Monday, March 4, 2013

Two Assassins Walk into a Coffee Bar

Since moving to Talbot’s Peak, Marissa had gotten used to seeing all kinds of weird beings. This new one made even her do a double take. Close to seven feet tall, pea jacket straining over broad, massive shoulders, a body without an ounce of fat visible anywhere, a lengthy fringe of thin white-gold hair pouring out from beneath a knit cap, a thick moustache of similar gold that could make a walrus weep with envy. He looked like he should be toting a broadsword or a war hammer, with a horned helmet perched on his head.

He strode to the counter. The stools trembled briefly. Marissa swallowed and hoped the floor would hold him. After a thorough contemplation of the menu he spoke, in a voice that sounded like a cement truck trying to be polite. “Chocolate Latte-licious, extra large. You can make it dark chocolate, yah?”

“I think we have some. I’ll have to check.”

“And two doughnuts. One apple, one raspberry cream.”

A hiss rose from the tables behind him. “St. Piotr’s beard. My poor stomach does the flip-flops just listening to that.”

The Viking with the sweet tooth whirled. “Sergei? Is that you?”

“And my offended stomach. Do you even know how to eat actual food?”

“Like that poisonous black tea you drink? No, thank Olaf.” The golden warrior boomed a laugh and reached Sergei’s table in a single stride. Their hand-clasp instantly turned into a bout of arm-wrestling. Marissa stood by anxiously, in case the table gave out.

The two finally let go without declaring a winner, and the table survived the assault. Marissa released only half her held breath and went to prepare the Viking’s order.

The Viking crammed his butt into a chair that creaked a loud protest, but held him. “Sergei, you old alley cat. Still working for the tabbies, yah?”

“They think I am,” Sergei replied. “And you? Still taking orders from the little deer?”

“The little deer pay big bucks.” He stripped off his cap, revealing a bald pate shinier than his hair, and tossed it onto the table beside Sergei’s broad-brimmed black hat. “Easy money for elk.”

“Moose. In America they call you moose. Here elk is some other big ugly deer with ridiculous horns.”

“In America, a tiger is out of place. So why are you here?” He grinned and elbowed Sergei in the ribs. “I know. The old cat’s found some poosy, yah?”

“Torvald Halvarssen, you mind what manners you have left.”

“Of course, old cat. Of course.” He winked broadly. He aimed a second wink at Marissa when she brought him his latte and doughnuts. Sergei politely declined Torvald’s offer of the raspberry cream.

“To old rivals,” Sergei said, clinking his teacup against the moose’s latte mug. “And old friends.”

Skoal.” Torvald downed the steaming drink like swilling a chug of mead. “Ah. Hits the spot. I like America.”

“You are hunting, yes?” Sergei asked.

Torvald nodded glumly. “As always. Not you, so get your hackles down. The Roebucks couldn’t pay me enough to take you on. I’m after a horse. Know any?”

“This is Montana. Land of cowboys. Are horses everywhere.”

“This one is Irish.” Both of them shook their heads and grumbled their disgust. “He helped himself to the old buck’s granddaughter. Like that’s any feat. That one’s been letting men graze in her pasture since she was thirteen.”

Sergei sipped his tea. “You will kill this horse?”

“The old buck says not yet. Bring him back alive, make him pay for his crime. But it’s a long way from here back to Boston. He could break a leg and have to be put down. You know horses. So delicate.”

“Not the horses I know. You need help?”

“With a horse?” Torvald snorted explosively. “The day I need help to take an Irishman, you can put me down.” He ripped his apple doughnut in half and jammed a segment into his mouth. The other he offered to Sergei. Sergei shook his head.

Torvald chewed thoughtfully, and swallowed slowly. He lowered his voice. “As long as you’re here … I have heard word of Mikhail.”

Sergei’s eyes turned to ice. He glowered down at his teacup. “Mikhail is dead.”

“My sources say different. There were rumors in Budapest and again in Paris.”

“It isn’t him.”

“Yah, Paris could have been a false alarm. He hides well, but when the Black Tiger surfaces he’s hard to miss.” His gravelly voice softened. “He has his father’s eyes.”

“He is dead.” The teacup shattered in Sergei’s hand, spraying tea onto the tabletop. A thin line of blood welled up across his snow-colored palm. Torvald jerked backward, snorting.

Sergei rose abruptly. “I must go. Work to do.” He snatched up his hat and slapped it onto his head. He didn’t even bother to wipe from the blood from his hand. “It was good to see you, Torvald. Good luck with your hunt.”

He stalked out of Java Joe’s at a speed Marissa had never seen him use before. When he had gone she cautiously approached the table with a rag in her hand and ready to bolt if she had to. “What was that about?”

“Cheap foreign-made cups. They’re not crafted for a man’s hands.” Torvald tugged the rag away from Marissa and wiped up the tea himself. He pressed his empty mug at her in return. “You bring me another of these, yah?”


Serena Shay said...

~Whoa~ The Roebucks sure pulled out the big guns with Torvald as their hunter! Poor pooka, although maybe Kerr has something tucked under his mane for just this thing...

Plus, look out all those single lady shifters in TP, Torvald is here and he cleans up after himself...dang, just might be a keeper. ;)

Pat C. said...

Yeah, about the pic ... I knew Torvald was big and blond, but it wasn't until I pictured him bald that I realized he was Hulk Hogan. And, with Sergei being based on Undertaker, it just seemed natural to put them together.

As for the Black Tiger, he's patterned after the Russian assassin character from Season 1 of 24. Damn, that actor was cute. Wonder what happened to him?

Pat C. said...

Sadly, this is the last chapter in the Kerr/Siobhan story, unless I come up with something. Now that we know Torvald's taking him alive (at least to start out with), maybe a jailbreak chapter would be in order?

Savanna Kougar said...

Come on, a Pooka has a bunch o'magick up his sleeve. Not to mention if Siobhan comes over to Kerr's side.

Yeah, lots of ladies might go for a Hulk Viking. Besides, the Pleasure Club could prove to be a distraction... depending on what Torvald likes...

I saw the first season 24, but I'm not placing that actor, at the moment.

Pat C. said...

Yeah, there's the question: will Siobhan point out Kerr to the hunter? And if she does, will she regret it?

Maybe Mayor Gil could hold up Torvald on some trumped-up charge or something. I'm still looking for an excuse to work "moose and squirrel" into a conversation.

The actor? C'mon, Serena and I talk about him all the time. Hint: it's related to the Russian nickname for "Mikhail."

Savanna Kougar said...

Good plot possibilities.

Sorry, since I no longer watch TV, my memory of shows and current shows is lousy.

I used to be great at remembering actors/actresses, their faces, if not their names. Not anymore. Except for the likes of Adrian Paul.

Savanna Kougar said...

Hey, maybe Kerr could lure Torvald into a sex trap at the Pleasure Club, where he would be pleasurably waylaid. ~smiles~

Serena Shay said...

OMG I never watched 24, but Misha's on there?? I know it's now on Netflix, so I might need to check that baby out! hehehe

Pat C. said...

It's only for 4-5 episodes in Season 1, and he comes to a bad end. On the other hand, there's the shirtless scene. If you can get YouTube, there's an 11-minute highlight reel. Type "Misha Collins 24" into Search.

Savanna, I like that idea! Though we'd better not sic Lamar on him. Torvald doesn't swing that way.

Savanna Kougar said...

No, but the Pleasure Club is full of lady shifters/supernaturals who just might want to swing with him.