Prologue: When I Was Born..I Was Born The Man!..And When You Step on That Apron Your Ass Becomes Part of The Game That I'm The Man In!
Fade up the Sin Wrestling logo.
In any profession, whether it be athletic or educational, police work or criminal, there will always be one person that stands out above all else. That one man will set the standard that all others will be held to and more often than not, that standard will never be met.
"I AM..... THE MAN!!"
To be compared to the likes of Hulk Hogan or Ric Flair can be one man's greatest achievement. Meant as a compliment, to the best of the best, it is an insult. In the mind of the best, there is no comparison. There is no one on their level and there never will be. It becomes the career of the best to remain the best, to hold off the top of the mountain and fight away all those who seek to claim it as their own. To fight back the threat of elevation for all they are worth.
The theory of elevation is a myth creamed over by internet fan boys. No matter who is on top, the complaints about lack of elevation are evident. For years, they will scream that a man deserves a world championship push and when he receives it, he immediately becomes public enemy number one and another up and comer takes his place as the internet golden boy. Because of the lack of elevation, the fans coined the term "glass ceiling," meaning that the mid-carders could look up through the glass ceiling and see the main event but could never quite reach it. Constantly bumping their heads into the ceiling with no sign of it giving in.
Sid was never the internet golden boy.
Sid made his presence known in Noah Japan for the first time.Immediately upon Entering NOAH, began an intense feud with Kenta Kobashi...Whom he Defeated In an incredible Semifinal match for the NOAH Championship.He eventually went to the finals of the NOAH championship,but lost to Ikuto Hidaka
Although Sitting around and relaxing after his loss, had its perks,this did not suit the self-proclaimed "Man." It was time to return to Wrestling and claim the one belt that should've been his from the beginning. Sid made his appearence in FMW, made his intentions known, and crushed Hisakatsu Oya in his first match .
Sid made the challenge to Hayabusa,and made the promise that the FMW's Show at the Tokyo Egg Dome would be the site where a new Champion would be crowned. Sid and Hayabusa wrestled an epic match, lasting upwards of forty minutes, before Sid hit the Death Trap and put the legendary performer's other foot in the grave, staking claim to his first world championship. "The Man" had finally reached the pinnacle of his career, 5 years of struggling in Pro Wrestling paying off once and for all. Sid's career was riding high .
And then it all came crashing down.
Atushi Onita took over FMW from Hayabusa and his first act of business was to strip all champions of their titles with the intention of crowning new ones later in the night. Sid didn't agree with this method and refused to take part. He threw down the FMW Heavyweight championship and walked away for what he thought would be forever.
Onita failed. FMW was broken. Hayabusa returned to pick up the pieces and announced that forty-five men would do battle in the main event of a PPV entitled Brawl for all . Forty-five men would do battle and one man would walk out with the Frontier Martials arts Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship. After his first reign had ended so suddenly, Sid had to show them that they made a mistake by robbing him of his championship. He entered himself in the match. Everyone immediately wrote him off as hype. A man FMW had washed out before he could become washed up. Many heralded Komazawa Olympic Park Gym as the place where a new contender would step up and take the crown. Veteran, hungry superstars the Likes of Vicious Vic Grimes,Stan"the Lariat"Hansen And Big Van Vader came from all over to try their hand in the main event.
In one match, Sid climbed the ladder to the very top of Frontier Martial arts Wrestling. Eliminating wrestler after wrestler after wrestler until he was the last man standing.His mask broken,blood staining his features, Sid eliminated The Sadistic ECw Legend Sabu to win the FMW championship for the second time.
Forty-four other men came from all over the world to win the title and "The Man" turned every single one of them away as if they were children playing a man's game. Sid showed every single one of them exactly why he was the man to beat. Sid established once and for all that he has broken through that glass ceiling
And now With Sid firmly back in place, panicked. The wrestlers were threatening to quit if something wasn't done about the living, breathing, ass kicking machine known to many as Sid"The Man"Frankenstein. People were getting concussions left and right thanks to Sid and his arsenal of Ring side Weapons, until one night, Hayabusa pulled the trigger that would almost kill Sid's once and for all.
The match was for the FMW World Championship. Sid versus Mr. Gannosuke versus Mammoth Sasaki. Sid dealt out punishment left and right, taking advantage of them like they were first match rookies until Willy "Hido" Takayama and Tetsuhiro Kuroda arrived at ringside on the orders of Hayabusa, distracting Sid long enough for Gannosuke to sneak a pin on Sasaki to steal the world championship.
