I’m not gonna say I’m suffering from writer’s block. But I’m certainly lazy as shit.
So here’s another flashback from the early days. It was a sequel to Shoot Me, Deadly and it’s by far my least read story. It’s not nearly as good, plus it’s replete with grammatical errors.
The Man With the Golden Eye
The phones were ringing off the hook. Everyone was missing something: cat, dog, prosthetic arm, leg, penis, you name it. Business was booming.
But I needed help. I was on the phone all the time. Not solving cases.
Isabella brought in lunch: a Philly cheesesteak from Tony’s off 5th Avenue.
“Gee mister,” Isabella said. “After I sent a butthole pic to that producer on the internet, I’ve been getting all kinds of acting job offers!”
“That’s good to hear Izzy,” I replied. “But you can call me James.”
The calls kept coming. I couldn’t keep up. Unfortunately, between the court fees, medical bills, fines owed to the state of California for burning down a nature preserve, and replacing the window in my office after a man fell through it, I couldn’t afford help.
“Say James,” Izzy said. “You look swamped. Since you saved my life and all, the least I could do is help you out with your business.”
“Oh you’re a lifesaver Izzy. I had to let go of my secretary the other day. If you could sit at her desk and answer phones, that would be great. Just ignore the calls with a Sacramento area code,” I replied.
As I was explaining the job, Sgt. LP Anderson of the LAPD called.
“What do you know about Franco De Werner?” Anderson asked.
“He’s around 5’10.5 with a great head of hair. He’s the biggest arms manufacturer on this side of the Mississippi. He’s been a financier of various counter-revolutionary movements in South and Central America. In fact, his eye got shot out in Nicaragua for which he now wears an eye patch. He’s earned a reputation as a solid middleman between the CIA and various fruit companies in war-torn countries. He graduated summa cum laude from Emory, earned an MBA from Wharton. His wife is Becky, they have two children ages 15 and 18. His drink of choice is Kentucky Bourbon, and he enjoys the works of Dostoyevsky. Otherwise I don’t know much,” I said.
“Well the FBI called, seems like a shipment of Werner’s has gone missing en route to Costa Rica. If you provide your assistance, the FBI said they’ll drop their investigation into you. I’m assuming you know they’re talking about,” Anderson asked.
“Very well,” I said. “Tell your FBI contact that I’ll set up a meeting with Franco De Werner.” I hung up the phone.
“Lazy bastards,” I thought to myself.
I went to Izzy. “I need you to gather all the information you can find on Franco De Werner. Print it off and slide it under the door of the bathroom. I’ll be in there for awhile,” I instructed.
The Philly cheesesteak went out as fast as it went in.
I took the California 1 up to Malibu. Again, I got pulled over.
“You need to stop fuckin around,” the officer said. “I’ve seen your kind before. You come around here thinking you solve everything. But you can’t. You’re just one man. You can’t change the system.”
“First off,” I replied. “Weren’t you a sheriff in San Luis Obispo last week? And secondly, I’m just helping the FBI on an investigation into Franco De Werner’s missing property. I’m not trying to change any system. And third, how the hell do you know who I am? Hand me my ticket and fuck off.”
The officer glared at me for awhile then wrote up the ticket.
“I better not see your face around here again. And fuck this piece of machinery that you call a vehicle,” he warned.
“I’ll have you know that I get 12 mpg in this piece of machinery,” I replied.
The cop flipped me the bird and walked away.
I pulled up to Werner’s beachfront property. As I walked towards the house, a 50 cal. machine gun knocked up a bunch of sand and blew my bowler off. I dropped to the ground and pulled out my .45.
Seconds later, there was a laugh and a man walked up. His smile was perfect.
“Those commie bastards did me a favor by shooting out my eye. My aim has never been better,” the man said.
I stood up and knocked the sand off.
“Mr. Franco De Werner, I presume?”
“Indeed,” he replied. “You must be the investigator the FBI sent. Welcome to my humble abode. Can I offer a refreshment? A bourbon perhaps?”
“A change of underwear if you’ve got it.”
We went inside to Franco’s Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired home. His servants offered cucumber sandwiches and some 90 proof Elijah Craig.
“I heard you slaughtered an entire mafia up in the mountains,” Franco said.
