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Limbus, Inc. Book 3 now available for preorder! - KRAD's Inaccurate Guide to Life
ramblings from a mad fedora'd writer
Limbus, Inc. Book 3 now available for preorder!
In July 2016, JournalStone will release the third book in their shared-world anthology series Limbus, Inc.. Edited by Brett J. Talley, these anthologies feature novellas by a bunch of cool authors that deal with the very mysterious and very powerful Limbus, Inc.

Book 3 will feature five stories, by Jonathan Maberry, Seanan McGuire, David Liss, Laird Barron, and me! My story is called "Right On, Sister!" and involves a woman named Wanda Jackson who -- like many of the protagonists in Limbus stories -- finds herself down on her luck with very few options, until she stumbles across a business card for Limbus Inc. that has a simply question written on it: "How lucky do you feel?"

The book is available for preorder from JournalStone, and preorder links on other sites should be going up soon. Here's the cover:

Here's an excerpt from the story:

Things slowed up a little after that last call, so she started sorting the folders in the wire basket that had a white scrap of paper with the word FILE written in magic marker taped to it. Once Frieda got back, she was going to have to file all those folders, so she figured it'd be better to put them in order first.

Just as she started to sort them, the bell rang and a big man walked in the door. He hadn't shaved in a few days, and even though he had on a big overcoat, he was all sweaty.

"Who the fuck are you, chickie?"

"Watch your language," she said automatically. "I'm the receptionist. Can I help you?"

"Bullshit! You ain't no Frieda."

"Frieda's at lunch. I'm fillin' in. Can I help you?"

"I gots to see Charlie!"

"He's in a meetin'. Now just be cool, take a seat, and—"

He put his hands palms-down on the desk. "I don't give a fuck, I gots to see him now!"

Wanda stared up at his face. He had crazy brown eyes and his breath smelled like cheap malt liquor. It smelled like the same brand Pops used to drink before the car crash.

"I said watch your language. He's in a meetin', and he'll be out by three. Now you just take a seat, and—"

"Kiss my ass, bitch, I gots to see him now!" And then he reached into his coat pocket and pulled out a revolver.

For a second, Wanda froze. He was waving the gun around, and all she could see was Rondell last July, right before he got himself shot.

The man screamed and started toward the back. "Charlie! Get yo' ass out here, motherfucker!"

As he stormed past the benches, people started screaming.

Shaking her head to clear it, Wanda grabbed the phone and dialed 9, waited seemingly forever for the dial to cycle back, then 1 twice.

"911, what is your emergency?"

"There some fool with a gun at Charlie Charles's law office on Lenox and a hun' sixteenth!" Wanda dropped the phone on the desk, still off the hook, and ran to the back.

Just as she got halfway through the benches, she stopped dead in her tracks at the sound of a gunshot.

Several people screamed, and three of the five people on the benches ran out the front door.

Wanda took a deep breath and kept going into Charlie's office.

The crazy man was standing with his gun pointed right at Charlie. Charlie was on the other side of his big wooden desk, cowering against the back wall of his office, which had a gated window that looked out over the filthy alley behind the building where they put all the garbage. Charlie's maroon shirt was stained with sweat, his pink tie loose, his checked pants losing the crease. His horn-rims were sliding down his nose. The glasses weren't prescription, Charlie just wore them because they were the same type Malcolm X wore.

There were two white guys on the floor, wearing fancy threads. One was on his back with a big red stain on his chest, which was spreading all over the white shirt and vest of his suit, so Wanda figured he was the one the crazy man shot. The other was kneeling down next to him, looking almost as scared as Charlie.

Briefly, Wanda wondered what the hell two white guys were doing here. Charlie prided himself on being a friend to the brothers and sisters of Harlem, and these two didn't belong.

Though that didn't mean either of them deserved to get shot, either.

Charlie was saying, "Now Leroy, just be cool, brother, you don't—"

"Shut up! Just shut the fuck up! I ain't your brother, motherfucker!"

Cowering further, like he was trying to absorb himself into the back wall, Charlie said, "Easy now, baby, easy, just be cool!"

"I said shut the fuck up!"

Wanda said, "And I said watch your language."

Leroy whirled around. "What the fuck, bitch?"

"Look, Leroy, I don't know what you're all riled up about, but—"

He pointed the gun at Charlie. "This lyin' motherfucker done lied to me! I saw that ad on the tee vee! He said he'd get me a got-damn settlement! Well, I hired his lyin' ass, and I ain't got no got-damn settlement! I gots to pay and I ain't got no got-damn money to pay!"

