Chapter 1 Hunting the Past
After his high school reunion, Gregson didn’t know what to do with himself. It was like being plopped into a movie theater, and then the action flick ended, and the credits went up, and there was the FBI Warning: Don’t copy this film or there will be a 250,000 dollar fine. Gregson hated to relive his past.
When he wasn’t solving crime, he read the National Inquirer.
He soaked in a hot bath, circling articles in red pen: Alien wears human suit, Car defies gravity, Mysterious killings in Canada.
Would the click-bait never end? The killings captured Gregson’s imagination.
He continued reading…
Malloy describes the bodies as being sliced apart—snow sprinkled with red rain for two miles.
“We are dealing with a predator who stalks their prey and murders patiently,” Malloy said.
Gregson puffed on his cigar, then pushed it into his ashtray.
“Yeah—this is Gregson.”
“I heard that half of your graduating class got murdered at the reunion.”
“And you caught the murderer?”
“She was about to kill me, when Detective Talbert stepped in.”
“Gregson—I have a case for you…”
“Murphy, I’m losing my touch. I can’t see the angles anymore.”
“This is different. How are you at hunting?”
Gregson leaned forward. “Why?”
“I came across your file at the Bureau, with my new security clearance—benefits of getting promoted. You never told me that you ran special ops in Russia and trained soldiers to kill.”
“It’s part of my past, I want to forget,” Gregson said. “Besides, it’s classified.”
“Not anymore. Not to me. Did you really teach kids how to survive with primitive weapons?”
“Modern and Primitive.” The PI looked at his apartment wall, where soldiers were kneeling in the snow.
“You never told me you were in the military, Gregson.”
“That’s because I wasn’t. I was a civilian contractor. You should know that—you have my file.”
“I know. I was just testing you.”
“I don’t like to be tested.”
“Gregson—the longer I know you, the more interesting you become. Will you meet me at Langley?”
“Okay—if all expenses are paid, and I have a fully-stocked bar on the airplane.”
“Consider it done. I’m looking forward to working with you, Gregson. Meet me in 0600 hours next Monday.”
“I play golf next Monday.”
“Cancel your tee-time.”
Gregson hung up. He looked at the thinner version of himself on the wall. It was a different life. Why was the past visiting him? He sensed, he would need to be sharp, like a hunting knife or a tomahawk. It’s the feeling of being hunted. All predators know it, because there’s a thin line between predator and prey.
Gregson spied his K-Bar, sticking out of his work bench. He grabbed it. Felt the weight in his hands. Then threw it, across the room, at himself.
“I killed you. Why are you coming back?”
Chapter 2 Bachelor Bureaucracy
Gregson took a seat next to the window.
The wilderness was peaceful, from 40,000 feet—but he knew it wasn’t wonderland.
Fire was a man’s best friend, in the elements, and his sharp mind to fashion a spear.
“Whiskey,” Gregson said to the stewardess.
“What? Do you think this is Dodge City?”
“I need to dull my mind, while I can.” Gregson drank the samples.
Langley was the last place he wanted to visit. Gregson was done with bureaucracies. There is a social stratum in society, made that way, by people who go along, with other people who go along. It’s a world of white-washed walls and dead souls. Envy, is the weapon of the office, and it’s a knife that stabs in the back.
The security check, was a man who spent all day in a five-by-five box. He got his authority by scrutinizing everything, down to a man’s zipper. There was a gun in there, but it wasn’t lethal, unless it hadn’t been fired in years. Then it might go off, at any moment.
Gregson didn’t look at him. He drove his red rent-a-car to the C-Building. The buildings were labeled with letters because a bureaucracy is similar to an elementary school. The boys are measuring their penises in the bathroom and the girls are learning their ABCs.
Gregson walked to the front desk, where a lady with gray hair had it looped into a tower on her head. She looked like she had sat there since the 1950s. Her yellow nicotine nails were painted pink. They were long and deformed, from typing.
“Can I help you, sir?”
“I’m here to see Murphy.”
“Can you be more specific?”
“He’s the director of violent crimes.”
“Oh—a compact sort of man—dresses well.” She eyed Gregson, disapprovingly. He was wearing khaki pants with a loose-fitting polo shirt.
