Author Note: so, here's the next Green Hornet book I have decided to make. It has the same pizzazz as the others and a little less exciting I hate to admit. I've been changing the overall story about fifteen times. So, I'm happy with the final product. And there will be chapters, definitely!
Disclaimer: I own nothing but my personal characters. Any new readers to my stories will occasionally experience confusion. Go back and read my other books. (Please?)
By Peech Tao
I heard the shuffling in the garage. I ghosted down the stairs, half expecting to see Kato doing some late night work. No such luck, however. I knew it wasn't possible. I flicked the overhead lights on. The classic cars gleamed in the light reflecting off their perfectly waxed surfaces.
The one big difference about all the ordinary looking cars lined up in their perfect rows was the one car that should not be out at all, unless Kato and I were driving it, that was.
You guessed it. The Black Beauty.
Like a black phantom she sat, perfectly exposed at ground level.
"Kato?" I called into the garage hopefully. Some nights he'd just be down here. No reason. Just sitting and smelling the leather and wax. He was that kind of pervert. I never quite understood it.
"Kato? You down here?" I asked, still slightly on edge. It was impossible for us to forget to leave the car above ground. It was like waking up one day and saying, "Oh yeah, let's put our sneakers on before our t-shirt". Yeah, something like that.
I went over to the tool shelf and switched a few buttons. In no time the Black Beauty was flipping around to be hidden beneath the classic car. I'd ask Kato about the oddity in the morning. That, and the reason why his shop light was still on.
I walked forward through the garage until I was standing in the doorway.
"Kato?" I called.
Then the lights went out in more ways than just the literal sense.
I could actually feel the stars exploding through my brain. There was the muffled sound of running feet. I wondered if I was dreaming.
She was six foot two in five inch heels that could have stabbed me through the heart if she divined to use them as a deadly weapon. I had Kato keep an extra eye on her in case she became a little bit feisty. I didn't expect trouble, but then again, trouble did seem to find me all on its own.
I decided to err on the side of caution.
She wore silk in blue sapphire ruffles from her Swarovski crystal drop waist to the floor. From the waist up she was all boobs and halter top fighting for dominance and split by a necklace that I swore came from the Titanic set. From shoulders up was strait blond hair, sleek and feminine jaw leading to almond eyes the color of her jewels and dress. Voluptuous, beautiful, foxy, I doubt any one word could come close to what I saw in that woman at that moment.
Kato was standing at the bar behind me. He had a silly smirk on his face as he mixed drinks and played the part of respectable bartender. I was going to get an earful on this from him and I could see that coming. But, for now, I would just enjoy the sashaying sight of Miss March 2010 strolling right up to me. She leaned over the bar, real low, and whispered her drink order to Kato with luscious lips sliding past perfect pearl teeth.
Kato visibly swallowed his excitement, flicking his eyes to me. I suddenly doubted he was going to be on my case about her now.
"You must be the host of the evening. Britt Reid, am I right?" Miss March said. Her eyes were flirtatious and a little something else. I was dying to find out what that something else was.
I tried to remain suave. Smooth. The cool guy in charge. "Yeah, that's me. Call me Britt, miss?"
"Freesia Aden." She supplied the name I had already memorized from my recently misplaced Playboy collection. "a pleasure to meet you."
I planted a kiss on the delicate hand she offered. My smile was golden. I loved the way she said the word pleasure. "And the pleasure is all mine, I assure you. The man behind the bar is my Executive Associate, Kato."
She graced him with a smile.
Kato made a cute little bow. "Thanks for coming. Please, make yourself comfortable. The auction should start soon."
"Why, thank you." She took her fresh made drink and waltzed away, her hips swaying left, then right in time with her gorgeous body. Before I knew it my head was moving left and right as it followed that little hind end all the way into the crowed where her gorgeous body wasn't easily hidden.
"Nice girl." Kato said.
"Girl? Kato that thing is so not a girl, it's an overused blow-up doll is what it is. And Heaven knows she's tempting me too." I replied. "Let's just get this night fired up and over with. We have business downtown. And when I mean business, I mean—"
"Green business." Kato said with a shimmer of mischief. "Fantastic. The last time Casey's father had a fundraiser you ruined it with Green business. Now you plan to do it again? I think it is a bad idea. But it is fun, so I'll go with you." He suddenly was diverted by another variety of guests from the office. My little Swiss Army Knife was being impressive as always. Which was a nice change of pace for him. The two of us had been running down a drug racket for the past three months in our nightly hustles. Casey had been digging up information on every known drug dealer in south L.A. and Kato and I were shaking them down for the names of their suppliers and backers. We even got so high as a manufacturing warehouse exporting their drugs out of state by stuffing condom wrapped crack cocaine in dogs. Tonight I was hoping for something bigger and better.