"Bad enough you're cursin', Leroy, but now takin' the Lord's name in vain? What's wrong with you?"

"I done told you, this motherfucker lied to me!"

"'Course he lied! Ain't you been payin' attention, Leroy? He a lawyer. That's what lawyers do."

"Bullshit! There's, like, truth in advertising and all that jive. He done said he'd get me a settlement and I didn't get no settlement!"

Wanda shook her head. "Brother man, please. You think there's truth in advertising? That's just another white man's lie. Look, you ever been to Burger King? You ever seen a Whopper that look like what they show on the tee vee?"

Leroy frowned and actually had to think about it. "No, they all look like shit."

"Exactly. None'a that stuff on the tee vee is real. You ever seen a pad in the projects that look as good as where they live on Good Times?"

That just made Leroy's frown get bigger and his voice quieter. "No."

"Right on. Now, you need to start usin' your head. You just done shot a honky, and you know it's bad news when a brother kills a honky. Now, this is Harlem, so the fuzz won't be by for a while yet—"

Leroy's voice got loud again. "You called the cops?"

Wanda put her hands on her hips. "Course I called the cops, fool! There's people in here, and you was scarin' 'em with that gun! What was I supposed to do? And then you went and shot that honky!"

"I—" Leroy put his hands to his head. "I didn't mean to! I didn't expect nobody but Charlie, he surprised me, and the gun—the gun just went off!"

"That's good," Charlie said. "Look, Leroy, when the cops get here, I'll tell them—”

Leroy pointed the gun back at Charlie. "You ain't tellin' nothin' to nobody, motherfucker!"

"Easy, Leroy, be cool!" Wanda cried. "Now listen, you don't want no fuzz gettin' hold'a you. You killed a honky, and they ain't gonna stand for that. So you got to be goin' now 'fore they get here."

"But what about this lyin' motherfucker?"

"He'll still be here. He been in this office for fifteen years, he ain't gonna be leavin' any time soon. Now beat it, 'fore you get your fool behind arrested!"

Letting out a long breath, Leroy shook his head and looked at Wanda. "Yeah, okay. You pretty smart for a dumb bitch." He looked back at Charlie. "This shit ain't done, motherfucker. I'll be back real soon, you dig?"

And then Leroy turned and ran through the office and out the door.

Wanda immediately ran after him, stopping at the desk to pick up the phone. All the potential customers in the waiting area were long gone.

The 911 operator was screaming into the receiver. "Hello?! Are you still—"

"Still here, sorry, had to deal with somethin'. The cat with the gun beat it, but there's a man here who been shot."

"We heard the shot and sent an ambulance as well as a patrol car. Ma'am, please do not leave the premises. You're saying the man with the gun has left?"

"Yes, ma'am," Wanda said. "His name's Leroy—"

"The officers will take your report at the scene, ma'am. Would you like me to hold the line until they get here?"

"No, we're cool. Thank you. Bye." She hung up.

Charlie was stumbling out of his office through the door, nearly collapsing against the doorframe. "Wanda, baby, that was—"

She turned to face him. "The fuzz and an ambulance are on the way. The medics'll take care'a that honky Leroy shot. Who are they, anyhow?"

"They're two men from Gage Whitney. I had me a damn fine class-action suit that they was gonna settle for some serious bread, and that jive mother ruined it!"

A whiny voice came from the office. "Mr. Charles, Harold is bleeding quite profusely!"

Wanda shouted back, "There's an ambulance on the way, honky, be cool!"

The man came out. Somehow, his suit hadn't lost a single crease. "I will not 'be cool,' young woman, my colleague has been shot! And you let the perpetrator go!"

"Take it easy, Melvin," Charlie said, "Wanda did the right thing. If the cops showed up while he was still wavin' that piece around, it woulda got real ugly. Cops pullin' their guns, maybe Leroy goes nuts and shoots more people—like you."

Wanda wouldn't have thought it possible, but Melvin actually got whiter when Charlie said that.

Jerking a thumb to the rolodex on Frieda's desk, Wanda said, "'Sides, he a client, which means we got his home address. We just tell the fuzz, and they pick him up at home, and don't nobody get hurt. Or at least we don't."

Melvin shook his head. "I suppose that makes sense."

Finally, Wanda started to hear sirens. "'Bout damn time."

Current Mood: pleased pleased
Current Music: "Born to Run" by Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band

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