Monty and the getaway

A short piece of fiction for your entertainment featuring Monty, gentleman thief, and his long-suffering PA, Molly.

~~~

The wind whistled over the damp cobbles, adding to the icy chill in the air. Molly picked her way between the frost-rimmed puddles reflecting the dingy sodium light of the street lamps. She shivered and pulled her long black coat tighter around herself. What was a nice girl like her doing out on a night like this, she mused to herself, checking her watch. Wrong side of midnight too. Closer to dawn really. A girl really needed her beauty sleep rather than being out in the cold.

Her cellphone buzzed in her coat pocket, breaking her reverie. She pulled out a bluetooth earbud, popped it in place and answered the call she’d been expecting.

“Ah, boss. I’ve got a little problem.” She turned at the street corner, scanning left and right. “It’s about the car.”

“It got towed.”

She pulled the earbud out as Monty unleashed a tirade of invective, gave her employer a moment to finish then replaced the tiny transmitter. “I know, I know. Looking for a replacement now.” She’d spotted a car a hundred yards down the street, parked in a dark spot between two lamp posts. She hurried towards it. Not ideal, and she could imagine what Monty would think of it, but needs must.

“Wait, got one. What’s your ETA?” A staccato burst of gunfire from above answered her question. She killed the connection and delved into her handbag, fishing out the lockpick set that Monty had made for her. He’d been giving her lessons on how to deal with the basics. She hoped that she remembered what he’d taught her. The freezing night air didn’t help and she had to stop to blow on her hands to warm them up as she fumbled with the slim metal tools. That one went in *there* and this one like *that*. She twiddled them experimentally.

The cellphone buzzed again. Monty announced that he’d need a car by the front entrance in, oh, about twenty seconds or so, preferably moving, preferably very fast. Ideally something in the bulletproof line, but he realised that beggars couldn’t be choosers but could she please hurry up, thankyouverymuch. Molly hung up and returned her attention to the lock. Another fumble and she’d dropped the tension pick. In the manner of all things dropped near parked cars, it helpfully bounced underneath the vehicle, just out of reach.

Molly swore loudly, kicked the car and examined her options. Monty needed a car, now. She’d lost her means of getting into this car. Any car, for that matter. Another burst of gunfire focussed her mind and a solution popped up.

The brick made a satisfying crunch as it went through the passenger window, spraying the interior with tiny shards of glass. Brilliant. One car. Hotwiring, she was good at, taught at a very early age by her elder brother, Charlie. Three seconds later and the car was laying down streaks of rubber. It hurtled towards the junction and she threw it into a handbrake turn, tyres protesting loudly. She grinned. This was fun.

Monty exited the building via the large glass front doors. She was not surprised to notice that he hadn’t bothered to open them first. Stylish. He was being pursued by two security guards bearing semi-automatics, firing wildly at their quarry. He bounded down the steps five at a time and dived through the newly removed passenger window. Molly, at his request, floored it.

It took him a second or two to recover his composure and dust himself off before he took in his method of escape.

“What on…”

Molly cut him off. “I know, I know. I was kind of stuck for choice.”

“It’s a…”

She gave him one of her trademark Looks. “Would you rather walk?”

He returned the Look. “Quite frankly, yes. I mean, there are cars and there are cars, and then there’s… this?”

She screeched the custom-built, neon-paint jobbed, darkened windowed, rear-spoilered boy racer to a halt. Two large fluffy dice bumped on the windshield.

“Out you get then.”

A bullet took out the rear window, destroying the elaborate flaming skull decoration. He sighed and waved her on. Molly smiled sweetly and put her foot down again.

“You’re actually sulking, aren’t you?” she said, glancing over at him, sat there with his arms folded and the beginnings of a pout on his lips.

“I don’t like these cars. Remember what happened to the last one? It was rubbish. It very nearly blew us up.”

Molly thought for a second. “No, the rocket-propelled grenade nearly blew us up. It was hardly the car’s fault. And it was either this or one of those tiny French cars. This one at least looked like it might get us out of here in a hurry.” She looked in the rear-view mirror. “Hold on…”

The car slid around the corner sideways, engine screaming in protest. Unfortunately for her, the guards seemed to have a very nice, very fast looking black SUV which took the corner almost as well as she did.