Gregson got onto the elevator, and went up. When he got off, he noticed two women going down with a man. The female agents were wearing straight black skirts. The man wore a power suit. Women love the power.
The hallway was full of ringing phones.
In the cubicles, pictures of mutilated bodies hung on the walls like modern art.
The workplace reminded Gregson of angry bees in their hive. An alpha boss passed him in the hallway, followed by his beta monkeys in white shirts. They were going to have a meeting in the board room, where everybody would be bored. He droned on… about mission statements, while his underlings paid him lip-service by taking copious notes.
“Hell runs on a time-clock,” Gregson said. “Am I dead?”
“Not yet, but this case, could be your coffin,” Murphy said.
Gregson turned around.
Chapter 3 Why Murphy Works in a Bureaucracy
“Murphy—why do you still work here?” Gregson asked.
“It pays the bills—why else?”
“I thought you wanted to get-out, on your own?”
“I can’t say no to good benefits.”
“But what about a good life?”
“I’m not like you, Gregson—I need a safety net, especially in this line of work.”
“Tell me about it…”
“Well, I called you in because I suspect those crimes in Canada are committed by a creative psychopath.”
Gregson walked into Murphy’s office. “So, this is where a man can end up, if he dots all his I’s and crosses all his T’s…?”
“No—anybody can do that—it’s the first lesson learned in a bureaucracy—turn in your substandard paperwork with all the right punctuation. To get where I’m at, you have to make important people feel even more important.”
“How do you do that?”
“I’d rather not say. What I was going to tell you, was…”
“Sir, would you like some coffee and a doughnut?” A hot red-head asked.
She had a delicious chest—only partially covered by her tight black blouse.
“I’ll take two,” Gregson said.
“Intelligent choice—I’ll be right back.”
“Now I know why you stay here, you dog—it’s the food and the service,” Gregson said. He watched her pants disappear. “Too bad women feel empowered today.”
“Yeah,” Murphy sighed. “Back to what I was saying… What the news doesn’t know is that each one of these murders is unique.”
“First off—they were all killed within 50 miles of civilization, in the Canadian wilderness. Second, they were all creative killings.”
“Creative? –Is the killer displaying their victims?”
“No—it’s the method of killing—as if there are multiple murderers.”
“How can that be?”
“A killing club, of some sort.”
“Like a gun club?”
“Yeah—wannabees, who want to hunt on the weekend, maybe.”
“Hunting human beings…” Gregson mused. “I guess, I can see the attraction. Most men have never been in a fight—let alone killed anybody. Who are the victims?”
“Some of them are homeless, with military experience—others, are unemployed lawyers.”
“But even a bad lawyer should be able to get government work.”
“You would think…”
“So, the murder victims were offered money?”
“It’s a theory. A lot of people want to kill lawyers. Three victims were shot with a high-caliber hunting rifle, two, got a bolt in the back with a crossbow, and one, was killed with a knife—”
“Your coffee sir, and your doughnuts… Can I ask your name?”
“Are you a friend of the Director’s?” She extended her fingers, painted in red polish.
“Any friend of his, is a friend of mine. He’s helping me with my career.”
“Really?” Gregson said.
“Call, if you need anything…”
“How do you live with yourself?” Gregson asked.
“I don’t have a choice.”
Chapter 4 Have You Always Been This Toxic?
“Well, how can I help?” Gregson asked.
“My FBI guys aren’t that good at blending in. These killings are organized. I wouldn’t be surprised if the man doing it has a secretary.”
“I see, and you think I can seduce his secretary, and solve this thing?”
“Something like that.”
“What have you figured-out so far?” Gregson asked.
“I’ll need to read you in.”
“I didn’t know you could read.”
“Here’s the legal paperwork. Sign. And stop being a smart ass, Gregson.”
The PI gave his Hancock.
“The killings are unlike most murders because the heads were taken. The papers didn’t report that. All the bodies were decapitated. Ordinarily, this might be considered a crime of passion, but I think the skulls were stolen as trophies.”
“It’s a shame, everybody gets a trophy,” Gregson said. “I didn’t know we were dealing with head hunters. How many dead presidents are you willing to pay me?”
