We were somewhere around Plaistow on the edge of the desert when the earphone sang. I slowed the Lambo Ballbuster and signalled for Heem, my butler, to take the call. ‘It’s a woman’, he said, ‘called Literary Review. There’s been a change of plan. You’ve got to cover the latest Hunter Thompson instead of those cruddy medical books. Deadline’s tomorrow.’ ‘Expenses?’ I snarled, wrenching my crazy 24-cylinder land-shark across the roof of a stationary Honda Hophcad. Keep moving. ‘No’, replied Heem, ‘apparently not.’
I gave him the stink-eye. ‘Chickenshit wimps! Tell them not to fuck with me,’ I screamed. I was driving like a bastard, taking the cross-country route through some shambling allotments. ‘Tell them to eat shit and die!’ I changed down to sixth, kneecapping a passing Mercedes Mescal, and knocked the cap off my Famous Grouse. I was well armed, and getting jabbering drunk. ‘They say, is that a maybe?’ reported Heem. God hell. In my confusion I was trying to ram a Jim Morrison CD into the onboard Fax. You bastards! I hit the loud pedal and scattered a small posse of schoolboy bicyclists who were in my goddam way as we sped down the tow-path at a weird angle. One of the geeks got his machine caught on my moose-fender; he was hanging on for dear life. Probably the son of a gossip columnist. Shucks. I shrugged him off at the next exit, by which time he was completely fucked. ZANG!
We are, after all, professionals.
I bolted myself into my den, and began slicing grapefruits with my 18-inch hunting knife. Something ugly was about to happen. I was sure of it. Literary Review is bad people. They get to you in the end. I brushed the marijuana seeds off my elegant new typewriter and poured