Shadow Of Con City

Shadow Of Con City

A rogue army general invades a small town and threatens to nuke twenty million people. Can a cook, two waitresses, and the local psychopath save the day?

The Wild Boys, the best Black Ops unit in the Republic of North America, invade Con County and take the entire town of Black Lake hostage. Their leader, a decorated General, attempts to blackmail the President, threatening to unleash weapons of mass destruction on Con City if his demands are not met within twenty-four hours. His plan begins to fall apart when his soldiers have an altercation with some of the locals in a diner: two waitresses, a cook, and the local psychopath. The General and his men are about to find out why Con County is the most dangerous plot of land in the entire universe.

Shadow Of Con City is a dark comedy/parody taking place in and around Black Lake, a small town living in the figurative shadow of the fictional metropolis of Con City in the early 21st century, and is a sequel to Con City. Bringing the over-the-top violence and dark humor that is characteristic of the Con City novels, Shadow Of Con City places old favorites and new figures into an outrageous situation that is so insane it makes Con City's iconic hitman look like a sane man. A must read for all fans of dark humor and fans of all things 80s.

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Free Excerpts

The General stepped out of his command truck and smiled. This was a first in many long months, over which time he thought he'd never smile again, but in this instance he could not help it. He stood before the Town Hall of Black Lake, a large Neo-Gothic building erected in the late 19th century. It was one of the tallest structures in Black Lake, complete with a pair of narrow towers and a large courtyard behind the building. The General had never been in Con County before, but he was aware of its reputation, hence the sight of such beautiful architecture filled him with positivity.

He took a deep breath of the cool evening air and turned to face his troops. Over two hundred men stood before him in formation, his lieutenants standing at the front wearing berets marked with the winged skull insignia of the Wild Boys. On the side stood three figures he wished he could do without: Doctor Roahmyer, his assistant Layla, and the mercenary Gabe London.

Behind his troops stood the vehicles of the convoy, parked in an orderly fashion, which gave him cause to maintain his grin. Yet he chose to abandon the smile, for he understood the gravity of his situation, and did not want his men to take him for a fool.

He turned to address the closest of his lieutenants, a burly man with two small scars on his left cheek. `Apocalypse, report!' the General said. Apocalypse saluted him.

`The company is ready for deployment, sir!'

`Very good. Is the shipment safe and sound?'

Apocalypse glanced in the direction of the eighteen wheeler and nervously nodded.

`Yes, sir. As far as I can tell, sir.'

Doctor Roahmyer cleared his throat. The General turned his head and nodded to the scientist.

`All readings indicate that the shipment is undamaged, General,' Doctor Roahmyer said.

`Good,' the General replied, and he turned back to his men. `You all know what we are about to do. Within minutes, we will become wanted men in every country in the world. If we are ever caught, we will face the death penalty, with or without a trial. Yet we do what we must for the sake of a better world.'

The General paused and swept his gaze over his men. The Wild Boys stood unblinking, awaiting his orders. None seemed hesitant, none seemed like they wished they were elsewhere.

`Our sacrifice will lay the foundation of a new world order,' he continued. `Our children and grandchildren will grow up in a utopia built on our blood, sweat, and tears. Yet I will offer you all one last chance to back out. Once we step through the door behind me, there will be no turning back. Those who join me will become fugitives for the rest of their lives. I will not hold it against you if you turn back now. Those who want to leave, step up to me now.'

When the General stopped talking, an eerie silence descended onto the street. The General soon became aware of the sound of dragonflies in the distance, mixed with the silent noises seeping out from the Town Hall. No one moved. Half a minute passed when Gabe London snorted. The General snapped his head in the mercenary's direction. Gabe smiled apologetically and patted his stomach, mouthing the word indigestion. The General shook his head and turned back to the Wild Boys.

`Thank you. Thank you for your loyalty and dedication. I say this to you now, for as you all know, no one will thank you when this day is through.' He turned to Apocalypse. `Does everyone have a copy of the tactical map?'

`Yes, sir,' Apocalypse said. `All points of interest are clearly marked.'

The General nodded and addressed the rest of his lieutenants.

`Rattlesnake, take the eighteen-wheeler to the courtyard and set up a perimeter. Absinthe, Mortarface, Jackal, each of you take two tanks and a squad, and set up a blockade at each exit of the town. These are marked as Checkpoints Alpha, Bravo, and Charlie on the map. Stomper, Mute, Goatmeat, divide the motorcycles and the quads into three groups and patrol the town limits between the barricades. Nobody gets in, nobody goes out. Any unarmed runners, use the stun guns. Shoot to kill anyone who pulls a weapon on you. Understood?'

`Yes, sir,' the lieutenants replied.

`I did not hear everyone.'

Over two hundred voices roared in unison.

`Yes, sir!'

The General smiled once again, for a brief moment.

`Apocalypse, you are on point. Pick twelve men to bring with you. Everyone who has nothing to do, take positions in the courtyard and in the surrounding streets. I want snipers on all nearby rooftops. If anyone enters the area, I want to know right away.'