“Given your extensive military experience and training—if you bust this case—half-a-million dollars.”
“Okay,” Gregson said. “When do we fly-out?”
“It isn’t ‘we’. You need to fly-out right now, but before that, I need you to pair up with a partner.”
“You know I work alone,” Gregson said.
“I know—but we need you to be accepted in a masculine environment.”
“What are you saying?”
“The best way for you to accomplish that is with Tanya.”
“She’s actually a special agent in charge. I trained her myself. She will report your progress to me and cover your ass.”
“It’s pretty big,” Gregson said.
“You’re half right. You will use a .44 Magnum, with a telescopic sight. It can bring-down a Grizzley Bear, with one shot. The point is, you need to have the equipment of a big game hunter.”
“Wouldn’t a rifle be more appropriate?”
“Of course—but these safari junkies from the city get-off by playing with their pistols.”
“I see—and Tanya is going to teach me how to use it?”
Tanya walked behind Murphy like a cat.
“Has he been properly briefed?” She asked.
“I like to go commando,” Gregson said.
“Well, Commando, follow me, and I’ll teach you to use your gun. It takes uranium bullets. They can put a hole through four inches of concrete. Here, watch me.”
She unbuttoned the scabbard and pointed the gun. Then she fired, and the Magnum kicked at a 45-degree angle. The hole went right through the man’s head.
“Have you noticed that paper targets are all men?” Gregson asked.
“Yes. Men hesitate, if they have to kill a woman.”
“What about a feminist?”
“You know, I could order some feminist paper targets. Perhaps, there is a shooting club at a university.”
“I just think it’s important that the targets are 50/50.”
“You are a progressive. Have you always been this toxic?”
“What do you think?”
Chapter 5 “I like a man with strong hands.”
Tanya opened the silver case with her red nails, and pointed the .44 Magnum down range. She squeezed-off a round. Flames came out of the barrel.
“It feels good to have a powerful gun in your hands.” She mounted the scope, and took aim, from 75 yards.
“Bulls Eye!” Gregson said.
“If we are to be working together, we need to get a few things straight.”
“I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
“Okay. I am a special agent in charge. That means that you do what I say.”
A ten-hour flight, and they were in a town filled with lumber jacks and waitresses. There was a colonial home with Greek columns at the far end of main street. It was white.
“I’ve seen this scene in a Clint Eastwood movie,” Gregson said.
“What happens?” Tanya asked.
“Eastwood has three drinks in the saloon and shoots 20 men—then he nails the girl.”
“Why do men use that expression?”
“‘Nail?’ Because a woman is a full-time job. The man screws and he hammers. He wants to fix a woman.”
“I thought a woman wants to fix a man?”
Before Gregson could answer, a gentleman with a receding hairline introduced himself. He had Southern Charm and a silk shirt. He wore a gold chain around his neck, with a cross.
“My name is Dubois. I own the gun club down the street.” He pointed to the black building.
“My name is Gregson. This is Tanya—my secretary.”
“Actually, I’m his boss,” Tanya said.
“A boss secretary—charmed, I’m sure.”
“Are you a religious man?” Gregson asked, pointing to his cross.
“Yes—guns are my religion. Would you like a tour of my club?”
“I would,” Tanya said, “But first, I need to change into something more comfortable.”
“The hotel is on the corner. They have satin sheets and hot water, if you want to take a bath,” Dubois offered.
“Your hospitality is second to none,” Tanya said. “You should run for mayor.”
“You are a man in charge. I can always tell by how he dresses.” She looked at Gregson with distaste. His cargo shorts and polo shirt were wrinkled.
When they got checked-in, Gregson lay on the bed and drank a sample scotch.
“Are you up for this?” Tanya asked in the shower.
“We’ll find out,” Gregson said through closed eyes.
“Murphy thinks highly of you,” Tanya said. “Personally, I don’t see it.”
She walked into the bedroom in the nude. Gregson still had his eyes closed.
He opened them. She was wearing thermal pants and a sweatshirt that said: Guns don’t kill people, I kill people.
