To celebrate the recent publication of Pocket of Fortune - The present of being present, I'm posting one of my favorite chapters from the book. It should provide you with a clear idea about what kind of novel this is and what to expect from it.
If you're a fan of Douglas Adams (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) and his Dirk Gently series, then I hope you'll look into this book too. I wrote it as an homage to his series so it should feel somewhat similiar, but also kind of different - like putting on the wrong pair of boxers from the hamper.
Without wasting any more of your time talking at you, let's get onto the chapter.
This is the third chapter from the book and isn't too long of a read. Share and enjoy!
“I… really need this.”
The trim handsome man in a bespoke suit with immaculate black-as-night hair stared at him, unchanged in expression by his confession. In front of his perfectly pressed white dress shirt with ivory buttons, he wove his nimble fingers together and rested them on the raised knee of his crossed leg. The exposed distance between the cuff of his pressed, charcoal-colored dress pants and black alligator leather shoes revealed a colorful sock decorated with pink flamingos woven into a repeating pattern.
His perfectly smooth, clean-shaven face studied the other man sweating into his uneaten flaky pastry and fancy dessert beverage. His blue suit was in need of a good press and the unbuttoned white collar around his prickly, irritated neck was permanently stained yellow. Normally an expensive silk tie made in Bangladesh - imported to Italy - then sold with a “Made in Italy” tab sewn in it would cover this fashion faux pas, but he took it off for the meeting so he could breathe.
The well-dressed man particularly loved the fact that the little tab sewn into the tie in Italy was enough to legally declare that this was a product made there; taking advantage of the branding that is associated with the name of that country. It allowed for companies to make it cheaply with slave-like labor in atrocious working conditions, sell it to another company for a markup, who then sold it to another company for more markup until finally some rich executive bought it for fifty times more than it cost to make. Mankind had such funny little ways of being despicable to each other.
He smiled. “I see. I was tempted to get a pastry too, but,” he pat his slim waistline, “carbs, you know?” His voice was as smooth as his slicked-back hair, but hid a bit of mischievousness like his flamingo socks.
The moistened middle aged man looked up with confusion clearly expressed on his doughy face. “What? No. No, I need this promotion.”
Less interested, the man changed his expression back to neutral - if not slightly disinterested. “Oh… that.” He sighed and picked at a small fleck of dust on his knee. He inspected in between his fingers while he rubbed them together before flicking it away with a quick snap.
“I’m sorry to ask, it’s~ sort of part of the whole… deal.” He rolled his hands around each other and shrugged while he led to his point. “Are you sure you want this promotion?”
The man paused for a moment before nodding his response.
Another sigh as he rolled his eyes. “I need you to say it out loud. Say, ‘I want this promotion.’”
“I-I do! I want this promotion!” Desperation wavered in his eyes as he stared at him.
“Okay, why do you want this promotion? Really think about it.” He tapped the side of his temple with a curved but strong forefinger while leaning forward.
There was another nod. “It’s my wife, she’s the one that wants it.”
“She wants the promotion?”
“N-No, I want the promotion!”
“She’s…” he struggled to say the words, “She said, she’ll leave me and take the kids if I don’t get it.”
The handsome man scoffed while leaning back, hiding his delighted grin with the back of his hand as he looked around the coffee shop. “Wow! That’s, that’s just...”
“Yeah.” The desperate husband and father hung his head low to despair into his lap.
“Some people, you know, th-th-they’re just… so, fun!” He could barely contain his excitement over this new development. Suddenly he was interested in this sad little man begging him for his help.
“I’d do anything for my family, even if… even if it meant…”
His meeting partner leaned into the table to get closer to his face. “Even if it meant, your… soul?” A purest of pure delightful grin stretched across the whole width of his face.
The potentially ex-husband looked up at him. “Y-Yes.” His hot breath hit the sinister man’s face; he waved it away with his hand while leaning back and blowing air out of his mouth.
“Timmy… Tim?” Tim nodded approval. “Tim, you need to consider something, very, very important here.” Tim waited on bated breath for more information. “You need, to consider, brushing your teeth! Your breath-”
“-I’m sorry it’s just-”
“-Just terrible, that’s what it is!”
