A Crowdsourced Novel
Read it here – Say what comes next.
The train got underway and jostled Frank in his seat when Roya whispered in his ear. “Look at that guy in the lower level across the aisle. He tailed my Mustang and got on the train with me. Anything familiar about him?”
Frank glanced down at the man, then whispered to Roya. “Cubs fan? Looks like he could hit it out of the park. Why’d you let him follow you?”
Roya’s breath tickled Frank’s ear. “You know by now I like to get close to my work. Look at him again. Use your mind. Take away the hat, the glasses. Put him in a suit. Who does he look like?”
Frank concentrated then in sudden recognition turned and whispered to Roya. “He could be me.”
She nodded. “I’ve seen enough, unless you want to ask Mr. Cubs some questions.” She looked Frank in the eyes. “Didn’t think so—still, there’s something strange…”
Frank knew something was strange. A guy that looked just like him was following them. The overhead speaker announced Lockport Station and Roya stood. “This is it.” She slowly moved to the stairs and Frank followed. By the time they reached the main level, the train was pulling into the station and she opened the door to the exit bay. She turned and grabbed Frank’s lapels, blocking the door to the compartment. She snuggled his ear and spoke. “Follow me quick, and keep your head down.”
The train lurched to a stop and the sliding doors opened. They scrambled down the stairs to the station platform and Frank ran to keep up as they climbed back on the train at the next car. Roya looked back, then raised a fist, “Gotcha!” She grabbed Frank and kissed him full on the lips. He felt her tongue and the sensual curve of her body against his. When she broke away, she led him into the coach and they watched Mr. Cubs from a window.
* * *
Tony Ferragamo saw them leave their seats and depart the car. He pulled off his Cubs cap and slowly rose to follow, puzzled that they got off just one station away from Joliet. He reached the platform—empty. He moved to the station—closed. Looked in a window—dark. Checked the parking lot—not a car moved. The train pulled away and he turned to see Frank Smith and the blonde peering at him through a window. The blonde grinned and waved. Son of a bitch!
* * *
At the motel, Desi Grasso told Nick and Pete to have a smoke. He got his laptop from his black Camaro, hacked the DMV and ran the Mustang’s tag number. It turned up stolen the day before from the local airport. When he got back to the motel entrance, Nick was grinding out a butt with his shoe and Pete lit a new coffin nail with the previous one. Desi raised his voice to a command. “Meet me at Joliet Airport.”
Back in his car, he fired up the big-block engine and shifted into gear. On the way he speed-dialed his uncle. “Yeah, it’s me. The guy was here with some broad. Left the motel. They stole a car at Joliet airport. On my way there now.”
A pause, then the deep rumbling voice, speaking slowly, distinctly. “Inform me the moment you learn anything of significance—and Desi—do not fail me.” The connection went dead.
At the airport, Desi, Nick and Pete parked their cars and fanned out through the tied-down planes, scanning for Luigi’s Cessna. Within 10 minutes, Nick spotted it in the grass and shouted a string of expletives. When Desi approached, Nick stood, head down. “You better have a look at this, Mr. Grasso.”
From a distance of five feet, Desi peered into the open door of the 182. Gort sat bound by the neck to the headrest by what looked like a woman’s brazier, his swollen purple tongue sticking out of his gaping mouth. Desi almost gagged, but kept his reaction hidden from the help. How the hell did anybody do that to the giant enforcer?
Nick opened the cargo door and a hand flopped out the opening. He crouched down and reached through to rummage the body, then stood up and faced Desi. “It’s Luigi. Broken neck, looks like.”
Desi struggled to appear cool. “We’re outa here. I’ll phone Don Grasso.”
What happens next? TAKE YOUR TURN [click here]
HOW TO PLAY–This is an interactive story based on Nate’s game in my novel. You get to say what comes next:
1.) KEEP IT SHORT – It’s easy to play Nate’s game. Just enter your idea as a comment like, “their jeep drives off a cliff.” Don’t worry about form—just suggest the next step in the story. I’ll pick one, write it, and post it as a scene in serial form.
2.) KEEP IT CLEAN – I hold the veto pen. In general, if it wouldn’t fly in an old 60’s Bond movie, then it’s out. Since this is an experiment, I get to add rules as we go along.
3.) SHARE – Your posts are a precious gift to me. Maybe you’ll help write my next novel. If so, I’ll list your name prominently as a contributor. If not, then we’ll just have a great time. I take you at your word that all ideas are your original thoughts. No criticism. No arguments. No lawsuits allowed. Let’s have some fun.
7 responses to “ROYA FETOVA – 10”
Seems like it’s time we heard from our FBI point of view character. Everybody’s now within his jurisdiction.
Also note: I’ve changed the header from “An Interactive Story” to “A Living Novel” and I’ll refer to future posts as “Chapter” rather than “Episode.” I think we’ve crossed that line. If this gets finished and if it goes to print, every contributor will be credited as such, and prominenty on one of the first pages of the book. I am very greatful and am having a whale of a good time with this. I hope you do the same.
“What was that about,” Frank gasped. Roya replied with a pout, “Can I help it if like my Sergey; I get turned on by the whole cat and mouse game?” Frank said, “I still think you are a bit crazy. You’ve been a spook to long.”
They sat back down and Roya said, “Maybe we just found a new piece to your puzzle. Uomo’s guys must have been after that guy and grabbed you instead. “That’s just great!” complained Frank. “I still don’t know who he is—or why the mob wants him dead.”
Back in the Chicago FBI office, Agent Stan Harris was slowly gathering bits and pieces of data. To an untrained eye it all seemed quite random. However, he had years of investigative experience and that, plus learning to trust his gut, gave him a veteran detective’s intuition.
Of course, the legal wire taps on Desi Grassi’s cell phone helped his intuition immensely. He knew Desi’s mob-boss uncle had him running some errands. His field agents had visited the same Joliet hotel shortly after Desi left. What the desk clerk didn’t offer the mob heavies he quickly surrendered to the FBI—video shots of the lobby and parking lot. Harris had his tech guys enhance the grainy shots and he sat reviewing them. He was surprised to see a young man that looked a lot like Tony Ferragamo—but not quite as buff. He had been Tony’s handler for a good 18 months and he didn’t think this guy was Tony. He knew for sure he wasn’t Luigi Gastroni, one of Uomo’s favorite lieutenants, and the name on the credit card used at the hotel. Investigation work was often tedious—but it was also full of interesting twists.
Another shock was the female that got into the driver’s seat next to Mr. X. He was almost positive he had seen her around the FBI office. Was she working undercover? If so, what was her role in all this? He would circulate her picture around the various departments to see if someone could make a positive I.D.
Agent Smith’s gut was telling him that he needed to take another look at the Frank Smith allegedly involved in the murder of a truck driver in Missouri. He picked up the phone and called the agent in charge at the St. Louis Bureau.
I just noticed a mistake in the last line and fixed it. Desi, not Nick will report to Uomo Grasso.
Isn’t Roya some kind of spook? She should start to figure things out pretty soon. Why not write a scene showing her and Frank piecing all the stuff together?
Roya is a woman of mystery. I like that and think you should keep her that way. That doesn’t mean you can’t reveal more and more about her as the novel progresses. By the way, congratulations on your transition from a story to a novel. I agree with your decision.
If they have to hide on the train, there’s the bathrooms but that’s obvious. On a Chicago Metra train they can lie down on the floor of the upper deck and will be hidden from anybody on the lower deck. Other passengers on the upper deck will wonder, so the train would have to be pretty empty.