argue.
He says nothing for what seems like forever. I swear they can hear my heart pushing up against its rib cage.
A"You know something, Denise, I don't believe in striking a woman," he says smiling.
My body tenses as the founder of the law firm I have worked at for a year stands before me in sweating arrogance. Nails dig into my palms as hands become fists. Fists that once k.o.'ed Tom Captor when he ripped the arms off my favorite doll. Fists that once scored blood from the nose of Jerry Plickton, who believed that it was a prom night ritual to have sex with your date. Both had eye opening experiences. Now, Mark Ly mans would become my childhood tormentor, my foolish prom date. I prepare to strike. I am unprepared for Baritone man spinning me around and slapping me hard in the face. I fall easily to my knees. Once again, life's blood streams freely from my mouth. The flow slows to drops as I look up at Baritone man.
"But I do," he says responding to Lymans' morality.
The self-satisfied look on Baritone man's face stokes a fire within me. A roar begins deep in the pit of my essence. It bubbles to the well of my stomach and explodes from my mouth in a savage fury. I shun all feelings of pain and hopelessness as I rise ever so quick. Ever so graceful delivering an uppercut to Baritone man's chin. I feel a nd hear a snap of bone hoping that it is his jaw and not my hand. His head arches inhumanly back. The pain in my hand soothes the helplessness that nearly overwhelmed me. Baritone man lies spread-eagle upon the rocky, hard desert floor. I stare at the hand that felled Baritone man and...I laugh. Injured ribs ache as my laughter fills the silence of my apparent isolation. Baritone man is unconscious. I regain what little composure I have in time to see Lymans pointing a gun at me.
"That was...impressive Denise," he drawls. "Another time, another place."
Lymans' lustful eyes wash over me. I have no opening to defend myself as I become fascinated with the barrel of the gun. Imagining the bullets housed in the chamber ready to journey at a speed far greater then I could outmaneuver. Ripping and invading my flesh. My only chance is to play along with Lymans. "You kidnapped me, not even knowing where the disk is. What sense is that?" I question. Lymans takes a step toward me, the gun only inches away."It makes sense if you think of the drama here," he responds. "You are absolutely nothing here. I am your fate. It is up to you if I'll be your salvation or your futility. I control this situation. You have no escape from here. No friends here. You have nothing here. Nothing between you and death except me." "And?" I ask. My attempt at indifference is false. He is too cool. I detect no hint of wavering within his eyes nor in his physical stance. "And," he says. "You have one option. Tell me where the disk is. I retrieve it and if it's where you say it is, I have someone...rescue you. Now please, please don't start with the melodrama about how can you trust me to save you. Simply put, you can't. But there are two factors that should help you in your decision. One, I am your only hope in getting out of here and two, there is a gallon of water in the helicopter. A goodwill gesture, it's for your use. In this heat it should... last you long enough."
Baritone man stirs on the sand floor of the desert. I look at him reminded of a long ago time when I visited my grandparents in the Northeast. During and after snowstorms, my friends and I would rush out into the newly fallen snow. Lying on our backs, we would make snow angels. Swishing our arms and legs as fast as we could. The heat of my reality brings me back to the present. I only have one option. I'll tell you where the disk is," I venture.
Baritone man gurgles in pain. He is able to stand on his second attempt while glaring at me with evil intentions. "Eeiiumm gunnoin kkkiiill u, beitch," he warbles. He grabs his jaw attempting to soothe his obvious pain. That action only makes it more severe.
I lock eyes with Lymans disregarding Baritone man. "It's in my apartment, not with the other disks beside my computer. It's in my bedroom drawer. The bottom one. The disk is inside a black, velvet handbag."
Lymans stands before me peering in and through me. I return his heat aided hypnotic gaze. I must, if my composure falters in the least, he will know that I am lying.
He finally speaks. "What an interesting hiding place for so valuable an object."
I decide to take a gamble. "It wasn't that hard to obtain, so why go through the trouble of hiding it someplace theatrical." "How did you obtain it?" he asks.