But that was after I got rid of the eighty plus guests currently running rampant in my house.
I invited almost everyone from the office who had the night off and wanted to bid on high ticket items for charity. Beside them, a few of my richer friends, and acquaintances of Casey and her father were on hand to fill in any monetary gaps. Overall I was looking for a formal-appearing but fun loving crowed to gather up, get drunk, have a good time, and get out sometime before midnight. If I was lucky, that is precisely what I would get. If not, I was in for a long night with a bunch of people I did not want to hang with.
I turned at the sound of my name. I knew by the voice it was Lenore. She came bounding over, dragging her father behind her. He was precisely what I remembered. A stark resemblance of an aged George Clooney. Apparently his proper name was Morgan Case. We shook hands as Casey introduced us.
"Got to tell you, Mr. Reid, when Lenore told me about all this I was just blown away. Especially after that considerable donation you made to the cause a few months ago. Now that the site is picked out, anything we raise tonight will go right into furnishing the new Veterans Hospital right in the heart of Los Angeles."
"Definitely." I said enthusiastically. "I'm always happy to support a cause I believe in. And this one especially. It's great that you've been so into this yourself."
"My dad was in Desert Storm, and he did a tour in Afghanistan, and even had a stay in Hong Kong and Shanghai. Now he works with the State Department." Case added.
My eyebrows rose. "Wow, so you're a pretty dangerous guy, am I right?"
"Only if you're The Green Hornet!" Morgan Case laughed allowed; I followed his suit with a nervousness I tried to hide. "I've just been assigned to look into that masked vigilante! I can't wait to partner up with the police and the D.A. and get my own piece of the Hornet action."
Lenore had a tense smile on her face. "Really, daddy? You forgot to mention that to me."
I didn't see her walk in. I wasn't there at the door to greet her like I should have been. And I certainly wasn't the one in the center of the room chatting up the hot size two in blue sapphire with hopes of enjoying a future "private" tour with Miss March 2010. Oh wait, I was that last one. So when the one girl I was trying to get in good with showed up at the one party I never expected her to attend, I can tell you I was a little bit more than totally shocked.
Dr. Glenda Owens walked through the room, staying toward the far walls where safety was offered to the uttermost. She made her way around the crowed who was settling in for the auction to begin. After a few minutes she wound up by the bar, and with a look of encouragement found her old acquaintance Kato tending it.
"Kato, what a surprise! You work here too?" she asked.
Kato nodded. "Yes, it is sad really. I have so little of a life I am reduced to bartending at Britt's place for money."
Her laugh was what finely tuned me in to her presence.
"I have some doubts about that, unless he is a super cheap boss to his executive associates. I heard you are famous for coffee too. Does that stand true for hot chocolate?"
She doesn't drink coffee, I told myself, my head whipping around the crowed to locate the single voice I wanted to discover above all the others. She doesn't drink alcohol, she doesn't drink coffee. She likes hot chocolate. She likes Welch's sparkling grape juice for special occasions. She'll be wearing her one gorgeous dress she got half off from K-Mart the first day I met her at Morgan Case's first fundraiser.
"Hot chocolate. Now that I did not yet try." Kato said. "I am willing to take the opportunity."
I could see shoulders draped in a black shawl move up, then down in a shrug. They were by the bar, half covered in brown locks she spent time curling. I struggled to excuse myself from my conversation with Miss March and worked my way to the bar.
"Don't do through any trouble." Glenda said. "I'll be just as satisfied with a coke if you've got it."
"For you, always." Kato grabbed a glass and got all fanciful twirling ice cubes on his finger tips and shaking about bottles and whatever else made him look cool. I was just about to find myself behind her, smelling in that lavender scent she used before a large hand clasped down on my shoulder.
I looked over to see its owner and found with a M. Night Shyamalan twist it belonged to the D.A. BJ Parker. I was happy to see the guy, don't get me wrong, but I was sort of in the middle of something at the moment.
"Hey, Reid, how you doing? You know, I've got something important to discuss with you about a certain acquaintance of ours if you know what I mean."
"Is he lean, mean, and maybe a little green?" I whispered.