When they walked into the club, it was not what Gregson expected. There were girls on poles, disco lights, pop-up targets of strippers and gangsters, a poker game, and a full bar.
Men with hairy biceps put their chainsaws on tables.
Hungry eyes followed Tanya like rabid rapists, and she flaunted her red hair like a passionate flame that stoked the fires of…
“Hello, my name is Tanya.”
“Nice to meet you. I like a man with strong hands.”
Chapter 6 “You Have Your Hands on My Girl!”
Brad was good-looking.
“What kind of guns do you like?” He asked Tanya.
“Big ones,” she giggled.
Gregson looked at her. She was hypnotizing Brad with her hips.
Tanya walked the way women do when they want a man’s attention.
The range was full of men, who were tired of paper targets.
“I’ll buy you a beer,” Brad said.
“Make it two—it’s on me.”
Gregson was left alone. “What will it be, handsome?” He looked-up, hopefully.
She had one tooth, grinning at him.
“High alcohol content.”
“That’ll be moonshine. You better act quickly, before your lady-friend gets with Brad.”
“She’s just my secretary.”
“Just your secretary!? What are you, a eunuch?”
Gregson ignored her, and looked at the hunters. They were hicks. Nobody stood out. The owner was sophisticated, but these guys looked like they bathed in beer, and never clipped their toenails. It had to be an outsider. The victims were hunted during the full moon. It could be ritualistic, or a red herring, to throw him off the scent. More than likely though, it was for reasons of visibility, Gregson thought.
Tanya was giving Brad every excuse. Their conversation moved beyond words. He had his hand on her hip, like he was fielding a deer, before he dressed it—in this case, he was preparing to undress it.
Tanya was looking at Gregson through the corners of her eyes, blinking, in Morse Code. It was the signal, for help.
“Excuse me, sir! But you have your hands on my girl,” Gregson said.
“Your girl!? What’s a fat man like you going to do about it?”
Chapter 7 The Fire in their Eyes Goes Black
Gregson didn’t know why men had to hit each other, to love each other. He swung his left-handed haymaker at the lumberjack’s face, breaking Brad’s beautiful bone structure, like a freight train crumpling a Mercedes coup into an aluminum can on the railroad tracks. Brad’s jaw popped-out of its socket into a sideways smile.
“Is that all you got?” He blathered while hugging the wooden floor.
“What’s the matter—you can’t get enough wood?” Gregson asked.
“No, I’ve had enough. Bring me a drink and some pain killers.”
The music, dancing, jokes, and laughter stopped, and now it started again, like an off-beat merry-go-round.
“Say Brad, has this town had any visitors, besides us, in the last few months?” Gregson asked.
“Are you kidding? Lots of city guys come-out here to feel rustic. Look over there. There’s two of them now.”
Gregson glanced at the non-smoking section.
A fat man was wearing a white shirt with a pen-holder in his pocket. He looked like an engineer, working on a heart attack. The other guy was skinny. His eyes reminded Gregson of cigarette ash.
“What are they saying now?” Tanya asked.
“The fat one hates his boss. The skinny one sympathizes.”
“They know Dubious.”
Gregson tried to blend in, but he looked like a 50-year-old teenager who never got a job.
“Can I join you fellows for a drink?” He asked.
“It’s a free country,” the fat man said.
“Sorry lads, but this is Canada,” Gregson corrected. “Why did you come out to the sticks?”
“Who wants to know?”
“I’m Gregson. My boss wanted me to work on the weekends, so I set fire to his desk.”
“You’re in the same sinking ship that we are,” the fat man said. “I’m Tom. This is Randy. We were internet pen pals who got fed-up with work, and decided to connect in real life.”
“What do you do?” Gregson asked.
“I don’t do anything,” Tom said, “But I used to work for Microsoft. It made me soft. It’s a trickle-down culture, with the richest man in the world pissing on everybody else. That’s when I realized I had to get hard, and I came out here.”
“What do you do?” Gregson asked Randy.
“I used to work for the post office.”
“Did you leave anybody alive?”
“Very funny. They’re not alive. Something happens to them after the first week. The fire in their eyes goes black. I came out here to kill, to get my mojo back.”
