Head Shot (A Thriller): A Crime and Suspense Thriller

BOOK: Head Shot (A Thriller): A Crime and Suspense Thriller
2.48Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub




Head Shot





Dani Amore


Copyright © 2014 by Dani Amore


HEAD SHOT is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. All rights reserved. No part of this publication can be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, without permission in writing from the author or publisher.


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Head Shot





Dani Amore







“You come in and take a seat as one of the audience...you become a participant in the life being depicted...You look at the stage and say:  I believe everything, everything, everything..."   

                     -Constantin Stanislavski






Hold it back.

He stood on the bridge and watched the whiskey colored water pour over the dam, churning into a dirty froth before it flattened out and roared beneath the bridge on its way out of town.

The heavy rains had tested the old dam, but it was holding strong. 

The man wasn’t doing as well.

Hold it back, he thought again.

His desires were darker than the iron-rich water, and they moved with the same kind of relentless need.  Images flashed through his mind of the women he’d had before.  Of the things he’d done to them and the thoughts caused him to grind his teeth and press his groin against the steel railing.

He turned and began to walk back toward town.  He had parked several blocks away in a residential neighborhood in front of a vacant lot and now set out toward the row of shops and restaurants that drew visitors to the area.

A woman’s laugh erupted from one of the nearby stores and he felt a pang of desire.

Hold it back.

But he couldn’t hold it back much longer.  All of the usual tricks had been exhausted.  The half-measures.  The stopgaps.  They had all failed him once again and left him with no choice.

Now, only the real thing would do.






Lisa Young, her head full of wedding plans, swerved to avoid rear-ending the car in front of her.  Her palms were sweaty as she gripped the steering wheel and she forced herself to concentrate on the traffic ahead, which seemed to be slowing down and speeding up for no other reason than to annoy the hell out of her.

Moving over into the fast lane, she gunned the little four-cylinder engine of her Honda Civic and sped past the offending vehicles whose drivers were apparently content to be stuck behind a truck carrying aluminum siding.  Now free and clear of the bunched up group, Lisa let her mind slowly drift back to the plans at hand, namely that of how to orchestrate her wedding so that it would be everything she'd always dreamed it would be.

Many of Lisa Young's older girlfriends, who had experienced the pain and the angst of love gone wrong in the form of torturous divorces, equated the institution of marriage to that of a death sentence.  And they had no problem sharing these thoughts with their younger, more optimistic friend.

But Lisa was in love, and she refused to accept such a cynical view.

She looked at herself in the rearview.  She had short blonde hair and her blue eyes expressed the hope and optimism she felt.  Friends always described her as a “cutie.”

The fact was, she and Brian would make super cute babies.  Lisa had fallen for Brian Pitchard the minute they’d met. The two had a certain chemistry right off the bat, their conversations were always easy and fun.

Now, they were deeply in love, had picked out an engagement ring and would soon announce their intention to wed.

The ring was beautiful. 

Almost two carats in weight, it was a solitaire with a platinum band.  Very simple, very striking, and very expensive.  Although the engagement was official, they hadn’t told anyone as of yet.  The first to know would be her parents, who were not going to be overly excited about their twenty-four year old daughter marrying a thirty-eight year old divorced father of one.

Lisa could not stop looking at her ring.  It symbolized everything she had ever dreamed of.  A man she loved.  The chance one day to become a mother.  A big wedding.  She would quit her job and do the things she loved, gardening, shopping, cooking, and decorating their new house that Brian was building. 

Every time she looked at the ring her heart swelled at the thought of her new future.  And that was why, tonight, she decided she had to go out, anywhere, and show off her ring.

The Java House was a small, quaint coffee and espresso shop in Cedarburg, a historic, tourist magnet of a village just north of Milwaukee.   

The small town had begun in the early 1800s as the center of a burgeoning woolen industry.  A mill and the three cavernous buildings that once housed the factory workers and milling machines were now home to antique shops, craft stores and any schlocky merchandise that was quite frequently deigned as being "just darling" by Chicagoans who considered the two-and-a-half hour drive to be a highly enjoyable day trip.

Lisa drove the little red Civic up I-43 to the Highway C exit, and then took the ten-minute drive from the freeway into town.

She entered the small, dimly lit coffee shop and the comforting smell of coffee beans wrapped itself around her like a warm sweater on a cold winter night.

A group of ten tables and a long bar with a brass rail were the centerpieces of the Java House. 