"Lean, not so much." Parker retorted.
"Hey!" I exclaimed. "Not nice. I'm working out!"
Parker lowered his voice, leaning in against my ear. "You know what I'm talking about. We're about to run into some state issues. Talk to me later, ok?"
"Sure." I told. He moved away, laughing and slapping my back as if he'd shared a dirty joke. I replicated him.
For now I kept on moving forward toward the bar. I was behind Glenda now, trying to figure out if I should hug her, tap her shoulder, or just say hi by way of announcement. But I should have decided sooner to avoid her sudden turn right into my chest. Her drink went flying, I was doused in sticky cola, and she was utterly mortified.
"Omigosh! Mr. Reid, I'm sorry, I didn't see you there, here let me—" she scrambled to do something helpful. Kato offered a napkin soaked in club soda and she began to rub it over my shirt and jacket. As much as I was utterly entranced in that beautiful moment I had to put it to an end for her own benefit. She was mortified, of course. And I didn't want to have her feeling awful for long.
"It's all right, Glenda, honest. It's just a shirt. I'm at home I have a thousand of them. Honestly don't worry about it. Kato, could you get her another drink. I'll go change and be right back."
Glenda was all wide eyes and sorrowful. I couldn't resist cupping her chin in my hand and squeezing it a little. "Besides, I can't risk getting you mad. You've got my little dog at your place recovering from plastic surgery after all."
This helped settle her a little. "Now, I wasn't the one who said and "I'll get you and your little dog too" ok?"
I smiled. If I was The Green Hornet right now we'd be all tangled up and devouring each other's lips. Since I was still just Britt Reid, and since Britt Reid was still trying to get in good with the doctor, I could do nothing but walk away and go for my change of clothes.
I was right. She was wearing her nice black number that got all scrunched up and wrappy around her waist to make her feel thinner. It flowed down to a sheer black over microfiber black skirt cut at fairy-looking angles that fell past her knees. She was wearing a tastefully burgundy set of heels with a slight jewel embellishment over the toes. It had taken me four seconds to memorize that.
I was in my closet and out again in no time at all. I was used to quick changes in times of need and situations like this allowed me to utilize that skill. If you could call it a skill. In about four minutes I was heading back downstairs into the main library and reception area. I hadn't gotten to the second landing before the first scream rang out. I think it belonged to Miss March. It was pitched right for her. Following that came shouts of exclamation. I heard B.J ushering the crowed, ordering the masses back. By the time I was in the library Kato had vaulted over the bar. He joined BJ in an increasing ring of onlookers circling something on the make-shift stage.
My heart sank to my feet.
As the homeowner and all around host, I had little trouble clearing a path to the center of attention. BJ was supporting a girl in his arms, fanning her face with a folded napkin provided by Kato who was also dousing the woman in cold water.
"What happened?" I shouted, leaning down with them.
"She fainted I think. Kato, get me some—" Parker cut himself off when Kato handed him the ice. He pressed it against her temple.
I recognized the woman as the mayor's wife. The mayor was standing off the side with a strained look on his face. He didn't seem at all alarmed by the situation.
"Are you all right?" I asked.
"Mr. Reid?" she replied, surprised. "My goodness, what happened?"
"She just fainted?" I aimed my question toward BJ.
BJ gave me a look. "Yeah, that's all. Nothing serious. It's your fault, Reid. You decided to put that ruby necklace up for sale and she just couldn't contain herself!"
"What?" I glanced up to the podium and saw the ruby necklace, one I had planned on giving some girl I dated like forty years ago and never did. Sure it was expensive, that's why I was getting rid of it. "Well, Mrs. Mayor, if I knew you were so moved by that thing I would have given it to you for your birthday!"
There was a gentle laughing that rolled across the party goers. Obviously the Mayor was used to this kind of behavior and thus ignored her outburst. We got her to a chair and the Auction was able to begin. Parker made a signal to Kato and me. We drew away to speak privately.
"She's all right, Britt, don't get all crazy and blow your cover, ok?" Parker was first to say.
I tried to agree. I had to keep my head on straight. Being The Green Hornet meant silly situations like that sent me on the bitter edge. At any moment I was libel to break out in a Hulk-like fashion and go tearing across the office. She was a silly woman. Nothing fancy, nothing major.
"Kato, try and calm the crowed, make them loose enough to spend the money Morgan needs for his veteran's hospital."
"Sure, Britt." Kato said. Right about now he'd agree to anything to keep me from running out the house in mask less cape.
