Jack Be Nim b le B o o k 2 : T yr o by B e n E n g l i sh
Jack Be Nimble: Tyro Ben English This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living, dead, undead, or wandering the streets of San Francisco, would be pretty amazing, now, wouldn’t it? Copyright © 2011 by Ben English All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book, or portions thereof, in any form. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, downloaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical without the express written permission of the author. Thank you for respecting the hard work of the author. Cover art modified, original photo property of United States Marine Corps. ProAmerican locals observing an MV-22 Osprey land at Forward Operating Base Geronimo, Helmand Province, Afganistan, July 14, 2010. Published in the United States of America English, Ben E. (Ben Emery), 1971 Jack Be Nimble: Tyro / Ben English -1st ed. 1. Novelists—Fiction. 2. Crime—Fiction. I-Title. ISBN-978-1466219465 ISBN-1466219467 ebook ISBN - 978-1-4657-6868-1
Visit the author’s website: www.BenEnglishAuthor.com
T h e Jac k B e n i mb l e Se r i e s
Ga r g oy l e T yro T h e C rys ta l Fa l co n (coming Fall 2011)
This oneâ€™s for Steve and Barb English my parents The best people I know.
Contents Foreward9 Flight13 The Doctrine of Hot Pursuit
The Joss House
Snowstorm in a Sardine Tin
First Order of the Day
The High Lord of San Francisco
Hardware/Wetware68 Spook73 Ex Cognito
The Battle of Sarah Circle
Stan & Ollie
Recruitment212 The Further Adventures of Stan and Ollie
Beyond the Veil
Mrs. Dumont Visits the Mercado Nocturno
The Importance of a Good Meal
A Little Less Lent, a Little More Mardi Gras
Red Sky in the Morning
Humpty Dumpty Sat on a Wall
The More Complex the Mind
Tyro327 Chase the Girl
Jack Be Nimble: Gargoyle
Foreward Scribbled quickly on a menu from the Jules Verne Restaurant Paris, France 4 AM
ll right, listen close. We don’t have much time. My name is Alonzo Noel. I’m on the team. Hell, I am the
Jack wouldn’t be nearly as nimble without me backing him up, ask anybody. I’ve known the guy since we were old enough to knock out each other’s baby teeth, which qualifies me to get you up to speed. I don’t really have time for this Foreward foolishness, and neither do you, but in case you didn’t read the first book in the series (really?), here’s what’s going on: Jack was in a bad, bad place after Toria died. Worst I’ve ever seen. She was the secret to his success—the reason why he never held back— and with her gone, it was like Jack became this immobile, thick, stony… statue. (Oh, Gargoyle. I get it now. Yes, very clever, Mr. smarty-pants writer). It took the kidnapping of his god-daughter to get Jack back up and in the game. I got the team together, and we found the kidnappers in London. General kickassery ensued. We lost a good man, and put another one of ours in the hospital, but the bad guys are on the run. Turns out the kidnapping was only part of a larger Evil Plan of Evil to overturn all the bits of civilization that we like best. Even as I write this, the bad guys have active teams all over the 9
Ben English world, going two-by-two, assassinating important folks and scooping up technology. Got to be honest, we’re still trying to figure out what they’re up to. Still trying to catch up. They even sent a team to whack Mercedes Adams. Her parents were high-energy physicists, and left all their research to her. She’s got their brains and, well—let’s just say she’s the reason why bikinis were invented, you got me? I could tell you more, but really, that’s Jack’s story. You’ll read it soon enough. The guy remembers everything. He’s got one of those “frenetic memories.” This is taking too long. Explanations are always my downfall, whether dealing with stories or women. You know what? If you haven’t already, just go and read the first book, Jack Be Nimble: Gargoyle (here’s a hint: Amazon.com. You’re welcome.) And now, a word from our sponsor. What? No time for corporate sponsorship? I’m doing this for free? Whose idea was that? All caught up? Good. Here we go.
Jack Be Nimble: Gargoyle
Jack Be Nim b le Book two: tyro
Ever impelled by invisible power,
Destined to roam from East to West.
Oft he remembers the faces of loved ones;
Dreams of the day when he, too, was at rest.
- Dr. Jose Rizal
“The day when we shall know exactly what ‘electricity’ is, will
chronicle an event probably greater, more important than any other recorded in the history of the human race. The time will come when the comfort, the very existence, perhaps, of man will depend upon that wonderful agent. And you may live to see man-made horrors beyond your comprehension.”