Sid cornered Ganosuke,Takayama and Kuroda and his ensuing revenge was so fierce, so brutal, so very, very awe inspiring, that Hayabusa had no choice but to Fire Sid before lives were lost.
For nearly three years, the wrestling world had continued on without Sid and the wrestlers have let out a sigh of relief. Elevation has occurred in his absence and new stars have been born. It wasn't until Sin Wrestling opened its doors that Sid decided it was time to make another impact. In a promotion ruled by Corey Page,Sid felt it was his duty to show them what real talent was like.
After sitting back and watching the business evolve without him, he decided that it was time to return, to show the up and comers that they are not the Man.
... Once upon a broken child..
The pain...and the suffering...of a childhood lost. An empty swing, an empty promise. A broken dream, a broken home. It's strange, how laughter looks like crying, with no sound & rain drops taste like tears, without the pain. the tortured soul that best reflects the ragged edges of human emotion. One man, his life... nothing but a tangled web.. one must face their demons again & again to try & gain the upper hand yet lose that comeuppance in a never-ending cycle of pain and retribution. Bound by loneliness and self depression. Wallowing in his own depression, he seeks no reaction, no acceptance from any one else but His allies. for his whole life, the course if it all began by a broken heart, shattered by god... no more does he trust or care. about his own well being or the well being of those that stand in his way, that dare to try and bring him further down.
his life, not of the ordinary... but more one, that brings you to tears, brings you to feel sorrow and pity for him. something, he rejects, but yet his own eats at him like a plague, watching, waiting to to hurt him. driven by anger, driven by hate... he seeks to fulfill his calling, his life story. complete the story of his dear suffering life. he sees it as his calling, his purpose of life to be achieve this high stature that others so dearly love...his life has brought him nothing but pain, his path, his calling obstructed and set off course by these events... driven him to become a madman... seeking to find those, with no guidance, no confidence, the out casts and misfits of the world, unit them as one and follow them, like a General ... in the army.. sent out to live by his rules, his every word... not fearing to take on anything.. but those individuals he attaches himself to, end up being the ones that dearly cut and hurt him deeply.. a mind is a complicated thing, something of force, of power... a weapon of sheer havoc and destruction, his mind... one that's brought pain to the world, shed blood and let it flow, like the nile river.. sought out to this world his won personal play ground, his field of horror and misfortune... seeking revenge and total annihilation of anyone and everyone that dare to cross and hurt him... he takes not kindly to betrayal..... he walks his life anyone else,except for his allies... they think they understand him, but they don't, they don't at all..
Sun Tzu -The Art of War
The art of war is of vital importance to the State. It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin. Hence it is a subject of inquiry which can on no account be neglected
All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near. Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him.
If your enemy is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him. If your opponent is temperamental, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant. If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them. If sovereign and subject are in accord, put division between them. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected.
Over the noise of the alarms I heard a womanís scream. I jerked the muzzle of the pistol away from my temple, straining to locate the direction of the sound. There was nothing like an emergency to get my mind back in working order--Iíd always done my best thinking when holding on to life by an unraveling thread. She screamed again, the sound closer this time. I forced the pain down as far as it would go and bolted down the street, heading blindly toward the direction of her screams. I was going to pay for every step later, but I didnít care. Playing the hero had never gotten me anywhere, but I didnít care about that either. A girl screaming her head off was seldom a good thing, and in the middle of the night on the streets of Phoenix, it was never good. That was all that mattered. Until I pulled the trigger and put a bullet through my brain--which I still fully intended to do--I had a job to do.
She darted out of the alley just as I started into it. I reached out, trying to catch her before she crashed into me, but my reflexes were suffering desperately by that point. She slammed into me hard enough to knock me off my unbalanced feet. I hit the pavement flat on my back, somehow managing to keep from splitting my head open in the process. Before I could begin to take stock of my new situation I could feel her prying at one of my hands, which was closed around something--I couldnít remember what. I let her have it, whatever it was, easier than trying to fight her. Her fingernails were about to slice my skin open and I couldnít afford any more blood loss.
When I opened my eyes and looked up at her, I saw her standing over me, pointing my weapon at some unseen enemy.
My first thought, naturally, was damn, sheís hot.