Chapter 8 It pays more to be hunted.
“What are you hunting?” Gregson asked.
“Assholes,” Tom said.
“What kind of license do you need for that?”
“One that swipes, or is it, wipes?”
“What are the rules?”
“Our prey gets an inferior weapon and a money belt. If we kill them, we get the prize. If they kill us, well… we die.”
“What kind of inferior weapon?”
“A lawyer was allowed to use her pen. She got one of the hunters through the throat. Dubois wrote him off and then wrote her a check. Plus, she got to keep her money-belt.”
“Aren’t you worried that you could end up dead?”
“Naw, that’s not going to happen to us,” Randy said.
“Why are you telling me this?” Gregson asked.
“You’re one of us. Anybody can see that.”
“It’s a dangerous game you’re playing. What’s in it for Dubois?”
“He’s filming a Reality TV show about head hunters. This is the pilot. It goes on the dark web next week. Rumor has it, the actual show will be on an island, and all the previous contestants will get the chance to hunt each other for the ultimate prize. The one who comes out alive, wins 100 million dollars.”
“And you believe Dubois has the money?”
“Of course. He’s wealthier than God.”
“How can I join?”
“Be a predator or a prey—it pays more to be the hunted though, but it’s less likely, you’ll come out alive.”
Solving a case over casual conversation wasn’t satisfying for Gregson. Dubois was obviously insane but then, the PI wondered… What if I won 100 million dollars? I could really retire and write my memoirs.
Chapter 9 The Short List or the Shit List?
“It was nice talking with you gentlemen. Happy Hunting,” Gregson said.
“And same to you.”
Gregson walked back to Tanya.
“I’ve got to get on the short list,” he said.
“To play the most dangerous game. We’ll need to make an appointment with Dubois. Would you put on your sexiest dress, and we’ll knock on his front door.”
The white house was ugly on the outside.
Gregson knocked. He looked at Tanya’s knockers. She displayed them well in her red dress.
“Hello,” came a stuffy voice.
“We’re here to see Dubois.”
“Do you have an invitation?”
“Well, no—but it’s of the utmost importance.”
“He’s playing the piano right now. I don’t dare interrupt him.”
“When will he be done?” Tanya asked.
“Oh—maybe, right now. Let me check. Why don’t you wait.”
The sound of thunder filled the house—it was a torturous, improvised explosion of passion. Madness echoed off the walls like midnight.
“Moonlight Sonata,” the butler said. “My master always plays it before the full moon.”
Then the music stopped, and the silence was terrifying.
“Who did you invite into my house!?”
“Only some guests. They seem to know you.”
Dubois walked out of the music room, carrying an antique dueling pistol. “Oh—it’s only you,” he said. “How can I serve you?”
His pupils dilated, staring at Tanya’s bosoms, like a hungry predator.
“We heard about your hunt, and we want to play in the finals,” Gregson said.
“I’m sorry. The price for admission is a clean kill, and the money you take off the body. No can do.”
“What if we buy our way in?” Gregson asked.
“How do I know you’re not a cop?”
“Do I look like a cop?”
“You don’t, but she does.” Dubois pointed at Tanya. “There aren’t many women who can look like that and be in charge.” He leveled his pistol at her breasts.
“She’s my girlfriend, and if she looks that way, it’s because I need to be dominated. Nobody is more alpha than me,” Gregson said. “And I need to be tied up.”
“Really?” Dubois asked, but he appeared to be satisfied.
“Just pay the entry fee of 50,000 dollars and I’ll put you on the shit list. I have a couple head hunters who might make the cut. They’re hunting a lawyer right now, and what they lack in experience, they make-up for with enthusiasm. They were dominated by a female boss, and now they have the chance to get even. I’ll have a private jet chartered at my hanger in 24 hours. Be there, or be square. Many men lose their nerve. What about you, young lady?”
“I was born to kill,” Tanya said.
“Excellent. Here’s my calling card.” He gave her a queen, with a bullet hole through the head. “Directions are on the back.”
Chapter 10 Weapons and Snacks Will be Provided on the Plane
Back at the hotel, Tanya went through her suitcase. She pulled-out a one-piece and laid it next to her diver’s belt.
