From “18 Days” (a novel excerpt)
I started this novel awhile ago and I want to get back into it. I’m having trouble getting into my characters heads, however. I thought that by sharing it with you, my wonderful blog followers, I might trip the circuits in my brain into thinking about John & Jane again. Any feedback would be appreciated! If nothing else, I simply enjoy sharing what I write…someday someone might even give me money for it. 😉
Read the synopsis for this story here.
Once upon a time I was an assassin. Yeah. My story ain’t no fairy tale though. Fantastical? Very much so. Hard to swallow? Maybe. But it’s no more make-believe than yours. Everything you’re about to read really is true…more or less. Again, it’s as real as yours. We all adjust things and highlight certain details while leaving others out. Make us look our best or the most dramatic. Still the truth just…polished.
Now, don’t go thinking I’m one of those unreliable storytellers. I will tell you the truth as I know it, as I remember it. At least, as much as I know about it.
You see, I was kidnapped. When I was just 22. From my own college graduation if you can believe that! Celebrating the biggest day of my adulthood up to that point. Ready to embark on a new adventure. And I did, more or less. Just not the adventure I had planned on.
Come take a walk with me down memory lane. I’ll paint a picture of the good old days.
The days that I got paid to kill.
Picture it. College graduation in the Midwest. Not a big state university but a small private college. Nearly everyone knew everyone else. And for about 300 of us, it was our last day there. The lush green campus, the red brick buildings, the iconic clock tower that rang out the hours even at three o’clock in the damn morning. Yes, it was a beautiful campus and I was beyond ready to leave after four years there.
I guess to help you picture me in this scenario, you probably want to know what I look like as well. Well, I’m average. Forgettable. I’m not saying that to be negative to myself, it’s just what everyone has always told me. Joe Average. That’s not my name, of course! My name is John Smith. No, that’s not a joke. It’s my name. The most common name in the US of A and my parents couldn’t get more creative than that. But, it went along with my looks.
Nondescript ash-brown hair. Calm brown eyes, nearly sleepy in appearance. Black horn rimmed glasses that I wish I could say I wore ironically. Normal Roman nose. I did have a good mouth – a kissable mouth my girlfriends always said. Bottom lip a little fuller than the top, a smile usually lifting the corner – no resting bitch face for me! I had a small dimple in my right cheek that helped when I needed to be charming. No dented chin or birthmarks or anything like that. Soon enough I’d have a tattoo but I’ll explain that at the right time.
I’m also of average height, an unassuming 5′ 11″. I was on the skinnier side until I got to college then I filled out to a comfortable 166. I tended to wear t-shirts and jeans most days. Nothing with a catchy slogan or even remotely fashionable, just plain colored shirts and a rotation of four pairs of jeans. A couple of pairs of khakis and some dark slacks had entered my wardrobe in the last year or so and then a suit when I had to start doing some job interviews. A simple black suit with barely perceptible pinstripes that I’d actually had professionally tailored to accentuate my lanky frame in a more muscled fashion. That’s what I was wearing to graduation – the black suit with a pale gray shirt and an emerald green and silver striped tie. The school colors, of course. A few of my geekier friends thought I was wearing it as a nod to Slytherin but they had to explain what they were talking about to me. Now that I know, I wish I had chosen my blue and bronze tie instead.
To this day I believe that suit was what started all the craziness. They must have mistaken me from the back for someone else. The real man they wanted for this job. I was a nobody.
Actually, that’s not entirely true. I’m wasn’t without my charms back then. I was top of my class in both high school and college. Not valedictorian by any means, but top 10%. I excelled on the debate team in both places. I was also good at individual sports, lettering in tennis and bowling in high school. Yes, bowling. In school, it’s a sport, not a reason to go drinking with your friends. I didn’t do much in the way of sports at college, but I did pick up both ultimate frisbee and disc golf. Those throwing skills would actually prove to be beneficial later as well.
I’m a little down on my looks because I think people picture Matt Damon or Liam Neeson when they think of cool assassin types. Rest assured I’m not as good looking as either of them. But I’m not unattractive to the opposite sex, either. I’d had several girlfriends over the years, usually impressing them with my tennis physique, suggesting a night of bowling “tutoring”, and charming them with that one-dimple smile. Then I found my high school sweetheart just before our senior year was over. Our relationship lasted through high school graduation and all through college. My Jane Doe.
I kid you not.
Jane Doe is her name. She, however, was named ironically by her parents and not because they had a lack of imagination like mine. Her father was named John Doe (again, I kid you not) and he married Imogean. She went by Imma, however. Yes, Imma Doe. You couldn’t make this stuff up, right? Jane was destined to be seriously messed up or to be quite lovely with a wicked fun sense of humor. I promise you, she is the latter.
To save us embarrassment out in public, we referred to each other simply as, “Honey”. Otherwise, people were constantly asking us if those were our real names – John Smith and Jane Doe. We both lived our lives with built-in anonymity. Huh. Maybe one of us really was destined to be an assassin.
As I said our relationship lasted four years. But that’s not entirely accurate either. It only ended because I was kidnapped. But we were destined to meet again. But, rather than get more off track, let’s get back to the kidnapping. The rest of the story will be revealed in good time.
### To Be Continued ###