- Nikola Tesla
Jack Be Nimble: Gargoyle
Flight 35,000 feet above the Western Atlantic Ocean 6 AM
e’ll be landing in forty minutes, Mr. Raines. Your change of clothes and other personal items are in the lavatory.”
“That’s fine. Leave the shades drawn.” Across the cabin,
Miklos slept. Raines needed him alert and ready to move quickly again in a few hours. There was still so much to accomplish. Miklos had fallen asleep before the plane left the runway outside London. Like most men born to the warrior life, he possessed the ability to sleep wherever and whenever the opportunity presented itself. Raines left him in the semidarkness and entered the bathroom. His clothes were stained and torn, and he left them on the floor. The facilities included a double-wide shower, and he made use of it, lathering himself to Mahler’s Ninth symphony. The shower held a television screen, and he watched the coverage of the Illuminatus Tower fire until the newscasters began repeating themselves. Thanks to the insurance carried by Harrods he would make a windfall in the payout. Raines silenced the music and television. “Call Marduk,” he said, and the onboard computer complied. “Hello Alex,” said Marduk. “George,” replied Raines. “Do you have a new computer provisioned for me?” 13
Ben English “The same model as the one in London.” The speaker had the barest accent, the intonations of someone who’d learned English as a child in a home where English was not the first language of the parents. A slight over-pronunciation here and there, a flatness to his vowels. “I’ll meet you on the runway with it.” “We’ll need to select a new Michael as well,” said Raines, offhand. He activated the pressurized steam jets in the shower, and leaned into them. By the time they landed he’d be nearly as good as new. Marduk was busy with something for a few moments. “I’ve gone ahead and had them reopen the file on Jack Flynn. We really should have seen him coming.” “That’s not your fault,” said Raines. “We both thought that once his wife was out of the picture he wouldn’t be an issue, given that she was his connection with the Royal Family.” “He’s not as diminished as our statistical models predicted. Worse, his group is aware of us.” “Flynn doesn’t know as much as he thinks he does,” replied Raines. “And who is he going to approach for intel? The Americans? They think I’m hosting an executive retreat this week.” “Do you think he’ll put enough of the plan together to go to Cuba?” Raines began toweling off. “He will. He has a history there, a network, and whatever else he is, Jack Flynn is a slave to history. At least we’ll know roughly where he and his team are. They move about so quickly it’s difficult to keep track of them.” Marduk agreed. “Nimble bastards. Are we going to take precautions, in case they find out Lopez is returning to Cuba and bringing the drug trade back with him?” 14
Jack Be Nimble: Gargoyle “Let’s discuss that when I land. What would you think if we allowed Jack to discover Lopez on his own? Give it some thought.” Alex Raines shaved and called one of his servants to assist him in dressing. Marduk’s final question pleased him as it meant that Marduk was not underestimating Flynn. It was an important aspect of the plan. And a bit of resistance only served to sharpen his taste. Raines felt himself growing stronger.
The Doctrine of Hot Pursuit Paris 6AM
ack moved quickly through his apartment, gathering odds and ends into a duffel bag. The chances were high that his home was under
surveillance by at least two governments, and he didn’t want to give them any more of a show than was necessary. Although the sun had yet to show itself, the approaching day seemed to pull every shadow away to the far west. The night reluctantly gave up its hold on Paris, and the streets below were long strands of deep blue gloom, stretched and straining towards the edge of the continent. Jack felt a similar pull toward the horizon. Raines and Miklos had fled in that direction, and Jack was already half a day behind them. The crystal falcon threw pinpoints of light at him as he passed the door to the library. As long as he stayed back far enough from the windows, a watcher on the roof of one of the surrounding buildings couldn’t see him. In the library, next to his copy of Stephen King’s On Writing, Jack kept a hollow book for whatever he considered the treasure of the moment. This week, it held his Navigo pass and half a carnet’s worth of Metro tickets. He checked the date on the pass card and slid it into a back pocket. She’d made sure he developed the habit of preparing for a clean getaway. She loved the Metro, loved the characters they ran into under Paris. 16
Jack Be Nimble: Gargoyle His wife was never short of ideas. In the hallway closet, next to the clean sheets and towels, she kept a bugout bag, a travel pack prepared with enough vitamins, underwear, and cash to last 5 days. Or enough to buy a washing machine and dryer outright, according to Toria. Longer than 5 days, and either we’re buying a house or we’re in a place that doesn’t require a lot of clothing. Somewhere with a beach, preferably attached to an ocean. Jack smiled. Toria hadn’t been a fan of doing her own laundry. He’d miss this place. Shame if he couldn’t come back here again, but Jack wasn’t naïve enough to think he didn’t paint a target on any of the civilians that lived in his building. None of them were insured for damage due to rocket-propelled grenade. The early dawn light lent a soft blue edge to the air in the apartment. Spare computer, pocketknife, the hard drive from the laptop Alonzo had broken the day before, and an unfinished paperback. Just a bit more space in the bag. Jack looked around at his photos and paintings, at the Celtic wood carvings. She’d bought them in Paris’ Chinatown, of all places. Jack pictured his wife. Sifted through the thousand memories they’d shared in the home, and realized, finally, that there might just be an ebb tide to despair. Victoria was gone, but not really. It could have been fatigue, but a strange giddiness washed over Jack, and he found himself wondering if she waited for him somewhere, paused just a moment on the other side of the Big Whatever, lingering while he caught up to her. In their marriage, the pursuit had never really ended, and he wondered if it was in her nature to wait for him at the end of the endless road. Well. Greta and Franz would take care of watering the plants in his absence. 17
Ben English Just a bit more space in the travel bag, about the size of a fist. He looked around one last time at his home, saw the sharp, bright points of green brilliance growing on everything about him, and followed the refracted light back down to the coffee table. On impulse, he plucked up the crystal bird, and went downstairs.
