to be further down the road, but other forces are pulling me hither and yon. On the plus side, I'm getting short, punchy chapters which are the very essence of my current project. I wish I could say that I'm going to get ahead by the end of the week, but I'll be traveling (for business) from Friday to Tuesday. Don't fret, true believers. I'm taking the laptop, and we're in a wi-fi hotel, so I will be working and posting on the road. It'll be tough, because where I'm going has a gorilla sanctuary (the largest in North America), but I will perservere.
Here's a taste of yesterday's work:
After a quick stop at the bodega down the block from David’s walk-up, the two men parked the van in the underground space and spent an hour cleaning out the van, transferring all of their crime-fighting equipment from the hidden spaces in the van to the hidden spaces in the surprisingly roomy garage. After wiping the vehicle down with bleach and air drying the back of the van, they trudged up the wooden steps to David’s apartment.
His family owned the building; they had for years. An old Jewish couple rented the top floor, and a single gay accountant rented the second floor. David didn’t need the money, but it would have looked suspicious to the entire city of New York if he had two floors of a three story flat unrented, especially in Brooklyn.
Iskander unpacked the groceries; sandwich fixings and chips. David pulled a six pack of beer out of the fridge and they sat at the polished mahogany table and ate and drank their fill. While they ate, Iskander stared thoughtfully into space, while David went over every aspect of the job as if it were a theatrical performance.
“Okay,” he finally said, sliding the remnants of his second sandwich aside, “the ‘rattler’ effect still worked for the surprise element, but without the subwoofer, there’s no lasting fear.”
“Agreed,” Iskander said. “The speakers are fine for that, but without the subwoofer in place, we’re going to have to move fast or rely on something else to get the job done.”
“Gino wasn’t nearly scared enough,” David said. “It’s like, he saw the outfit, more or less recognized who I was supposed to be, but at no time did he really ever panic. I’ve got to up the fear effect, or this won’t ever work.”
Iskander helped himself to a slice of pastrami. “Maybe your mom has some tips.”
“Can’t hurt to ask,” David agreed. “I suspect, though, that it’s going to take a lot to get through to these kids. They’re conditioned to not show and fear, any emotion. Only pain can crack through that armor, and that’s not what I’m trying to do. Psychological warfare is the way. Not meatball vigilante-ism.”
Iskander smiled. “Funny, considering your family invented the term, sahib.”
“Okay, well, the tech solution is fine, if we control the stage. What about if we don’t control the stage?”
Iskander pursed his lips. “You always control the stage, if only by eliminating variables. I’m part of that control, especially when I go undercover.”
“Right,” said David. “That’s not what I meant. I was thinking more along the lines of theatrics. Can you think of anything that we could utilize to help with disorientation, misdirection...anything that might, say, help to build the mythology of the Rattlesnake and Jinn?” David said this carefully, his voice neutral, but Iskander knew what he meant.
“Let me consider it, Sahib. Perhaps a method of entry or exit? Perhaps another weapon?”
“Okay, yeah, let’s give it some thought,” David said, brushing the topic aside. “So: how did you think it went?”
“It was not the plan we intended to pull off, but I think it went well. Gino will tell everyone in jail about you. After tonight’s hit, that should finish off the gang once and for all. We adapted. We overcame. Could’ve been worse.”
“I think that’s become our personal motto: could’ve been worse,” David chuckled.