A"I stole it of course." His smile becomes broader accentuated with capped teeth reflecting the sun's rays into my eyes.
"Look in the front seat," he says motioning me to the helicopter.
My left side burns as I open the door of the helicopter and see the jug of water. I grab it by the handle feeling a deep thirst quell inside my throat. It matters little that the water is warm. It is water. A commodity for which I just gambled my life.
"Now step back, over there," Lymans says pointing the gun to a spot away from the helicopter. He looks at Baritone man with scorn. "Get in," he orders. Baritone man glares at me as he climbs into the helicopter. Lymans goes to the other side. He finally places the gun in a holster inside his coat. As he opens the pilot's side-door, I hear his final words."See you soon."
The helicopter comes to life. I seek shelter from the blowing sand, but there is none. I turn away from the helicopter as it departs. Abandons. I have my mind, I have my strength and I have a jug of warm water.
How did this happen?
The fifty-story building reigns over its domain. Its black reflective glass exterior shines upon the surrounding brick buildings. The monolith was built at the behest of software pioneer extraordinaire, Jacob Jallopps. Jallopps' personal fortune, estimated at sixty billion dollars, was jumpstarted in 1988 when he developed the computer game, Excalibur." He parlayed the phenomenal success of "Excalibur" into bigger and more profitable ventures. In present-day America, Jallopps still dabbles in game development, but his gaming fortune was the cake that eventually became the icing. Jallopps is rumored to have taken an interest in military and pharmaceutical contracts. This is the hot gossip within his headquarters based in Tuckett, Colorado.
The town of Tuckett has roughly seventy-five hundred individuals. Nearly forty percent of whom are Jallopps' employees imported from the East and West coasts. I was born and raised in Tuckett leaving to attend law school at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. I currently find myself a corporate attorney licensed in twenty states and on three continents. I'm good at what I do which is the art of knowing the rules that allow my employers to maneuver in shades of gray operations. Essentially, I control the fat cats screwing other fat cats. I only object when their dealings intrude upon the lives of those without ample resources. I walk a fine line making sure not to fall on the side of Hell. Fortunately, I don't think the Devil resides in Tuckett.
I haven't been home in six years. One thing kept me away, yet many things bring me back to stay. I push the rental Taurus a bit harder as the stretch of road before me is deserted this May morning. I cannot be late. It's my first day on the job as I join the law firm of Lymans, Sitwell and Banks. A firm that operates under the auspices of Jallopps whereby he allows the firm to work as a separate entity while recognizing its primary business is Jallopps' related. I barely fathom the reality that confronts me. I, Denise Bullard, will legally advise the world's most wealthy and powerful person.
The road into town is the same as I remember. I told my parents that I would swing around the house as soon as I could. They were truly God's blessing to me growing up. A mother who instilled a confidant and a can-do attitude. A father who told me to never quit. And when I did fall a little short or when I fell hard, he was there to pick me up, hold me and tell me that he loved me. It was all a little girl could ask for. I realize driving home that it is all a woman could ask for. Drake. I unsuccessfully toss him out of my thoughts as I reclaim images of my childhood.
Drake would become my everything. His family had come to Tuckett on the invitation of Tuckett's mayor, Wyatt "Pappy" Canyun. Pappy knew Franklin Williams, Drake's father, from a mayoral convention in Silver Spring, Maryland. Mr. Williams was in law enforcement. I know little of the history, but Mr. Williams assisted Pappy on some matter. I don't think Drake ever knew the particulars. Pappy was so pleased that he offered Mr. Williams the position of Tuckett's sheriff. All the residents of Tuckett, including my family, had heard about the story of Pappy hiring an outsider to become our sheriff. What he told no one was that our new law enforcer was black. Not a truly radical notion, but in a town where my family constituted the entire black population, it might have presented a problem. The Williams' arrival in Tuckett was a big event. We had no real "keeper of the peace." Pappy and his co-horts ruled judiciously ad hoc. Pappy had staged a celebration in our town's square for the new sheriff. Just about the whole town turned out for the welcoming celebration. Then the Williams arrived.