Jack Be Nimble: Gargoyle
The Joss House
he Chatelet des Halles station was the largest Metro station in Paris, the largest underground transportation hub in the world. Jack
entered at the peak of rush hour, borne along in the midst of an impatient rabble of securities analysts, payroll clerks and other businessmen more fascinated by the national interest rate than freak fires and collapsing skyscrapers in London. Everyone moved everywhere, with great purpose, under a perplexing array of blue sortie signs and orange correspondances signs. From Chatelet des Halles, trains headed in a dozen directionsâ€”not only the regular Metro trains, but the Reseau Express Regional rapid
commuter trains as well, connecting Paris with its teeming suburbs. The station was a forty thousand square meter maze, an excellent place to get lost or go mad from the noise. A train thundered and squealed into place, and the sea of people started to flow again. A suited man on the shoeshine station near the platform suddenly swore and bolted up, dropping coins in the direction of the dark-haired man at his feet, and made for the train. Jack helped the shoeshine, an elderly Asian gentleman, collect the scattered money and sat down himself in the seat on the raised platform. Heâ€™d worn his good shoes, the ones from Milan. They hadnâ€™t seen a good shine in ages. The old man began to work on his shoes, and Jack kept half an eye on him as he scanned the mass of commuters. His head was just high enough to appreciate the size of the crowd, high enough to see everyone. Just high enough to watch the whole show. 19
Ben English A nurse exiting a train stumbled on the platform, shifting her bags. Those nearest her offered a steadying hand, and she thanked them, punctuating that with a sharp rebuke for the man behind her, who’d obviously been a little too friendly with his aid. As she turned toward him a small, grey purse slid out from beneath her packages and into the hand of another departing passenger. Jack watched the package switch hands again and get carried back into the train, then out again by a youngish-looking man, who passed it deftly to a brown-suited working class-type, who nearly walked out of Jack’s line of sight before relaying it to a bearded, turbaned Sikh. He moved slowly, calmly down the concourse, and Jack almost missed it when a speeding student—who couldn’t have been older than fifteen—raced past, along with several other youngsters late for school. The young girl’s backpack was open, and as she dashed into the train a grey-wrapped bundle slid out. The train doors shut, and a transport worker who stooped to pick up the package was just a second too late. The brush-pass was one of the foundation skills of spycraft, kissing cousin to sleight-of-hand. A practiced eye would have a hard enough time watching the package on its weave and weft through the crowd, but it was all a pattern. Jack spotted the pattern through the flow of the crowd, and picked the moment when the pattern would change. He watched it with interest, but the old, simple sense of joy he’d always found in such things was absent. The Chinese man working on his shoes kept his back to the multitude, blithe. Just part of the overall pattern. Another man took a seat on the raised shoeshine stand, an educated laborer, by the look of him. Large hands, thick shoulders, and clothes that had been expensive a few seasons ago. He waited for his shoeshine, indifferent to the crowd and noise. 20
Jack Be Nimble: Gargoyle As soon as the train pulled away, Jack turned to him and said, pleasantly, “Perhaps a recipe for fish?” A blank stare, so Jack tried again, this time in English, “Maybe a note from your proctologist? Excusing you from mime practice?” This time the man looked away, a little impatient. Jack switched to Farsi. “Instructions on how to assemble that pesky accordion?” The Farsi had probably been a waste. Jack smiled lightly and added, in Mandarin, “I hear that in the old days, this was a favorite spot of the KGB. I need to talk to your boss. I will speak to the master of the Joss House.” That made the new man start. He glanced toward his feet, an action which he immediately regretted, and the wizened, old shoeshine man stood fully, fixing him with a quiet glare. The newcomer handed over the small grey packet, which vanished the instant it touched the old man’s palm. Abashed, the young man rose and stepped down, melting into the crowd. Jack admired the new shine as the old man turned off his service light and sat down in the recently vacated chair. He picked up a Mandarin newspaper and flipped through it casually for nearly a minute before lighting a cigarette. It really was a good shoeshine. “You are still a terrific pain in the ass,” the old man said, eyes still on the paper. “No one does brush passes much anymore,” Jack replied. “It’s all high-bit emails and encrypted instant messaging.” “The fundamentals remain.” The old man’s English reflected an Oxford education. Hard as he listened Jack could never hear any Russian inflections. “You obviously remember your training well 21