"Parker keep your eye out for anything crazy. And try to spend some money for pity sake!" I said, clapping his shoulder.
We all agreed to this hashed out plan and, as the trademark auctioneer started unloading my donated loot, we separated across the room. I took my place beside Miss Freesia Aden and a guy who looked like the monopoly man. I swear, he even had a monocle! Who wears those? Well, apparently Mr. Chauncey Hamish did and it, with top hat and coat tails, he was completely and utterly ridiculous. I loved sitting next to him. It was like being stuck between the comedic punch line and the gorgeous blond playmate.
Glenda was a few seats back beside the bar. She was all smiles and glee as BJ's wife made her feel completely at home as per my silent request. She seemed genuinely happy. I had an urge to show her the rest of my house. Would she be offended?
"Why, Britt, you aren't drinking?" my beautiful blond companion said in that luscious voice.
So consumed was I in my want see how Glenda was, I half ignored her. Then I realized I was being at least mildly impolite and answered. "Me? Not right now, no."
"You're worried about her, aren't you?" she asked, close to my ear now.
I was a man, all right, it felt great!
"That's right." I told her honestly. "Girl like that faints in my house, got to wonder why."
"Probably her first drink. It gets to some people." Her small shoulders went up and down as she angled toward me. To her, the auction was perhaps a formality to get out of the home for the evening. Out of her home, that is and into mine. I had to admit being the slightest bit flattered. I tried to think of where I may have seen her before but couldn't quite place it.
"That truly is a beautiful necklace, Britt. How did you acquire it?"
"Oh, I forget where it came from. Some private collector. Royal gem or something like that. You know I was never much for shiny things not auto related. And even at that the only reason I enjoy cars is Kato's fault. The paper takes up most of my time."
She gave a slight inclination of her head. A sign of understanding or disdain. I couldn't quite tell that one. "Its striking."
The necklace played through the auction. As expected, and after a few back and forth's between four interested parties, the Mayor's wife took home the gold. Or, ruby rather. The bidding went on to the next lot.
"Here we have a fantastic representation of the Reid family auto collection. This classic 1968 Dodge Charger is complete with original interior, paint, and purrs like a lion! Anyone who had a chance to see this beast just before the auction will attest to its being a prime example of American ingenuity and careful management. Shall we open the bidding at $10,000?"
The auctioneer was a back drop for my conversation with Miss Aden. But I did happen to glance over at my associate, Kato, still tending the bar. I hadn't exactly told him I was auctioning off the Charger and I was interested in his reaction. As expected, he was mortified. His jaw dropped open, the glass he had been cleaning smashed into a thousand shards off the floor which prompted everyone else to look at him too.
"Why, Britt? How could you? The Charger?" Kato said, interrupting everything to accuse me.
I smiled. "Charity, Kato."
"Is that a bid?" the auctioneer said, hopefully.
Jaw tight, Kato nodded once. On him, it could have been a kung-fu move to break my arm in half. "Yeah. Ten thousand."
"Kato, where are you getting ten thousand dollars?" I charged.
"From you!" Kato shouted back. "Ten thousand."
"I have ten, do I hear twenty? Twenty, twenty, anyone for twenty?"
"Twenty!" came monopoly man at my elbow.
"Twenty five!" Kato retorted in a flash.
I gave him a look. "Kato, it's ridiculous for me to pay you to buy my own car."
"Ridiculous, but you are going to do it." Kato pointed out, daring me to refuse. "It's for charity."
"Thirty!" monopoly said.
And like that my Charger I owned clear out sailed up by five-thousand dollar increments until it was well over six figures. At around $80,000 a third bidder got excited by the goings on and joined in too. Morgan Case was swooning in his seat as he saw the dollar signs flashing over his eyes.
I excused myself from my seat beside the woman and went to stand by BJ. I knew he had something on his mind and figured now was the best time to speak with him while everyone was focused on Kato's personal bidding war. And Kato was literally gamboling all my money away to keep a car he could probably rebuild in three hours with a pile of tin cans and three lug wrenches. Or lug nuts. Whatever the word is.
I could see him putting my money in until it reached well over a million. I was hoping the other two bidders would bow out before then. But it seemed like the three were in it more for who could last till the end, rather than who had the money to back it up.
I gave BJ an indication to scat and I followed the DA out. The two of us stood in the hallway, within sight of the auction which had proceeded to the next lot. A delightfully intricate painting from the 14th century of something or another. To my happiness Kato was not bidding on that one. I can only imagine how much he ended up buying my car for.
