The client was waiting for SMS on a narrow stretch of rocky beach that ran alongside Dallas Road. Other areas of the winding beachside street were popular tourist destinations, with trails and cliffs and beautiful ocean views, but for this meeting the client had chosen a segment of the beach that was less busy, better to hold a private conversation of this nature.
Like a good animal rights hippie, the man was dressed entirely in synthetic fabrics and was munching on a carrot stick. As SMS crossed the sand and logs that separated them, he saw a seagull swoop down and perch on a rock fifteen feet away from the man, eyeing the carrot sticks. The man watched it like a cornered dog. For someone who apparently cared so much about wildlife, he didn’t appear to have an especially close connection with it.
The client was still staring nervously at the seagull when SMS said, “Hello.”
The man jumped. “Oh!”
“He calls himself Cyber.” Ian Innis declared this with some finality, pushing back from his desk and crossing his ankles. Innis was a middle-aged, slightly overweight, clean-shaven, dark-haired man with a closet full of long-sleeved shirts, tan slacks, and suit jackets. Seen on the street, he appeared average in almost every respect, an ordinary, benign, phonebook-filler kind of person. He was someone you didn’t look twice at, someone you didn’t think twice about.
But every now and then, if you caught him in a sideways glance, you got the impression he was doing plenty of thinking about you.
Innis’s audience for this pronouncement was his personal assistant, Shawn Matthew Scott, called SMS by those few individuals he thought of as his friends. The blond-haired 25-year-old was leaning silently against the door frame, preferring not to fully enter the disaster zone Innis called his office. Continue reading
EXTERIOR. A SUBDIVISION. THREE MEN ARE WALKING TOGETHER.
…And did you see the look on that guy’s face when I transformed Mick and threw him like a boomerang? He was like, “Whaaaaa?”
You’d think he’d never seen a man turn into a chunk of drywall before.
Don’t throw me around like that anymore, Andy. I’m getting dizzy again just thinking about it.
Would you rather be back in that alley getting curb stomped?
No… (He sighs.) But I hate being “Chunk of Drywall Man.” If I have to be a special, why can’t I do something cool?
You think having detachable arms is so much better? Continue reading
Leaves crackled crisply under the soles of Matt Moon’s hiking boots. He crested a small hill and paused for a moment to take in the view.
A gentle slope rolled on ahead of him down into a small meadow bordered by pine trees on three sides and a mostly dry creek bed on the fourth. Early-evening dew bowed the tips of the long wild grass, which cast swaying shadows in the light of the sinking sun. A pale crescent moon was peeking up just above the tree line, signaling the onset of dusk.
Matt inhaled a deep breath of cool, sharp air, as refreshing as a brand-new set of double-As. Actually, he could use a couple of those… Continue reading