She looked down at the speedometer as it crept up past sixty, seventy, seventy five. There was no way they’d get away from these goons, not in this, not now they’d reached the main road. “Running out of ideas, boss.”

Monty delved into his backpack for a moment, and came out with a small package. “Lucky for us I didn’t need this to get into the safe. Those old Dortmunder & Fforde 900 models are too much fun to crack…”

He flicked a switch, grinned then leaned out of the window before lobbing the explosive charge in a carefully timed arc.

The resulting explosion was small, but enough. Especially as he’d thrown it at the lorry they’d been passing. A lorry containing a load of scaffolding poles, which rather helpfully strew themselves in the path of the SUV.

Monty leaned back in his seat. “Brilliant. Despite your appalling taste in cars, a job well done.” He delved into his backpack again. “Want to see it?”

Molly nodded, and whistled softly as he unwrapped the black velvet from his newly acquired prize. “That’s possibly the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.”

Monty grinned. “Isn’t it just? Zenn is going to be *so* mad. I wish I could see his face when he finds out it’s gone” He scratched his ear, thoughtfully. “Do you have…”

“In my bag.”

He retrieved the small laptop and powered it up. “Where..?”

“Third one down. It’s the one which says ‘monitor'”

Monty clicked the icon and a window opened onscreen. It was dark. “Come on, Zenn. You must be there by now. Don’t you want to even check… ahhh. There we go.”

A man’s face appeared in the window, a slim face framed by silver hair and a neat goatee beard. It looked annoyed. Very annoyed. Monty grinned and waved as his nemesis picked up the tiny remote camera he’d left in the safe.

“Gotcha…”

Author interview with a difference

Choose one of your characters, and tell us a story that has them describe YOU as an author by using the character’s voice to let us know a little bit about both of you.

“So, you’re him,” Monty said. He leaned back in his chair and sipped a latte from an oversized mug.

Molly looked up from her laptop. She’d been tapping away at the keyboard ever since I arrived, looking up only as the barista had brought my coffee. I noted the look that passed between the two women and smiled to myself. They made a lovely couple, even if I said so myself.

“Yes, that’s him. I’ve been checking out his online accounts. Seems like you’re quite the online socialite.” She ran a finger down the screen. “Flickr, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter… Oh, so much Twitter. Even a Google Plus account. Didn’t realise people still used that. And Ello! Crikey.”

“Quite a number of dormant accounts too – mostly LiveJournal clones, random Blogger accounts. Registered on dozens of online forums. And an… interesting selection of domains registered in your name.”

I wasn’t surprised, obviously. I’d given Molly a health set of geek credentials, not to mention a rather nice new laptop courtesy of Monty’s bank account. Monty just hadn’t realised it yet.

He was my favourite, I had to admit.

No, wait. Scratch that. They were my favourites. Whilst Monty had started his adventures alone, many years ago, it was only when Molly had turned up as his erstwhile personal assistant/hacker that the adventures had really taken off. As their author, it was quite scary how sometimes I just had to sit back and let them exchange witty one-liners whilst I worked out where the particularly adventure in question was going.

“So, Mister So-called-author. I bet you’re wondering why I called you here today?” Monty said.

I nodded. It’s not every day that you get a message from one of your fictional characters via your Facebook account. I wondered if I’d given Molly a few too many geek credentials, and resolved to change all of my online passwords just to be on the safe side.

“Well, my dear boy. It boils down to this. You’ve spent many many years now writing us into some quite splendid adventures,” he paused briefly to finish off his coffee, waved his mug at the cute barista and continued.

“But there’s one thing I’d really like to know.”

“What’s that?” I asked, curious to see what Mister Edward Montecron, ace gentleman thief, coffee lover and product of my imagination, could possibly want to know.

“Are you ever going to actually finish writing a story?”

Fair point. Jenny, the cute barista, arrived with a fresh mug of coffee for Monty and a wink for Molly. She briefly gave me a thumbs-up, pointed at Molly and mouthed ‘thank you’ to me. I blushed.

“See, you’ve written us into dozens of story snippets. Dozens! Usually half-way through some daring adventure. All kinds of crazy goings on.”

“There was the one with the dragons,” Molly interrupted.

