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

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

Once well and fully soaked, 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, Lemonzeo would be feeling good. Pretty darn great, to tell the truth. But not this morning. This morning Lemonzeo was more than a little anxious.

He had made what he thought was a necessary, yet risky decision yesterday morning. 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. He’d figured it was easy enough promise. After all, he’d already sent a man to kill Oklahoma.

Not a man, exactly.

So he made the deal, thinking that Oklahoma was already dead. He’d have made it anyway; the deal was going to help him get back on top. To get back all that he’d lost when he’d been locked away.

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

But then something had gone wrong. Norman Oklahoma had survived. Lemonzeo had hired one of the best, the Walrus, yet Oklahoma lived. Not only that, he had come to visit with Lemonzeo and got into it with the very vampires Lemonzeo had 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. He’d bought the best. But the best, it turned out, hadn’t been good enough.

Thankfully Thomas and Alexander didn’t make the decisions. They had a boss just like anyone else.

Bertram Brone.


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