Gregson collapsed on the bed. “Better bring your A-Game,” he said.
“Are you going to call Murphy?”
“I already did. We’ll have to stay alive long-enough to give him the coordinates to the island.”
“Close your eyes,” Tanya said.
Gregson shut them, hearing her red dress hit the floor. Then, he opened them. She was on fire, slipping into her black bathing suit. SNAP. Her shoulder straps supported her chest nicely.
“Time to sleep,” she said.
“There’s only one bed.”
“Good observation. You are a detective. Now, sleep on the floor.”
Gregson didn’t mind if she was going to be that way. He looked at the moth balls, and went to sleep.
He woke up to espresso.
“Three shots,” Tanya said. “Let’s hope they’re the only ones that go through you today.” She was wearing red running shorts, which magnified her red hair.
“What kind of weapon are you going to bring?” Gregson asked.
“Didn’t you read the card?”
“It says, weapons and snacks will be provided on the plane.”
Chapter 11 “I want this show to be equitable.”
Gregson grabbed his .44 Magnum, just in case.
When they got to the airport, the plane was full of freaks and wannabe rock stars.
Before he boarded, Dubois held out his hand. “50 Grand.”
“Do you take a credit card?” Gregson asked.
Tanya handed him a brick of bills.
“Get on the plane. This is going to be a thrill,” Dubois said.
“Where do you get that kind of money?” Gregson asked.
“From the Bureau expense account. What? You don’t have one?”
Gregson rolled his eyes and sat down. “Where’s Tom and Randy?”
“I finished them off,” a corporate lawyer said. She was wearing a gray suit, which made her look like a shark.
“Did you use a pen?” Tanya asked.
“No. Dubois gave me this Bushman. It’s an AR-50. Apparently, he didn’t like Tom or Randy very much. I guess, their female boss got them in the end.”
“They were losers,” Dubois said. “No color. No style. Sexist. We don’t want that on the show. I want this free-for-all to be equitable.”
The private plane took-off.
Chapter 12 Champaign at 40,000 Feet
“Sandy will serve champaign at 40,000 feet. We will toast your death,” Dubois said.
Bikers with Harley-Davidson bandanas were checking their iron. There were a couple feminists squinting down the peep-holes of their derringers. Gregson didn’t like how they were eyeing him, as if he was bad for the environment.
The lawyer was making a list of her inventory: Grenades, AR-50, Scope, Bug-Repellent.
“What does a guy have to do to get sued by you?” A soldier of fortune asked her.
“Just keep asking questions,” she said.
“Okay. I will.”
She put a diver’s knife to his throat. “No, you won’t.”
There were beta monkeys in white-collared shirts, looking down the barrels of their submachine-guns.
“Where do the bullets go?” They asked.
“You should’ve stuck with the model and make I gave you,” Dubois said.
“No offense sir, but a crossbow won’t do us much good against that.”
Gregson looked where they were pointing.
Brad was fumbling with his missile launcher.
Sandy came out wearing a school girl skirt and offered them champaign.
“Drink up—this will be your last,” Dubois said. “When we land, you will go to your zone. When inside your circle, the game begins.”
He handed them GPS markers.
There was chit-chat, like gladiators getting ready for the ring. Gregson slept. He dreamt of slave girls being sacrificed to lions.
Then, he woke up. The plane had landed.
Chapter 13 “Let’s keep it interesting!”
There was a mini-helicopter on the tarmac.
“You fly with me,” Dubois said. He grabbed Tanya by the arm, and put a silver .38 to her temple.
“You don’t think I know you’re a cop. It’s written all over you, like spilled coffee and doughnuts.”
Gregson pulled his .44 Magnum and pointed it at the Frenchman.
“No. No. Or the game starts early,” he said.
They got into the chopper and achieved lift-off.
“You’re dead,” the motorcyclists said.
“Never gonna happen.” Brad slung his rocket launcher onto his back, and prepped his shotgun.
Gregson put the most powerful handgun in the world into his holster and slipped his K-Bar under his sock.
Then they marched off in different directions, following the homing beacon to their designated zones.
When Gregson got to the beach, he spied the feminists, wiping each other down.
