Cliffhangers, Inc. By: L. Craig Woods


Cliffhangers, Inc. Chapter One
By: L. Craig Woods

"Are we expecting somebody?" Hal asked a little nervously, remembering the threatening message from Manny on their answering machine.

"I ordered Chinese, about an hour ago," Todd said, still working on an explanation to the editor as to why their submission was so late.

"Oh, okay," Hal said and moved toward the door. Ever cautious, he stopped with his hand on the doorknob and asked, "Who's there?"

"Delivery," came a muffled voice from the hallway.

"All right," Hal muttered, then unlocked and opened the door.

Standing outside was an extremely large Chinese gentleman, wearing traditional coolie clothing. The man looked vaguely familiar, but since they ordered in a lot, he had probably dropped food off to them a few times, before. His unusual outfit struck Hal as being somewhat odd, but he was holding two large bags of what--judging by the smell--could only be steaming, hot, take-out from Fat Fong's. From somewhere behind the delivery guy, Hal could faintly hear the elevator door going, 'ding...ding...ding'.

Hal took the bags from the man. "Hang on just a sec," he said and turned toward the kitchen door, which was just off the entryway. As he turned, he glanced over the Chinese man's shoulder and down the hallway, noticed a pair of feet sticking out of the elevator, the door repeatedly closing on them, producing the chime he had heard.

"Hey, what's up with--" Hal started to say, but saw that the Chinese guy now had a really wicked grin on his round, smooth face and suddenly Hal recognized where he had seen him before. This was Charlie Tong, one of Manny's strong-arm enforcers; he was a collector for over-due loan payments.

"Oh, crap," Hal muttered, beginning to back away from the door. He started to turn and warn Todd, but a short-handled axe appeared in Charlie's hand and quick as a snake, Charlie let the axe fly, directly at Hal's head.

To be continued....

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