She was. Early twenties,african american, shoulder length black hair, a dancerís figure--petite with curves in all the right places. She was wearing a pleated black shirt, the kind cheerleaders wear, and from my vantage point--flat on my back on the pavement--I was looking right up that skirt at a pair of powder blue bikini underwear. Certainly not the worst view Iíd ever had, and one I would have gone right on enjoying if the circumstances had been different. I forced myself to sit up, trying to concentrate on the fact that this girl was now holding at least one person at bay with my gun. I found myself having trouble holding onto that thought, and not because of any severe head trauma. Her red halter top, which had been ripped in several places, was a little too distracting. For that matter, so were her bare legs, right down to the heels on her platform boots, which were so high that I wondered how sheíd managed to run in them.
"Leave me alone of I swear Iíll blow your heads off!" She shouted. Her face was streaked with tears and mascara and she was breathing so hard she could barely speak. For the first time, I noticed the stream of blood coming from her nose, then another one from her mouth. Her lower lip was swollen. I could feel my blood begin to boil when Iíd realized someone had taken a swing at her. I couldnít bring myself to feel too sorry for her, though, not with my Glock in her hands and the very real possibility that she could turn that gun on me any time. The weapon was trembling between her two-handed grip, but in her eyes I saw the determination to shoot if she had to. She was either the most beautiful girl Iíd seen in quite a while, or I had entered delirium. I had to consciously tear my eyes away from her to see what she was aiming at.
Three young men, all of whom had started to circle around us, all of whom had frozen stiff. But not because the girl was now holding a gun.
"Shit" I breathed, but not because they were holding guns, too. Iíd just found my three missing soldiers, and I was in absolutely no position to do anything about it.
"I want my gun back" I asked her, because that was the first step to getting anything accomplished.
"You can have it back the second you make me give it up." She replied, never looking down at me. Sheíd shoot them all if she had to, and sheíd shoot me if I tried to move. I was the one rushing in to save the day, and Iíd somehow wound up in the position with the least amount of power. A gorgeous, psychotic girl now had my gun pointed at my three men whoíd gone Missing. My three men whoíd gone Missing had apparently tried to kill her, or worse. I was supposed to step in and take charge now, but I wasnít even sure I could stand.
I had to squint my eyes to focus on the one who had spoken. He was the closest to us, dressed like a street punk, not a wiccan warrior.
"What the fuck are you doing, Mordecai?" I responded.
The girl stared down at me, her green eyes widening in panic. "You know these guys?"
"I was sent here to bring them back alive." Still talking straight. Good sign. If I was talking straight, then I was still thinking relatively straight. "May I have my gun back now?" Iíd get up and take it from her, but Iíd learned never to argue with anyone holding a loaded firearm. Arguments with people with loaded guns were the leading reason Iíd gotten shot as many time as I had during the course of my life.
"So get off your ass and take them."
"Gun," I reminded. Thinking I could take on loose cannons unarmed was the second leading reason Iíd gotten shot as many times as I had over the course of my life.
"I donít think so." Her attention snapped back to her attackers. One of them, Boris Vatutin, was trying to sneak up behind her. "Donít you move!"
I was impressed. Iíd barely noticed his stealth, and only a fraction of a second before she did. She was either incredibly good, or I was incredibly slow. I groaned, making myself stand up. "Youíre coming back with me" I said to them.
"I donít think so," Vatutin sneered. I heard his voice was wavering. I was his commanding officer. Iíd been training with him and his friends for the past six months. He knew what I was capable of. Even though he knew I was operating at less than half my normal ability, he did not want to find out how much about me he didnít know. Which was fine with me. The way my head was spinning, there was no way I could have taken him. I knew my limits and tried not to barrel past them too often.
"The matter isnít open for discussion," I told him, my tone ice. "If you come peacefully, Iíll see what I can do about sparing your lives."
Vatutin and Mordecai exchanged nervous glances, then slowly began to lower their weapons. The third, Orson Myles, trained his pistol on me. "Weíre not goiní anywhere with you."
I reached into my jacket, fumbling for my back-up weapon. The butterfly knife was in my back pocket, and I had to struggle to look discreet. Why didnít you pack another gun?
I wish. "Get your hands where I can see them!" Myles shouted as I wrapped my fingers around the knife. "You think I donít know your tricks? I know about that gun youíve got back there."
I slowly brought my hands out where he could see them, opening the left, closing my fingers around the knife in my right and twisting my wrist so that he couldnít possibly see it. "See?" I said, trying to calm him down, "no gun. There is absolutely no need for any of this to get out of control."
The girl scoffed. "Arenít you supposed to be attacking him right now or something? Iím really starting to fear for my safety here."