“Yes! Case in point! Big, nasty dragons, with teeth the size of… ” he trailed off, thoughtful. “Though that was a bit of a departure for you. Usually it’s jewels, to be fair. That, and dangling from precarious ledges whilst being chased by armed security.”

He waggled a finger at me.

“Well? Are you ever going to finish one of our adventures?”

TO BE CONTINUED…

[edit]
Amusingly (to me at least), I wrote this back in 2011. Still haven’t finished a Monty story.

Yet.

writing meme

It’s a writing meme! The idea is that writers answer ten questions about the book they are currently working on, then tag five writing friends to do likewise. Jon was kind enough to tag me, so I’ll answer the questions here.

1. What is the working title of your next book?

It doesn’t really have one. Although ‘next’ book kind of suggests that there’s a book for it to be next from. Which there isn’t. I have written a few short stories though, and have started a couple of non-Monty stories.

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

Monty isinspired in no small part by the adventures of one James Bolivar ‘Slippery Jim’ di Griz, aka The Stainless Steel Rat, with a dash of Thomas Crown (the Brosnan version), soupçon of Danny Ocean. Basically a bunch of heist books/flicks with a smart-talking main character.

3. What genre does your book fall under?

See #2. Heist/Con with added funny. Wisecracking one-liners a speciality.

4. What actors would you choose to play the characters in a movie rendition?

Monty: For a long time at the start he was going to be played by Ewan McGregor, though currently I’ve cast Tim Roth (albeit a slightly younger version) after seeing him in Lie To Me.
tim roth

Molly: This is the one I have the most trouble with. Kelly Macdonald?

600full-kelly-macdonald
Jenny (the cute barista): not sure. Had been thinking Carey Mulligan perhaps. Maybe.

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Monty, ace gentleman thief, gets himself into trouble, again. Dangerous amounts of coffee are consumed. Hijinks ensue.

6. Is your book represented by an agency?

Good lord no. Using the word ‘book’ is scary enough.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Again, this sort of implies that I’ve finished a first draft. Which is not entirely true.

8. What other books would you compare this to within your genre?

See #2. Possibly with a bit of Donald E. Westlake thrown into the mix.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Lawks. I can’t quite remember. I do recall doing a character sketch for Monty many many years ago, which turned into a Chapter One, which was pulled apart (in the nicest possible sense) by my friend Pete. So I rewrote it from scratch. It’s better now. However, I’ve done lots of Chapter Ones, but not many Chapter Twos.

10. What else about this book might pique the reader’s interest?

FREE CHOCOLATE WITH EVERY COPY[1]

I’m not tagging any other writers though. If you want to be tagged, consider yourself tagged.

If you want to read some of my Monty stuff, it’s collected here

[1] the chocolate may be a lie.

Monty & the Minefield

The red phone on Molly’s desk rang.

Monty.

She knew it was him, as he’d insisted on installing the old-fashioned bright red phone a couple of weeks earlier. It had no dial or keypad, just a large red button on the phone’s body which flashed in time to the ringer. Molly had asked if it was the actual Bat Phone, but Monty had just smiled a cryptic smile, tapped one finger against the side of his nose, and left.

Molly had, of course, made some modifications of her own. Old telephones are all very well and retro was quite the thing these days, but they gave a girl neckache, cradling the receiver on your shoulder and all that.

She pressed a button on her bluetooth headset.

“Yes, boss?”

“What’s the worst thing that you can hear when walking through a minefield?”

She paused. She was used to Monty calling her at random times wanting something or other. Was this a trick question?

“Err…”

“Let me rephrase that. Aside from the sound of the explosion, moments before your legs shoot past your ears, what’s the next most frightening sound?”

This time he didn’t give her a chance to answer before continuing.

“Actually, I suppose you wouldn’t actually hear the explosion, what with pressure waves and the fact you’d been more or less instantaneously turned into so many pounds of damp pink goo, but…”

She could almost hear the cogs turning in his brain.

“Sorry, yes. Where was I? Ah. I can reliably inform you that it’s the sharp ‘click’ of a pressure sensor being activated. And, since I’m still here talking to you, no prizes for guessing which one I’ve just heard.”

“Oh, shit…”

“Exactly, my dear. Are you terribly busy? I really could do with a spot of help. Rather urgently, if possible…”