Rich, mahogany walls and a blazing fire in the fireplace made for a particularly warm and cozy atmosphere.  A jukebox at the far end of the room cast the sounds of soft jazz through the air. A chalkboard hung behind the bar, displaying the specials as well as the menu regulars in different colors of chalk, along with their respective prices.  The prices were quite high, Lisa noted, but they were designed to gouge the Illinois tourists, a practice in which Wisconsinites took great pleasure.

Only two of the tables were occupied, one a couple with a small child, the other a man sipping a latte reading the Ozaukee County Press, a local newspaper.

Lisa stepped up the bar and ordered a double latte, not worried about the caffeine keeping her up all night as she’d spent the past few nights wide awake, her head full of wedding plans and to-do lists.

When she paid the girl behind the counter she was sure to grasp the money with her left hand, palm down.  Lisa watched the girl take the ring in and she smiled inwardly to herself, the feeling that at least she was able to show someone the ring, even if it was a complete stranger.

She took a table near the fireplace, the cool night air having left remnants of chills on Lisa’s face, nothing the warm latte and burning logs couldn’t take care of.

First off, she had to find a hall.  Her number one choice was Turner Hall, downtown, across from the Bradley Center where the Milwaukee Bucks played. 

It was an ancient, cavernous hall with beautiful, dramatic ceilings and breathtaking stained glass windows.  It was going to be a big wedding, close to three hundred people and she’d need something the size of Turner to accommodate everyone.  The thought of her at the altar, in a beautiful wedding dress - she had to start trying on dresses immediately - still took her breath away.

Suddenly, Lisa realized she’d been staring into the fireplace for the last fifteen minutes and her latte had gotten lukewarm.  It’s just as well, she thought, drinking the rest of it one gulp, there's still time to look through the stack of Bride magazines sitting on the coffee table at home, maybe there would be some good ideas there.

She put on her coat, debated about leaving a tip and decided to, what the heck, money wouldn’t be a problem anymore.  Brian made extremely good money. 

Lisa Young opened the door and walked outside, the cool air felt refreshing, but she was definitely looking forward to the warm summer ahead, and then of course, the big event in the fall. 

Her mind busy composing tomorrow’s to-do list, Lisa walked to her car and placed the key in the lock.  She glanced up at the building across from the Java House, a beautiful old Victorian home that was a realtor's office.  Lawyers and realtors always have the nicest homes in towns like Cedarburg, Lisa noted, taking in the exquisite detail work on the porch rails, the fish scale gables.  Maybe some interesting Victorian details like that would like good on our new house, Lisa thought to herself.  She made a mental note to mention it to Brian. 

     She unlocked the Civic and saw a shadow fall quickly across her car door.  She heard the faint sound of gravel scraping behind her, and then she was knocked unconscious.






"It's not who you know, it's who you blow," said the young man sitting next to Mike Sharpe.  They were in the lobby of United Creative Management, one of Hollywood's biggest and most famous talent agencies.  Mike turned and looked at the young man, clearly new in town, fresh off the boat as they say, but Mike made no comment, just a smile and a nod, not really caring to get into a conversation.

The expression, which Mike had heard hundreds of times, epitomized for him the spirit of Hollywood.   

Mike had been in L.A. for almost two years playing the struggling actor part to the hilt.  He'd read parts hundreds of times, been in countless meetings with directors and producers, had gone to all the right parties, had been through a couple of agents, and had seen Hollywood at its worst.  He'd watched actors and actresses walk off with parts they'd won not based on how well they could act, but how enthusiastically they could move their rock hard bodies between the producer's Italian silk sheets.

A magazine on the glass and chrome coffee table in front of him caught his eye.  On the cover was the latest action hero, cocking a tough guy's cool charisma, his mouth pursed in a half-smile half-smirk.  According to the caption, the star was going into production on another one of his trademark action pictures, one in which he endures all kinds of unimaginable abuse only to survive and kill every last one of the bad guys. 

Mike always thought he would be a good guy to cast in one of those films.  Of course, he'd have to work his way up to be able to carry a picture, but he had the strong body and rough hewn face that seemed to be the requirement for starring in a tough-guy flick. Maybe one day he'd get the chance.

He picked up the magazine and leafed through it, stopping at an interview with a famous television star.  Mike scanned it for any tips on breaking into acting but there wasn't much.  The actor mostly talked about how great his fans were, and how many of them called him "Bondo" when they saw him on the street, an allusion to his character on the show.

