Psamurai #9

Bootstraps

Sophie, Hunter and Ian were standing in the middle of the street, blocking traffic. But so was Dr. Merv Spector, a clinical psychologist, and several abandoned cars. Also, all the ghosts milling about screaming at everything.

“Put the spooky gun down, Dr. Specter,” Sophie said. “Nobody else needs to be turned into a ghost.”

“Call me,” Dr. Spector lurched around to face Sophie, “Doctor Spector.”

“Isn’t that what I said?”

“You spelled it wrong.”

“Is it still homicide if the victim turns directly into a ghost?” Hunter accidentally said aloud.

“Well, I mean, they’re still dead, right?” Sophie replied.

“I imagine it would be prosecuted like one,” Ian added.

“Would there be extra charges for causing a public haunting?” Hunter asked.

“I don’t think the justice system is prepared for this,” Sophie said in a mock lament, shaking her head.

“Hey, what did I miss?” Cheryl called running toward them. “I just got your message. Who’s this asshole?” she said into her coffee.

“Dr. Spector,” said Sophie.

“Doctor Specter,” he shouted.

“That’s what I said.”

“Doctor Specter?” Cheryl looked askance.

“Thank you, ma’am,” Doctor Specter called to Cheryl.

“What’s his thing?”

“He’s got a gun that turns people into ghosts,” Sophie reported.

“So he has a gun?” Cheryl looked at Sophie, nonplussed. “Hunter can do maniac-with-a-gun in his pajamas. He does all the time. I was having a really nice chat. Her name was Maggie.”

“No, like no-shit ghosts,” Hunter said pointing to the withered, translucent wraiths that roamed the strip mall parking lot that.

“Dammit,” Cheryl sighed. “Brand new Starbucks and it’s already haunted.”

Cheryl trotted to one of the ghosts, waving her hands in its face. “Are they dangerous?”

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Psamurai #8

psamurailogo

 

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Pressure

 

Professor Falstaff stood at the microphone, as if it was just recently invented. His dress did nothing to dispel the old school magician vibe. His comely assistant, Tracy Sullivan, led the proceedings. He pinched the mic a few times, like he was tenderizing it. After he was done he leaned like the mic was going to poison him. Most of the audience presumed the tenderizing was an attempt to remove the mic from the stand.

“Good evening,” he said in a vague Eastern European accent, doing further damage to the possibility of him not being a magician. “Tonight, we are here to learn about teamwork. Let me tell you something about teamwork. There is no ‘I’ in team.” He punctuated each word with his index finger, bobbing up and down like he was taking his first drum lesson.

“There’s no we either, asshole,” Cheryl whispered, arms and legs crossed on a folding plastic chair. Hundreds of such chairs were arrayed in rows and columns, filling the ballroom. The chairs were then filled with smiling, staring faces locking their attention on Falstaff. Cheryl twiddled her phone.

“Shh,” Sophie snickered.

“He said that like he made it up.”

“Shh,” Sophie said trending toward a laugh, then leaned forward clasping her hands over her head and convulsed.

“Don’t tell me to shush when you’re having library giggles.”

“Shh,” came a chorus from the rows behind them.

Cheryl waved them off. Sophie, red faced and grimacing, gave the best penitent hand gesture she could perform under the conditions.

“And now I’d like to introduce my assistant, Tracy Sullivan, who will be available after this presentation for free massage, reiki, acupuncture and all those things your demographic loves.”

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Psamurai #7.5

 

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Hunter Goes to School

 

This hadn’t gone so well. Nothing since Tabula Rasa had. Hunter and the others had followed Cheryl around for months as she fixated on this ridiculous Go Fish gang and their bank heists only to be humiliated every time. Humiliated by people in fish masks. Hunter sat on the curb of their latest defeat, staring down at his flip-flops as he wiggled his toes. He had started doing this a lot. After the others had scrambled, he just sat on the curb, looking at his feet.

“You’re going to lose those if you don’t get better footwear,” he said aloud to himself.

He failed to notice the press forming around him like a growth, jabbing recording devices at his head. He leaned back and his head lolled as his eyes stared at them, hidden behind his mirrored aviators. He gave a delayed flinch in recognition.

“Psamurai,” one reported shouted, “How do you…”

“Mr. Psamurai,” another barked, “Would you like to….”

“Psamurai? Sir?,” another chirped, “Could we get a…”

“No questions today,” Hunter growled with a cigarette clinched in his teeth.

“Mr. Psamurai,” the one barked again, “Would you like…”

“Nothing. I’d like nothing,” Hunter teetered to his feet and smoothed out his flannel robe, “Now, if you’ll excuse me,” he swayed between the reporters and trotted down the sidewalk.

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Psamurai #7

 

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We Can’t Dance

 

Ian and Hunter sat on the sidewalk leaning against a car. A hail of gunfire whizzed overhead from across the street. One bullet broke through the car’s windows, raining glass on them. The bullet continued through a glass storefront, taking the head off a mannequin. A store patron who had taken cover behind the mannequin display poked her head up and saw Hunter and Ian. She gave them an irked frown. Hunter shrugged and Ian shook his head.

“She has a point,” Ian said. “What the hell are we doing?”

“Foiling a bank heist, I think.” Hunter replied, shaking the glass out of his hair.  

“That’s how it started. That’s how it always starts. Why are we involving ourselves in bank heists? Simon Vyx says everything is forgiven and we forget about it? We’ve spent the last few months turning bank robberies into warzones. Why aren’t we focusing on Vyx instead of chasing around this imbecilic gang?”

“Cheryl seems to think we need to practice our teamwork.”

“Practice? Like a garage band? This isn’t practice. Practice shouldn’t shut down city blocks,” Ian slouched further against the car. “Practice would also imply eventual improvement. And doesn’t it seem a bit odd that we’re getting away with it?”

“I’m not gonna look a gift horse in the mouth,” Hunter said leaping to his feet to swat back a smoke bomb with his katana. The bomb sailed back across the street and plinked off the glass of the lobby and hit the sidewalk, smoking.

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Psamurai #6



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That Smell

“Smells like shit down here,” Cheryl said, standing in the basement under Bart’s florist shop, covering her nose.

“There’s sacks of composted manure in the corner,” said Bart, “I cleared off a few workbenches for you to set up on.”

“It’s great,” Sophie offered, “We’ll adjust.”

Cheryl dumped some of her perfume onto a bandana and wrapped it around her face, “Yeah, fine.”

“I can’t fit,” Carl called from the sidewalk down the cellar door.

“Hang on,” Bart called back and lifted a wide, rolling steel door that opened to wide entrance with a ramp leading to the basement, along the alley side of the shop, “I had this installed to facilitate the movement of oversized items. I believe you qualify.”

Carl had to duck to clear the dock door. Upon entering the basement his face twisted in disgust.

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