It was so quiet I thought my ears were clogged until I heard the birds chirping. So many people’s faces had open, shocked expressions. Pappy appeared oblivious to the town's reaction. I can still hear my father muttering, "Well I'll be damned," followed promptly by my mother prodding him in the stomach. I further remember the white townsfolk repeating my father's utterance; but oddly, it was not so much said in anger as in surprise. Even though they were not only staring at the Williams' family, but also at me and my family, I felt no overwhelming sense of anger from the townsfolk. Of course some existed, but I could not readily identify it. As Pappy wrapped up his proud declaration over the Williams' arrival, an even stranger thing occurred, applause broke out. I know not where, but it became contagious. After that awkward moment, things returned to relative normalcy as Tuckett moved forward. Yet, the one thing that I clearly remember is the look in Drake's eyes as they first made contact with mine. It was of instant recognition. A feeling of realization he would have a significant effect upon my life. And I on his.
Drake. Where do I begin? My girlfriends, especially Nell, became extremely upset when I spent time with him. Eventually, it got to the point where Drake and I became the subject of rumors. You must remember that I was only ten and he only eleven. Yet, that did not stop the kids from talking. Which eventually led to the adults talking. Which ultimately led to our parents talking. We heard it all, "A young boy and young girl shouldn't spend that much time together, it's not right." Regardless, our parents understood for the most part. They believed that Drake and I spent so much time together because we were the few, the proud, the black. Much like both our families as each tried not to neglect their white friends, but it was much easier to relax and to let our guards down around each other. There was no one around to judge us if we slipped in some Black slang while talking. There was a sense of familiarity with the Williams. They were us and we were them. I guess I keep putting off my personal thoughts of Drake, but one incident when I was fourteen perfectly defines Drake Williams.
In every neighborhood, there existed the menacing big dog that terrorized the residents. Tuckett was no different, but instead of a dog it was a cougar. Some people call them mountain lions, but to us kids back then, the sound of cougar floating off your tongue was almost mystical. The cougar had been feeding off livestock just outside the downtown area of Tuckett. The surrounding farms and ranches became the cougar's restaurant dining experience. One week it was beef. Another week the cougar dined upon chicken. The cougar crossed the line when it sought out meat of the human variety. Namely, myself.
Nell and I were roaming the Peterson spread not only to admire the view, but also to feast on the mouth-watering blueberries that grew in the area. The Petersons knew that kids from town did this and for the most part they didn't mind. Unfortunately, Nell and I picked a time and day when the cougar decided to stroll through the Peterson's land . Nell was the first to see it as berry juice flowed down my face dripping onto the ground. Her expression was such that I instantly turned around to see the cougar no more than thirty yards from us. We did the only thing two, fourteen year old girls could do, we screamed. Upon instant reflection, the cougar had paid no attention to us until we let loose with the vocals. The cougar's eyes immediately focused upon us. It s eemed to hesitate in its next actions while prowling the meadow. Its padded feet unsheathing claws. Whiskers attuning itself amidst the slight breeze. Ears flicking back. Blood rushing through its head, signaling feeding time.
Nell and I stood rooted to the spot transfixed by the cougar's sleek and deadly beauty. Relief and fear washed over me as I heard and saw Drake on his bike pedaling up the dirt road that leads to Clearwater Lake. The cougar followed my gaze. Finding a moving target more exciting, it took off across the meadow. Nell and I watched for a few stunned milliseconds realizing that we were no longer the cougar's prey. That prize had been bestowed upon my everything. My heart was racing. Terror was overwhelming me. Nell and I watched as the cougar quickly made up the short distance between it and Drake. Love I never dared whisper to anyone took hold of me as I yelled as loudly and distinctly as possible, "Drake!"
The cougar showed no hint of slowing at the sound of my scream. Drake's head turned toward me. I needlessly flapped and waved my arms pointing at the cougar. "Oh, my God," fluttered off my lips many times as I felt Nell grab my arm.