~~~~ Continue reading “Monty & the Minefield”

Monty: Prank calls

“Who are you phoning?” asked Molly, looking up from her computer monitor. 

“Oh, don’t mind me,” he replied, flicking through the telephone directory he’d been carrying as he walked into her office. “Ah. There we go. Mind if I use your phone?”

Monty picked up the telephone and started pressing buttons, checking against the number on the page. Molly waved her hand for him to continue. They were his phones after all. 

He cradled the handset on his shoulder. “Saw something interesting on the side of a truck this morning. Thought I’d give them a call… Hello?”

Molly sighed. Dear God, she thought. Was it really that time of the month already? She continued typing up her resume.

Monty stuck his tongue out at her, then returned his attention to the call. “Hello. Yes. Diamond Relocations? I saw one of your trucks this morning and have a little job for you. The address? Zenn Industries HQ, Thomasson Plaza. Yes, the centre of town. Are you free today?”

Molly rolled her eyes, clicked on save, then got up and went over to the coffee machine. She waved a mug at Monty.

“Excellent. What? How many boxes? Just the one.” He grinned, twirling his yellow pencil around in his fingers, nodding at Molly’s offer. “Very small. About three inches square. The Mortens-Haag Diamond. He keeps it in a safe on the thirty-seventh floor. Do you provide security or should …”

He held the handset away from his ear, a look of glee on his face. “Got further with that lot! I wonder…” He resumed flicking through the pages of the directory.

“Don’t you get bored of doing that?” Molly asked.

“Never, my dear girl. Never. Aha! Here we go…”

She poured him a large mug of something dangerously caffeinated, and leaned over his shoulder to see what he’d circled with his pencil.

“You’re not…”

His grin was the only answer she needed. She sat down, plugged in her headphones and cranked the volume up. Monty ignored her and dialled.

“Hello? Yes. Twenty-Four Hour Recovery? Saw one of your trucks this morning, and have *just* the job for you. I need last Tuesday back, it’s a bit of a blur…” 