“How did you hear about that?” I asked.
“For a man in my position, it pays to have eyes everywhere,” he replied. “I could use a man like you.”
“I’m just here to assist the FBI, Mr. Werner. Not for a job interview,” I said.
Franco sat back in his seat and lit up a cigar. Villains love their cigars.
“There was a whole shipment of M4s and Carbon 15s going to counter-revolutionary forces in the jungle. The communists had to of intercepted it,” Franco explained.
“How could they have known?” I asked.
“I must have a rat in my midst,” he explained as he puffed on his cigar. “I need you to sniff him out Mr. James.”
“I’m a simple private investigator Mr. Werner. Not an undercover agent.”
Franco took a drink of his bourbon.
“I know about your troubles. I know about you burning down an apartment building, about the massacre in Big Bear, about your medical bills and unpaid fines to the California Highway Patrol. I can make all your problems go away if you do me this favor: join my team, and find this mole.”
I thought for a second, then poured a glass of Elijah’s.
“I’m all ears,” I said.
“Do be careful James,” Izzy said.
“Be sure to pack my Beretta 93R,” I replied. “Things might get heavy.”
Izzy handed me my aluminum edition suitcase and drove me to Burbank International. I was headed to Belize to pick up the trail of Franco De Werner’s missing arms shipment.
To infiltrate his elite team of mercenaries, Werner provided me with false credentials. My name: Carlos Newhouser…a half-Austrian, half-Mexican, former member of Spetsnaz.
My mission: snuff out the communists.
Kill, if necessary.
At the airport, a rag tag crew of rednecks, Arabs, fishermen, nomads, musicians, accountants, fur trappers, Canadians, dope heads, dope dealers, truckers, Canadians, hockey players, Arsenio Hall, and former special forces were there to greet me. This was Franco’s crack team.
“I’m Carlos,” I said.
“Anyone gonna say anything?” I asked.
A female stepped forward.
“Welcome to Belize, Mr. Newhouser,” she said. “I’m Angelika Anotolukolopolous.”
Angelika was red headed. She spoke with a Scottish accent.
“Let me take your bags,” she said.
“No thanks,” I replied. “I prefer to carry my own.”
We all piled into the bed of a jacked up 95 F-150. Anna tried to brief me on the situation while on our journey to the hotel.
“What?! I can’t hear you through this loud ass Diesel engine!” I said.
“Franco has tasked us with finding the missing arms shipment! He suspects the communists of stealing it!” she replied.
“I know! We’ve already gone over this!”
We arrived at Helena Bay Family Resort. The hardened crew gathered by the poolside bar while children ran and played about.
“I heard you torched a school in Sarajevo because you suspected they were harboring communists,” one of the mercenaries said to me. “You’re one cold blooded son of a bitch.”
“Better dead than red,” I replied. I looked over to the bartender. “Mai Tai please.”
Angelika stepped out in her bikini. The ruffians glanced over and went back to their mojitos. I stripped off my shirt and jumped into the pool.
Angelika looked me over through her Ray Bans.
“I see you have a good taste in music,” she said. She was referring to my Def Leppard tattoo.
I hopped out of the pool and dried off.
“Thanks,” I said. “Got it during their Slang Tour in 96.”
“I’d like to see what else you got,” Angelika replied. She was playing seductively with her straw between her lips.
“On my left ass cheek is the Whitesnake tour from 92,” I replied.
She slipped me the key to her room.
“Come see me tonight, after 10:30. I’ll show you what I got,” and with that Angelika got up and slowly walked away.
She suspected something. We suspected each other. But I had to follow my leads, and Angelika was at the top of my list.
After 10:30, I unlocked the door to her room.
“Angelika?” I asked.
From behind the bathroom door appeared Angelika in a purple corset and black undies.
“Well,” I said. “I don’t see your tattoos.”
“Hello James,” a woman’s voice said from behind.
I turned around and there stood another Angelika in the kitchenette.
“Sorry ladies, I only brought enough protection for one,” I said.
“Please sit down,” the Angelika in the kitchen replied.
“Care for a drink?” she asked.
“Irish whisky,” I replied.
A third Angelika appeared and handed me a glass.
