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By Ronald A. Kretschmer

Copyright Ronald A. Kretschmer 2012

For KK, CK, MK, TK and that guy who gave me a ride to the gas station that one time.


Tim Buck was returning from a conference to honor book publishers – the most unappreciated professionals in the world- when his direct superior directed him to go to a remote location on the Michigan Peninsula. A notorious German arms dealer known only as Leiderhoser was set to deliver the first of two shipments of high powered guns and 2 liter bottles of diet soda to a former KGB agent who had ties to China. During a summit on international human rights, United States President, Johnson Shrubs, had signed a decree outlawing the sale of carbonated products to the People’s Republic of China until the rogue nation let United Nations Human Abuse and Neglect inspectors into the country to investigate reports of heinous crimes perpetrated by the government. Tim Buck had two hours to act before the soda fell into the wrong hands.

A delivery van full of the contraband bottles was waiting to be loaded onto an ‘Airbust’ cargo blimp. Tim climbed into the van and hid under a tarp while the vehicle and its contents were raised into a cargo hull. Minutes later, the blimp lifted off the ground. Angry voices could be heard outside the van. A woman and a man were hurling insults at each other at such an alarming rate that the words became meaningless and only the tone really mattered. Tim caught something about a spangled mongrel and a nubile sepsis infected prelate, but he failed to garner the context in which these words were uttered. Apparently the deal was falling apart. The two sides were distraught, fighting over deadly weapons and low calorie colas while flying in a blimp over Northern Michigan. How typical, Tim thought. Except for the blimp the argument was actually a whole lot like the ones he’d heard as a child while hiding upstairs in his parent’s clothes hamper.

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