"You watch too many bad action movies," I muttered. I wanted to avoid physical violence at all costs. The middle of Arizona in the middle of the night was not a place for a gunfight. There were too many potential witnesses, too many cops, and too much explaining. I couldnít just whip out an ID badge, say the name of some fancy government organization followed by the words "highly classified wiccan bussiness," and make all our problems go away. Team Sadistic prided itself on secrecy.
Still, I couldnít resist a cheap shot. This girl was making me crazy, in more ways than I would have preferred under the circumstances. "What do you want me to do?" I asked her. "Youíre the one with the gun."
"Typical." She rolled her eyes, never diverting her attention from Myles. Just your bloody luck to get stuck with another ball-buster. For some reason, youíve always attracted them. I released the safety switch on the knife, praying I wouldnít have to use it. traitors or not, i still had to bring them back.
"Open your hand up!" Myles barked. "Get ready to shoot him if he tries anything!"
Vatutin and Mordecai hesitated. Again. They were already beaten and they knew it.
"I said get ready to shoot him!" Myles snapped, his voice that of a hardened drill sergeant. Instinct kicked in and the others raised their guns.
Nothing like staring death in the face to make you reconsider wanting to kill yourself.
"Shut up," I breathed, hoping no one heard.
"Move it!" Myles shouted at me, There was a demented grin on his face, a combination of satisfaction at having bested me and absolute confidence that he was going to get away with it.
Okay, here we go.
"Iím moving," I said. With a flick of my wrist I snapped the knife open and sent it flying. Before it had left my fingers I grabbed the girl with my free hand and pulled her to the ground. She screamed as she fell and Myles cried out at the knife lodged into his knee. I paid no attention to either, charging Myles, praying he didnít fire because there was no way in hell he could have missed me. Mordecai and Vatutin had already taken off, but that was the least of my worries. Myles was the leader, he was the one I was after. If I could get him, the other two would probably come back willingly.
I got to him before he was able to recover and slammed all my weight into him, knocking him to the ground. Unable to catch myself in time, I collapsed on top of him. The survival instinct kicked in on high alert and, despite the pain I was fighting a losing battle to suppress, I dove for the gun still firmly in his hand. I wasnít worried about him shooting me--Iíd been shot before and I could deal with that. I was worried about him shooting period. Iíd lived in Arizona at one point, and I knew that the city could overlook about anything except gunfire. A car crash was a random act that didnít hurt anybody--or at least not the people in their apartments safely asleep in their beds. With a random shot in the night, everyone got to play the game of "oh, shit, is that coming through my window?" Thatís when they called the cops, and I was more worried about the cops than I was about anything else.
Myles slammed his fist into my jaw, knocking my body off of his and my mind temporarily out of the universe. I tried to roll over and pick myself up, but I couldnít make my arms or my legs do what I wanted them to. I tried again, forcing every bit of consciousness into the simple act of sitting up. I felt like a fish flopping around on the bottom of a bass boat.
When was the last time you went fishing? For that matter, what country did you leave your boat in?
No, sorry, youíre not spacing out on me now. Maybe some other time, when your life isnít on the line, but right now, you are going to get yourself in gear and get up.
I thought I heard a car coming from somewhere. The sound of the engine was getting closer. I prayed theyíd turn off, or fly by, or do anything other than slow down to see what was going on. I already had the girl to worry about and I couldnít even protect her. I opened my eyes, praying they would focus. They did, perfectly, and the only thing I could see was Myles standing over me, the gun pointed between my eyes.
"Sorry sid," he said, pulling back the hammer, "you shouldía known better than to fuck with me. Pissants like you thinkiní you can take on a man from the field--you never stood a chance."
"Rule Number One," I spat, "never underestimate the enemy." I kicked up, slamming my feet into his abdomen. He doubled over, the breath knocked from his lungs and several vital organs not working the way they had only moments ago. I hadnít killed him, but Iíd come close. Good, I wanted him to feel a little of the pain I was feeling because of him. If it hadnít been for Myles deciding to go on the run, I wouldnít have been in Arizona to be involved in a car wreck, and I certainly wouldnít be feeling like my brain was going to short circuit in less than a millisecond.
Somewhere very close, I heard tires squealing. The girl had probably darted out in front of them the same way sheíd darted out in front of me. She was probably screaming at whoever was driving to help her or call the cops, or do something because people were getting ready to get shot. But I didnít hear her. I didnít know why she just didnít do something herself. She had a fully loaded Glock.