Ben English enough, if you could follow this morning’s exercise.” Smoke curled around him, held captive by the newspaper. “Or are you just an actor now, playing at spy.” “It’s the way of an actor,” Jack agreed, in Mandarin. “Errol Flynn used to do this all the time.” “Is it true he was really working for the Germans?” Jack asked. “He was working for himself,” the old man shot back, sharply. “Not like you. It seems you are the last of the unsentimental patriots.” The word was a sneer. “So English, please. Stop speaking to me as if you were a Shanghai fishwife.” Jack paused, and let a little hardness creep into his voice. “There were two men yesterday, in a listening post across the street from Vicenzo’s.” “That’s foolish. Everyone knows Vicenzo works for the Vatican.” He ignored the older man’s tone. “These were out-of-towners. One of them was, at least. The other wanted me to see him. He made himself obvious, but not catchable.” The old shoeshine turned a page in his newspaper. “Freelancers.” “Like you?” “No, fool. Killers. I collect things—” “For other people,” Jack finished. “You’re a lot like your sons.” He paused as another train pulled into the station. Jack sneaked a glance at the old man. For all his outer indifference, at the mention of his sons he was rapt, utterly focused on Jack, waiting for him to continue. Jack let the silence hang in the air, then asked another question. “Who were the two freelancers? I don’t care how you get the information, but I need to know.” “You can have this for free. Marvin Krest, a young arrogant 22
Jack Be Nimble: Gargoyle child from your country, and Roland Thiel, a former Legionnaire who was…seduced by one of the terror cells he hunted when he was younger. The name of their employer will cost you.” Jack didn’t even wait for the other man to draw on his cigarette. “Miklos Nasim.” The old man’s eyes jumped fractionally. He was still capable of surprise. “At the beginning, certainly. Thiel worked for Nasim for years; now he reports to another party. Whom I certainly do not know.” Jack started to speak, then paused. Dangerous ground. The old man knew ways of drawing information, and there was no trick Jack knew that would make their conversation a fair trade. “Any idea why the Frenchman would approach us, tip us off to what he was doing?” The response was considered and careful. “A parent will go to extreme lengths to show honor to a child.” He let that lie. “What do you know about the new employer?” “Rumors. There’s no pattern as yet. Our information suggests a financier, an industrialist, a technocrat. The price for certain types of scientific information has recently gone up. Pure research is being stolen and hoarded.” “You mean copied and collected?” The wizened old shoeshine lit another cigarette, took his time. “I said stolen. Downloaded and wiped. Hard copies, electronic files. In the past two days, someone has managed to hoard a tremendous amount of pure energy research. Five research teams have gone missing. Coordinated break-ins at MIT and Stanford. Certain American scientists are being made to vanish. We don’t know who the central figure is, but the rumors regarding his or her endgame scenario are…puzzling… “He wants to induce chaos on a grand scale, perhaps—” 23
Ben English Jack gestured at their surroundings. “Bring the entire system roaring down?” The elderly Chinese man almost laughed. “That’s too grandiose. An industrialist would obviously reap great financial rewards during a reconstruction. A system-wide crash endangers everyone. You’re being absurd.” “But if I’m not, we have an adversary in common. Miklos Nasim and Roland Thiel are working for Alex Raines. Raines Capital.” The old man scoffed. “You are lying.” Jack set his palm on the armrest between them. “An industrialist. A technocrat with practically unlimited funds. Someone with enough leverage to move the earth, given a proper fulcrum and a sturdy place to stand.” Jack removed his hand, revealing a singed ticket to the Illuminatus Cineplex. The old man’s eyes widened in astonishment, and Jack continued. “His parents were Cold War scientists, on your side. Your old Soviet connections should help you build up quite a package of information.” “That would be worth a great deal of money.” “Find a buyer quickly. The market on information about Alex Raines is about to crash.” “And what do you want in return?” “A copy of your completed file on Raines. It will be worthless in a few weeks, anyway. Today I need a shopping list of potential scientists, specific titles of research papers—anything Raines hasn’t gotten his hands on yet.” Jack pretended to read the entertainment section of the Mandarin newspaper. It always vaguely bothered him that he’d never have enough time to learn to read most of the languages he could speak. “I need to know who’s next on the list.” 24
