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"Brown offers some terrific fight scenes, notably the climactic showdown on the mat with Zombi." —Publishers Weekly (October 1, 2012)
"Solid characters, extraordinary dialogue, realistic action, and phenomenal pacing elevate his book far beyond the ordinary fare." —Foreword Reviews (December 2012)
At first I thought Banzai Eddie Takanori was just waiting until I healed up after the Burbank fight. I had a sixty-day medical suspension with thirty days of no contact to let the scar tissue clump together into some kindergartner's idea of eyebrows. Docs cleared me after five weeks, and I got back to light sparring and rolling, my trainer Gil watching for blood like a vampire shark.
Seven weeks after the fight and still no Eddie. We saw him on TV at Warrior events, so he was alive despite my earnest voodoo doll attempts; naming a taco Eddie and eating it doesn't always work. Every day Gil left him messages and threatened it was the last time he'd call. I didn't panic until Roth and Terence and the other guys at the gym quit busting my chops and asked how I was doing.
Opportunity was toying with me. Finally thought I'd caught the bastard, got a good grip, but it was pulling away. When it snapped I'd be left with a limp chance just long enough to make a noose.
I was staring out the front windows of The Fight House, Gil's gym, thinking about getting a degree—maybe they'd look at my résumé and give me an honorary doctorate in wasted potential—when a black stretch limo floated to a stop in the parking lot.
The driver got out and frowned at the sun, pulled his white shirt away from his chest, and stepped inside the lobby. "Mr. Wallace?" British accent. If it was fake, a nice touch.
"I don't care what these assholes said, I still have a job. I'm not washing that thing."
He glanced at the car. "Ah, no, I—"
"Who's here?" Gil shouted from the sparring cage, took his time on those stumpy legs of his getting to the front. He sipped his barrel of coffee and looked the driver up and down. "Who's this?"
The guy was lean, midthirties, just under six feet with a relaxed smile and eyes that tried to look soft but didn't quite remember how. He tolerated our scrutiny for two seconds. "I'm here to pick up Mr. Wallace for Mr. Takanori."
"Sweet Jesus, finally," Gil said. "Where we going? Do I need to change?"
The driver considered Gil's sweaty gi top and stained cargo shorts. No shoes. "Mr. Takanori was clear: the invitation is for one."
Gil's jaw clenched. "He's out there?"
"Mr. Wallace, if we could."
Gil found his cell phone on the counter. "Does Mr. Takanori have his phone with him?"
"I can relay any message."
"Tell him to call me. He owes us a fight contract, and I'm tired of this waiting bullshit."
"Call Mr. Hobbes. Done."
Gil looked at me. "You tell him too. You have your phone?"
"Call me and give him the phone."
The driver said, "It will be handled."
"I'm right here, phone in hand. No time like the present."
The driver opened the front door. Heat boiled in off the blacktop. "Mr. Wallace."
I waved to Roth and Terence, standing in the boxing ring with their mouths hanging open. "Peasants."
"Don't sign anything," Gil said.
"Won't even take my crayons."
I walked to the limo thinking Eddie had waited this long because he wanted the perfect matchup for my next heavyweight fight. Something that would take full advantage of the KO win over Burbank and the eleven new fans I'd picked up.
Serves me right for thinking he'd give me what I deserved instead of what he wanted me to have. He'd waited until he had something to hold over my head, despite being short enough the two of us would make a decent ventriloquist team—might have to rip his spine out, but he never used it.
The driver opened the door.
I waved at Gil and got in.
The next time I saw him was a day later. I had my next fight lined up and a fucking blow dart sticking out of my face.
Excerpted from Hook and Shoot by Jeremy Brown Copyright © 2012 by Jeremy Brown . Excerpted by permission of Medallion Press, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Posted November 2, 2012
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