I hope you all have been enjoying the GRL Featured Blog Tour this year. We at Prism have been honored to be a part of it! As part of our #TeamPrism countdown to GRL I issued a challenge to the authors who have visited us throughout the year on the tour. Some couldn’t participate, but many took the challenge. I gave them each the same prompt and asked them to write a flash fic of 500 words, give or take a few hundred.
Who Are You? By Jeff Adams
I’m very good at my job. Best of all, I like it.
I can infiltrate, get information, extract people from tough situations. I do what needs to be done.
I don’t like killing. There are almost always other solutions.
In this case, I understood why HQ wanted me to eliminate this man. I’d been on Max Taylor’s trail for the three weeks. Last night I took the plunge to get him alone.
Seeing myself in the mirror and him on the bed, the resemblances were striking. He had a tattoo that I didn’t, but our builds and facial features were very similar. My family wouldn’t be fooled, but he could easily be a threat in so many ways if he tried to be me. Enemy communiques had been intercepted three days ago indicating he was scheduled for tattoo removal and other work so he could pass as me in any situation.
I couldn’t allow that to happen.
Too bad he was such a good fuck. It always shocked me how people with secrets could be so easily swayed by sex. He didn’t question our hookup at all. I approached him in a bar, asked him to dance, bought him a couple drinks and in no time we were up here, naked and sweaty. He’d acted like he didn’t even know who I was. Maybe that was part of the game.
It was weird screwing around with someone so similar to me. I’m not my type. When it’s time for recreation, give me a muscle bear any day. But sometimes you do what you need to for the job.
Looking at him sprawled on the bed, I couldn’t decide if it was better to get it over with while he was sleeping or wait until he was awake so that he’d know, before he died, that the plan failed.
HQ would need to get someone here quick for the cleanup once it was done. Luxury hotels didn’t like it when people were found murdered in their most expensive suite. I couldn’t risk loosing track of Max if he left this room. I moved quickly to the bathroom and pulled my gun from where I’d stashed it under the vanity.
One bullet in the head and this assignment was over.
I never missed a shot.
I stood over Max. He looked peaceful.
As I quietly adjusted the silencer and cocked the gun, Max woke up.
He looked into my eyes and smiled… until he saw the gun.
“Whoa,” he said scrambling backwards, as if trying to become one with the headboard. “What’re you doing, Nick?”
I didn’t expect him to sound so frightened. People in the spy game rarely reveal they’re scared.
“Sorry, Max,” I said, stepping forward, putting the gun to his temple. I wanted to make sure that if the bullet went through his head that it would lodge in the exterior wall and not go into another room. “I really am, but I can’t let the plan succeed.”
“Plan?” He screamed. “What plan? We hooked up. I thought we had a good time. Is it money you want? I don’t have much, but you can take it. I’m just a grad student. I… I…” His eyes flicked from freaked out to angry.
Suddenly Max reached for my gun. I maintained my grip on it, but ended up shooting the ceiling.
Jumping from his position against the headboard, he slammed into me. We both crashed to the floor, next to the mirror. I kept my gun as we grappled. I exploited his nakedness, kneeing him in the balls. I followed up by slamming my gun into the side of his head.
He crumpled on top of me.
What just happened? He went from scared to attack mode in seconds. Sure, fright can bring on an attack, but there were no signs he was anything other than terrified for his life. And what was this about being a grad student? His dossier said he was an intern at a defense contractor. I’d even tracked him to and from his office for a few days.
I rolled Max’s limp body off me and stood up. Either I didn’t have all the info, which was possible, or Max wasn’t quite what he seemed.
I retrieved my messenger bag from under the bed and pulled a roll of duct tape out. I never traveled without a roll or two. MacGyver taught me that. I placed Max in the room’s desk chair and taped him too it. It was gong to hurt like hell when he was released, but I needed him restrained while I figured this out.
I dropped the gun into my bag. I wanted it out of sight when he woke up. He certainly wasn’t going to attack me from his current position. I got smelling salts from the bag to revive him. It took one small hit for him to jerk his head up and look around.
