Thursday, January 6, 2011

American Apocalypse IV - Chapter 14 - by Nova

The woman in the back had dual monitors and there was a HP Laserjet sitting behind her.  The back wall had an American flag and framed picture of the General.  He looked constipated. 

"Is this where I need to check in?"

Corn Fed looked me up and down and said "Let me guess. You're a fed. No." He held up his hand "I got it. You're the Lone Ranger." He thought that was pretty funny and while he was checking the woman out to see if she laughed I reached over my shoulder, grasped Sword, pulled it up, out, and down so I could grip it with both hands and whipped it down into the wood of the desk he was sitting behind.  The zing it made as it cleared the scabbard was a clear and beautiful sound. A mix between a hiss, crystal being tapped, and the cry of a woman. Once upon a time it had been the equivalent of a shotgun being racked. What it did to the top of the desk was just as brutal as a 12 gauge round.  

Corn Fed fell backwards in his chair and on his ass avoiding it.  Just as well. If he hadn't he might of ended up circumcised. I switched to a one handed grip on Sword and in the silence following said "No. I'm a US Marshall and you're an asshole." Then I smiled at the woman who was now on her feet with her hand on the butt of her weapon.

Corn Fed was coming off his ass in a hurry. I looked at him and said "Don't."  He was going to anyway but the woman's curt "At ease Larry" stopped him. He was breathing heavy, flushed red and staring hate at me. I just grinned at him. I was getting ready to say something smart when she cut me off with "I'm going to bill your agency for that desk."

"Get a metal one next time. For Larry heres sake."

"Fuck you fed boy."  Larry didn't want to let it go.

Sharply this time she told him "Go outside. Take a break."  When he hesitated she added "Now!" The "Now!" snapping like a whip. Larry twitched from the sting, then he moved, bumping me as he went out the door.

"Okay. You done?"

"Yeah." I paused "So am I in the right place?"

She took a deep breath, tried to smile and decided not to, instead she told me "Yes. Come on over here."


  1. Wow! I was thinking Gardener might walk past the desk and help himself to some coffee, uninvited. Just to show everyone who was boss.

    But that was way more effective.

  2. Good scene with the sword,
    glad to see gardener ramping back up. sledge-kill was formulaic and a bit lame. felt like we were all suppose to smoke a cigarette after the climax. By the way, you might want to look into the behind the shoulder sword carry thing. Really can't draw much over 25 inches blade length from behind-the-back, depending on arm length. try it sometime. sounds cool, just doesn't work trust me. baldric hung right-side scabbard to be real. just saying. woodeneye

  3. D^2,

    I like that.


    Yeah. I may rewrite that. Originally I wanted him to cut parts of him slowly...

    Really? Hmmm...I suppose thats why they all wore them that way except in Hollywood...rewrite

  4. Yikes! stuck-in-the-middle-with-you "Reservoir Dogs"-like, except in public? Does Gardener have that kind of torture in him?

    I kind of hope not. I think of Gardener as an avenger of injustice, who makes the kill that's necessary as quickly as possible, although sometimes in a flashy way so that he can throw an opponent out of mental balance and prevail.

    I don't think he would take on a terminator role, unless he had personal knowledge of an injustice.

    Avoiding torture might make him a less dramatic assassin, but I think better of him because he doesn't get jollies from causing pain, except what's necessary to send a bad actor to hell quickly.

  5. Yeah Anon. Writing Gardener is a fine balance. I like your description and it's what I try to write him as. I also think, at least when I am writing him, that he walks a fine line and sometimes he slips over.

    I have been downplaying the violence in order to write more back story. Once again, it's a matter of balance. Your comments shape Gardener and the story more than you might think.


  6. I do see him teeter and can see that the power he has to end someone is terrible and could lead him to do terrible things if provoked.

    If he tips towards the dark, I hope he finds his balance and is able to pull back toward the light.

  7. Anon,

    I think that without Max, Night, and the others he would have. I think people like G need a network and a code. Without them, or with the wrong one, they can easily go over the edge.

  8. Hmmm... I LIKE it when he slips over. All chivalry and no deviousness makes Gardner a dull boy.

    Besides, he wouldn't seem realistic any other way.

    It's coming along nicely, Superman. Enjoying the Hell out of it!


  9. I think Anon's right about the length of the sword and necessity for really long arms to cleanly unsheath it from off the back. Those are details-- how long is that thing anyway? I never got the impression it was much longer than a Roman sword- i.e., short. On the other hand, re-sheathing it is an awkward affair. Do you bend over and grab the sheath with your off-hand? Gardener only exist in you're writing Nova, so make of him what you will. There's such a thing as dramatic / poetic license. As for the little details, I don't need to know how Gardener takes a dump, either.

    I didn't think the dispatch of Sledge and the boys was over the top. He shot them in cold blood. Their deaths were quick and instant. (Is he supposed to be the humane society?) The knee-capping of Sledge was the only 15 seconds of pain that he felt - and that's light treatment for a rapist.

    Gardener is an anti-hero. If you put a moral compass next to him it just spins round and round. He'll cut his own guts out if it spares the life of one of his friends. (He's loyal to a fault.) But when there's nothing else in the equation, if you insult him or challenge him, he'd just as soon kill you as he would spit on the floor.

  10. "I think that without Max, Night, and the others he would have. I think people like G need a network and a code. Without them, or with the wrong one, they can easily go over the edge."

    That brings to mind Kurtz, slipping over to the other side. Gardener walks along the edge of the cliff. And below is darkness.

  11. *sigh* I wish I had a Sword today. I would do this to my laptop in a heartbeat.