Friday, May 23, 2014

Going Shogun

Product Details

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Amazon Kindle freebie

Book description
On the run.  Out of time.  A brownie recipe worth millions.
Lovable loser Chris waits tables by day and dreams of making something better of himself by night. But, under the almighty, oppressive rule of The Board and their divisive caste system, it's nearly impossible. That is until his super-geek pal and fellow waiter, Forklift, hits upon a foolproof scheme: steal their employer's ultra-popular, top secret recipes and sell them on a black market internet site.

It's all fun and games until the mysterious death of a local hacker shatters their surefire plan, sending them on a fast-paced adventure through the city's seedy underground, where they hope to salvage what's left and avoid capture by the Board Agents at all costs. Nobody comes back from that. Nobody.

There are numerous reasons I love this scifi-ish novel: it is short and sweet, there are plenty of twists and thrills, and laugh-out-loud funny scenarios. And it's free. Highly recommended.

Chris/Brick's geek friend chiclet-toothed, small in stature, multingual Forklift speaks a linguistic variation that is not at all difficult to understand. In fact I find it simply brilliant and makes the novel even more enjoyable to read. The mystery/ending is a surprise both to the reader and Chris/Brick himself. Very clever, IMHO.

from Chapter 17
Forklift is hanging out there, as planned.  
Greeting me, he says, “The Brick in the wall!”
“Ready to go?”
“Let’s barbeque the buttocks here for a tick-tock.  Give Dorna a few more hourglass grains.”
We have to wave the bus driver off since he must be waiting for Forklift to get on.  The great metal monster growls its engines and pulls away, leaving a heavy plume of pollution floating behind it.  With all the technological advances we have around us to supposedly make our lives easier, they’ve yet to figure out how to make the engines run cleaner that operate on the natural resources from Canadian oil sands.  Some of the brilliant, engineering Mensa minds at AU must be asleep at the proverbial wheel, or the Oil Magnates have them in their pockets too.
I cough through the fumes, ask Forklift where he’s parked Machine, wondering how far we’ll have to sprint to the getaway car if it comes to that.  I make a mental note to check for Bingo’s second-chance spot, provided she’s adhering to the now-in-question plans.
“Baby’s in the bassinet, couple blocks down.  Too sunup to be closer.”
He hasn’t changed out of his Wishful Thinking uniform, and I haven’t either.  It’s one particular detail we discussed through some of the planning, figuring if someone happens to notice us going into or out of the restaurant, it won’t be as obvious that we’re Breaking & Entering & Exiting.  We’ll look like regular employees coming to and fro.  There’s only one addition to his stealth-mode attire; a black backpack slung over both shoulders.  I ask him what’s inside.
“The tools to heist the jewels, and a place to park the Top Secret Recipe Book,” he says, patting a strap.  He adds, “And don’t go geisha.  The secret ingredient will be there, trust,” repeating the same line from last night.
That impervious vernacular is simple enough to understand, but it doesn’t mean it’s any less irritating that he’s not thoughtful enough to make this easier.  “That’s the last Forklift-ism.  Keep this simple for me,” I demand.  “No mas, comprende?”
“Yr wyf yn deall.”
“Oh for the love of God.  What?”
“I understand.  In Welsh.  Sorry, couldn’t resist.”
“You speak Welsh, too?”
“Trochu.  Czech for ‘a little bit.’”
I feel like a cat chasing a fly.  “You speak Spanish, Welsh, and Czech?  Anything else?”
“Gaelic, Tagalog, Arabic, and about seven more.”
He taps the side of his head.  “Genius, remember?  Linguistics professor dad?”
“And this is something you never thought would be an interesting bit of conversation?”  Another aspect of the mellifluous mystery regarding All That Is Forklift.  
“Never seemed important enough.”
“Forklift, what in the f—” I start to say, but stop myself mid-curse.  This guy, who is supposed to be my best friend, who has been by my side nearly every day for the past two years, is a walking, talking, locked-up diary of private information.  I’m beginning to trust him less and less by the hour and the word maddening doesn’t even have the power to convey what I’m feeling.
It’s my ass in his hands.
Wait, that sounds weird.  
What I mean is, I’m at the mercy of this perplexity of a human being.  Damn it, I don’t even want to Ascend anymore.  I consider telling him that I’m done, right there on the sidewalk, underneath the bright-as-day streetlight.  That I’m going to track down Bingo, wherever she’s parked, if she’s parked, and blaze trails for what’s left of Mexico.
Thoughts twirl as we stand in silence, barbequing the buttocks.
Why don’t I?  
It would be easy.  
Forklift, buddy, compadre, mi amigo.  I’m out of here.  You’re on your own.  I have a pixie rebel with a car parked nearby and I’m going to go find my own Ascension Sux! t-shirt.
But I can’t.  
Whatever the undiscoverable truth may be behind the real Forklift, the guy has been my hero for two years, my rock, the giant whose shoulders I’ve been standing on all this time, and I absolutely cannot make myself walk away and let him face the rest of tonight alone.
I want to scream.  I want to rage.
I want to kick the shins of gods.
Calvin Coolidge sneaks into my head one last time.
The slogan “Press On” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.
Even mine.  I hope.
“Now are we ready?” I ask.
He pulls out his phone, checks the time.  “Critical mass is mere...I mean, yeah.  Dorna should be long gone by now.”
“Is it okay to say we’re going shogun?”
It’s such a timid request that I have to consent.  “That one’s fine.”
“Good.  That’s my favorite.”

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