As I stated in previous posts, I am setting aside Legacy of the Swan for now and proceeding with writing a new story, tentatively titled More Than a Job.
As I said earlier, More Than a Job is a modern-day Cinderella story with a major twist: Prince Charming is actually a hitman hired by the Evil Stepmother to kill Cinderella. Hmm…
This is actually the first installment of a trilogy of stories that I’ve been toying with for a while. The second, currently titled Codename: White Knight actually the first story of the three I thought up before I decided to tie it in with MTaJ. The third story is unnamed as of right now, but I can’t really say anything about either of them without giving away the plot of MTaJ. Eventually (when I figure out how), MTaJ, along with the other two stories, will be moved to a separate blog in the style of nerdjedi’s Adventures of Jack Sinclair and Sam’s Anonymous.
As with Legacy, suggestions for an alternate title are welcome and encouraged (because I can’t think up decent titles to save my life).
Okay, that’s enough of me blabbing (various knights, creepy old bridgekeepers, and magical beings named Tim are yelling at me to “Get on with it!”) So, without (any more) further ado, I present More Than a Job, Chapter 1.
EDIT: I appologize for the bad formatting fo the story. Blogger seems to have a thing about block paragraphs. This question is mainly for nerdjedi and Sam: How do you guys get your block paragraphs to work? I hit “enter” twice, but it doesn’t seem to register when I publish. What do you do to make it work for you? Any help here would be really appreciated and might warrant a guest post if it works!
EDIT 2: I have created a seperate blog for More Than a Job. You can visit it here. It’s still kind of a work in progress (both the story and the new blog), so both the story and blog template will be edited as I go. Pleas let me know what you think!
David Pierce was a man that most people overlooked after a quick first glance. Tall, a hair under six feet, and handsome, but not overly so, with dull brown hair and steel-grey eyes, Pierce was the type of man who could blend in almost anywhere in the world-a fact that made his job much easier. However, if one looked again at Pierce, they would notice some things about the man that made him stand out in a crowd. The most obvious was his muscular build; not the compact, beefy muscles of a bodybuilder, but the thin, lean look of a professional athlete, Pierce was obviously a man who took great pains to stay in top physical condition. The second was the cold, professional light in his eyes; a sharp glance from them and the bravest man would find himself unnerved. And if one looked closer still, they would likely notice that Pierce was armed; he carried a concealed firearm with him almost everywhere-which actually wasn’t illegal, as he also carried with him a federal permit entitling him to carry concealed weaponry.
Likewise, Pierce’s modest three-room apartment appeared completely ordinary to the casual observer. Painted a neutral white color and filled with dull, plain furniture, it looked like the thousands of other apartments in the city. Of one was observant, one might notice the small display case filled with ribbons medals hanging on one of the living room walls. If one cared to ask, they’d learn that Pierce had served with distinction in the Army’s Special Forces Command for eight years before retiring in early 2001, which was true, up to a point. If one walked farther in the apartment, they’d notice a small collection of framed pictures sitting on the dresser in the bedroom. If asked who the woman in the pictures was, Pierce would reply that they were of his wife, who had been killed a few months after he left the Army, which was also true. And if one managed to peek in his closet, they would find a safe filled with a dozen firearms of various sizes and calibers. If one cared to know why Pierce had such a large gun collection, they would learn that he collected them, which was true, but not entirely.
To his neighbors, David Pierce was something of a mystery. When asked what he did for a living, and why he sometimes left town for months at a time, he would reply that he was a freelance security consultant and was often hired by large corporations scattered throughout the country, which was a lie. Not that his landlord either knew or cared, so long as the rent came on time. The tenants that lived next to him notices that he was a quiet man who kept to himself, which didn’t really bother them. One unusual characteristic that the elderly woman down the hall had noticed was that Pierce never smiled. When she pointed this out to him, she was rather coldly informed that he had no reason to. Most tenants assumed that it was because of the fact that his wife had been killed.
Some of his neighbors had tried to get him to join their game of poker, or darts, or Scrabble, or whatever it was they were playing, but Pierce always declined. In fact, Pierce’s only hobbies, at least the only two his fellow tenants had picked up on, were collecting and shooting guns; he spent at least two hours a day at the local shooting range, and visited every gun show within 60 miles of his apartment.
Pierce had just returned from the range one afternoon when his cell phone rang. It had to be business; only a select few knew his cell’s number, and they only called when a job needed to be done. He set the case containing one of his pistols down on the coffee table, pulled the phone off his belt clip, and flipped it open.
“Yes?” he asked curtly. Polite greetings were uncalled for in his business.
“I have a problem I’d like you to take care of,” the voice on the other end said. Pierce frowned; it was a woman’s voice, not one he recognized.
“Who is this?” he asked, “How did you get this number.”
“I have my sources,” the woman replied, “Now, can you help me? I’m willing to pay you…”
“Not over the phone,” Pierce cut her off, “Meet me at the outdoor cafe at the corner of 66th and Central in two hours. Sit at one of the outer tables and have the latest issue of Newsweek with you.”
“I understand,” the woman replied, “I’ll be there.”
“Good,” Pierce replied, and terminated the call. He didn’t need to hurry; the cafe was only a twenty minute walk from his apartment. . He pulled his pistol from its case, retrieved a rag and cleaning solution from under the kitchen sink, field stripped the gun, and began to meticulously clean it. The gun was a .45 automatic, hand-made for him by a small custom shop in Arkansas. Out of his entire collection of firearms, ranging from a small .22 automatic to a 12-gauge shotgun to a massive .500 Magnum revolver, this custom .45 was his favorite.
He finished cleaning the gun twenty minutes later, reassembling it as carefully as he’d cleaned it. Leaving the gun on the table, he strolled over to his closet and retrieved leather shoulder holster. Like his .45, this was also custom made specifically for him. He strapped on the holster, pulled a shoebox from a shelf at the top of the closet, then moved back over to the table. The shoebox was filled with a dozen smaller boxes, each of which contained bullets of different calibers and weights. The specific bullets the man was interested in were .45 caliber 230-Grain Hydra-Shok hollow points made by the Federal Cartridge Company. He retrieved the Hydra-Shoks from the shoebox, loaded eight of them into the .45’s magazine, loaded the gun, and fed another eight rounds each into two spare magazines. He placed the pistol and magazines into their appropriate pouches in the shoulder holster, pulled a tan jacket over the holster, and checked his watch. A little over ninety minutes to his meeting. Right on schedule.