No, how much I ended up buying my car for.
"Some party your having, Reid. Inviting all the higher government officials attempting to put The Green Hornet behind bars. It's a little brazen if you ask me. Especially that old Rag, Morgan. I heard his antics in the orient well as any cop has. Especially since he's going to be on the official Green Hornet task force that's starting up."
"What?" I exclaimed.
Some of the patrons in the back turned from the auction to stare at the two of us. I lowered my voice.
"The Green Hornet task force?" I said lower.
"You brought it on yourself with that warehouse fire. Then with the warehouse full of dead dogs. Then with your black banshee of a car being sighted at every drug sting in L.A. in the past six months, Britt, now come on. Give it a break! You keep gallivanting around like that and you are going to draw attention at some point or other. Now here's your attention. You've got a bull of a state official coming down on you who happens to be Casey's father. You've got the mayor breathing down my neck so hard my hair is curling. Britt, I did all I could to keep this off you, but it's out of my hands now."
I rubbed my forehead thoughtfully. This simple night was turning into something big all right. I suddenly had the urge to kick everybody out and run away in the Beauty. I wanted to just be The Green Hornet for a while. Long enough to get out of the rest of this auction and beat up some drug lords to make myself feel better. But, I wasn't running away from this one. Things happened. So Casey's task force father who was planning on pinning my wings to a wall. That wasn't bizarre. In fact, it happened rather commonly for me at this point.
"You coming, Britt?" the DA asked.
I looked up, nodded, and followed him out of the antechamber.
And that's the first time I ever had a chance to use the word "antechamber". Sweet!
Kato was chilling drinks behind the bar, acting all professional again. The auctioneer had ceased his speedy babble in favor of a small intermission. After all, most of the men and women had to count their remaining funds to see how much further they could go. I could only imagine what of my small fortune Kato had designated for himself. The monopoly guy was already going up to the money takers and settling up his bill on a Vespa and Monet painting. I had half a mind to offer him Boardwalk and Park Place too.
And no, he did not pay in monopoly money, nor did he have a Scottie dog in tow. Trust me, I looked.
I went to the bar, Kato handing me a drink on the fly. I had no idea what was in it. I guess it really didn't matter. By the time I turned around I was already involved in a conversation with the Mayor, Richard Belamy, his aid, secretary, wife, and someone who may have been his gay lover. Hard to tell. They smiled a lot. And the guy was dressed just a little too nice if you know what I mean.
At some point the DA joined us with the resident hot blond in tow. Everyone was introductions and smiles. The conversation was dry, boring, until I got a taste of that delightful drink, that is. Then the party got just a little bit cooler.
I felt a hand trail along my back. The blond was right beside me, having angled herself to the other side of BJ and his wife who literally came up to body block him and the playmate apart. The stray hand appeared at my left arm. It was uncomfortable and yet slightly riveting to wonder who had decided to feel me up at my own bash.
"Wow, Glenda. Sure that's just soda in there?" I asked, identifying the hand and the arm and the face that went with the exciting touch.
Her smile was utterly flirtatious. "I'm sure. Unless you had Kato spike it."
"I would do no such thing." Kato interjected coming up behind the two of us. He crossed his arms and stood with a haughty look. "I am a little insulted."
"Oh, don't be you know I don't mean it, and I know you're utterly the respectable gentleman. Isn't he, Britt?"
"Sure. Whatever you say."
Both Belamy and Parker laughed. The women decided conversation of any substance was best had in their own social circle. To that affect, Parker's and the mayor's wife moved off. Glenda realized the social thing to do was move off with them. I could tell it was the last thing she actually wanted to do. She leaned up and placed a kiss on my cheek then went on off.
Kato threw a shocked look my way but instantly covered it with a cough. If someone decided to come up to me and tap my nose I would have fallen like a ton of bricks. What in the world was that girl thinking? Britt Reid and Glenda Owens were social friends at the very least. Not at all the kissing in public type.
I wondered suddenly if she actually knew I was The Green Hornet.
I saw absolutely nothing in her eyes that would give me an indication of anything. Her back was to me. Her body sashaying to join the ladies as the auction got settled in again. I headed for my seat. Butterflies flew upside down circles in my stomach. I felt a vague and boyish sickness.
ok, so there's part one. if you review, i may not only finish part 2 sooner, i will also start posting the other couple books i'm finishing.