Book Excerpt – Street Sweeper
Copyright © 2000 Syndicate Media Group/Ronin Ro No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission from the publisher or author. The format of this excerpt has been modified for presentation here.
I was trying to get him to look me in the eye. But he wouldn’t. Not even when I got one inch from his nose. Nothing. No reaction. That’s the thing about sharks, they don’t give a damn how close you get, cause they ain’t scared of shit.
Let’s face it, you don’t get to be the meanest muthas in the ocean by accident. Just practice. Three million years of swimming around, not looking at another fish until it’s time to eat it. If a lion is the king of the jungle, than sharks are the hitmen of the deep. Swift and severe, that’s how they operate. All business.
"Can I get you anything while you wait, Mr. Styles? Coffee?" Damn, Shorty was holding a steaming cup in her hand. She was looking at the coffee, I was looking at her legs. Her tan skirt couldn’t be any shorter.
"Thank you," I said, taking the porcelain cup and saucer from her soft hands.
"I’m Karen. Let me know if you need anything else?" Her smiled lasted a little too long for eight in the morning, even for me. I watched her walk away, stop, then turn. "Did you want cream and sugar?"
"Black," I said, and sipped as she slid away.
Mmmm. Good coffee. Great coffee. Not that I would have expected anything else. I leaned back on the leather couch and took a deep breath. I was sitting in the reception area outside his office, waiting on a meeting that was supposed to have taken place three months earlier. Truth is, I just hadn’t had time, until today.
Now, I’ve been in some big waiting rooms, but never one like this. Never one with an entire wall that was a fish tank. Impressive, and I’m not easily impressed. I stared at the fish tank. A shark was circling above a handful of catfish patrolling the bottom. They were the most famous fish in the world. Well, at least in my world, and that’s the only one that counts.
I continued to gaze at the tank. Could they see me? Probably. Did they know who I was? Definitely. Was I ever gonna see them? Naw. Oh, by the way, I ain’t talking about the fish.
This was the most famous fish tank in the world for one reason, and it wasn’t what was swimming inside. It’s for what was behind it. Or at least supposed to be. Three men. That’s the word. Three men behind the tank. Behind the one-way mirror, each holding Uzis. Locked, loaded and ready to roll. Old school security to protect the office of a billionaire.
I stood and moved to the tank. Tapped the glass, smiled and waved.
The shark ignored me. I wondered if they did, too. "No wonder you’re so tough," I whispered to the shark. Hell, anyone can act that tough with back-up like that.
The voice from behind surprised me. "Making new friends, Mr. Styles?"
I turned and laughed. "You tell me."
He walked across the room and shook my hand, "I’m Miller Barnes. It’s a pleasure to finally meet you." His handshake was sturdy, his pants a little short. Why is it short guys always have short pants?
"They’re not behind the tank," he said.
"Where are they?"
"Come inside, Mr. Styles."