Monday, April 23, 2007

The Amazing, Vanishing Brett and a Piece of Flash Fiction


In a disappearing act most famous magicians would be jealous of, I've been off the blogs for several weeks now. Blame it on several things...first, and visually the most obvious. I've been in the process of having my website, blog and myspace page redesigned and relaunch. (Very happy with the results.) Second, at least last week, I was sick - ugly sick. 102ยบ temperature sick. Here, take these antibiotics sick. Better now...mostly. And third, I've been doing a lot of behind the scenes things to prep for the release of THE CLEANER (just over 2 months from now!!)

One of those things hit today. A very nice piece in Publisher's Weekly that you can read here.

I'm not promising to be around as much as I was earlier this year, but I will try to be here a couple times a week. I'm working on rewrites to book 2, and continuing to prep for June 26th.

In the mean time, here's a story I wrote that was up last year on Flashing in the Gutters. Hope you enjoy:


Venti Latte


“The large one.”

“You mean venti?” the barista asked. She was probably just barely out of high school.

“Sure. Venti. That’s the large, right?” the man asked.

“That’s the large.”

“Good.”

“Can I get your name?”

The man looked around. “Why? Is there a line?”

There was no line.

“Right. Sorry. I’m a little nervous,” she said.

“This your first day?”

“No. Third.”

“You’re doing fine.”

And she was, too. Her customer service was all he could have expected.

“How much?” he asked.

She hesitated for a moment like she hadn’t understood what he was saying, then shook herself and rang up his drink.

“Three forty-five,” she said.

“Annie.” It was one of her co-workers. The red-headed kid who looked like he could use a little sun. “Just give it to him.”

“It’s okay,” the man said. "I don't mind paying."

He pulled a five dollar bill out of his pocket and handed it to the girl. Once she had given him his change, he dumped it all in the tip jar.

While the rest of her co-workers and pretty much everyone in the coffee shop watched, Annie made the made a venti latte. No one offered to help, but she seemed to have everything under control.

Somewhere in the distance, there was the faint sound of a siren.

The man waited contentedly as she finished frothing up the milk and adding it to his cup. Once she was done, she put a lid on top and slipped a safety sleeve around the base. Her hands weren’t even shaking as she handed the drink to him.

The sirens were closer now, probably only six or seven blocks away. The man took a sip of the latte, then smiled.

“This is great.”

“Thanks,” Annie said.

“You have a good day,” he told her.

“You, too.”

Except for his footsteps on the tiled floor, the coffee shop was silent. Everyone’s eyes were on him, but he acted like he didn’t notice. The only abnormal thing he did was step over the dead body of the would-be robber lying in the middle of the floor.

The unlucky bastard’s gun was still in his hand. An ancient .38 special. God only knew how much damage the kid had done with it in the past.

As the assassin opened the front door, he glanced back at the counter. Annie was still there, watching him. As he gave her a little wave, she mouthed the words, “Thank you.”

He smiled and walked out to his car. A glance at his watch told him he was still ahead of schedule. That was fine. It was never good to kill someone when you were in a rush.

7 comments:

spyscribbler said...

Loved the flash!!! Love your new website. Love your review. Very glad that you're feeling better!

(Can you tell I'm up past my bedtime, LOL?)

Stephen Blackmoore said...

Always loved that story. Hope you're feeling better soon.

jeff shelby said...

PW piece is fantastic - congrats.

See you out at LA Times this weekend?

Brett Battles said...

Thanks Natasha and Stephen! And thanks Jeff, too...and yep, you'll definitely see me this weekend. Planning on picking up a copy of A Wicked Break and forcing you to sign it!!

angie said...

Very nifty review. But Tarantino? huh? Whatever, ya got a bestseller just waiting to burst on the market right in time for beach reading season. Way, way fab.

You've been awfully busy for a sick dude!

Steve Malley said...

Great stuff!

Have fun at the LAT Festival!

Angela/SciFiChick said...

Wow, this was great!
Thanks for the quick read.