Before I had a chance to wonder what had happened to her during the chaos of the last few moments, I realized that Iíd forgotten something infinitely more important. Iíd forgotten that Myles was younger than I was, he was faster, and he hadnít been through any of the physical trauma I had been through. I watched him stagger to his feet before I could find the ground I was lying on. I saw nothing but the gun in his hand, and I could do nothing but hope he wouldnít fire. If he did, we were going to have more of a mess than we could handle with the cops. Myles didnít care about the cops. The only thing he cared about was getting rid of the only thing standing between him and his freedom--which happened to be me.
There were no words from him this time, and no strength left in me to fight back.
So much for saving the world and getting the girl. The last thoughts of a dead man. Iíd always hoped they would be something more interesting.
I never heard the shot, but I heard Myles scream in agony as the bullet connected. I saw the blood coming from his shoulder as he fell to his knees, and I saw him finally drop his gun as he grabbed his shoulder. I reached for the weapon, somehow making my arm do what I wanted it do to, somehow getting my fingers to close around the grip, somehow getting everything to work in unison to slide the gun back toward me. What had just happened didnít make any sense to me, but it had happened, he had let go of the gun, and that was all that mattered. I could deal with "how" later.
"Sid!" Someone shouted, their voice alarmed. It was a manís voice, one I knew. Iíd never been more grateful to hear anyoneís voice in my life.
I convinced my neck to turn my head toward the newcomer. I saw the car, a Chrysler land yacht from an era when sedans were built to look and function like small tanks.The young man who had gotten out of the car had washed up on a Florida beach eleven years ago, half-starved and clinging an old tire for life--the sole survivor of a family of seven who had fled Cuba in hopes of finding a better life in the States. Harry had been ten years old at the time, heíd been cute, and heíd had no problem getting adopted by a nice American family. Now, at twenty-one, he wasthe closest thing to a younger brother I would ever have.
"Iím fine," I tried to tell him, because he was running toward me with an absolutely panic-stricken expression, but my body drew the line at talking. Oh, come on, I silently shouted at myself. Youíve made it this far!
Exactly, one of the voices in my head responded. The crisis is over now. Thatís why weíre quitting.
"No," I made myself say, "I donít think so."
"Sid?" Harry asked, kneeling over me, already checking me for injuries before he got himself settled.
"Nothing," I answered, trying to push him off. "Get Myles."
"Sid, just stay still, all right."
"Get Myles before he kills us all!" I shouted at him, somehow managing to throw him off balance in the process.
Harry obeyed, knowing an order when he heard one, which was something I could say about remarkably few of the Other Team Sadistic members--but that was another story entirely, and one I did not fee like thinking about. He left me to take care of myself and half-ran, half-crawled, half-slid over to where Myles . . . no, wait, too many halves.
Harry didnít have nearly as much mercy as I had. Heíd hated Myles from the moment he had arrived at HQ, when Myles had decided that he wanted Harry's position, and was going to do everything possible to take it. The two of them had been involved in quite a few minor scuffles that had ended with both of them placed on indefinite probation. Harry had been looking for a chance to beat him senseless ever since. Heíd finally found his chance.
I tried to roll onto my side. I needed to find Mordecai and Vatutin.
I found them some twenty feet away, on their knees on the sidewalk, their hands laced behind their backs. A little red Fiat was parked behind them, a small Latino woman leaning casually against it. Iíd never seen her before in my life and would probably never see her again, and the only reason I knew She was here was because I knew who she was here with. She wore a skin-tight leather mini-skirt and a blinding silver lame shirt. Her hair was grown down to his shoulders and dyed yellow--not blonde, but crayon yellow. Every revealed piece of skin--and there was quite a lot to look at--was covered with body glitter, and She was wearing silver false eyelashes and flame red lipstick. She was also packing an Uzi, which She had trained on the two soldiers. I breathed a sigh of relief. At least I wasnít hallucinating, or Iíd be convinced I my mind was utterly fucked.
Now, where in the hell was Jason?
Jason Nigh hovered over me, hands on his hips, looking ready to kick the shit out of me for ruining a perfectly good evening. military. How else could I explain the fact that he was twenty five years old, decked out in vinyl pants that laced up the legs, and a white baby-doll T-shirt with the words " Brat" spelled out in pastel rhinestones? His hair was streaked with purle and black, and there was a lip-print on his left cheek, the color of which are perfecdtly suitable on the likes of a drag queen .
