10/26/21 Snippet, TINSEL RAIN.

It had been a while in the book since somebody messed with Tom.

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I got a complicated attitude about people trying to thump me. It ain’t so bad when they’re just trying to thump me. There’s nobody better to pump for information than some poor dumb sujeto who was supposed to do this one simple job, and now he’s gonna get it in the neck from both sides of the law unless he starts singing, see? And then there’s the guys who’re just sending a message, there ain’t nothing personal in it, Shamus. That means they’ll run if the thumping goes bad, and won’t chase you too hard if you’re the one running away.

But when they’re trying to kill me? I ain’t so calm about that. Especially when whoever’s after me knows their stuff.

I was a few blocks from the precinct station when I got ambushed. No fireballs or anything ornate, this time: just a sudden greasy-queasy feeling, a flash of ugly light, and suddenly my tie was smoldering. I never saw it coming.

Ain’t gonna lie: I came this close to losing my cool. Fortunately, the tie comes right off, with one yank — we’ve got a special knot called Shamus’s Noose, for just this situation — and I tossed it clear of me before the protective charm woven into it actually caught on fire. Then I ducked. Always duck. Hell: always dive. If somebody’s got you lined up that way, staying in one place just gives them another shot at you.

As I dived and rolled I slipped my knuckles on, and had to stop myself from tossing back right away, too; they were almost too hot to touch. Whatever this whammy was, it was serious business. And about as subtle as a cattle stampede.