“Can I have the bottle please?” I asked. “What’s going on here?”
“We are genetically enhanced clones from the Ionian Liberation Front,” the first Angelika said. “We know you’re not Carlos Newhouser. You’re a hack detective from some agency in Los Angeles.”
“Genetically enhanced?” I asked.
The second Angelika took my glass and smashed it against her head.
“I see what you mean,” I said.
“We’re after Franco De Werner. Join us, or you won’t be leaving this room alive.”
I thought for a second, then I saw an opportunity: The burrito I ate earlier was roaring back with a vengeance. So I stood up.
“I need to use the bathroom,” I said. “It must be Montezuma’s Revenge.”
“Very well,” one of the Angelika’s said begrudgingly.
I sat on the toilet and started thinking through my options. As I stunk up the room, a forth Angelika handed me a roll from behind the shower curtain.
“Don’t forget to wipe,” she said.
“If you stray a foot, I’ll murder you where you stand,” one of the Angelikas told me.
All the mercenaries, 40 of us in total, boarded the black hawks en route to the jungles of Honduras. The three other Angelikas disappeared hours earlier. Only one was left to watch me.
“Why are you after Franco De Werner?” I asked her.
“In addition to killing our comrades, he holds the key to a secret nuclear arsenal somewhere under the Gulf of Mexico. If we can capture him, we’d control enough fire power to destroy the Western Hemisphere,” she replied.
Well fuck me, I thought. Angelika(s) plan was to massacre the mercenaries in the jungle during their communist hunt, forcing Franco down to Honduras.
I was caught between a rock and a hard place: between a diabolical madman and a kill squad of four genetically enhanced clone-ladies
“But why me though?” I asked. “Are you aligned with the mafia? Are they still pissed because I torched the shit out of them in the woods?”
“Just shup and do what you’re told.”
The choppers dropped us off on the beach. We set up camp for the night. All the men gathered around the various fires, cracking open one Keystone Light after another.
It became a beach party.
I stood watch along the tree line. Angelika handed me an MK 556. She pushed me up against a tree and grabbed my dong.
“Remember,” she said. “I am always watching you.”
She then kissed me and disappeared into the jungle. I began to cry.
The men started to get rowdy. I told them to quiet down, that the communists could be watching.
“What are you afraid of, Carlos?” replied Tiger Tanaka, the most ruthless of the bunch. “You’re the most notorious arsonists in Eastern Europe. Quit being a puss.”
Tiger then pulled out a Henri Selmer saxophone and started rockin’ out like he was Clarence fucking Clemons. This noisy instrument was echoing across the bay and into the jungle.
“Damn it Tiger! If you don’t put that loud piece of shit away, I will shoot you myself!” I yelled.
“I ain’t afraid of nothin in this jungle!” he yelled back.
Ironically, a tiger then jumped out of the woods a mauled his face off. The men quickly scattered into the jungle, leaving their weapons behind. I fired a few rounds at the animal before it disappeared.
“There’s tigers in Honduras?!” one of the men yelled. I shrugged.
Angelika must have something to do with this, I thought.
The men attempted to retrieve their weapons. Every time they got close, the tiger would reappear and drag one of them into the woods.
“It’s an ambush,” I said. “We must fall back.”
“Fall back into the jungle?! WITHOUT OUR WEAPONS!” said Thomas Jane “Little” P.P., the explosives expert.
“Calm yourself, Little PP,” I replied. “Fall back and we’ll regroup.”
As the men retreated, trip wires began going off. A fireball would light up the sky and body parts would fall back into the trees.
“We’re gonna die!” screamed Little PP. He ran ahead a few yards in front of me before falling into quicksand.
I extended my rifle to pull him out, but he kept sinking deeper. “I don’t want to drown!” Little PP yelled. “Please kill me, Carlos!”
When I realized that I couldn’t rescue him, I lifted up my rifle and fired one round into Little PPs chest. I watched as his dead body sunk below the surface.
The screams of men continued to echo across the jungle. I heard growling behind me. The tiger was near. I fired a few rounds into the bushes and ran off.
I hopped across a trip wire and hid behind a tree. “Come at me mother fucker,” I said. The tiger jumped out and hit the wire. The explosion was brilliant.
Tiger blood rained from the sky.
