Friday, February 22, 2008

BIG MONEY, Chapter 30

Soon as he sees the complicated electronic controls--so many dials, switches, and gauges--Max wishes he made Jerry come with him. Only thing Max knows about electronics is on/off switches. Plus, English is most hardest language for Max to read. What if he misses an important warning, an instruction? What if, in trying to use this smoker, Max burns down Bluefish’s hunting lodge?

Screw it. Like Jerry always says. All Max have to do is make heat, not cook the meat. Ha-ha.

Max locates what he hopes is the main on/off switch, and then the digital control with a read-out for recommended temperatures. His thick forefinger finds and pokes the up-arrow on a control switch, and presto, a red number appears. Two-hundred degrees should be plenty. Today’s mark is already half-dead.

Bluefish’s meat smoker is big enough to hold two whole deer, one on each rack. But clearly Max’s job will be easier if he makes the space as large as possible. The mark may come to life when he sees where Max wants to put him.

Max slides out the chrome rack and sets the table-sized grill on the floor, leaning it against the basement wall. The clink of metal hitting cold cement echoes in the nearly barren room. He leaves the smoker door open when he goes outside to get the mark.

Max shuffles through the lodge’s big living room, across the porch, and then down the front steps to the Lincoln Town Car. A pink sky shows where the east wind lives. The air smells of coming rain and lightning.

God is about to get pissy.

From the Lincoln’s trunk, Max lifts the mark off the spare tire and onto his shoulders. Though limp now, the young man fought hard earlier. A tough and loyal soldier, this man didn’t make a sound or give up one piece of information when Jerry cut him.

But this mark not so tough and loyal Bluefish’s smoker won’t make him talk. Fire and heat make strong people speak for thousands and thousands of years.

Even lions make noise when fire come. Cry like babies.

BIG MONEY is due March 1. From Hilliard & Harris.
1-59133-238-9 Hardcover
1-59133-239-7 Trade Paper
(C) Jack Getze

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