"Do you not know how to answer your phone?" He demanded, shouting at me as though I was either deaf or half a mile away. "The signals on your car go berserk and I call to make sure youíre okay, and you donít even have the good let me know youíre all right! I come flying down here, find your busted up rental car and no trace of you, assume the worst, then get here and find out I got myself worked up for fuck-all nothing. Thank you, so much." The fact that I was flat on my back and bleeding from several locations obviously hadnít registered with him. Jason was incredible when it came to ignoring the obvious, especially when the obvious was interfering with his plans for the evening.
"Half-conscious and injured," I muttered, trying to get his attention away from his boyfriend of the night and back to me.
He scoffed. "This is different from any other time how?" He had a point. Damn it.
"I mean, you and Harry have everything covered," he continued, throwing his arms up as he began pacing. "I just have to slap some cuffs on a couple of raw recruits who are frozen stiff because youíre letting your little favorite beat the crap out of their best friend--Harry, stop that, will you? I think he gets the point already--Anyway, so I meet this girl at a bar, right? We start talking, one thing leads to another, and weíre just about to go back to her place when you have another one of your crises.
"You know youíre bleeding, right?" Not an ounce of concern to be found. He would have preferred it if I hadnít been bleeding, but only because he could get back to his date faster.
"Hitting a brick wall will do that," I replied, surprised that I could still be sarcastic in the shape I was in. He almost paid attention to me.
"Jason," the girl by the car whined, "can we go home now? This is stupid."
"Am I needed here?" Jason demanded. "And for crying out loud, will you please get up? Thatís just pathetic."
Before I could tell him that I didnít think I was capable of standing, he grabbed my arm, practically pulling it out if its socket as he dragged me to my feet. "You look like shit," he observed, as though I felt any differently. I couldnít quite get past the girl with the Uzi.
"Do you think She should be holding that?" I asked, trying to stop Jason as he helped me stagger over to his car. When I finally did slip out of his grasp I swayed as I fought to remain upright. I didnít fall down, so I was doing okay.
"I told her how to use it." Completely missing the point. "Harry, you okay over there?"
"Sure thing, Sid," Harry called back. I tried to look over my shoulder to make sure everything was under control and Myles wasnít dead, but my head was spinning so badly that I didnít want to risk it falling off. Iíd already hit it one too many times.
"Okay," Jason clapped his hands together, "this is how itís gonna go. Weíre gonna run through our little routine: youíre gonna give me your guns and whatever else you might be carrying, and Iím going to get all that stuff back to HQ at a later date. Then Iím gonna leave and youíre gonna get yourself to a hospital, by yourself, with no help from me, because Iíll be back at--"
"I get the point."
I fished it out of my pocket and handed it over. Jason tossed it through the Fiatís open window without bothering to expect it.
"Secondary weapon." He was running though checklist on auto-pilot.
"Over here!" Harry shouted. He jerked the knife out of Mylesí knee, but not before twisting it in deeper. With a flick of his wrist, he snapped the knife shut an secured the latch. Jason caught the throw with both hands. He took the knife, flicked it open and closed a few times for fun, then casually tossed it through the open window of his dateís car.
I started to hand him the gun in my hand, but stopped when I realized it was Mylesí and I was somehow still holding on to it. I didnít have my own gun. Why not? I couldnít remember. The girl has it. "The girl has it."
"Isnít that it in your hand right there?" He sounded like he was talking to a three-year-old.
"Itís Mylesí, probably one of the pistols that went missing from the arsenal around the time he ran off. Iíll take it back and run a cross-check."
Jason shook his head. "Airlines have this weird policy about packing weapons, and they like to arrest people who do, especially people like you with false passports and a face that screams íI donít have a marble left in my head.í The Board, on the other hand, has this weird policy about us screwing around with the cops, and they get really pissed off if we do. So, you give me the gun, Iíll take care of the gun, and weíll all stay out of trouble." He took it from my hand without waiting for me to hand it over, and added it to the growing pile of incriminating evidence in the passenger seat of the little sports car.
"You must trust this girl of yours," I muttered, wanting to remind him I wasnít the only one not following protocol.
Jason glanced over his shoulder as the little woman with the very big gun. "darlina?" he asked. "Donít worry about it, Sheís fine."
"Darlina?" This is exactly is who I want standing between me and prison.
"I donít know what her real name is," Jason said, exasperated. "We never got that far--not that thatís a problem with me."
"And who are you? Huggy Bear?"
"Where did you say your primary weapon was again?"
I was annoying him as much as he was annoying me. Good. "I told you, the girl has it!" I immediately wished Iíd kept my mouth shut. Answering usually meant explaining, and I didnít want to have to explain anything.