I sat down and radioed in.
“To Angelika or whoever’s listening,” I said. “Tiger’s dead. Both tigers are. There can’t be very many of us left. But I’m still standing. If you want me, you’re gonna have to come down here and get me.
But be warned: it’s gonna take more than a tiger and a few land mines to kill me.”
The warm breeze blew through the trees while the sun beamed down. Dead and mangled bodies littered the jungle floor.
I rested beneath a tree, waiting for the Angelikas.
A chopper rattled in the distance. The trees rustled as it hovered overhead. Four ropes dropped down to a clearing in front of me.
The four Angelikas lowered down.
“You’re coming with us,” they said.
“Not today sisters!”
I attempted to fire off a clip, but my rifle jammed. I threw the weapon down. If it came down to hand-to-hand combat, I was fucked.
Three of the Angelikas attempted to corner me. One stood back. I threw a grenade, but one caught it and threw it back. The explosion knocked me back a few feet.
The chopper continued to hover overhead.
As I laid there in a daze, I suddenly remembered: Izzy packed my burst action Beretta. The Angelikas were inching closer. I pulled out the sidearm and unleashed the three rounds into the chopper.
I could see the pilot’s brains splatter across the glass. His body leaned forward and the helicopter came careening down into the jungle. As it exploded, fire rained down onto the three Angelikas.
They might’ve been genetically enhanced. But as I’ve learned time and time again, no one is immune to the destructive force of a fireball.
I walked towards the last remaining Angelika. She instantly cowered down.
“Don’t kill me! I’m the original, I’m not genetically enhanced,” she screamed.
“He’s holed up at the abandoned airstrip a few klicks away.”
“You’re taking me to him.”
I held her at gunpoint as we journeyed towards the airstrip. Franco was in the hanger while his private jet rested on the runway.
“Here’s your communist mole,” I told him.
“Excellent work, Mr. James,” he replied. “Now that I can trust you, I’ll reveal to you my secret plan.”
Franco turned around and removed his eye patch. A brilliant flash of gold appeared from where left eye once was. He laid a steel briefcase on the table.
Inside was a ridiculous looking retinal scanner.
“When I run my golden eye through this retinal scan,” he said. “50 scud missiles armed with nuclear warheads will fire from beneath the Gulf of Mexico. Each aimed at a major city in the Western Hemisphere.”
“You’re a madman, Mr. Werner,” I replied. “You’re not even gonna attempt to blackmail world leaders? What kind of villain are you?”
“Once when the world’s major cities have been destroyed,” Franco continued. “They’ll blame the communists, and leaders of the world will have no choice but to use my services to defeat them.”
“Billions of people will die, just so you can make a profit,” I replied.
I’ve seen these cases hundreds of times: madman wants to destroy the world just so he can make a few extra pennies. People will do anything for money these days.
“With that type of destruction,” I interjected. “Nuclear winter could last ages. Are you sure that you completely thought the consequences of your plan, Mr. Werner?”
Franco pondered for a second.
“Shit, I guess I didn’t,” he replied. “Oh well, it’s a risk worth taking. But tonight, we feast!”
Franco left the hanger. Angelika was locked up behind a gate.
“James,” she said. “Franco killed my friends, my family. All I’ve ever wanted was justice. Please don’t let him do this.”
Franco returned with his servants. They were bringing in cartons full of local cuisine out of the jet. He poured a glass of bourbon, then lifted it to make a toast.
“To the future,” he said.
I had to act quickly.
Franco stuffed his face with Chile con queso and guacamole. When he finished, he pulled out a cigar.
“Time to get this show on the road,” he said.
Franco ran his golden eye through the retinal scan, which initiated a countdown. He laughed as he lit up the cigar. When the clock reached zero, the computer informed us that all fifty missiles were launched, all aimed at the fifty largest cities in the Western Hemisphere.
“We better get the fuck outta here,” Franco said. “We don’t want to be on the ground when those warheads hit.”
Angelika, myself, Franco, and a few of his minions boarded the private jet. When we were up in the air, Franco was still amused with himself.
“In 19 minutes,” he said as he puffed on his cigar. “We’ll be the richest fuckers in the universe.”
Then he leaned forward as his stomach cramped.