`Yes, sir!'

The General turned to the three unsavory characters on the side.

`Doctor Roahmyer, park the mobile lab in the courtyard by the eighteen wheeler, and prepare the shipment. Mister London, you're with me.'

`Sure, boss.'

Gabe London's response gave the General pause, but he let it go. He had long given up on attempting to teach the mercenary about discipline.

He turned back to the Wild Boys and gave the order he had been itching to give ever since he had planned his rogue operation.

`Let's go, gentlemen! We have a party to crash!'

As the Wild Boys took off to carry out their tasks, the General turned to face the entrance of the Town Hall. He walked up to it like a man with a purpose, Gabe London and Apocalypse flanking him. He nodded to the burly scarred man and Apocalypse unceremoniously kicked down the door.

Downtown Con City was drowning in the evening traffic. Angry motorists sounded their horns, impatient truck drivers struggled to stay awake, and pedestrians laughed at them on the inside. Quite strictly on the inside, for they all knew how likely it was that one of those angry drivers might step out of their car and go on a homicidal rampage, starting with the people that were openly laughing at their predicament.

The only pedestrian on Wilson Avenue who wasn't smiling on the inside was a man named Phil Preston. Phil had no reason whatsoever to be happy about anything. He had spent his day roaming the city, stopping only at the occasional fast food joint and quickly abandoning it on account of having no appetite.

Up until recently he had been employed at Con City's prime innovation firm, ConnqWest Futuristics. His future as a desk monkey had seemed bright, like the midday sun in the desert, as he had been in line for a promotion and the associated half percent raise. That was until the founder and CEO of ConnqWest Futuristics, a man best described as a textbook sociopath, decided to invest in some new opportunities for his firm which necessitated the layoffs this morning. Only one man got sacked on Phil's floor, and it was not one of his colleagues.

The only thing that baffled him more than getting canned was the swiftness and convenience of how it had happened. His release letter, which had come by email at 9:30 in the morning, wished him the best of luck in his future endeavors and within a minute he was booted out of the building by security. He couldn't even pick up the photo of his wife from the desk. When he tried to go back for it, he found a gun pointed in his face and decided to cut his losses and keep his life.

He spent his entire day running from the biggest dilemma he had ever faced: how to tell his wife? Having only been with the firm for eleven months and twenty days, he was not eligible to receive any severance pay beyond the remainder of his monthly salary. He saw no hope for another job, and he didn't even dare to speculate how much, or rather, how little he would get in unemployment benefits. He was afraid his wife would not react well to the news, hence he stalled as long as he could. With the sun having gone down he had no choice left but to brace himself for the inevitable.

When he reached Oberdick Square he turned the corner and tried to ignore the gigantic statue at the center of the square. Instead, he found his gaze drawn to the monument. Frank Oberdick stood there in bronze form, riding a stallion he probably never would have even approached in real life, staring down at Phil from a height of at least twenty feet, if not thirty. Oberdick's statue held a wad of cash in each of its hands and smiled with the superiority of the world's first billionaire.

Phil knew the stories from history class, and they inevitably flashed up in his mind every time he saw the Bronze Billionaire. Oberdick started from nothing, became a businessman, then a billionaire, then Mayor of Con City, then President in three different countries at the same time. Because he was rich enough to buy himself two extra citizenships and millions of votes. Phil had once admired the founder of the Republic of North America, but after this morning, knowing how much his former boss idolized the man, he would have liked nothing better than to go to the graveyard and piss on Frank Oberdick's grave. He sighed when he remembered that he would be put in the electric chair if he did so.

He lowered his gaze all the way to the pavement and kept on walking down the street until he reached the door of his apartment building. He walked into the lobby and waved to the security guard, who duly ignored him. Phil was taken aback; he never cared that the security staff couldn't be bothered to return the simple courtesy of a greeting, but he certainly would have appreciated if they didn't act as if this was just like any other day.

What bothered him even more was the magazine the security guard was reading. The head of the Bronze Billionaire graced the cover, except half of its face was photomanipulated into that of Phil's former boss. The headline read, `the next Oberdick?' Phil wanted to rip the magazine from the security guard's hands and rip the cover to shreds, but managed to hold himself back. He knew he'd have just wound up on the floor, knocked out by a tazer or outright put out of his misery by a bullet to the brain.

He turned away from the security guard and called the elevator. Up on the seventh floor he walked up to the door of his apartment. He fumbled for almost a minute with his keys until he managed to open the door. He took off his jacket and put it on the coat hanger, then walked into the kitchen.

Nancy was stirring a pot of stew. Phil's stomach growled at the sight, but when he stepped up to it so he could breathe in the smell better, he felt nauseous. He doubted he could force down a single spoonful of the stuff, no matter how tasty it looked.

His stomach felt like it wanted to strangle itself when Nancy smiled at him.

`Hi honey, how was your day?' she said.

`I got fired,' Phil said, thinking it was best to get over the inconvenience as quickly as possible.