"The girl," I said without looking around. "The girl with the gun. Thatís my gun sheís got."
I wasnít looking around, but Jason was. "Iím still not seeing any girl."
I turned, my vision taking a moment to catch up. The crash was coming back to haunt me, and I wasnít sure how much longer I could keep myself together. My eyes were playing tricks on me again. They had to be, because she had just been right behind me.
"Whereíd she go?"
"I donít know how you expect me to answer that, seeing as how I have absolutely no idea who youíre talking about." Jason sighed. "Sid, I know itís been a while for you,since Sharon died, but please donít tell me youíve gotten desperate enough to resort to dating your imaginary friends. If you need help in this department, I do know some nice women."
"Fuck You!There was a girl here!" I swung back to face him, swaying on my feet. "She ran out in front of my car, thatís why I wrecked it."
"That and the fact that youíve been on an incredible bender."
I raised my hands to my face, trying to keep myself in one piece. "There was a girl, Jason! She was here! She was real! She ran out in front of my car and I wrecked it to keep from hitting her. I got out of the car and I heard her screaming, so I took off after her. We ran into each other, she knocked me down, and she took my gun because--" I had to stop for a moment out of fear my head would explode, "--because those three were trying to kill her or rape her or something. She had my gun, and she held them off, and then Harry showed up and I donít know what happened to her."
"You let this girl run off with your primary weapon?" I had to give him credit for staying on the topic, I really did. He should have been asking me if Iíd gotten her number.
"Car wreck!" I screamed instead, not caring who heard me or how out of my head I sounded. "Nearly killed! Not thinking clearly!"
"Thatís obvious," I heard him mutter. "Iíll bet you didnít even get her number."
I opened my eyes, looking past Jason to Harry's stolen Chrysler. Heíd probably stolen it. He had stolen it because we hadnít authorized a car for him. It was still a piece of shit car, but it was also the only available escape route. I started towards it before I changed my mind and decided I had too much dignity.
"Can you take it from here?" I asked Harry. Heíd already cuffed our fugitives and was holding them at gun-point, effectively dissuading any escape attempts.
"No problemo, jefe."
"Iím going back to my hotel," I told Joachim, jerking the door to the Chrysler open. Looking down into the interior of the car, the first thing I noticed was the automatic transmission. I groaned. If there had been a cab around, I could have hailed it. I hated automatics. The only reason they had been invented was to satisfy those people who didnít know how to drive a real automobile.
"You. Hospital. Now." Jason ordered, aiming his finger at me as though he honestly expected me to cover in fear of his black nail polish. I felt like telling him as much, but managed to find some restraint.
"Iím flying out in the morning," I told him. "I donít have time to see a doctor, if Iím going to get this paperwork done." A lie, but I was absolutely not going to see a doctor. "Besides, whoís gonna bloody pay for it? Iíve spent my entire life taking care of myself, and I donít see how this is any different. To get back to what I was trying to tell you, I want you on the first available flight to London to brief the Board in full--"
"Give me time to--"
"Break it off with lover-girl and go do your job!" I barked. "I am absolutely not explaining anything to Flame,since your such good buddies,you do that for me. So go do it!"
He frowned, looking for any argument he could cling to. Glancing over his shoulder, he saw our three traitors and breathed an enormous sigh of relief. "I have to stay here and arrange for those three to get transported back to Hq. Iíll deal with Flame, Sid, just give me a day or two."
"Harry can take care of it."
"Harry!" Jason exclaimed, insulted at the idea of leaving such delicate proceedings to a young man. god! i hate his arrogance.
"You can handle the transfer, canít you Harry?"
"Yes, sid!" Harry exclaimed. To prove his point, he slammed his fist into Mylesí head as the sergeant tried to pick himself up. "Donít foresee any problems on the horizon, jefe."
I smiled, finding far more enjoyment in Myles nearly getting his jaw broken than I should have. Joachim huffed, placing his hands on his hips like a defiant child. "Sid, I have plans, please donít screw them up for me."
"I do not have to answer to you Jason.I am Flame's right hand man Put yourself in a position of legitimate power, then weíll talk. Until then, if I call you saying I want a cup of coffee, itís your job to get it to me. You do what I tell you to do, and Iím telling you to take the earliest flight out you can get, so brief Flame so I donít have to."
"Youíre still going to have to talk to them," Jason insisted, lacing his arms across his chest.