Jack Be Nimble: Gargoyle His Sphinxlike companion blew a smoke ring. “I am an old man. I usually don’t take such an aggressive stance.” “The French said much the same thing in the spring of 1939.” Jack waited. The old man switched back to Mandarin. “You’ll have the names of all the scientists targeted for assassination in one hour. Is there anything else?” “I‘d very much like to hear the story sometime, how you got your family out of Tienanmen Square. Brad won’t discuss it.” Real emotion flickered across the old man’s face so briefly Jack wondered if he imagined it. “How is my son?” “He’s going to be fine. Right now he’s much safer than you or I—if I’m not mistaken, he’s got the same nurse Bill Clinton had last year after he fell off the balcony at the 12 Bar Club.” The old man started to laugh, then caught himself and fished for another cigarette. “You’re always trying to be funny. Pain in the ass.” Jack folded the newspaper, eyes on the crowd. The match flared, pale grey smoke swirled above their heads. “Your wife now, she could make me laugh. Never met an Irish who didn’t know how to tell a story.” Jack Flynn dropped the newspaper, stepped off the platform, and vanished into the crowd.
Snowstorm in a Sardine Tin Liverpool, England
olin â€œSmiggerâ€? Smythe waited for his three bodyguards to join him before leaving the gym. Morning in Merseyside was the opposite
of a combat zone, but it was an odd morning. Two hundred miles away, in London, the Illuminatus Tower still burned. The newsies had yet to decide the safest group to blame, and this made life a shade more interesting for the head man of the Liverpool mob. Smigger cheated only once, you see. * My, my. Time certainly brought advances. At the beginning of his career, Armand Lopez would have merely kidnapped the man, perhaps his entire family. Youth is often unimaginative; as a lieutenant in the West Valley cartel, Lopez had focused on abducting local doctors for ransom. Foreigner visitors to Columbia typically had more money, and as Lopez widened his vision, he began collecting them as wellâ€”mostly women or middle-aged men, if their companies carried kidnapping insurance, which was easy enough to find out. At twenty he personally killed his first rival, a deputy of police in a western province. Beat him into soft pieces with a rusty pipe. This felt most satisfying, and he had every intention of continuing to address such things personally, but his own strength became a 26
Jack Be Nimble: Gargoyle problem. Lopez was already becoming so powerful in the organization that his underlings began to take care of the wet work. Unfortunate, but the suggestion of restraint came from the kings above him. So he busied himself with running the businesses, the companies, the endeavors that were sometimes legitimate but just as often allowed him to launder the billions of dollars flowing into the cartel from the sales of product. By the time he was thirty, Lopez ran a network of thirty radio stations, a chain of pharmacies in twenty-eight cities, and a Panamanian bank. Outside the bank, his consortium was valued at three hundred million dollars. Inside the bank, he’d washed over six billion for the cartel. The kings and princes at the top allowed him to celebrate. A reporter for the largest Bogota newspaper was working on a story about one of his companies—it was a bicycle-messenger firm, actually inconsequential, but he convinced his superiors that the reporter could leverage the story into a larger expose. Peel back the layers and uncover more sensitive information on the cartel, so they gave him the go-ahead to close the story. Lopez met her alone the evening of his thirtieth birthday. No lieutenants, no underlings of any kind. After a quiet dinner and an off-the-record interview, he hung her upside down from a neon billboard over the Avenida de las Américas and flayed the skin and most of the muscle from her thighs to just past her navel. He’d read a book on circulatory anatomy just for the occasion, and was able to avoid severing any major arteries. A pleasant discovery: blood rushing to her head kept her conscious longer than expected. It took hours for him to lose interest, and he left the corpse there under the glowing Postobon sign. Her story was over; the work remained unpublished. After that, other aspects of the cartel’s business in Colombia 27
