Big Boy Burgundy: Blind Alley is actually the third installment of a serialized story. It has been modified to become a standalone piece in order to meet the requirements of this anthology. Fun facts: a writer friend inspired the story by providing me the prompt words burgundy, mycotoxins,
manhunt. That friend was amused
that, like him, Burgundy is big and bald,
owns a .500 magnum Smith & Wesson and a muscle car.
In the section presented, Burgundy has joined forces with Leila, a tough, smart hacker who’s as adept with punch-kick combinations as she is with a blaster. Though totally different, the two have come to respect one another, and have come to the point of gaining proof that Burgundy was framed for the governor’s murder. Of course, that doesn’t stop something unexpected from coming into the picture and tugging at Burgundy’s taut heart strings…
Big Boy Burgundy: Blind Alley
Leila shut off the hover car. The compressed air under it slowly thinned, lowering the vehicle until it came to rest on the pavement. Burgundy threw open the door and unfolded himself until he was standing on the curb.
“I hate small cars.” He said small cars like it was a cuss word. “And I hate hover cars more. Can’t feel the road, can’t even sense how fast you’re going.” He vigorously rubbed the muscles in his back and neck.
“They’re an improvement over the stinky, gas-guzzling abominations of the past. You know, the ones that wrecked the planet.” Leila pressed a hand to a panel, locking the nondescript, energy efficient car. Burgundy scowled at the slight to his beloved Shelby—the gorgeously curved metal lady he’d wrecked in a high speed chase the week before.
“Yeah, well, this bloody thing doesn’t even make any noise! You can’t even call it a car.”
“You’re right. It’s a hover car.”
Burgundy scowled again, but he was glad Leila was comfortable with computers and anything tech. It made things easier for him since he couldn’t stand the faceless machines that computed everything from key strokes, to how much food you ordered from the dispensers in the market, to dosing medicine in the pharmacy. Even how many squares of toilet paper you used to wipe your ass. Damned control freaks!
“I still say it’s creepy that the thing drives itself.”
“It’s a Smart Car, newest model out there.”
“So now they’re making cars that are smarter than people.”
“No, smarter than you. Because you refuse to use GPS, if you’d been driving, you would’ve gotten us lost four times over before finding this place.” Leila snapped on leather gloves and reset the skull cap over her straight, dark hair.
“You ready?” Leila pulled her blaster from her hip holster and placed her thumb on the micro screen. The minicomputer inside recognized her DNA. A blue line etched along the side of the barrel, signalling it was charged and ready to go. With a finger, she nudged a nearby tab, and the blue streak changed to green. The blaster was set to kill.
Burgundy grunted. He slid Big Boy from its holster and tilted it so the barrel and chamber glinted in the lamplight. The hard rubber handle of the .500 magnum Smith and Wesson rested comfortably in his hand. The feel of the grip was as familiar to him as the creases in his favorite leather jacket. Was he ready? “Hell, yeah.”
Burgundy started to rise from a crouched position to slide along the alley wall to the building situated at its end when Leila checked him by clearing her throat.
“One thing. Don’t do anything stupid this time.”
“This time?” Annoyance crept into his voice. Not because of what she had said, but because she was right.
With one hand, Leila reached up and pulled on the edge of his black jacket to bring him back down to eye level. Of all the women in the world, only she had the balls to drag this mountain of a man back to the ground.
“Look, Burgundy. I get it. You’re big and strong, and damn brave, too, I’ll give you that. After working together over the last few weeks, I figure there’s no one else I’d rather barge into an unfamiliar building with. You’re good with a gun and can turn anyone into a New City pretzel faster than that vendor on the corner of Eight and River. I know you don’t think you’ve got much up there--” here, she tapped him lightly on the forehead, “but that’s not true. You just have to take a second to think before dashing off into unknown territory. As much as improvising can get you out of a tough spot, it can also get you killed.”
Burgundy brushed her hand aside and stood up. He tugged on the front panels of his jacket with both hands, snapping the leather to straighten them out. “Thinking isn’t my thing. Shooting shit up with Big Boy and wrecking stuff with my bare hands, on the other hand--”