Drake's bike suddenly stopped. He dismounted and stood still as the cougar gained massive chunks of ground on him. The cougar leapt over a high wooden fence bordering the dirt road as easily as I would jump over a rain puddle. It landed on the dusty, track grooved road. I could see a puff of dirt rise as it hit the ground. "Get on your bike !" I wanted to yell to Drake, but my ability to speak was gone as a lump took hold in my throat. The only thing separating Drake from the cougar was dwindling space and his bike. The cougar stalked its way toward him. I visualized the beast's muscles working with each paw thumping upon the earth. Ten yards away. Ten feet away. I heard its sna rl. A whining, thick nasal sound that cleared the lump in my throat. "Drake!" I screamed."Go get help!" I yelled at Nell pushing her toward the Peterson's house. I ran to Drake not knowing what I could do other than serve as a second course meal. Drake and the cougar saw me moving toward them. The cougar did not care reverting its attention back to D rake. Drake's eyes caught mine for a split second in which everything we felt toward each other was communicated. My living nightmare resumed as the cougar leapt into the air. I envisioned its jaws clamping down around Drake's neck. That did not happen.
Drake brought his mountain bike up and swung it toward the leaping beast. I heard a thump sound. The cougar's momentum and strength pushed the bike back into Drake. He attempted to catch the bike, but the cougar became entangled. The cougar, the bike and Drake tumbled to the ground. All I could hear, approaching the road, were the snarls of the cougar and the sounds of thrashing in the cloud of dirt. The slats in the w ooden gate prevented me from seeing anything but diffused, blurred motion. I moved closer not wanting to see reality. That was when I heard an obscene howling cry. And then silence."Drake!" I boomed. I moved faster toward the attack swallowing to prevent myself from vomiting. I felt myself becoming lightheaded. I fought it off as I reached the fence using it as a crutch. Blood stickily hanged on the etched wooden fence. It was everywhere as I climbed over trying to repress images of spraying blood. I refused to look where Drake should be. Instead, I allowed my peripheral vision to analyze for me. Dirt and blood obscenely clamped together under my feet. I slowly raised my head, my eyes not wanting to see, but needing to witness. The bike was the first thing I saw. Blood clung to metal, rubber and wire coagulating and mixing with the freshly vandalized dirt. The back tire was slashed. The front tire was missing. Spokes from the rear and the front were scattered upon the ground. And then there was Drake.
My first thought was that he was not there. All I saw was the cougar lying belly down in a crimson pool. Drake was under the cougar. I was able to make out Drake's legs and arms eventhough they were completely saturated in blood. I went to him. Goose bumps popped across my skin as the cougar suddenly moved up several inches toward me. My heart stuttered as I watched the cougar's dead body fall to the side of Drake. There Drake lay having pushed the animal off of him. An effort that appeared costly to his health. Drake's eyes closed a second after they met mine. I swept down to his side. His beautiful, dark brown eyes opened once again and he whispered, "I love you." Fear, longing, happiness and yes, love coexisted in one horrific and romantic moment as Drake's eyes fell close.
Drake looked as though he had bathed in red goo. I was unable to recognize the extent of his injuries. My mind was racing. How did he survive? How did he kill the cougar? I swept my hand across his blood-drenched forehead. Reaching for his hand, I found it in a clench. He was holding a bloodied knife. I knew the knife. His father gave it to him on his twelfth birthday. He had it today and it saved his life. Tears that I hadn't realized were there fell upon Drake's slowly breathing chest. In the distance I heard an approaching vehicle. It would be Nell and Mr. Peterson. Drake survived that day. He would have two physical reminders of his encounter with the cougar. A ten-inch scar would forever be evident on his left front thigh. The more noticeable scar was on his face. A straight, three inch ridge of skin on his right cheek. It s tretched from the base of his ear toward his mouth. That fateful day I decided that Drake Williams would become my husband and the father of my children. I had no idea that he would be out of my life within a month.