Ben English still held the media’s attention, but not his. For some reason his operations were never considered newsworthy. There simply wasn’t anything as personally satisfying as taking care of matters yourself. Armand Lopez lived the life of an upperechelon manager in the Colombian West Valley Cartel, with women, money, and homes to spare, but in his heart he enjoyed only one luxury. Perhaps it was the risk. Perhaps it was the idea of assaulting the innocent, but Lopez didn’t fool himself. There were no innocent. Only the unsuspecting. Time advanced, as was its wont. As attrition wore away at the ranks of the cartel, Lopez rose. The Medellíns were long gone. The Cali cartel shattered in upon itself, losing compartmentalization until one day it was nothing resembling the former whole. Most of his superiors in West Valley had been arrested and extradited to the U.S., with their futures uncertain as they faced judges and political machines they hadn’t yet cultivated through bribery, graft, and nepotism. Among other duties, Lopez inherited the responsibility for new market development. Perversely, the new freedom granted him the opportunity for more personal risk. In Cuba a few years ago, he’d been glad to escape with his life and a gut full of lead. He owed that and other scars to a black-haired Irish woman and her team of mercenaries. Now that Cuba was ready once again for penetration, he held out hope that destiny would again bring him the woman. The Liverpool mob deal was his first successful new market. By and large men after Lopez’s own heart. Partnership with the richest gang in the U.K. gave Lopez access to new contacts and a strong distribution chain throughout the European market, and there was 28
Jack Be Nimble: Gargoyle opportunity; upheavals in Iran disrupted the flow of drugs from the Middle East. Suddenly, Colombian White was on the table again. The West Valley cartel was in place to provide, and the world was indeed flat. Money roared in. Until the drug baron for the Liverpool gang cheated. * Smigger held the door for the first two guards, and allowed the third to fall in beside him as they exited the gym. He hated exercising by himself, next time they’d bring equipment. They were all new men, still learning his routine. They were Irish gougers, the lot, but seemed to pick up fast enough. Ex-IRA paramilitaries. Contract killers all, glad to triple their salary guarding his hide. Normally he drew bodyguards from a local pool of muscle, a firm of nightclub bouncers that doubled as foot soldiers for the mob. He’d go back to them once the Colombians stopped asking about the five hundred kilograms of product he’d reported as rotting in police custody. Loss was a part of the business, everyone knew this, even the kings and princes in the Far Away Place, as they referred to South America. Of course, the five hundred kilos was on a dock in Amsterdam, all lined up pretty as a picture. They’d bring it into the country later this week, packed in sardine tins. It was still uncut and required processing; they’d bash it up to at least eight hundred kilograms and sell each kilo on the street for eighty-thousand pounds apiece. A month from now, the Liverpool coffers would be richer by seventy-two million pounds. And he could buy another home on Cyprus. Smigger was distracted that morning, as were most of his 29
Ben English countrymen, by the horrific fire and power outage in London. Various terrorist groups claimed responsibility, but no one really knew who lay behind the burning of the Illuminatus Tower. It was the kind of thing Lopez would do. He’d listen to the news in the car, for once. Perhaps pick up a paper— And the lead guard’s head exploded, spritzing blood, brains, hair, and teeth back onto Smigger’s track suit. As the other front man drew his weapon, the bodyguard at Smigger’s side shouldered him into a doorway, and pulled his own gun, shouting. A shotgun roared (neither of his men carried a shotgun) and Smigger saw the first man’s legs go out from under him before he found the door handle, locked. The gun roared again, answered by screams, and Smigger pounded on the door. Reinforced wood, no glass. Three locks, all pig iron. The kind of door people buy when the mob moves into their neighborhood. Bone cracked behind him, and the scream stopped. Didn’t end, just stopped. He knew all these sounds. Blood ran by the stoop. It steamed a bit in the morning sun. “New bodyguards, Smigger?” Armand Lopez? He’s making the hit himself? “They look Irish. Are you Irish, Smigger?”
Jack Be Nimble: Gargoyle
Jack Be Nim b le Book Two: tyro By Ben English
Excerpted from Jack Be Nimble: Tyro, by Ben English. Copywrite ÂŠ 2011 by Ben English. Excerpted by permission of the author. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the author.
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The adventure that began in fire and terror in the night sky over London has brought Jack Flynn and his friends together again, to strike a...