ways and means I: Nancy Ann

This was originally shot in 2007, and first published in 2008.

Ira and Erling Zelin, targets of Zelin Industries, are running. Martin Vail, Ira's protector, is with them, but their other companion, Simon Berendt, has disappeared in transit, and Tseng is still missing.

Many thanks to JennyNemesis, for outstanding venues and tripod kung fu; idrisfynn and aaronstjames for extraordinary bunraku puppetry powers, and kiyakotari for photography chops, inspiration, and understanding.



Look, man.

I got you out here on this landing and we both know why.


Yes, Erling. I know why.


My, uh, “industry friend” just gave me a heads up. Zelin’s Ways and Means got a package for us.

It’s Nancy Ann.

You work for Eric Tseng long, big guy?


No. About nine months.


He ever talk about Nancy Ann? No? Well…

blue light elevatorerling

Let’s just say we are officially Code Blue Superfucked. Okay?



Nancy Ann used to go by “Babykiller,” in the old days, before Uncle Arved invited her to party with his psychotic homeboys in the Ways and Means division. Been working for him ever since. She’s here for Ira.

Look...Martin…what I think.

They...I think they don’t actually need Ira alive, man.

We may have been wrong about that, all this time, assuming they need my brother alive for whatever stupid brain-frying black rites they have planned out for the succession.



This is highly dicey stuff.

It doesn't help we lost Simon in the shuffle, and we got no lead on Mr Tseng's whereabouts.

No backup whatsoever.





ext shot


My, uh, friend...has a habit.

And he and my safe house guy...Well.

This apartment has worked for a few days okay.

But something's telling me my buddies sold themselves coming and going, if you follow me.

Like, instead of expecting company "kind of soon?"



We may be expecting company right about now.




Martin, I presume you got some kind of special Bodyguard Contingency Plan Q?

Because time is very fucking short.



I understand.



ez call

My brother, I figure he trusts you. He doesn’t trust me anymore. Take him.

Get the fuck out of here.

Keep him safe.



Listen, I gotta grab a six-pack. When I get back, you two should be gone from here. Time is short. Time is very fucking short.




I’ll be in touch.

Tell him I’ll be in touch.













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