The Iraq War Was Appropriate

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

A Novel Excerpt

I've been working a bit more on my unpublished novel, using whatever downtime I may have at my disposal. My agent (with whom I have yet to establish a formal business relationship, but who takes great liberties to give me orders nevertheless) advises that it "needs editing"; frustratingly to me, since he is loathe to elaborate on just what that editing might consist of. Going behind his back a bit, I've decided that (for a lark) it might be interesting to publish excerpts of it for free to my electronic journal, to see what interest this might spark and comments this might engender. Keep in mind that this is still pretty rough, but the basic plot outlines are nevertheless in place and have been for some time. So critique if you must, but be merciful.

The following excerpt is a key scene from Black Marbles White Marbles, Part 1 of The Realignment Crescendo.

Hedge instantaneously, sharply kicked in the door with one swift, mantis-like motion of his wiry frame. Focusing his mind with his Buddhist training, his ears carefully and directionally attuned like a shortwave radio to frequencies that said "enemy", he strode resolutely through the ensuing explosion of splinters, crossing the threshold confidently and with expectation, like a newlywed couple - him and his MP5. This was it. This was the room in which he would find his answers.

Suddenly a voice called wryly out from the half-lit haze: "Greetings, Mr. Hedge. I've been expecting you." The voice was tinged with madness.

This had to be him. The arch-terrorist leader behind the Cleveland bloodbath, and the La Jolla cliffs operation, and the EMP attacks. The man behind the file, in the flesh. The flesh he knew to be stitched and burned and grafted almost beyond recognition.

Here, in this room, he would finally meet face to face with Zabe. What was left of that face, anyway.

"My, you work slowly, Mr. Hedge. Did I not leave enough bread-crumbs for you?" the menacing voice continued darkly. "Perhaps I overestimated you."

"The only thing you've overestimated, Mr. Zabe, is your lifespan. It's over. There's no way out, and your background says you're smart enough to know it", Hedge rattled off dryly, like a medical assistant calling a patient in for his appointment. Only, this appointment was with the Grim Reaper - the sooner, the better.

"Tsk tsk tsk. Is that the best you can do? I heard better from your predecessor. You didn't really expect me to sit here with no escape plan, did you? Now, Mr. Hedge. Let's dispense with the cops-and-robbers game. It grows tiresome. Check your jacket pocket, if you will."

Zabe's voice was without fear. After briefly processing the declaration, Hedge's instincts told him quickly that he wasn't bluffing. Keeping his alert eyes darting around the still-hazy room, and the MP5 at the ready, he lightly patted his overcoat on both sides, feeling his trusty Desert Eagle in its usual place on the right side... but an unfamiliar lump on the left. Reaching in gingerly, he pulled out what appeared to be a mobile phone. It was one of those flip-open deals, like Hedge had worked with in Ankara. Only when he flipped it open, he saw a tiny screen for showing photographs.

In the photograph on the screen, bound and gagged, was Melanie. Hedge's pupils shrank, but he performed two quick inhales to keep his nerves sharp. This wasn't part of the plan, but to Hedge's way of thinking, plans were made to be violated. Repeatedly.


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