“Ooh. This is kinky,” Max said after flexing against the bindings. “I like it.”
Indeed he did. He was instantly aroused.
“Well, are you just going to stand there and look at me,” he said with a wink, “or you going to do something?”
“What’s your name?” I asked, ignoring what I really wanted to do. Like I said, he was a good fuck.
“What do you mean what’s my name? You know it’s Max.”
“Okay, Max. What do you do?”
“Grad work. UCLA. Molecular genetics.” That didn’t make sense. “Come on, Nick, we talked about it last night before we came up here.”
He’d mentioned grad school right before he attacked me, but it’s not what he said last night. Last night his answer matched up with what I expected to hear.
“No,” I said. “No, we didn’t.”
I walked behind the chair, headed for Max’s clothes and backpack that he dropped when we came in last night. I went for his wallet first.
“Nick?” He gave a nervous laugh. “What’re you doing back there?”
He had a driver’s license and student ID. The photos didn’t look like the guy in the chair. He’d clearly had a lot of work done already in an effort become my twin.
I quickly looked through his pack and found a textbook, small spiral notebook and a laptop. It was the back pack of a grad student, or any student really. Was he a decoy of some kind?
“Nick? You’re starting to freak me out.”
“Hang tight, Max. Almost done.” I tried to calm him since freaking out wouldn’t do either of us good.
I opened the laptop and it powered up quickly from sleep mode. The wallpaper was a crazy mosaic that hurt my eyes. As the programs booted up, Max screamed.
“What’s happening?” He asked between shrieks.
I slammed the laptop shut and Max’s screams tapered off.
“Why’d you have to do that Nick?” Max said, his voice different. He sounded harsher than when he first woke up bound to the chair. “You think this tape can hold me? I’ll kill you once I’m free. That means you’ll end up disappearing for a bit while I finish my transition to become you in every way.”
They were programming him. Max was a grad student. But he was being changed physically and mentally to replace me. Something about the laptop must have tripped him, seeing my gun must’ve too.
“I want to talk to Max,” I said, coming back into his field of view.
The person in the chair laughed. “Max isn’t available. You’re dealing with Nick now. The new, improved Nick. The Nick that doesn’t have to pretend to be Max.”
His grin unsettled me.
He wrestled with the chair, which is the same thing I’d do. Struggle to make the tape weaken. My training said to shoot him and be done with it. The gun was steps away. I could end him before he freed himself.
It didn’t seem right though. Max was an innocent pawn. At least it seemed like he was. I needed to get him to HQ. If he’d been programmed, we needed to know how to stop it. Worst case, if we couldn’t undo the damage, then he would be eliminated.
I got the gun and held it to knock him out again.
“Sorry, Max.” I said as I clobbered him. There was just enough time for a shocked look to cross his face before he passed out. “Hopefully we can fix this.”
I got my phone from the bedside table and dialed my handler so he could dispatch a team to pick us up.
About the Author
Jeff Adams started writing fiction in middle school and hasn’t stopped since. “Hat Trick” was his debut novel and “Hat Trick 2: Playing the Rebound” published in July 2014. He’s currently working on the third novel of the “Hat Trick” series. Prior to this, he wrote several m/m romance shorts. Jeff and his husband, Will, recently left NYC to return to the rural peace of Northern California. Besides writing about hockey in his books, he covers the Detroit Red Wings, and reviews books that feature gay hockey players, for PuckBuddys.com.
You can learn more about Jeff’s writing at jeffadamswrites.com, which is part of the website he runs with his husband at jeffandwill.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @hockeyguynyc.
Hat Trick website: http://www.HatTrickNovel.com
Hat Trick on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HatTrickNovel
Author Tour Stops:
|J. P. Barnaby||23-May|
|Jamie Lynn Miller||11-Sep|
As part of the countdown to GRL, one lucky commenter on the #TeamPrism Flash Fiction posts will win a $25 All Romance eBooks Gift card!
Contest ends 25 Oct 2014 at 11:59pm CDT. Must be 18 or old, void where prohibited.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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