The Church of Minos #12

The following takes place after The Walrus of Death, which you can purchase HERE

Part One

-This is a first draft-

ABNER LEMONZEO, BUD TO his friends, began his day with a hundred push-ups and a hundred sit ups. It was a habit he’d gotten into while in jail. Actually, it was the one good thing he’d taken from the whole experience. Thanks to jail he was in the best shape of his life.

Following the exercise he hit the shower, and remained there until the water went cold. The freedom of being alone in the show was something he’d never take for granted. Not anymore. Back in jail a shower was something you did quickly. You got in and you got out. You also had to focus more one who was around you then getting clean. It was a nerve wracking affair.

Once well and fully soaked, Abner Lemonzeo would, weather permitting, air dry on the veranda. Living out in the country as he did, he didn’t need to worry about neighbors being offended by the lack of clothing.

As he sat and let the air do its thing, he sipped on hot coffee and smoked a thin cigar. Normally, under such circumstances, Abner would be feeling good. Pretty darn great, to tell the truth. But not this morning. This morning Abner was more than a little anxious.

He had made what he thought was a necessary, yet risky decision two days ago. He’d agreed to help to kill Norman Oklahoma for a group of vampires in return for a substantial cash donation toward his various enterprises. Which, he could admit to himself, were not all completely legal.

This deal was going to help him get back on top. To get back all that he’d lost when he’d gone to jail.

And really, it had all seemed so simple. Kill Norman Oklahoma. One man. What could be so hard about that?

He’d already planned on killing the man, so it wasn’t like he was being asked to do something he wasn’t willing to do. And it certainly wasn’t the first time he’d gone into partnership with a monster. So yeah, he agreed and they handed over a suitcase full of cash.

But then something went wrong. Norman Oklahoma had survived. Abner had hired one of the best, the Walrus, yet Oklahoma lived. Not only that, he came to visit with Abner just yesterday and got into it with the very vampires he’d gotten into bed with.

The two vampires, Thomas and Alexander, were anything but happy when they’d left the Pub yesterday morning. Not that he blamed them, but in reality, it wasn’t his fault.

Thankfully Thomas and Alexander didn’t make the decisions. They had a boss like anyone else. But he’d be meeting with the two vampires again this morning to finalize Abner’s part in whatever the vampires had going on in Eudora. He only hoped that they still needed him.

Sufficiently dry he adjourned to the bedroom to dress — shorts, t-shirt, no shoes. Soon he was in the kitchen scrambling eggs. A little salt, pepper, a few pats of butter. The key was to whisk it all with the eggs until they were all blended and smooth. Abner had always felt that his scrambled eggs were the best around.

As he was plating the eggs and toasting the bread, his assistant, a man he knew only as Jenner, entered the kitchen. Jenner carried with him one of those electronic tablets that Abner could never figure out the use of. What was wrong with a little black book and a pencil?

“Good morning, sir,” Jenner said, swiping and tapping at the screen.

Jenner was an unassuming man. Average in almost every way. It was like he’d been designed to blend into a crowd, to go through life unnoticed by others, to be anonymous in all respects. His hair was brown, short and conservative. His suit, gray, not too expensive, but not cheap. He wasn’t tall, wasn’t short, wasn’t skinny or fat or athletic. He just was.

His eyes, however. Sometimes when Jenner looked at him, Abner could see through them and into infinity. He’d always found it more than a little unsettling.

“Have a seat, Jenner and I’ll plate you up some eggs.”

“Thank you, sir,” Jenner said. “I would be happy to share your table with you, but I’m afraid I’ve already eaten.”

“Well then,” Abner said, sitting with his own plate. “That just means more for me.”

It had been the same every morning since Abner had been released from prison. Which, in fact, was where the two had met.

Two days into his five year stretch, three large men, all of them covered in tattoos, cornered Abner in the yard. It was the same old prison story. He was a new fish, fresh meat, and they wanted to take him for a test drive.

But then Jenner stepped in. That was it. He calmly stepped himself between Abner and the three burly men. Then, he turned to look at Abner’s would-be assailants. Just that, a look, and they apologized and walked away. Ran, actually.

“I don’t believe ‘thank you’ would be sufficient based on the circumstances,” Abner remembers saying to Jenner.

“A ‘thank you’ is not necessary, Mr. Lemonzeo,” Jenner had replied.

“You know who I am?”

“I knew your father,” Jenner had said. “Your birth father.”

“Then you know more than me,” Abner had said.

Abner Lemonzeo had been orphaned at a very early age. He’d been adopted by a wealthy couple in Topeka and he’d lived a life of relative luxury. But it had never been enough for Abner. He’d always wanted more.

“You father had once done something for me that no other had ever done before. And for that, I am forever in his debt,” Jenner had told him that day. “And with his passing the debt I owe I will pay to you.”

He’d told Abner no more and left him with many questions. Questions that have yet to be answered. But these many years later, Jenner had proven time and again that he was true to his word.

Jenner had even been released two years before Abner and had moved to Eudora to look over things until Abner’s return.

“Tell me what’s going on in the world, Jenner?” Abner asked as the two men sat together at his kitchen table.

“The Walrus has been taken to a facility in Denver,” Jenner said, reading from the tablet.

“I regret using him,” Abner said. “But his references were impeccable.

“I have to admit that this Norman Oklahoma has me more than a bit curious,” Jenner said. “The Walrus is a formidable opponent. For Mr. Oklahoma to have walked away unscathed . . . Curious.”

“The man does have an annoying habit of surviving,” Abner said. “What else do you have for me?”

“Well,” Jenner swiped at the screen a few times. “Speaking of Norman Oklahoma. A girl, Maggie Keaton, was abducted last night. The Police, along with Mr. Oklahoma, are looking into it.”

“Do we know who took her?” Abner said. “I don’t like kidnappings. I especially don’t like it happening in my town without my knowledge.”

“I’ll make some inquiries,” Jenner swiped the screen again. “Your meeting with the vampires is in an hour.”

“Yes, yes,” Abner said. “Not a meeting I am looking forward to. They didn’t leave happy yesterday.”

“After the way Mr. Oklahoma treated the two, I don’t blame them.”

Abner smiled. “He sure took them down a peg or two, didn’t he?” Then he laughed.

“He did at that,” Jenner said. Not smiling. The man never seemed to smile.

“You’ll be there?” Abner asked. “At the Pub, during the meeting?”

“As always, sir.”

Abner didn’t like it when Jenner called him ‘sir’. He’d been trying to correct it for some time now, preferring that the man call him Abner, or even Bud. But nothing had changed, and he’d given up trying.

“Okay then,” Abner said. “I’ll get dressed.”

To be continued . . .

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