Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Part Forty-One, Chapter Two - Metaphorical Midnight

Two chapters aboard a boat's enough, yeah? (editor's note from the future: oh goodness no, just look at Book 7) Let's get off this rustbucket and back to the murderin'.

By "the luminescent dark of midnight"... wait a minute, Gris got to Istanbul around ten, right?  And he spent at an absolute minimum of twenty minutes running around town, because of the two ten-minute bombs he set.  And then it took him half an hour to round Seraglio Point, still in the town proper, because that's how long his fourth bomb took to go off.  But he somehow made it the hundred plus miles through the Sea of Marmara to the Aegean and the Greek shoreline in an hour at most?

I'm thinking too hard about this.  It's just one ill-placed adjective in a meaningless sentence about the luminescence of darkness.

Anyway.  The Captain wants payment before he puts Gris on the shoreline, and Gris decides to, say it with me now, cover his trail.  After assuring the captain that he'll pay immediately if the crew gets the skiff ready now, he stuffs a pillowcase with lira... and a little bonus.

"There is something extra in it," I said.  I reached in as though to take it out and show him.

He smiled broadly.

My hand closed around the stungun butt.

I shot him through the pillowcase.

The dull thud of the stungun was followed by the slap of the charge and then by the clatter as he fell into the bunk, knocked out.

So a stungun can be fired through a cloth bag without shredding it or setting it on fire.  But what was the "slap of the charge" bit?  Some sort of "shell" ejection?  But the gun was still in the bag, right?

Whatever, Gris paws the huge Turkish man and recovers the money he paid earlier, then sets a half-hour time bomb.  He steps outside, throws some money at the crowd of crewmen, and shoots them, "broad beam," with his stunamajig while they're distracted.  Then he shoots the two guys in the inflatable raft he'll take to shore.  The time bomb's still ticking, but Gris lingers to pick up all the lira he's thrown about the deck before getting in the raft.

But oh, the irony!  "The outboard motor was some kind of Balkan comedy of levers and corroded bars," and won't start.  If only Gris had waited a few moments for the skiff to start up properly!  Or been satisfied with setting a time bomb instead of stunning everyone.  Before he can do anything about his engine trouble, he hears a noise from the ship and realizes that the engineers - private fishing ships keep engineers aboard, right? - have come up from belowdeck and discovered the bodies of their mates.

Would you like a Hubbard Action Sequence?

Silhouetted in the moonlight, I saw a man with a rifle at the rail!

A bullet knifed a phosphorescent path in the water to my right. The explosion of the fired gun buffeted me.

You felt the blast from the rifle fired from the deck of the ship in your boat how many yards away?

I drew the stungun. I shot. It was on broad beam. It would not reach that range!

Another shot from the ship!

No phosphorescent path!

A sigh of escaping air!

The inflatable had been hit!

Sailor with rifle, Gris is a stationary target on an engineless boat on a moonlit sea.  Come on.

I threw the stungun lever to narrow beam. I aimed.

The rifle went off again!

I fired.

The man on the deck dropped.

Another one was trying to grab the rifle.

I aimed and fired again!

The other one dropped.

The inflatable was sinking!

So Gris dog-paddles over to the boat and starts to pull himself up by a line, forgets his suitcase, gets it out of the sinking raft, loses the line, jumps on it, and climbs the line onto the deck.  He manages to get a rowboat over the rail but can't find a paddle, so he uses the rifle.  Half a page of heart-stopping paddling action as Gris tries to outrun the "BOOM!," only to get caught in the "tidal wave" from the exploding ship and propelled "Fast as a racing car" towards the shore.  Crash, splintering wood, but Gris has made it out of Turkey.

And best of all, no witnesses.  Nobody to tell those Turkish women where Gris fled to.

I looked at the inky sea.  I was through with it.  No more sea for me!  One more black mark against Heller.

A voice said, "Are you from that exploded boat out there?"


Gotta say, these next few chapters?  Pretty dull.  And then the ones after them will make us long for this dullness, so try and cherish it.

Back to Chapter One

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