Smoking Mirrors and Other Stories
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Smoking Mirrors—Salvatore Cifero, a gorilla in a man suit known as Sal, is a low level enforcer for the Medici Crime Family. He sits in Pancrizio's Italian Restaurant at his corner booth with a stack of books, and a terrifying aura fed by rumors of his unimaginable capacity for violence and mayhem. It's said that he spins webs far more intricate than the tales the dream weavers spin of this gorilla in a man suit.
Gods and Cows and Aliens—What do gods, cows, and aliens have in common? That would be the Panhandler's Saloon in Verdeville, a forgotten Arizona town somewhere between here and there along Route 66. Of course, there's also Y'Naug, a former alien soldier, Higgins Cavanaugh, a retired engineer turned rancher turned detective, a couple of alien assassins, and the corpulent body of a murdered bar patron with a perfectly round 2-inch diameter cauterized hole in the middle of his forehead.
Ficus in the Doorway—Duncan Gilchrist was the perfect companion to Gisela Van Aken, the heir to the vast Van Aken fortune; he was thoughtful, a fabulous chef, and attended to her every need and whim. What does a thoughtful boyfriend give a busy woman who has everything? A ficus, which, with careful cultivation over time, can be grown into anything the heart desires. What does her heart desire?
Bauthrough—When John Lothenstein finished the painting, it was a swirling mess of colors unlike anything he'd ever created before. His usual was hyper-realistic subjects layered with elements of swirling chaos. This work was different. He had started with the swirling chaos first, and now he felt something in it calling him, pulling him in, a shadowy figure in its swirling chaos called Bauthraugh.