Monty: cars

An old snippet of writing that I stumbled across in a long-forgotten folder on my PC. Made me smile. Must write some more Monty soon.

~~~

The wind whistled over the damp cobbles, adding to the icy chill in the air. Molly picked her way between the frost-rimmed puddles which reflected the dingy sodium light of the street lamps. She shivered and pulled her long black coat tighter around herself. What was a nice girl like her doing out on a night like this, she mused to herself, checking her watch. Wrong side of midnight too. Closer to dawn really. A girl really needed her beauty sleep rather than being out in the cold.

Her cellphone buzzed in her coat pocket, breaking her reverie. She pulled out a bluetooth earbud, popped it in place and answered the call she’d been expecting.

“Ah, boss. I’ve got a little problem.” She turned at the street corner, scanning left and right. “It’s about the car.”

“It got towed.”

She pulled the earbud out as Monty unleashed a tirade of invective, gave her employer a moment to finish then replaced the tiny transmitter. “I know, I know. Looking for a replacement now.” She’d spotted a car a hundred yards down the street, parked in a dark spot between two lamp posts. She hurried towards it. Not ideal, and she could imagine what Monty would think of it, but needs must.

“Wait, got one. What’s your ETA?” A staccato burst of gunfire from above answered her question. She killed the connection and delved into her handbag, fishing out the lockpick set that Monty had made for her. He’d been giving her lessons on how to deal with the basics. She hoped that she remembered what he’d taught her. The freezing night air didn’t help and she had to stop to blow on her hands to warm them up as she fumbled with the slim metal tools. That one went in *there* and this one like *that*. She twiddled them experimentally.

The cellphone buzzed again. Monty announced that he’d need a car by the front entrance in, oh, about twenty seconds or so, preferably moving, preferably very fast. Ideally something in the bulletproof line, but he realised that beggars couldn’t be choosers but could she please hurry up, thankyouverymuch. Molly hung up and returned her attention to the lock. Another fumble and she’d dropped the tension pick. In the manner of all things dropped near parked cars, it helpfully bounced underneath the vehicle, just out of reach.

Molly swore loudly, kicked the car and examined her options. Monty needed a car, now. She’d lost her means of getting into this car. Any car, for that matter. Another burst of gunfire focussed her mind and a solution popped up.

The brick made a satisfying crunch as it went through the passenger window, spraying the interior with tiny shards of glass. Brilliant. One car. Hotwiring, she was good at, taught at a very early age by her elder brother, Charlie. Three seconds later and the car was laying down streaks of rubber. It hurtled towards the junction and she threw it into a handbrake turn, tyres protesting loudly. She grinned. This was fun.

Monty exited the building via the large glass front doors. She was not surprised to notice that he hadn’t bothered to open them first. Stylish. He was being pursued by two security guards bearing semi-automatics, firing wildly at their quarry. He bounded down the steps five at a time and dived through the newly removed passenger window. Molly, at his request, floored it.

It took him a second or two to recover his composure and dust himself off before he took in his method of escape.

“What on…”

Molly cut him off. “I know, I know. I was kind of stuck for choice.”

“It’s a…”

She gave him one of her trademark Looks. “Would you rather walk?”

He returned the Look. “Quite frankly, yes. I mean, there are cars and there are cars, and then there’s… this?”

She screeched the custom-built, neon-paint jobbed, darkened windowed, rear-spoilered boy racer to a halt. Two large fluffy dice bumped on the windshield.

“Out you get then.”

A bullet took out the rear window, destroying the elaborate flaming skull decoration. He sighed and waved her on. Molly smiled sweetly and put her foot down again.

“You’re actually sulking, aren’t you?” she said, glancing over at him, sat there with his arms folded and the beginnings of a pout on his lips.

“I don’t like these cars. Remember what happened to the last one? It was rubbish. It very nearly blew us up.”

Molly thought for a second. “No, the rocket-propelled grenade nearly blew us up. It was hardly the car’s fault. And it was either this or one of those tiny French cars. This one at least looked like it might get us out of here in a hurry.” She looked in the rear-view mirror. “Hold on…”

The car slid around the corner sideways, engine screaming in protest. Unfortunately for her, the guards seemed to have a very nice, very fast looking black SUV which took the corner almost as well as she did.

She looked down at the speedometer as it crept up past sixty, seventy, seventy five. There was no way they’d get away from these goons, not in this, not now they’d reached the main road. “Running out of ideas, boss.”

Monty delved into his backpack for a moment, and came out with a small package. “Lucky for us I didn’t need this to get into the safe. Those old Dortmunder & Fforde 900 models are too much fun to crack…”

He flicked a switch, grinned then leaned out of the window before lobbing the explosive charge in a carefully timed arc.

The resulting explosion was small, but enough. Especially as he’d thrown it at the lorry they’d been passing. A lorry containing a load of scaffolding poles, which rather helpfully strew themselves in the path of the SUV.

Monty leaned back in his seat. “Brilliant. Despite your appalling taste in cars, a job well done.” He delved into his backpack again. “Want to see it?”

Molly nodded, and whistled softly as he unwrapped the black velvet from his newly acquired prize. “That’s possibly the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.”

Monty grinned. “Isn’t it just? Zenn is going to be *so* mad. I wish I could see his face when he finds out it’s gone” He scratched his ear, thoughtfully. “Do you have…”

“In my bag.”

He retrieved the small laptop and powered it up. “Where..?”

“Third one down. It’s the one which says ‘monitor'”

Monty clicked the icon and a window opened onscreen. It was dark. “Come on, Zenn. You must be there by now. Don’t you want to even check… ahhh. There we go.”

A man’s face appeared in the window, a slim face framed by silver hair and a neat goatee beard. It looked annoyed. Very annoyed. Monty grinned and waved as his nemesis picked up the tiny remote camera he’d left in the safe.

“Gotcha…”