The Nick Of Time (and other abrasions)
Al Bruno III
Events began to move faster as the Demon of If drew its web in tighter. When it moved the world shuddered and time folded back. Somewhere on Route d’abbaye Jason Magwier was fighting for his life. Further to the north Judy Bauer was trying and failing to escape the magics keeping her from getting home. Zeth was helping Lorelei with a little breaking and entering. And Jack Diamond was in the back seat of his Cadillac cursing wildly.
“Mother-fucking shit-sucking yellow trash!” Jack Diamond stomped his feet in frustration. His hand tightened around the red phial in his hand. How could he have made such a stupid mistake?
Ever since the thought of going to the Sallow Sultan occurred to him he had barely been able to think of anything else. It became an obsession, a craving. He began to feel like if he didn’t get to Route d’abbaye he would go mad.
When it became too much to bear Jack Diamond had burst out of his office, interrupted Wu-Han in mid-thrust, shoved the phial in his pocket and ushered him out the door.
“Fuck fuck fuck!” Jack Diamond shouted. He punched the ceiling of the Cadillac crushing the overhead light, “The wrong phial! I gave him the wrong tit swallowing phial!”
He couldn’t believe it. He had shoved the gold phial of coke into Wu-Han’s pocket as he shoved him out the door. That phial was Jack Diamond’s ‘trail mix’ of cocaine, diamond shavings and the cremains of virgin Outlanders.
“Of all the dipshit luck!” Unable to contain himself Jack Diamond pulled out his Desert Eagle and smashed the passenger side window with the gun barrel. Glass flew everywhere.
That trail mix had been a special order! It had taken weeks for delivery and he knew, just knew, that Wu-Han was most likely snorting the precious stuff up like it was nothing more than cheap street corner blow.
And all that left Jack with was a Demon of If in a cheap glass phial. It was just a worthless imp of coincidence. The little spirits were like karmic piranha, only dangerous in large numbers.
“And what the fuck did he want this for? Why did he bring this corpse shitting nonsense to me? Who the fuck does he think he is? Who the fuck does he think I am? Fuckiddy fuck fuck fuck!”
Once the cursing and property damage died down the Cadillac’s chauffeur Bascomb spoke up. “Begging your pardon sir, but if you’ve lost something I can turn back.”
Jack Diamond jammed the business end of the Desert Eagle into the back of the man’s head, “You shut the Hell up! I’ll tell you where I want to go. Take me to Route d’abbaye. Get me there now!”
That done Jack Diamond re-holstered his weapon and tried to calm down. Night was falling and the streetlights of Olathoe were lighting up one by one. The car passed by the Spire and, after pausing to let a gaggle of pedestrians pass, turned right.
The thought of giving pedestrians the right of way made Jack Diamond angry all over again. What was the point of having a car with a re-enforced chassis if you didn’t use it to clip some moron on the crosswalk once in a while? There was no doubt about it, he was going to have to get his chauffeur lobotomized, it just made things so much easier.
Hell, Jack Diamond thought, Half this world needs a lobotomy.
When Jack Diamond had been a boy, living in the Louisiana swamps with his mother and fathers, he had dreamed of growing up to have prestige, power and a donkey sized dick. Now he had all that and he was miserable.
And why? Other people, that was why. Jack spent his every half-sober hour playing politics and taking orders from people that he had to accept as his superiors.
In another time, a better time, Wu-Han would be the one getting buggered by Jack’s secretary. Two thousand years ago when the Lunt family name was still Veneficus he could have had Jason Magwier crucified and burned. Better yet, he could have kept Lorelei Miller, Judy Bauer and Audra DiMico as slaves and oh the things he would make them do. In the seventeenth century kings and queens would have stepped aside to let him pass.
“Fuck that. I’d be the king,” Jack smiled, whispering to himself, “No better yet I’d be just like Louie of fuckin’ France. The Star Lord!”
“Sun King,” Bascomb said.
“The ruler of France, they called him the Sun King.”
“Oh,” And with that Jack Diamond's rage went from temper tantrums to quiet eye-twitching fury. He choked back the urge to shoot his chauffeur dead.
Partly because the man was still driving and mostly because the Kuen-Yuin paid for his chauffeurs and if he killed another one it might cost him a promotion.
Minutes later the Cadillac slowed to a stop in front of a three level brownstone that had been painted a sickly shade of yellow. Jack Diamond smiled a little, the girls that worked here wore clothes and masks made of rubbery plastic, the kind that absorbed stains and hid bruises.
He had called ahead and the grouchy pimp that ran the place, Mustard, was standing by the front door. Jack Diamond liked the semi-syphilitic old bastard, but he liked the discounts the man gave him even more.
Once he was out of the Cadillac Jack Diamond realized that the red phial was still in his hand. He thought to throw it like the garbage it was but the sudden urge to keep it won out. He slipped it into the pocket of his seersucker suit and headed up the steps of the Sallow Sultan.
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