Tim cupped his hand to his mouth and exhaled into it to smell how bad it was.
The immaculate man watched in disgusted interest. “Ah… yes, better do the ol’ sniff test. I might’ve been playing a trick on you.”
“I’m sorry, it’s just, I haven’t been home to shower and-”
“-You say sorry a lot. You know that? If you’re going to get this promotion, you’re going to have to,” he pumped his hands towards his chest, “you have to be confident! So your breath stinks! Got a problem with it?! Come ooon! Be a powerful man!” There was a fierce glare as he thumped his chest with his closed fists like an alpha gorilla.
The human slump named Tim continued to look into his lap with watery eyes.
“Alright. I’ll accept your soul in exchange for a promotion,” he said, with a calm voice while sitting back in his chair.
“Yeah, yeah,” he waved his hand back and forth in the air, possibly to convey it was no big deal, or maybe it was to deflect Tim’s colorful breath.
“Thank you!” His attitude completely changed, Tim picked up his pastry and took a great big bite. The flaky raspberry and cream cheese pastry was the sweetest thing he’d ever tasted in his life!
“A promotion in exchange for your soul, blah, blah, that whole trope. Now, let’s get to what you need to get it.”
Tim wiped his mouth with his hand while beginning to speak. The man’s eye twitched briefly at the torturous spectacle. It was at this point the fun was gone and he couldn’t wait to go wash his hands and eyes from secondhand contamination.
“You see, I need to find someone.” He took a large gulp of his sugary drink and exhaled quickly to catch his breath. “I need someone who will lead my boss to the person who can make his wish come true.”
The fastidious man looked over Tim’s shoulder and saw David standing in line - eyes closed, playing with a yo-yo. He looked at Tim, then to David, back to Tim. He chuckled to himself and grinned.
“Very well, I think I can be of help to you.” What luck, he could hardly believe his good fortune!
“Thank God!” praised Tim, out loud.
He snapped his finger at Tim while pointing. “Don’t involve him in this. It’ll only end badly, you can trust me on that. There’s exactly one man in this city with the skill required to get your guy.”
“Really? Who’s that?!”
Tim choked and put his pastry down, a bite mark firmly imprinted into the dough but not severed. “No! No, I have strict orders not to hurt anyone!”
“Let meee fin-ish,” he said, with a stern look on his face that put the fear into Tim as if to say, interrupt me again and find out how much of a nasty prick I can be!
Sorry… Another stern stare. This Tim fellow was really bad at listening to directions. It’s no wonder he hadn’t been considered for the promotion before. He sighed and continued, “This ‘assassin’ will find your man, and bring him to you with just the smallest amount of information given.”
“Really? Wow! Who is this man? What information do I give him?”
Resisting the urge to look at David sitting down at a table almost within earshot of them, he decided it would be best to end this soon. He lowered his voice - causing Tim to lean in closer, “Tell him you’re looking for a man, a fortune teller who is always 100% accurate.”
Tim was skeptical. “…What? How can that-”
“-Don’t worry Timmy, I am 100% right too… Your soul. Payable upon delivery of the fortune teller to your boss. Don’t worry about telling me when it’s done,” he stood and reached into the inner pocket of his suit, “I’ll know.”
He flicked a small card with some information elegantly written on it in scarlet ink. Tim startled then tried and failed to dodge it. The card bounced off his chest onto the table. He picked it up and read it. How in the hell did he know beforehand to write this information down?
Tim was powerless as the man stood over him like a child looking at a stern parent. His tall, slim figure turned slightly away, gave him a menacing appearance like that of a man you did not want to piss off. Maybe it was his imagination, but he could feel heat radiating from his eyes - burning deep into him.
“Say hi to Jennifer for me, will you?” he asked casually, as he turned to leave.
Tim paused for a moment, “How did you know her name?!”
But the mysterious man was already at the door. Realization set in as Tim’s stomach cramped up with pain, his intestines rumbled with impending stress shits.
“…What have I done?”
Pocket of Fortune is available in softcover, hardcover, and digital formats.
As always, I highly recomend physical copies as you lose some of the formating that isn't supported in the .epub format.
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