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The opening lines were written by Ned Kelly winner Michael Robotham.
Contributors so far (apart from me)
|Sally from Oz|
Mr. O. Monkey
The story so far..
You can't rush a man who's committed murder. Condemned men always shuffle. And you need to know a man's history before you storm his house.
But Victor, who was well aware of this advice, ignored it entirely, and barged up the cracked driveway, fuming. This was rich! Such a nerve!
Danny watched Victor through the window. He figured soon or later he would turn up. Danny had things in place. Victor was going to be in for a real shock in more ways than one.
Danny was sick of being bullied by Victor. He just wanted to be left alone, but Victor was too full of himself to understand.
It took Victor just two kicks to find out that front door was unlocked. Danny waited until he was inside before taking off the handbrake.
Suddenly, a shot rang out. And a second, and a third. Victor and Danny both paused - neither of them had a gun.
Danny came to his senses first, hit the ground hard, dragging Victor down with him. Danny looked up at his pet turtle. Marshall Thomas Amos Bountiful Ramirez was hiding in his shell. He was safer right now than Danny and Victor.
Two more shots rang out - the turtle with the embarrassingly long name retreated further into his shell. But Victor pulled himself free. "We can lie here hating each other or we can do something about this." He reached out and grabbed the turtle.
Another shot grazed the wall behind them. It was clear that this could only be the work of one man. A man who was the most despised in the county. And possibly the craziest as well.
That man was... Masked. And running full tilt away from them both guns blazing.
Danny meanwhile was trying desperately to wrench the turtle from Victor so neither was really paying any attention to the gunman. Masked gunmen generally hate being ignored, even when they are lousy shots.
Also ignored since Danny had pursued Victor indoors to claim Marlowe McGuffin III was Danny's car, which started to roll down the drive just at a gentle pace at first, backwards, into the path of the No. 9 bus to Paradise. Out of the corner of his eye Danny saw it moving, but Victor suddenly let go of the turtle, completely unbalancing Danny.
The masked gunman paused at the end of drive and carefully took aim at the prostrate Danny - or was the turtle the target?
The driver of the No. 9 saw Danny's car rolling towards him on the wrong side of the road, panicked and swerved, crushing the turtle under it's wheel. This was all it took to detonate the explosive device deviously hidden under the turtle's shell. What no one knew was that this wasn't any ordinary exploding turtle: this turtle was from the Galapagos Islands. For millions of years it had endured Komodo dragons and David Attenborough film crews: it wasn't ready to turn "turtle" just yet.
Not even Danny had known about the explosive device attached by his agency to the turtle's shell. All he knew was that he had been told, "when you are in trouble, just throw Marshall Thomas Amos Bountiful Ramirez (the turtle's ridiculously long name) at your opponents. He will do the rest."
Danny had assumed the turtle would take a bite and latch on, or something similar.
Leaving the carnage on the road for the moment Danny turned his attention back to what was going on in the house.
Victor was still cowering on the lounge room floor just inside the front door and Marlowe McGuffin III was trying to get out of the back door which he had found dead latched.
Using his full body weight, he hurled himself against it. Hard. With a resounding 'POP' he dislocated his shoulder. It was only then that he remembered he had the keys in his jacket, having deftly snaffled them from Danny when they'd met that memorable night in the club under the railway arches. He fished in his and realised that's not a clever thing to do with a dislocated shoulder. So he screeched instead, then stopped, took a deep breath, and gathered his thoughts. So much to do, so little time. "Prioritise", he thought. "What is the first thing I must do?"
Meanwhile, back at HQ, Danny's boss, Lolita Montoya de Valasquez O'Hara gazed at the video of the destruction and sighed.
It was a long-suffering sigh. In all her born days she had never come across anyone with such a penchant for trouble. After all Danny was an accountant, not a secret agent. And a tax accountant at that. About the only thing he had going for him was a cute bum -God what a fool she'd been!
She wrote a short note on her To Do Pad - Never employ agents because of their arse quality - and started trying to think of a way of improving the day. Preferably a way that caused pain to Danny, Victor and Marlowe. The masked gunman was somewhere under the bus, covered with exploded turtle and didn't need her help in the pain department.
She added another memo - Get new exploding creature. Maybe a puppy this time.
[editor's note: we seem to have 4 (5?) characters now. I'm having trouble with the characters - but then I'm only the editor!]
Danny stood up, and considered his situation. The sound of sirens indicated that his neighbours were the sort of whingers who'd call the authorities just because of a few gunshots, and an explosion and a crashed bus.
His original plan had been quite simple - lure Victor into breaking into the house, then take off down the road to call the cops and let Victor be found with the stuff in the front bedroom. Nice simple plan, slightly foiled by lunatic gunmen. Then again, Victor *was* inside the house with the thing upstairs, and the police were on their way. Result! He smiled, wiped a smear of blood from the side of his mouth and limped off as nonchalantly as he could.
Victor looked down the hall and saw that there was someone in front of the back door. Was Danny smart enough to have back up muscle? Running away is the better part of fighting another day, and he who goes out the back window, down the drain pipe and over the garden wall can punch Danny tomorrow, thought Victor, tiptoeing up the stairs.
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