Nancy's smile disappeared. The hand with which she had been stirring the pot stopped, until she slowly started to pull the large wooden spoon out of the stew.

Jim Clark ran down the street as fast as he could. He needed to find a safe place to hide and call the Sheriff. He doubted that the tiny local police force could do much against the General and his army, but someone had to stop that madman at the Town Hall, and he didn't have a better idea.

His biggest problem was the trail of blood he was leaving behind as he ran. He had cut his hand on the broken glass while climbing out the window. He took a mental note to petition the Mayor to have all the windows refitted with safety glass, in case such an incident were to happen in the future. Then he shuddered at the thought that he might need to save the town twice. He thought he now knew how action heroes felt in sequels.

He ran past a number of closed shops when he saw Bill Samson's ice cream truck parked in front of the post office. He crawled under it and took out the General's smartphone. He entered the number 1234 when the device asked for a PIN. Once the phone was unlocked, he dialed the police.

It took twenty seconds for the phone to display an error message. He tried again but couldn't get through. He pocketed the smartphone and took out his own cell phone instead. Once again, he couldn't connect to the police. For a moment he felt stupid for not trying to call the Sheriff the first time he saw the soldiers, but then he concluded that it would not have mattered: the soldiers must have done something to shut down communications in Black Lake, and surely they did that before they set foot inside the Town Hall. He put the phone away and buried his head in his palms.


Gabe London rode through the streets of Black Lake on his motorcycle. The General's men were way behind him in a truck, but he was confident they could track him by the sound of the Runamok Arrow. Besides, he didn't need them. The Gabe London never needed anybody's assistance, least of all against an unarmed desk monkey that was stupid enough to leave a red hot trail to follow.

Gabe felt in his element. He finally had something worthwhile to do. Up until now he had been relegated to the role of a glorified tour guide for the Wild Boys, a role that a smartphone and a GPS map could have easily filled. Yet the General had felt like he needed a local with combat training to guide him through the perils of Con County, and in that sense, he chose well with Gabe London. Who better to keep him safe than the best mercenary ever to come out of Greenwell? Why, there was no one better anywhere in the whole world.

The escaped man was as good as caught as far as Gabe London was concerned, so he might as well have some fun. He took his eyes off the trail of blood and made a sharp left turn to a side street, then took a right, rode into an alley, and bumped over a trash can. He knocked over two others on his way out of the alley. He smiled when he returned to the street, but the smile quickly disappeared when he saw that there were no more bloodstains to follow.

He braked and turned back, rode up the street, and looked for a place where the runner might have jumped a fence. Instead he found the trail again just behind an ice cream truck with the words Samson's Cones painted on its side. This baffled him. No one could be that stupid.

He removed a hand grenade from his vest and pulled out the safety pin with his teeth. He turned back to the ice cream truck and rolled the grenade under it, then he rode past it and stopped at the end of the street.


Jim Clark nearly soiled himself when he saw Gabe London on the motorcycle. He hoped the lunatic mercenary wouldn't see him under the massive ice cream truck, but all his hopes shattered when he felt a small hard ball touch his thigh. He glanced at it and saw a metallic pineapple. His eyes went wide and he rolled out from under the truck and made a run for it.

At the end of the street, Gabe London watched in satisfaction as the grenade destroyed the ice cream truck. The vehicle went up in flames and blobs of ice cream rained over the area, some of it landing on Gabe's motorcycle. He stuck a finger into the pile on the Arrow's steering handle and licked it.

`Pistachio. I love pistachio!' he said. He leaned forward to consume the entire pile when he saw the figure beyond the smoking remnants of the ice cream truck. He started up the motorcycle and rode straight for him.

Jim heard the sound of the Arrow and frantically looked for a way out. He ran back up the street only to find himself facing a large truck turning into the street. He did the only thing he could and turned back, running straight for the ice cream truck.

Gabe London steered well clear of the flaming wreck and went right past him. Jim was half blind in the smoke, and did his best to keep himself away from the flames, and his mind off of how pissed Bill Samson would be when he found out about his ice cream truck. When he ran out from the smoke his face was covered in soot. He sprinted down the street, his lungs and muscles aching from the exertion. He stopped at the end of the street, stood there panting, and frantically looked around. He saw lights in the diner just down the street to his right.

Gabe London turned around and rode past the burning ice cream truck again. He stopped at the end of the street and fixed his gaze on the runaway. Jim was half way to the diner. Shark's Fin, the glowing sign atop the diner said. Gabe shrugged and slowly rode towards it. The truck of the Wild Boys turned the corner behind him.

He waited for Jim Clark to reach the diner before he accelerated, then he rode as fast as the Arrow would go and braked right in front of the diner. He put one foot down on the pavement and drew one of his pistols. He took aim at Jim, who at that point was standing just beyond the window of the diner, trying hard to catch his breath so he could explain to the handful of people in the diner that they needed to call the Sheriff.

`Fun's fun, but a job's a job. Sorry, pal,' Gabe said.