“Damn it,” Franco said. “Montezuma’s Revenge.” He got up and ran to the toilet.
I looked over to the steel briefcase that controlled the warheads. “James, do something!” Angelika yelled.
I swiftly leapt out of my seat and kicked the guard in the dick. “Ow! My groin,” he yelled as he fell to the ground.
With the guard incapacitated, I opened the briefcase and attempted to redirect the missiles. However, I didn’t know how to operate the computer.
“Remove the handcuffs James, I know how to do it,” Angelika said. I took the keys off the guard and set her free. She redirected the missiles into space, where they’d all converge to create one massive explosion.
Moments later, the sky lit up…almost as if there were two suns resting on the horizon.
“Congratulations Angelika, you saved the world,” I said.
“We still have a problem,” she replied. “One missile is not responding to the commands. It’s headed straight for Mexico City.”
I thought for a moment.
“What’s our flight path?”
I busted into the cockpit and knocked out the two pilots with the butt of my rifle. “Our path takes us near Mexico City. We can intercept the missile with this jet,” I said.
I took control of the cockpit in an attempt to steer the jet into the missile. I never flew a plane of that magnitude before. I flew a Cessna once. I figured that flying a Lear at 745mph couldn’t be that different.
“Two minutes to intercept,” Angelika yelled as she was putting on a parachute. I climbed out of the cockpit and began strapping into one on as well.
I kicked open the emergency exit and the cabin depressurized. At that moment, Franco ran out of the bathroom and began firing his Ruger. Angelika grabbed his arm and attempted to knock it out.
“Jump James!” she yelled.
I jumped out of the plane. Angelika engaged with Franco for a few more moments before throwing him out of the plane without a parachute. Then she jumped.
The missile crashed into the Lear, detonating the last nuclear weapon several thousand feet above us. We deployed our parachutes. When we were 20 feet above the ground, Franco rifled out of the sky like a lightning bolt, grabbing ahold of me and crashing us into the ground from his tremendous momentum.
Franco somehow managed to keep his cigar in.
We wrestled on the ground, with him getting the better of me. When Angelika landed, not even she could overtake him. I took out my Beretta, but Franco kicked it out.
While I was laying on the ground, Franco grabbed the gun and aimed it at me.
“Goodbye, Mr. Private Dick.”
The wind then kicked up and my parachute blew on top of him, obscuring his view. I jumped on top of him and began to strangle him.
By this point, I’ve probably killed hundreds of men. But there’s nothing like killing a man with your bare hands.
Franco gurgled for a bit, then the bones and muscles in his neck began to break. When his eyes rolled back into his head, I loosened my grip.
“Let him go, James,” Angelika said. “He’s dead.”
I took my hands off his lifeless body and stood up.
“That was fucking brutal. Jesus!” Angelika told me.
I began to strip off the parachute when a man fully decked out in military regalia came out of nowhere and began to clap.
“Well done, well done,” the strange man said.
He walked over to Franco’s body and picked up his cigar. “I am Admiral General Colonel Majors. United States Navy,” he explained.
“Where were you guys when we needed you?” I asked.
“You were never in serious danger. We were monitoring the situation the entire time.”
Angelika and I look at each other.
“But 50 nuclear missiles were launched,” I replied.
“Don’t worry about it,” Admiral Majors said. “What’s important is that I’m here to recruit you into my ultra top secret kill force, the most lethal unit in the world.”
“You’re a killing machine James. You know that. You love the thrill of taking a man’s life. I watched it with my own two eyes. Face it James, you were born to kill.”
I finished taking off the parachute and threw down the Beretta. “I’m a simple LA detective, Admiral,” I replied. “I seek the truth. I’m not very good at it, but people pay me to do it. But I’m not a killer.”
“Suit yourself,” the Admiral said. “But this isn’t the last you’ll see of me.”
Angelika was later arrested due to being wanted by INTERPOL. Something to do with “terrorist activities” in 14 countries. I called Izzy.
“Mission complete,” I told her. “I’ll back in LA in a couple of days.”
“Oh that’s wonderful, James,” she replied. “Did you find that missing arms shipment? It would be really bad if all those weapons fell into the wrong hands.”
“Fuck! I forgot!”