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Balogun

REDEEMER: Glitch Part 1

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To celebrate the release of my latest urban science fiction novel, Redeemer, I will share an episodic short story based on the book for the next three posts. Don’t worry, there aren’t any spoilers –the story is an alternate timeline, told from the point of view of our hero’s younger, wilder, vengeful self.

So, grab a cup of chai tea, or your favorite brew, sit back and enjoy part one of Redeemer: Glitch!

REDEEMER: Glitch Part 1

Glitch: A minor malfunction, mishap, or technical problem; a snag

The din of raucous laughter echoed throughout the private dining room of Sayles’ Lobster Bar. “Sweet” Danny Sweet had just told one of his anecdotes, which were always entertaining and, usually, quite funny.

Sweet’s charisma and “favorite uncle” demeanor was in stark contrast to his brutality; his ruthlessness. Those same qualities made him one of the most powerful record industry moguls in the world and the most powerful criminal in the Southeastern United States.

Z loved Sweet. When his father was brutally murdered, it was Sweet who stepped in to give him and his mother support; it was Sweet who found the man responsible for his father’s death; and it was Sweet who gave him the opportunity – and the will – to kill that man.

Next to Sweet sat the giant, “Nigerian Norm” – the man responsible for Sweet’s safety and for Z’s training. Norm, too, was a man of contrasts – massively muscled; brutish; a master of murder, mayhem and pain. But he was also a graduate of the prestigious Oxford Law school, well-traveled, fluent in five languages and one of the most formidable attorneys on the planet.

Norm was Z’s instructor in the ways of death and, in that role, as all the others he played, he had done exceptionally well. At fifteen years of age, Z was already an experienced and respected assassin-for-hire and was determined to one day be the absolute best.

Z thrust his fork into a mound of spaghetti gamberetto and then twirled it, wrapping the platinum utensil in a cocoon of pasta and shrimp. He shoved the pasta into his mouth, savoring the spicy-sweet flavor.

The smell of stale cigarettes and coffee assaulted Z’s nostrils. “McGraw,” he whispered.

Homicide Detective Terry McGraw sauntered into the dining room. His thick, brown fingers fumbled with the buttons of his tweed blazer as he approached the dining table. Behind him shuffled a stout, fireplug of a man, his plump belly jiggling with each step.

“McGraw, what’s the good word?” Sweet inquired.

“I’ve got good news, Sweet,” McGraw replied, reaching across the table to shake Sweet’s hand.

“Good,” Sweet said. His eyes shifted to the clammy-skinned, beer-bellied man beside McGraw and then back to the detective. “Who’s the J? And why is he at my table?”

“He witnessed the robbery-homicide at Frankie’s spot,” McGraw answered. “His name’s…”

“Chuck Alexander Etheridge,” the fireplug of a man said, extending his plump fingers toward Sweet. “But, everyone calls me ‘Shakespeare’.”

“Okay. Have a seat McGraw,” Sweet said, ignoring Shakespeare’s hand. “…Spear-Chucker.”

The corners of Shakespeare’s mouth curled into a weak smile. “That’s Shake…”

McGraw placed a hand on Shakespeare’s shoulder and shook his head. Shakespeare wisely shut his mouth and both men sat across from Sweet.

“Hey, Norm,” McGraw said, nodding toward the giant.

Hey, John Hop,” Norm said, leaning forward in his chair. “You had best brought some good Brad Pitt for this Buster Keaton.”

McGraw shook his head. “Damn, I’ve known you for, what? Eleven…twelve years? And I still can’t understand a friggin’ word when you talk that Cockney shit.”

“Well, if you cleaned the wax outta your sighs and had any eighteen in your loaf, understandin’ me would be lemon squeezy,” Norm said.

“It’s British Ebonics,” Sweet snickered. “You catch on after a while.”

Sweet turned his gaze toward Shakespeare. “So, what you got for me, Shake-n-Bake?”

“It’s…ahem…well, I was at Frankie’s spot when it happened,” Shakespeare replied. “It must have been around eleven, because I arrived at my regularly appointed time of ten-fifteen and had already taken my nightly dosage of opiate.”

“Opiate?” Sweet cut his eyes toward Detective McGraw.

“H,” McGraw answered.

“Oh,” Sweet said. “Go on, Salt-Shaker.”

“He came out of the darkness,” Shakespeare said, with a sweep of his stubby arms. “Swift; silent…like Death, on gossamer wings.”

TO READ PART 1 IN ITS ENTIRETY, PLEASE VISIT: http://chroniclesofh...eemer-glitch-1/

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