Tuesday, November 09, 2004

excerpt from my novel - Riding Pegasus

2nd book in the trilogy - Trephining

Cinny said, "Is Doc on the way? Did Michael call him?"
Jack Murphy turned his attention to Cinny and his look softened. "He's comin'. Why you doin' this for this guy?"
"He needs help, Jack. I'd do it for you too."
"How much is the room?" I said.
Murphy took this as a smartass remark. Growled, "I could bust the other arm for you." He folded the Popeye forearms across his chest, they expanded to resemble the legs of a Clydesdale. Most of the tattoos were blue but there were dabs of red and green as well. The word Death somehow stood clear of the circuitous designs. I had no doubt he could break arms, knew he'd done it before.
"Jack, don't, he's badly hurt ..."
Murphy looked at her, gentleness in his expression. I was involved in a triangle whether I wanted it or not.
"You said you wouldn' be back. Your stuff's in that box there."
There was a cardboard apple box near the door, filled with Cinny's personal hygiene products.
"I know what I said and it's true, but ... we needed Doc Morse, you can see that."
"Why you even mixed up with this prick?"
"Hey ... " I started to rise dizzily from the bed.
Murphy stepped forward. Cinny jumped between us.
"Look, I need some help here," I said, "you wouldn't be happy with yourself if you broke my other arm anyway, not picking on a poor little shit like me when I can't ... "
"You can't awright," he said quickly.
"Can you say, Oy yam what oy yam'?" I muttered, mimicking Popeye.
"Maybe you should call Doc again?" Cinny asked, trying to defuse the situation.
Jack Murphy never took his stare off me. Never once glanced at my bleeding arm. He was built like a water buffalo. "Michael called 'im awready."
"Want to make a deal, Murph'?" I asked.
Suspicion narrowed his snake eyes. "What kinda deal would I make with you, Sport?"
"We'll have a truce, I'll get the bullet out of my arm, we wait a couple of weeks and then I kick the shit out of you."
Murphy leaped at me. Cinny screamed. I rolled off the other side of the bed, crushing my bloody arm as I did but he was flat on his face as I struck him with a left-handed shuto. My focus was gone and I hit the side of his neck and shoulder. The mattress absorbed more of the blow than he did. I fell back to the wall, waiting for his onslaught, hoping my legs would work. There was a hard knock at the door. Cinny quickly opened it and a huge black-haired man stood there with the diminutive Doc Morse cowering behind him, little black bag in hand. I knew Michael Houlihan right away. Murphy was coming at me, rubbing the side of his neck where I had got him.
Houlihan roared, "Murphy! Fuck off!" They barged into the room, slammed the door. This guy looked like a REAL fighter, huge, bony and cat-quick.
Popeye Forearms stopped, snarled, "You got lucky there, Sport. You got a deal, don't wait too long though or I'll come lookin'."
He raised his eyebrows and nodded his head, kept repeating the action until I did.
"Deal," I said with false bravery, "see you soon. Keep training. Eat your spinach."
Murphy glanced at Houlihan, back at me with his best rattlesnake glare and left.
Cinny said, "Thanks, Michael. Thanks a ton."
Michael said, ignoring me, "Cinny. You're stayin' outa street work for sure now. Are ya not? That is what ya told us. Can we take it as the gospel?" A tinge of Irish brogue.
"For sure."
"This lad mean somethin' to ya, does he?"
The little bald doctor made his first comment, "He's not exactly a lad." I immediately disliked him.

© RC Westerholm


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