The star added that he thought most of his fans were calling him by his character's name for fun, but a couple would actually go on to tell him he was treating his co-star like shit and he didn't deserve her, or others told him his female counterpart on the show was no good and pleaded him to dump her, as if he was his character, not the actor portraying him.

Weird, Mike thought.  One day maybe he would have that problem.  Mike had told his folks back home in Wisconsin, who were always clamoring for him to come back and get a real job, that he was getting closer to his big break, he didn't know if they believed him, but he knew he was slowly beginning to wonder if he even believed it himself anymore. 

"Mike," the receptionist said, startling him from his self-doubt.  "Beta will see you now."

He stood and the young actor gave him a thumbs-up sign, which Mike did not return. 

The plush carpet felt luxurious under his feet, whoever coined the phrase "pounding the pavement" had never tried to become an actor in Hollywood. 

He made his way down the hallway, not even bothering to look at the framed pictures of celebrities on the walls that had enthralled him endlessly upon his arrival in La-La Land.  He figured at this point the only way he could get his picture on the walls of these offices would be to take a job as a janitor and be dubbed employee-of-the-week.

Beta Giancarlo's office was in the back corner of the U-shaped hallway, and Mike walked in with a quick rap on the doorframe.

A rail-thin brunette with luminous dark eyes and an ivory complexion, she looked to be about twenty-five years old but was probably closer to forty.  Beta didn't look up from her sleek black desktop computer as she greeted him. 

"Come in, Mike," she said as she continued tapping on her keyboard.  Mike sank into the black leather and chrome chair, which was every bit as uncomfortable as it looked.  He looked absently around the office and sighed inwardly.  The space had about as much warmth as the Arctic tundra, dominated by a large desk made of sheet metal that featured corrugated rivets acting as a border and slim columns of jagged metal for legs.  The walls were completely empty save for one small etching hung on the far wall that was too far away for Mike to make any sense of.

With a final, decisive click on her keyboard, probably a nasty E-mail Mike thought to himself, she turned and faced him.

"Look, Mike, we're close," she said, immediately sensing his frustration.  "You've been right here," she held her fingers up, about a half-inch apart in a pinching motion, "on a couple feature films, but for whatever reason, you weren't chosen."

He started to interrupt but she cut him off.

"We're close.  Your name is making the rounds.  Your break is going to come.  In the meantime, however, you've got to get as much exposure as possible."

Mike looked at the ceiling, afraid to ask yet at the same time knowing he had no choice.

"What do you have for me, Beta?" he asked.

"A toll booth attendant or a person suffering from hemorrhoids," she said.

He almost started to laugh, but then straight into her dark eyes.  Yes, he believed she was in fact, serious.

"That's what I have to choose from?" he asked, his voice exasperated.  "A guy with hemorrhoids or a toll booth attendant?  What exactly is it about me," Mike continued, "that makes these people look at my picture and say, yep, here he is, here's our hemorrhoid boy slash toll booth attendant?  What the hell, do I look some kind of loser?"

"You should be flattered, they want the guy with hemorrhoids to be a handsome guy, and the toll booth attendant is an action spot, where he crashes through walls and chases down a car."

Mike looked at her and said nothing.

"Each has its own merits," continued Beta, unruffled by Mike's skepticism. 

"The hemorrhoid commercial would pay more, they have a bigger budget so we could bump your fee up."

"Yeah, my ass isn't cheap," Mike offered.

"The toll booth attendant is less money, but the commercial will run across the country, which means you'll get a lot more publicity, a national audience," Beta said.

A national audience was what Mike wanted.  He had been playing for small audiences all his life, starting with family gatherings in his hometown of Bay View, Wisconsin, a suburb of Milwaukee.

Mike looked at the smooth carpet under his feet.  Laying carpet was really an underrated skill, he thought to himself.  Maybe he should go back to Milwaukee and enroll in one of those colleges that offer majors like gun repair and lawn mower maintenance.  He could become a hell of a carpet guy, start a little business.  But that was hard work.  Long days on your knees.  Sort of like trying to be struggling actor in Hollywood.  God, that'd be hell, he thought.  Well, sometimes in life you've got to do what's necessary, as opposed to always doing what you want.  He looked up at Beta.

"Fine," said Mike.  "I'll audition for the goddamn toll attendant commercial, I've always wanted to sit in one of those little booths.”

BOOK: Head Shot (A Thriller): A Crime and Suspense Thriller
2.48Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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