By Shane Gericke
There's a desperate killer on the other side of my bathroom door! What do I do?
Well, first, I flush. Neatness counts.
Then, I snatch the Ty-D-Bol guy from his tiny motorboat, squeeze him through the keyhole, and have him drown the guy in that blue chemical stuff.
Which is why Rebecca should never take a day off and leave me in charge . . .
But more seriously, what would I do?
Well, first, I'd flush. I was quite serious about that. When the cops arrive, I'd hate for them to find an untidy bathroom. They have enough problems without adding my shit to their woes. Literally.
Then, the killer would be chopping through my door, splintering the wood like in a bad Hollywood movie! Fortunately, my house was built in the early 1960s, so the doors are solid and thick, not hollow and emasculated like American foreign policy in an age of weaklings.
Which gives me time to think, MacGuyver-like, about what to do. Hmm, what's in this tiny 1960s-era one-sink bathroom I could use to thwart yonder miscreant? Towels? No. They're too soft and fluffy. Washcloths? The same; I insist on Downy freshness when I launder, y'know.
Toilet paper? Well, it's store brand, so not too fluffy and soft. A possibility.
Medications? Only if the maniacal killer has a headache and needs an aspirin.
Shower head? Too small. Likewise soap dish and Kleenex dispenser.
I yank it from the Sheetrock with a mighty "Hooah!!" ruing all the work I'm gonna have to do to fix the mess, assuming I live long enough to make with the spackle and nails. The killer's ax is through the door, and the arms are coming. I rear back the shiny long bar as if aiming for the cheap seats, and let fly.
The killer springs back as if on a bungee, cursing and stomping. Comes back for another bite at the Shane apple. I rear back for another towering swat.
Crap. The towel bar was hollow, not solid like I'd thought when I bought the thing at Bed, Bath and Beyond. No wonder they went %^$# bankrupt. Or was that Linens 'n' Things? Who can remember? More important, my MacGuyver Towel Bar now lies on the tiled floor, as broken as my dreams of winning an Edgar or even a Rita for this essay. Now what?
I grab the toilet paper. Fling it through the hole. It bounces off the killer's face.
"Ow!" the killer cries. Well, of course it hurts; I can't afford Charmin or other cottony-soft brand names, for god's sake. I'm a writer!
But the stumble-back doesn't last long. The killer's hands are through the hole now, scrabbling and pinching as if lobsters on crack.
I look around. Spot a can of Aqua-Net. And a hair dryer. I plug in the dryer, let it whine till the heating element turns as red as a Chevy from Earl Scheib. I thrust it in front of the hair spray and push the nozzle.
"Woooosh!!" goes the aerosol, the heating element lighting the hair spray into a giant tongue of fiery global retribution.
"Ahhhh!" goes the killer scum, flying backwards onto my king-sized bed.
Whereupon I rip off my impossibly tight T-shirt and skinny jeans, shoulder my way through the splintered door, fly across the room as if Superman, and land square upon the killer . . .
"Hey, baby," she coos, wiggling like a puppy and moist with excitement.
"I'm glad you're home," I say, kissing her ruby lips tenderly while tipping my expensive leather cap, the only piece of clothing I'm still wearing. "Miss me?"
"Is the Pope Catholic?" she said, batting her long lashes.
"So he says," I say, batting mine.
"Was it good for you?" she says. "The whole man-sitting-on-toilet-and-crazed-killer-chops-the-door-and-you-counterattack-and-win-the-hot-babe thing, I mean?"
"Does a bear shit in the woods?" I exclaim, ripping off her sheer silken blouse with my impossibly white teeth.
"Roar, baby," she giggles, reaching for me as if I'm crack and heroin combined and she needs a fix because she was on an airplane in London but it got stuck on the tarmac for seven hours because somebody left a paper bag on the floor and it kinda looked like a bomb so the bobbies check it out and by the time they were done it starts thunder-storming so the flight was delayed more but finally it took off but there was a scary-looking bearded dude reaching for his shoe so his seat mate tackled him and the flight got diverted to Cleveland and the scary-looking dude was escorted off the plane (even though there was nothing in his shoe but shoe but you can't be too careful these days, Charlie) then the flight finally landed at O'Hare but the Customs guys had fallen asleep so she had to wait another hour and then finally caught a cab but it got caught up in traffic but finally she arrived and came through the front door I handcrafted from a single plank of teak wood from the remote jungle forest I planted thirty years ago when I was saving lives in darkest Africa and she saw the rose petals I meticulously stripped off the award-winning plants I grow myself in the back yard and scattered as a path to the bathroom and so she stripped off her outerwear and stepped into the sheer elegant nightwear I sewed especially for her that morning while she was stuck on the plane and then she grabbed the copper ax--which I forged on a brazier in my basement workshop--and headed for the bathroom door as part of the rich imagination play we like to indulge in when she returns from a lengthy overseas assignment as a deep-cover agent for the CIA, saving indigenous children from terror's wrath and Keeping America Safe for You and Me . . .
I said a killer was coming through my door.
But I meant a killer BODY.
And it's mine, baby, mine, every groan and whisper and nuzzle and yelp . . .
All right, I admit, I'm lying. I haven't fit in skinny jeans since I was quarterbacked the Team to the state championship in high school. The rest of it, though, especially the killer CIA babe wanting my bones so bad she shakes when she thinks about it too much, that's all certainly true.
And THAT'S why Rebecca should never, ever take a day off to attend a mystery book conference and let me fill in for her.
Cause I'll lie through my teeth to you, and call it fiction.
ACHTUNG: MY GERMAN EDITION
My German publisher, Weltbild, just released the translation of my second book, CUT TO THE BONE, in that country. The cover is below. I love foreign editions. Besides that it's just plain COOL to see words I wrote in languages I can't read, I get a kick out of seeing how art directors tailor the covers to their particular audiences. Though the psychological marketing significance of blood dripping off a tree leaf does make my brain work a week harder than usual . . .
When Shane Gericke isn't lying through his teeth to Rebecca Cantrell's precious readers, he's writing the bestselling Detective Emily Thompson crime series, the most recent of which, TORN APART, was named the best thriller of 2010 by Suspense Magazine, an honor that pleases the author no end, 'cause nobody really likes him very much. Check him out at www.shanegericke.com