Lymans has no intention of sending help back for me. How could he expect me to stay in one place for God knows how many hours? There was no shelter from the heat. I would have been suffering from heat stroke or worse by the time he sent someone out for me. He knew that I would not stay in the same area waiting hopeful for a rescue. He knew I would have no other choice but to seek out refuge from the unbearable brightness of the sun. Its heat seducing my muscles to slow down. To quit. To collapse.< /P>
I crave the jug water as sweat upon my hand smacks against the uncapped plastic container. I imagine the water evaporating instantly as the oppressive desert heat invades the jug's inside. I must not be close to dehydration because I almost spit out the hot liquid. Yet, I gaze intently as the fluid dribbles from my mouth upon the desert floor. The water makes an imprint on the sand and dries before my eyes within a matte r of seconds. A thirst I have never known attempts to overwhelm. It cajoles. It pleads. It demands. Gulp the water down. You need it to survive. The temptation is maddening. The veins in my arms constrict to the point I envision them oozing through my sweat-drenched skin. My arm wavers as the bottle it holds sways up and down, back and forth. My right arm knows not what it does as my left hand grabs it to steady the water. The right arm regains sanity. It holds the jug as the left arm tig htly screws the cap back on the bottle.
I estimate my current travel around five miles from the point Lymans left me. The wind picks up blowing sand at my body. The red and white sundress I decided on this morning is not holding up terribly well as sand blows through and up the material. The edgy grain digs into and bites my skin. I march forward upon hosed feet that still feel comfortable upon the desert floor. My high heels becoming artifacts dropped several miles back.
The wind begins to let up. I rip a piece of fabric from the bottom of my dress and loosely wrap it around my neck for when the wind should pick up again. It isn't a pair of goggles, but it will have to do. I look from where I came and my footprints are nonexistent. I turn back around to the majesty of the sun as it creates an unnatural, sparkling glint in the sand ahead. I believe the glint to be a mirage as it disappea rs and reappears with each footstep. Black Sagebrush casually rolls past me as it takes all my strength not to break out into a run. Approaching the sparkling light, my pulse quickens as the desert floor deepens with sand. This is no mirage. Something, some object is buried. I drop to my knees upon the sinking dry pond. Sticking upwards is a piece of metal about five inches long. I touch it and immediately pull my hand away from its searing heat. My split-second touch made me aware of its deep hold in the sand. I dig around the metal, scooping the sand away. The erstwhile concentric circle I make is almost futile as the grains either tumble or breeze back into the hole I attempt to dig. More of the metal is uncovered, but it's still unrecognizable. My mind races with imagined U.F.O.'s. The wind lets up again and I am able to scoop out mo re sand. Something smoother than the metal graces my hands. The smoother material appears to be glass-like. I make one final sweeping motion with my arms to clear off the glass. Good Lord. A man's face stares back at me.
Lymans and Baritone man storm the Jacob Jallopps' owned high-rise apartment building. The majority of the tenants work for Jallopps. Baritone man walks in pain as he and Lymans cautiously enter Denise's apartment. Lymans slowly closes Denise's front door eyeing t he building's hallway. He and Baritone man spent twenty minutes sneaking upstairs to Denise's apartment. Lymans believed they made it up unseen."This way," he says leading Baritone man through Denise's apartment.
Eddie shuffles slowly down the hallway corridor watching the images of Lymans and Baritone man in a cracked parabolic mirror. They stop at Denise's door around the hallway corner from Eddie. Eddie stops and backhugs the inner wall of the hallway. He forces himself to a logical conclusion that Lymans is here to see Denise about something work related. Logic leaps from Eddie's body when he witnesses Lymans' use of a key to open Denise's door. And not just any key, but Denise's key attached to her Aries key ring. The two intruders enter and close Denise's door. Eddie waits a minute and then walks toward Denise's apartment.
