Are you ready? It’s my turn to write a few paragraphs (or more in my case) of THE OCTOPUS KNOWS, a story being told in installments by a group of bloggers over several weeks. The idea for this activity was conceived by the talented Laird Sapir, who wrote the first part of the story (you can read here) and is keeping a running list of links to the blogs with each subsequent addition to the story. If you want to read the story from the start, go here and find the links to each installment.
The last section, written by Patricia Caviglia, left us wondering where Simon Strange is going now that he has his wand back and knows that Mr. Jones wants to take Ninja, the octopus, away from him.
So here goes . . .
He’d been right to escape while he could despite his less-than gentlemanly exit.
Or had he? Will his leaving – with the wand – cause Marguerite greater harm? If whomever was tormenting her saw the look she gave him and then saw him lift the wand from her purse and leave, they might find a new way to torture her, since he now was convinced that his ginger-haired, emerald-eyed, bitch-on-wheels, partner-in-crime could not have changed so drastically in a single year without a consistent regimen of bold-fisted persuasion.
He pulls up on the waistband of his white leather pants but the sweat makes it impossible to get them to budge. If he is going to be able to figure this out, he needs to be able to breathe. He unbuttons his pants, the zipper already broken, but he can’t keep it that way, remembering that moment at the restaurant when that waiter’s eye caught the unforgivable spillover of his ungroomed manhood, which a year ago would never have been made visible unless carefully trimmed, shaped, and well turned-out.
They’d been foolish in their certainty that Marguerite had Mr. Jones wrapped around her perfectly manicured pinky finger. In their previous maneuvers, Marguerite had proven to have a way with men who thought they were in charge. And Simon, well, he had a way with the male secretarial assistants and protégés to men like Mr. Jones. Even with the extra poundage of the last year, Simon’s pretty confident that he could spruce himself up and charm the – ahem – pants off one of them today, if it were necessary to an operation.
Which it may be in the very near future. But he needs to work out the plan now, while he’s still in the cab, before he needs to put on the suave that he hasn’t used since before the accident.
This is what he’s deduced over the last half hour: Marguerite has been compromised but not lost to him because she secretly secured the wand for him and warned him about Ninja; now that Simon has his wand, he has the power to protect Ninja from Jones and his sick-minded, animal-abusing lowlifes; and Marguerite, what was she telling him? Why was she in such a hurry to get him the news and the wand?
“Damn,” Simon squeals. He orders the cab driver to turn around and get him home post haste.
“Everything okay, sir?” the driver asks.
How could Simon be so dim? Obviously, Jones used Marguerite to set him up. Get him out of the house. Kidnappers could have Ninja already. Thank god he has the wand, a doorman, twelve floors, and five locks on the front door to his bi-level suite. Maybe, if he’s lucky, he’ll get there in time.
Of course having half a brain would help him too. The damn wand in his hand can get him there now, with three simple words.
The first thing Simon sees when he lands in the guest bathroom is the ruffled collar poking out from a black leather jacket. Then he sees the back of the man holding a canvas body bag trying to push a squirming Ninja into submission. Something familiar about the shape of the man, the way he whips his head around at the sound of Simon’s landing, the narrow black eyes, the pointed goatee, but it’s the crooked smile that brings it back to him.
“You,” Simon says.
Braden smiles broader, warmly.
“What do you think you’re doing?”
“At first, at the restaurant, I was a little insulted but then I figured the goatee threw you off,” Braden says, eyes sparkling.
“Why are you kidnapping my octopus?”
Braden edges over as close as he can get to Simon while making it look like he is finding a better way to shove Ninja into the bag. He slips a card out of his pocket and slides it into the waistband along the rear side of Simon’s pants and puts his mouth by Simon’s ear.
“Jones thinks I’m on his side still. Wait an hour before coming to get Ninja. Address is on the card. Be discreet. Ninja and I will be waiting.”
Braden gently touches Simon’s ear with the tip of his tongue, shoves Ninja into the bag, and disappears before Simon can find his voice.
“But . . .” Simon’s voice fades as he pushes his back against the wall, slides down to the floor and does what any man would do at this moment. He takes the card out of his waistband, unbuttons his pants so he can breathe, laughs maniacally, then cries, and then, when he is finally able, gets up to take a long-needed pee.
I hope you enjoyed this (and if you are one of my children’s grandparents, weren’t too horrified by it) and will continue to read the story. The next installment will be found here on Jen Price’s blog sometime in the next week.