The moon was shining fiercely, more intense than any full moon he could ever recall. It was almost blindingly bright. Of course, he had never taken in the moon from his back, lying on the ground in a pool of his own blood.
“At least I can still see it there,” he thought, breathing heavily. “That means that I’m still alive.” But the swirl of the night’s events was overtaking his mind like an out of control carousel. The party, the jokes… who was insulted? Who started screaming accusations? “Why did I run?” he muttered. Nothing made sense.
He needed to be clear, clearer than he had ever been in his entire life… the life that now hung in the balance. (Rich 7/11/11)
Slowly he turned his head to the right and the movement made him grunt – excruciating pain, bolts of white flashes of that fierce moon like a rocket into his pulsating brain. The need to start assessing the reality of his situation was necessary but not tempting.
Memories where starting to line up in a more orderly fashion and he didn’t enjoy the way that the scenery unfolded. ”Oh no, he whispered,”I didn’t say that did I? Damn that Tequila….”
He could barely open his eyes, if he remembered it correctly there were a couple of terrible blows to both eyebrows and the swelling was troublesome to say the least. When he finally got his vision under control – he gasped for air. (Magdis 7/11/11)
Pain wracked his chest. The taste of blood flooded his mouth, and he began to choke. It was strange to hear your own death cry. He always pictured his final sound as a rebel yell, not this strange gurgling sound. He rolled over, agonizingly slow, and continued coughing up blood until only dry heaves remained. He spit the remaining blood out of his mouth and dropped his head to the dirt.
“Are you done yet? That’s quite the death cry you had going there. Leave it to you to die in the dirt, choking on your own blood. Though from the looks of it, I would say you don’t have much left in you. It’ll save me the trouble of killing you.” Though the voice was melodic, the words were cold steel.
Holding his rib, he struggled to his knees, gasping for breath. Dark hair covered his proud defiant eyes, but not the familiar smirk. A silver 9 mm handgun touched his forehead. He didn’t recognize the gun, but he knew its owner. Tequila, the woman who had started this whole mess. (Tiffany 7/12/11)
“Ah, you are still with it enough to recognize me. Good. I want you totally aware of how you feel.” Tequila’s voice was strong and filled with vengeance. She stood over Daniel Jacks staring through unsympathetic eyes. There was not an ounce of pity in her to ooze out and mingle with his blood. She gently shoved his body back to the earth.
She was thinking out loud, “We have no time to waste. It is only a few hours until sunrise.” By this time, Daniel was feeling very weak and disoriented. He begged her, “Please stop. Why are you doing this to me?” He was trying his best to gather what little strength he had left to pull himself up. But, every time he managed to lift his body just slightly off the ground, Tequila would lift her foot up and gently push him down. The time and place seemed surreal to Daniel. All he could think was that maybe hopefully someone had seen them leaving the party together… someone that knew their history.
Daniel was getting frantic inside. He needed to escape. With all his injuries and the pain he was enduring, he knew escape was impossible. Silently, his mind was racing, “Think, Daniel, think…you can’t just lay here like a victim. You have to try and fight back. You can’t let her do this again.” (Nico 7/12/2011)
Oddly, I Will Survive began wafting through the halls of his psyche, his head seemingly throbbing to the beat. "What the . . . ?" He'd always been one to lean more toward Alice Cooper than Gloria Gaynor, more likely to be seen in some ramshackle biker bar than Studio 54. Just as he began wondering if he'd ever see his Harley again, another kick to the ribs brought him back to the present moment.
"I suggest you say your prayers." Tequila hissed. Although it was still dark, the lunar sheen on her makeup-streaked face conjured visions of some primitive warpainted she-bitch. He couldn't help wondering, however briefly, what he'd ever seen in that mascara disaster.
"Wait a minute though," he thought. "If her makeup is streaked, she's been crying." He'd been down that road with her more than once. This time, however, the potential to use her emotion against her became a growing ray of hope. (Melinda 7/13/11)
Daniel was a master manipulator, a connoisseur of con-artistry. He prided himself on being able to manipulate anyone into giving him anything that he wanted, especially women, but Tequila had been a challenge. She seemed to be able to see through him, through his exaggerations and lies. Tequila had fought back, both mentally and physically.
Daniel whispered, trying to catch her eye and conjure up a tear of his own, “Tequila, baby, don't do this. You know that I would never hurt you. I love y...”.
