Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Matches? Check. Charcoal? Check.

*a continuation of No Meat; No Creamer and Your Machete; My Cleaver

Coffee's rather passionate about the subject, it being one of the few areas he's clearly better than Merlot at. Her smile and wink never fails to distract him, but that doesn't mean he's going to stop trying to explain it.

"C-4 is a cutting charge, okay? You got that? A cutting charge." He figures this must be what fathers sometimes feel like when trying to explain things to precocious children.

"So, what? It's used for cutting?" Merlot smiles, winks, and successfully distracts and irritates Coffee. She's actually quite adept at demolitions and knows the difference between cutting and concussion charges, but allows Coffee the acknowledgment that, yes, he's better at blowing things up than she is. "What do you cut with it?"

Ah, finally... he gets to answer a legitimate question. Merlot sure looks gorgeous in black. It hides her curves and shows them off at the same time. "You know, metal. Steel is the usual culprit. You can usually use weaker explosives for other stuff."

She gives him a kiss on the cheek. Might as well soften him up before irritating him again. "You know what else C-4 can be used for?"

Uh oh, here it comes. Some smart-ass thing from a mouth so sexy... and vulgar. She does have a vocabulary like a sailor's. Coffee, though, simply stares at her in anticipation of her answer to her own question.

"Blowing the fuck out of Grayson's car."

They both turn and look at the metallic silver BMW 760i parked mere feet from the two of them. Coffee drops a backpack on the ground and unzips it. Green blocks of military-grade C-4. "M112" printed in yellow letters on each block. The backpack is completely stuffed with them.

"You need to change your name from Merlot to Overkill."


When Grayson first arrived in Tunis, he was ordered to obtain a vehicle that didn't stick out. Lucky for him, BMWs were not in short supply in this part of North Africa. Though he might have overstepped his bounds a bit by acquiring something so expensive, he figured it was worth it. He loved his fucking car. V-12, 535 brake horsepower, and a back seat large enough to quickly kick out the cheap hookers. All in the name of king and country. Well, country.

It was almost 11 PM when he pulled in to the parking garage under his personal safehouse - really, just an apartment, but he likes to call it a safehouse because it sounds cool - and had only just locked and closed the driver's door when his phone rang. It was from a number he'd been anxiously waiting to call.

"Is it done?" Grayson asked as he proceeded to the elevators.

He froze in his tracks and titled his head, trying to make out some background noise. "Is that gunfire?"


Merlot watched intently as the Fence counted the money. Licking his thumb every ten bills or so, he glanced up at her with an inquisitive expression. "You're paying double?"

"Actually no," she said, taking a sip of the wine the Fence had given her. It was an expensive vintage Château Ausone. To her it tasted like shit - she hates Cabernet Franc - and she only drank it to be polite. "We've got a shadow I'd like you light up."

Well, when she put it that way. The Fence always appreciated a wry sense of humor. He nodded and winked - the latter to no effect - then made a phone call.


The gunmen were no match in either movement or aim for the Silhouette. Making that obvious to bystanders was the fact that the Silhouette was having a conversation on a cell phone in between returning fire.

"Yes, it's gunfire." The voice was steady, calm. There wasn't even a smile or an expression of relief when a well-aimed shot created another eye socket in a gunman's forehead. "She manufactured an obstacle. It will be short-lived... correction, it's been overcome. But she's gone. I don't know where."

Finally, a smile as the last shooter's body slumped onto a car hood and slid to the ground. "You might want to lay low for a while."

Before Grayson could answer, the Silhouette hung up and disappeared into the shadows. There was a time when handiwork would have been admired, but that was many years ago.


"We're not going to blow up an apartment building, are we?" Coffee was a bit nervous. A murderer, he was not. Nor was there any intention to become one.

"No, no, no, sweetie," she demurred, stroking his cheek. She couldn't figure out exactly why, but Merlot loved to baby Coffee. Maybe because he ate it up, but maybe... nah... she shook the thought.

The roar of an accelerator signaled their target's approach and they both watched as the BMW they've been waiting for pulled into the parking garage. Merlot checked her watch, then returned her attention to Coffee. "We'll give him a few minutes. Tell me about these explosives."


Coffee's grand theft auto skills impress Merlot. Neither the primary or secondary alarm on the car even beep. She's not so much impressed with his driving, though, but he insists. Since he placed the explosives, he demands control of the vehicle under the auspices of safety or some such nonsense. Merlot relents, mainly because she's tired and won't mind a nap in the passenger seat. Besides, if he really wants to drive a 760i that badly...

"Do you know where we're going?" she asks, tilting the seat back. Her eyes are already closed, but she knows he's trying to check out her cleavage.

"Yeah, of course."


The explosion is marvelous. The Parc du Belvédère lights up as bright as day for a few moments, then dims as flash fades into fire. Coffee and Merlot sit on a bench off the Avenue Charles Nicolle and stare at the spectacle. He smiles widely, not having created an explosion that big since his Army days - shit, they probably heard this one in Sicily. Merlot's smiling, too, because she finds the whole thing quite funny.

Oh, Grayson, you poor bastard. You fucked with the wrong people.

Merlot leans her head on Coffee's shoulder and his smile runs out of face. Damn, she smells good.

*Continued in Mercury Costs More Than Cyanide


  1. I sometimes feel the need to go reread the last few lines before the page is turned to your current episode. Then I realize every slice is complete on it’s own. -J

  2. Great story. I love the names, they are so perfect and the descriptions really put me there. Can't wait for the next installment.

  3. Jeff

    This is certainly not a cut and dry or an academic type of read. You very cleverly pulled off multiple characters in this story each having a voice. This is hard to pull off as a writer keeping the read lively and the reader being able to follow who is who... loved it and the plot, better then James Bond- sigh love JB all of them. digressing sorry
    I am not a critic, but I think you may have left a word out? I do this often myself in my typing directly to my blog post.
    "But she's gone. I don't where." should it be I don't know where?


    I think I will have to go back and re-read the preceding stories.

  4. I'm glad you discovered the delicious and delightful pairing of coffee and Merlot!

  5. Hey, wasn't I the match-maker in this one ;-) ? Yes, yes I think I was. Great installment in this series. I've been waiting for another! It flows like an action movie, which is a great style for the subject. Look out, 007!

  6. hot jeff. i like the little touches along the way between the two of them...the close esp...smile running out of face...the smell of her...these make your characters very human...you also give us details (ex. the C-4) without overdoing it and boring us to death...fast paced, but not rushed. nice.

  7. you always did conversation well. good interplay with these two delinquents

  8. I always like your dialogue. I'm a little lost without having read the others (I know, I know), but it intrigued me nonetheless... I'm almost tempted to go back and read... Almost. ;)

  9. i enjoyed the interplay between these two characters...i need to go back and read the previous installments now to catch up.

  10. I'm really liking this. For me it is your best work. I think it is a matter of design. It is more approachable, everyday, with fewer ornate accessories to the story, if you know what I mean.

  11. BTW I just sa The American. I kept thinking of these two during the movie.

  12. This entry made me REALLY want a coffee right now. And I'm off coffee at the moment. Oh, and it made me think of the suspected drug dealers in their BMW outside my building...now...lol.

  13. Yes, Merlot should most certainly be called Overkill. On all levels! :D
    I may not be making much sense if I write that I hate the characters but love the story... :)