Baritone man sits upon Denise's well-kept bed as Lymans scuttles through the dresser drawer. Lymans finds the black velvet handbag exactly where Denise said it would be. He holds it triumphantly in his hand as he pivots and grins at Baritone man. Lymans stands up to the sounds of his knee joints cracking. His reflection in the dresser mirror casts back a picture of satisfaction. The middle-aged, handsome, yet slightly ov erweight man looks extremely pleased with himself. His toothy smile is infectious as Baritone man warily gets up grinning. Lymans caresses the exterior of the handbag feeling the imprint of a square thin object. His smile grows to such a point that Baritone man is reminded of the Joker from the Batman comics. Opening the bag and reaching in, Lymans pulls out a woman's broken compact. His smile disintegrates as he jabs his fingers deeper into the bag."It has to be here," he snarls. Baritone man stands apprehensively behind Lymans. "That bitch!" he yells."
Lymans darts down pulling out the remainder of the white pine drawers from the dresser. He pulls out everything that looks as though it could house a disk. He glares upward at Baritone man, "What the hell are you doing just standing around!?"
Baritone man reacts as though he had just been smacked. He snaps out of Lymans' verbal assault and begins tearing apart Denise's bedroom. Lymans resumes his wanton search of the drawers. The disk is not there. Thoughts of torturing Denise flicker through his mind. She lied about the disk's whereabouts. She has it somewhere else, but he could not understand why she would lie. He is her only salvation.
Eddie places his hand on Denise's front door as if his touching it would allow him to see what was going on inside. The doorknob is locked. He hears muffled shouting and movement inside the apartment. Eddie reasons that Denise is neither inside nor did she give Mark Lymans her home keys. Yet, he has them which mean one of two things. Either Denise lost them and Mark Lymans decided to take a tour of her home or he took t hem from her which means that she is being held from coming home. In an emotional maelstrom of unrequited love and foolishness, Eddie knocks on the door.
Lymans motions silence to Baritone man. The dynamic duo are in Denise's living room area flipping through computer disks at a computer homestation. Lymans pantomimes at Baritone man to answer the door. As Baritone man moves towards the door, Lymans grabs every disk he sees stuffing them in his suit's pockets and in the black velvet handbag st ill secured in his clenched hand. He drops back into the recesses of Denise's hallway as the hard knocking persist.
Eddie moves to knock louder when the door opens. Baritone man fills the doorway as Eddie stands transfixed by his size. Eddie's machismo tells him that he could take the giant in a fight. That his wiry five-foot ten body carrying one hundred and fifty pounds of flesh is more than a match for Baritone man. Eddie notices a large swelling on the underside of Baritone man's face."What do you want!?" Baritone man booms. "Who are you?" Eddie asks trying to peer into Denise's apartment. Baritone man's body seems to follow Eddie's gaze blocking it every time. "You knock on my door, and ask who I am? You got it the other way around. Who are you?" Baritone man demands. "Last I checked, Denise Bullard lived here," says Eddie. He can almost see the "damn" or some other swear word going off in Baritone man's thoughts at his mentioning of Denise's name. "Denise isn't here right now," Baritone man counters rather poorly. "I haven't seen you before with Denise. Who are you?" Eddie repeats. "You know what," Baritone man says. " Denise told me you would be dropping by. I must have forgot. You can wait inside if you like. She should be back in a few minutes."
This guy is an idiot, there's no way in hell I'm stepping foot through that door. "I'll just call her later," Eddie says. All of Eddie's worst fears are being realized. The foremost being that Denise is in danger."She'll be right back," Baritone man insists. "Please, come in."
Eddie sees Baritone man reaching into his jacket. Eddie has seen enough movies to know what Baritone man would be pulling out. He blows his cover by turning around and running for the stairwell. Baritone man does indeed pull out a gun, but Eddie's quick reaction takes him by surprise."Boss, he knows!" Baritone man cries. He staggers after Eddie like a contestant in a three-legged race.
Lymans heard the entire conversation. Considering Baritone man's background, Lymans is mildly impressed at his handling of the situation. Mildly. Lymans casually but hastily makes his way after Baritone man and..."Eddie Banks," Lymans moans. "That's all I need."
She now fills my every waking thought. I've been denied her too long. So many years. I'm coming.