Daniel stopped cold when he made eye contact. The malice in her eyes held him still and nearly stopped his heart. Fear consumed him when he realized that she was no simple woman who's emotions could be toyed with. Tequila wasn't even human. (Amber 7/16/11)
"You do realize", Tequila said, "that as soon as I'm finished with you, I'm going to find that bitch Kahlua, don't you? And I'm going to take Mad Dog with me. I'm sure he'll want to have some fun with her before we're done. Mr. Martini just wants you both dead. After the way you treated me when you left, I was the one that wanted to see you suffer."
Instantly, the stillness of the early morning was shattered by two explosions. In a moment of lucidity, Jacks realized that every time Tequila pushed him back down with one foot, she left herself vulnerable. Drawing on every last bit of strength, he raised his butt slightly, as if to try and get up. Tequila, as he had hoped, lifted her foot to push him back down and when she did, Daniel rolled quickly, grabbing her ankle and twisting as hard as he could. The explosion of sound caused when her tibia was ripped from the femur, tearing apart tendons and ligaments, was exceeded only by the primal scream leaving Tequila's lips. The second explosion, a millisecond later, resulted from the chambered and cocked handgun hitting the pavement and firing.
After watching Tequila die, gurgling and gasping for air, Daniel drug himself to her car and pulled himself into the driver's seat. He'd worked for Martini and Rossi long enough to know that as soon as they heard of Tequila's failure, others would quickly follow. He had to get to Kahlua before they did. (Mitch 7/17/11)
He knew that she was in grave danger. If Martini found out Kahlua was the one who tipped him off, she wouldn't see the sunrise. The only problem was, he had no idea where she was at the moment. Was she smart enough to go underground?
He shook his head and groaned at the effort. Well, he'd give her that much, Tequila could sure give you a kick when she wanted to. He'd loved her once and hated her always. He was glad she was dead, and he hated himself for the thought.
He never should have agreed to this bootlegging business. He was sick of running away. No matter how much money he brought in, it was never good enough for Martini. He might be able to negotiate with Rossi, but if Martini was around, he didn't stand a chance. (Tiffany 7/20/11)
“I’m in bad shape,” Daniel thought. This required more than a patch job; he needed real medical attention. “Kahlua is smart. When she doesn’t hear from me in the next few hours, she’ll know that it went bad. Even if I found her tonight, what good would I be? I have to chance it.” Painfully, he backed the car up and headed for the Canadian border. Dr. Squeeze could still be depended upon to work his magic if he could reach him undetected.
“Dr. Squeeze,” Daniel managed to grin. Where the hell did that name come from? “Jesus,” he thought, “This whole friggin’ cluster has been as bad as Reservoir Dogs.” It was both ironic and brutally funny to make the association with that particular movie in this dark moment. “Martini, Rossi, Mad Dog, Tequilla… Jesus, I don’t even know Kahlua by anything other than that name, as close as we are. We’re a goddamned liquor cabinet. At least I insisted on ‘Daniel Jacks’ instead of the friggin’ obvious.”
He winced and bit his lip hard to keep from screaming every time the car hit a rut. The road was awful; that’s why so few people knew that it actually went somewhere. Tonight, somewhere was to the “facility” of Dr. Squeeze, the magician who would keep him going. “I’m not in much worse shape than the night of the ‘bar exam,’ when I got pulled into all of this,” Daniel thought out loud. He hoped that the “Doctor” would concur. (Rich 7/22/11)
As he rounded the last hairpin curve headed up to the compound, the Pacific Ocean suddenly came into view, startling him with its unexpected magnificence. He rolled the car to a stop at the top of the hill. The sun was just beginning to rise over Vancouver Island, its orange-pink rays stretched across the horizon as if gathering up the morning in a warm, ethereal embrace. For one transcendent moment, he forgot he was perched upon the precipice of disaster, and Daniel remembered grace.
“Hey!” A knock on his window made him jump, and the pain returned in a sickening flood, along with the realization that this was going to be the longest day of his life. He turned to see the stoic face of the “Doctor” peering through his window. His stomach churned.
“Everything is ready. Follow me.” Dr. Squeeze turned and headed toward the “facility”, a posh Northwest-style chalet flanked with cedar, plate-glass windows and river rock at the edge of an alpine meadow which doubled as a helicopter landing field. Daniel didn’t want to know who’d footed the bill for this extravagance, so he tried to refocus his thoughts as he hobbled through the massive front doors into the great room. And there she was. (Melinda 7/25/11)