This is a really personal one, kids, and I’ll be talking about it a lot over the next few weeks, as we count down the days to SEPTEMBER 14, when METRO finally goes public, exclusively in E-BOOK from my great pals at Simon and Schuster. CLICK THIS COPY AND THE IMAGE ABOVE to order your copy now, at the highway-robbery pre-order price of TWO MEASLY AMERICAN DOLLARS! To start off the festivities right, here’s a SNEAK PEEK at the first chapter, kids. Just a few choice paragraphs to wet your whistle. We’ll have sex, drugs, rock and roll, murder and torture, passion and betrayal, secret agents, comic books, movie nerds and guns, guns, GUNS! And I’ll answer the burning question: What if everything you know is wrong? The answer isn’t pretty. It’s standing right next to you, right now, or is sleeping in the next room. It’s the people who love you most. They’re not what they seem to be. So start running.
There must be no witnesses.
That’s what he thinks, over and over, as the deal goes down. That’s what he remembers most from his final instructions, and it pounds the inside of his skull like a hammer mantra, the gun burning a hole in his pocket. The room is sweaty and dark, full of bad ghosts—he’s been here a million times, but it’s always really rough in the last few seconds before you make your real move. The training tugs just beneath the surface, tickling the base of his throat like first-date jitters or the dull swell of a kept secret. Everything is a kept secret, he thinks. You were brought forth from the bottom of the worst places on earth to be in this room. You played the part like a champ and here it all is, right in front of you. There must be no hesitation. There must be no mercy.
There must be no witnesses.
Razzle has the package, because Razzle always has the package. This same goddamn deal has gone down fifty times like clockwork. It’s always amazed our boy. Theoretically, things like this should never run like clockwork at all because everybody’s a piece of shit and nobody plays fair. The rats all gather after dark in a smelly backroom off a common dive bar, where every cop and every junkie and every scumbag lawyer knows exactly where to look—and, wonder of wonders, nobody is looking at all. Razzle and his rip-off squad are the dumb pride of the local scene, almost-connected mob idiots without portfolio, slogging through the doggy-doo with half a cigar and no matches. Our boy thinks for a minute that it’s probably a genuine miracle this guy hasn’t washed up dead sooner. He wonders why this guy has to die now. He’s been wondering for the last half hour, waiting in that damn parking lot for the moment to come, and it’s against all his training to wonder. You’re not supposed to think, you’re supposed to do. That’s the first thing they teach you. The hand gets bloody, but it always washes clean, and it never knows what the other hand is doing. That’s how these assignments work, they once told him. That’s what makes guys like him silent, invisible, invincible.
Razzle’s crew surrounds their boss ten-strong as he opens the package. It’s something to see when the top of the crate peels away with a rough crack and the goodies come out. It’s an apple crate, old school, full of coffee grounds to throw the border dogs. Just like in Beverly Hills Cop, our boy thinks, and then he crushes the thought because it almost starts to make grim laughter happen in his belly. If you start laughing in a room like this, someone will ask you why you’re laughing and then you’ll have to explain yourself, and the explanation better be good, because nobody likes Eddie Murphy in this circle jerk of rednecks. You gotta be damn careful with lunatics who think they run the world. This will be hard to do. But this is the moment.
There must be no witnesses.
The packages that come out of the crate are each worth five hundred K, easy. It’s an even bigger score than they told our boy it would be. Ten packages. They’ll all fit in the special carry-on case our boy has stashed in the trunk of Jackie’s car. Razzle looks at our boy and asks if he’s happy, and our boy leans across the table and smells nothing but Taster’s Choice—nasty white-trash wake-me-up. It fills him for a moment with a sense of dark unreality, and then he’s back to business. Our boy nods back to Razzle—yeah, I’m happy, everyone in this room is goddamn fucking happy, man—and out comes our boy’s cash. Just a few grand, for our boy’s share of the action, just like Jackie said it would be. The other five guys in the room get much bigger slices. They can afford to roll those dice. Our boy is only here because he’s a friend of the family, and his cut is rinky-dink, small-time. On the table are scales and baggies and knives and spoons and twist ties. The tools to cut up the pie and make them all rich men. The packages are arranged on the table neatly, end to end, and everybody lays their money down. Razzle has one of his goons collect the folding green, makes a dumb remark about little fish and big fish, looking our boy right in the eye.
Razzle tells our boy he’s a lucky man to be in the room with the big time like this, and maybe one day he’ll have the juice to play for real.
Razzle has no idea who our boy really is.
Razzle tells his largest flunky to count the money twice. The kid who grabs the green from the table doesn’t even look old enough to shave. None of Razzle’s guys look very old, even the ones who aren’t Jackie-Boy. It’s a real shame. This will be hard to do.
Our boy senses that the moment has come.
The moment is perfect.
And so he kills everyone in the room.