They reached for their derringers.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” the PI said.
Gregson zip-tied them, and moved on.
When he got to the heart of the island, he found a bunker, with a nuclear reactor.
“This island is one big bomb.”
“Turn around slowly,” a voice said. Gregson saw the shotgun, and flipped his K-Bar into the man. It went off, and blew the other biker’s leg off.
“Put a torniquet around that,” Gregson ordered.
“I don’t have one!” The biker screamed.
Gregson zip-tied them.
A chopper was right above him. “You’re supposed to kill, if you want the hundred mill!” Dubois shouted.
Gregson left cover, and the Frenchman took a pot-shot.
The killing game was getting hairy, Gregson thought, and close shaves always left him cut.
He went behind the bushes and did his business.
The enema was a clear plastic pill, with a transmitter inside. He squeezed it, and then put it into his ear.
“This is Murphy.”
“Do you have the coordinates?” Gregson asked.
“You’re on an island off the coast of South America. We’ll send a rescue team, as long as I can clear it with the admiral.”
“That’s the other thing—apparently, the orchestrator of these hunting safaris is an international arms dealer. Rumor has it, he deals in nuclear weapons, left-over from the cold war.”
“And let me guess… the navy wants to wipe this rock clean with a cruise missile.”
“I’m trying to talk the admiral out of it. What’s the score?”
“There’s a lady lawyer and a lumberjack still in play.”
“What was that?” Murphy asked.
“The game. I got to go.”
“Stay alive, Gregson.”
The PI walked between two palm trees and witnessed an explosive crater, with two arms and two legs sticking out of it. The body parts were dressed in a gray suit.
Gregson looked-up at the hill and saw Brad with his missile launcher. Then he looked at his chest. There was an enormous red dot, glowing there.
“Oops,” Gregson said. Then the helicopter flew over, and shot Brad in the head.
“I just saved your life!” Dubois said. “Meet me on the beach, if you ever want to hold your girlfriend in one piece!”
Gregson made his way to the shore, where the blue waves were sparkling. The helo chopped the air and landed softly on the sand.
“I want to take you hand-to-hand!” Dubois screamed.
Gregson threw his .45 into the ocean and put his hand inside his sock. It smelled.
He pulled the K-Bar out. The Frenchman showed him his fighting knife. Then they closed the distance.
Gregson peeked at Tanya. She was staring wild-eyed, while Sandy held the silver .38 to her head.
Dubois ran at Gregson and struck first.
“You cut my shirt,” Gregson said.
“And your shoulder,” Dubois said.
Gregson felt warm blood dripping down his arm.
Dubois lunged again, and Gregson countered, with a spin-kick. The Frenchman landed on his back, and the PI jumped on him, shoving his K-Bar through his heart.
“Why don’t you have any mercy?” Dubois asked. His eyes rolled-up into his head, and he expired.
“Gregson, are you there? Gregson, come back.”
“This is Gregson.”
“Get out of there! The missile is going to make impact!”
“I thought you said that you could talk the admiral out of it!?”
“You know how bureaucracies are.”
“I know,” Gregson said.
The PI wrenched his knife from the Frenchman’s chest, and walked towards the chopper.
Sandy was still holding her silver .38 to Tanya’s head, but it was shaking.
“You can let me fly us out of here, or killer her?” Gregson said.
“I’ll be arrested!” Sandy screamed.
“I’ll let you go,” Gregson said.
Sandy threw her gun into the ocean and the PI ignited the chopper.
They were hovering over the sunset, when the island incinerated like Hiroshima.
“If a bureaucracy can’t agree to disagree, they press the button,” Gregson said.
“That doesn’t make me feel better,” Tanya said.
“It’s not supposed to. Okay, out you go,” Gregson pointed to Sandy.
“What?” She asked.
“I said I’d let you go.”
Tanya pushed Sandy into the ocean, and Gregson tossed a rubber raft after her.
“That was a dirty trick,” Tanya said.
“I’ll tell you what’s dirty—having this shit enema in my ear. Only the government would think this shit up!” Gregson threw it into the ocean.
“Besides, pussycats have nine lives, even if, they hate water.”