The most amazing look came over his face: an expression which, up until that point, has been reserved solely for scientists who were trying to teach orangutans the concepts of astrophysics. I was laughing before he started talking, which only served to exaggerate his expression.
"At least I get to deal with sane people," he pouted. "You, on the other hand, get the flaming psychotic." He threw up his hands in frustration. "Oh, and if you find this phantom girl, let me know. Weíre going to have to have her brought in for questioning, provided the whole thing wasnít a figment of your having had too much to drink and getting hit on the head one too many times imagination. And for the record, youíre paying for that smashed up rental out of your own money. Donít even think about asking me for a write-off."
"You ruined my night, Sid. Consider this my way of ruining yours. If you donít track down that gun of yours, you are going to be in serious shit, and for the life of me, I donít know how youíre still standing."
"Iím not as badly injured as I look." I tried to laugh, but couldnít.
"Youíre right. Youíre a hell of a lot worse. Yet youíre behaving like a fully functional human being, more or less. If I were you, Iíd be unconscious right now."
I shook my head. "If you were me, youíd be dead right now."
"Probably," he agreed with a shrug. "Go get yourself checked out, íkay? Iíll pick up whatever slack needs to be picked up. Me volunteering to do work should clue you in to how worried I am about you right now."
"For how long?"
I met his eyes and it took every ounce of will and determination I had left,to stop my self from telling him how much i still distrusted him. "For as long as I have to be."
I was tired of arguing. I climbed into the car and slammed the door, fumbling for the automatic locks before Jason decided he wanted to come over and drag me to a hospital. I could floor him in three seconds flat on a bad day, but right now heíd have about as much trouble out of me as he would wrestling a newborn kitten. I wanted to show him, though. I wanted to peel out like a bat out of hell and show him how perfectly alright I was capable of being, even if my mind was already gone and my body was operating on its last few ounces of reserve.
My exit was nowhere as dramatic as Iíd hoped it would be. I couldnít find the locks, and once I did, it took me a moment to make them work. I spent a moment looking for the gearshift, and a couple of moments after that trying to find the damn clutch, and a few subsequent moments after pulling out swearing because Iíd forgotten how ridiculously under-complicated automatics were.
I couldnít see the road in front of me, so I tried to pretend it wasnít there. I couldnít remember where my hotel was, so I relied on routine driving habits to get me there, completely forgetting I was in a city I hadnít driven in in years. I raised a hand to my forehead to check for fresh blood, not sure that any was left in my body. Jason was right: I needed a doctor. I needed a few hours in surgery to get everything put back together, and a few days in a coma to give myself time to heal. As long as I was conscious, I wasnít going to allow myself a momentís rest. Iíd pushed myself past the brink of my endurance so many times before that I knew Iíd probably never allow myself time to heal completely. Something always came up.
I wished I knew where that girl had ran off to.
I hadnít imagined her, but as I searched my memory for a recollection of her face, I came up with only a blurred image. Sheíd been attractive, but I couldnít remember what about her had made her seem that way. I had absolutely nothing to go on to begin a search. I didnít even have a name. It would have to be a perky name, Ashleigh or Brittany or something like that. Girls like her always had perky names, of that much, I was fairly certain.
"Why in the hell did you let her run off with your weapon?" I demanded of myself, because a mental conversation was the only way I was going to stay conscious. "Not even a rookie cop wouldíve make that kind of mistake!"
Furious at myself beyond words, I had no choice but to take my frustrations out on the car. I floored the gas and tried to upshift, but I was driving a damned automatic and popped the car into neutral instead. By the time I figured out how to correct the mistake, Iíd nearly blown up the engine and slammed myself into the side of another building.
"Do you want me to drive?" a voice asked from inside the car. "Jeez, youíre gonna get us killed if you donít watch it. Youíre acting like this is rocket science or something."
I jerked my head to the side hard enough to hurt myself, reflexively reaching for a gun I no longer had. My mystery girl rose up from the back seat, where sheíd probably been hiding ever since Harry got out of the car. She leaned forward, resting her elbows on the passenger headrest, regarding me with a quizzical, challenging expression. For someone who had nearly been killed, she looked incredibly cocky.
"Iím fine," I said, because I couldnít think of anything else to say. I wasnít entirely sure she was really there and I was really talking to her. Iíd imagined stranger things, but Iíd also lived through things that were stranger than anything I could ever imagine.
"If you say so," she replied skeptically, settling herself in for the interrogation. "So, you mind telling me what all that back there was about, or am I gonna have to call the cops on the lot of you?"