Thursday, July 19, 2007

IOSM - Prologue (current WIP)

"Time's up." Manny thrust a cherry lollipop into his mouth. The wrapper fluttered to the ground like an exhausted butterfly.

"Give me one more week. Please. Just one more week."

The pleading irritated Manny. "No. You've had your chance. It'll cost me, but I'll take care of it myself." Manny pulled a second lollipop from his coat pocket and tossed it to his wannabe partner who plucked it from mid-air.

"I'm maxed out. I need time to arrange more financing."

Manny shook his head. "No. Big Mama comes next Tuesday. The planning commission meets Wednesday. They'll pass the new zoning plan. It's all arranged. We break ground at the end of next month. Once the revised plans are made public, it'll be a land rush. Everything needs to be in place beforehand or I'll be out millions. I wouldn't like that, and neither would Big Mama."

"But at the information session--."

"The only purpose in attending yesterday's information session was the public relations value. I don't really give a rat's ass about anyone's issues and concerns. Every move I've made to appease them has increased my potential profit. I'm moving forward, and I'm not going to be hamstrung by an uptight, tree-hugging, hippie chick, a bunch of local hicks, or an uptight town bureaucrat." Manny leaned forward and squeezed out his words. "Not by anyone."

"Your changes have rendered my land useless. Your proposed Greenspace concession to the town makes me vulnerable to their eminent domain initiative. I won't get my purchase prices. I'll be ruined."

"Your problem. Not mine. You knew the risks." Manny swiped a handkerchief across his brow. The night had not cooled, and the muggy air soaked him like a turn in a Turkish bath.

"You promised."

"You didn't deliver." Manny checked his anger and lowered his raised voice. "I'll squeeze him myself. If you pop like a pimple, so be it. My contingency plan is being executed as we speak."

"That was my plan you bastard. Without me you would never have made the connection. I ought to--."

"Don't even threaten me." The desperate caterwauling made Manny nervous, and he didn't spook easily. He didn't let his concern show, but the long day had exhausted him. The late hour and isolated location made him rethink the harshness of his position. He took a deep breath and continued in a more congenial manner.

"Calm down. Call me in the morning. We'll talk, and I'll see what I can do." Manny pivoted and headed for his car. Something hit him on the back of the head and a lollipop plopped at the edge of a mulch pile. He laughed, guttural and deep, and then said with more sinister intent, "I don't tolerate wasting a perfectly good lollipop."

Fast approaching footsteps crunched the loose gravel behind him. "Don't even think about it," Manny growled, pulling out his revolver. He spun around to face his hard-charging aggressor.

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