Category: Finding Bunny (Page 1 of 4)

Grigsby is on Amazon

Today the first novella from the Grigsby series, Finding Bunny, went live on Amazon. It’s been a childhood dream to publish a book and I’m so excited to see it available in paperback and Kindle.

Thank you so much for the support and early feedback on the series. If you’d like to help please leave an honest review of the book on Amazon and spread the word to friends. 🙂

Mariachi Bands & Pig Roasts

Ryūki drove the SUV out of the city aimed toward Napa. Akio’s team brought Bunny to her favorite vineyard for the recovery process. “Wine heals all wounds.” She said during their first vineyard tour years ago. Akio agreed that a rural environment would be safer too.

“That’s correct, yes both companies, run the trace and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Okay thanks.” Ira hung up his phone and looked at Grigsby. “FBI and Homeland are at the Clift Hotel, they intercepted 3 Russian terrorists.”

Grigsby gave a wild grin, “Excellent. Will the charges stick?”

Ira nodded, “Funding terrorist organizations is sent right up the chain.”

“How’d you get a hold of an Islamic Terrorist’s bank account numbers anyway?” Grigsby asked.

“I know people who’ve defended questionable clients.”

“Three birds with one stone, well done sir, this removes The Bear from the Board. You were great back there.”

Ira chuckled, “I didn’t come off too greedy?”

Grigsby smiled and looked out the window. The rolling pastures carried fastidiously arranged vines over green hills. Cows watched them drive by with little interest. They must see as many cars as the drivers see cows.

Ryūki drove slowly down the dirt road toward the vineyard. The tires crunched in a rhythm. The only vehicles in the lot were Akio’s team. Grigsby climbed out and entered the elegant winemaker’s hall. The room was lined with purple stained casks and gleaming wine glasses. Akio spoke to a woman in a blue and white sundress, she turned to face the arriving guests. Grigsby, at a loss of words, embraced Bunny for several minutes. No one in the room spoke. Bunny let her tears dry on Grigsby jacket.

The popping of a champagne cork halted the moment. Ira approached with two flutes in hand. Both Bunny and Grigsby downed them in one shot and returned them back to Ira. Bunny demanded a pig roast. When the vineyard owner explained that wasn’t possible she told Akio’s team to go hunting. They obliged.

That evening a pig spun over bonfire flames. Grigsby hired a mariachi band to play until sunrise. Ira danced. Ryūki did too, his face was redder than a taillight from slamming back Merlots. Becky and Phoenix arrived too, her parents omitted what had happened.

Akio and the team patrolled the grounds and kept watch over the Pembertons. They realized it was gratuitous. Bunny’s hand hadn’t left Grigsby since they reunited. Grigsby stared into Bunny’s green eyes and promised to always keep her safe. She handed him an empty plate and motioned to the chef carving up the pig. Grigsby smiled and they ate like royalty that night. Life’s simplest pleasures are accentuated during feasts. Grigsby agreed it’s all meaningless without friends and family.


Authors Note:

This is the conclusion to the first Grigsby story. It will be edited and compiled into a novella. Another Grigsby story is in the works and can debut as early as tomorrow. Thank you for being an early reader of this series. The novella(s) will be published on Amazon and other platforms but since you’re an early reader, I’m providing them for free. Send me an email at hi@robertmaisano.com for your special copy. Thanks. 

— Robert Maisano

The Exchange

Inside Room 39 no one spoke. Grigsby stared at The Bear. They were waiting for the teams to rendezvous at Fort Mason. Ira read the contracts over again. When Bunny Pemberton is safe, Grigsby will sign them. This will give The Bear full ownership of the pie company, vodka company and place him on the board of Pemberton Investments.

Grigsby’s phone rang, it was Akio, he answered and turned on speakerphone. “We’re at Fort Mason. What are the next steps?”

The Bear grinned. “Leave your weapons in the cars and walk into warehouse B.”

Akio said nothing.

The Bear repeated himself.

“Grigsby?” Akio said.

“Do it.” Grigsby grunted.

“Copy, stay on the line,” Akio said. He ordered his men to disarm and head to the warehouse. Minutes later Akio spoke, “We’re inside, Bunny Pemberton is in sight.”

Grigsby sat at the end of his seat. The Bear motioned to the fountain pen on the table. Grigsby grabbed the pen and held it above the documents.

“Let her go,” The Bear said on his phone.

Time slowed. No one spoke. All you could hear were soft footsteps. Then Akio spoke, “We got her.”

Grigsby immediately signed both documents and pushed them across the table. “Get her out fast,” Grigsby ordered. You could hear the team running now, a rhythm of heavy boots striking the damp pavement. Then the popping of car doors.

“We’re in the convoy, heading out, see you at the rendezvous,” Akio said. Grigsby hung up.

Grigsby stood and buttoned his jacket. “We’re done here. I’m going to see my wife.”

“Hang on a second,” Ira said, “What about my payment?”

The Bear and Grigsby gave Ira a confused look.

“My firm completed all the legal work for both companies you’re now the sole owner of. Since today was conducted in an unusual sense of expediency, I demand my cut.”

Grigsby grabbed Ira’s shoulder and leaned into his ear, “Are you seriously doing this right now?”

“I want my money.” Ira said, staring at The Bear.

The Bear laughed, “You’re greedier than I am.”

Ira slammed his fist on the table, “Fuck you pay me.” Ira said. “Take it from the Pemberton Investment salary you’re now getting.”

“You’re some friend.” Grigsby said.

The Bear opened his laptop and spoke to one his men in Russian and sighed, “Fine, fine. Give me your bank account number.”


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The Contract

Grigsby stood before The Bear. On the screen beside showed a live view of Bunny Pemberton who was locked away inside a shipping container. She was lying down now. Grigsby stared at the sunburnt Russians and smirked.

“How long were you up in the balloon for?” Grigsby asked.

“A day and a half you prick—” said one of the men. The Bear held up a hand and he stopped.

“Listen Pemberton. I, call the shots, I’m in charge. Anything happens to me again, I’ll act on my insurance policy.” The Bear said, motioning to the screen.

“You’ve gone too far this time. You’re lucky my team isn’t here skinning you.” Grigsby seethed.

“Instead of this back and forth, why don’t we get this over with?” Ira said.

Grigsby nodded. The Bear shrugged.

One of The Bear’s men pulled out a manilla envelope and tossed it on the table. Grigsby and Ira examined the documents.

“The pie company? The vodka company?” Grigsby asked.

The Bear nodded.

“This can’t be all you want. What else is there? There’s always something else.”

The Bear smiled, “I want both of those companies and a board seat on Pemberton Investments.”

“You prick, do you think I’d allow you inside my empire?”

Ira nudged Grigsby and pointed at the screen. The door to the shipping container opened. A group of men was entering, the screen went blank for a moment and then Bunny was gone.

“Where’d she go? Where’d she go?!” Grigsby tried leaping over the table but Ira held him back.

“You can see your wife tonight or, well, there’s the other way.” The Bear said.

“Grigs, he holds the cards now.”

Grigsby said nothing for a long time. Then he picked up the documents and looked at The Bear. “I want assurance she’s okay, have your men bring her to Fort Mason. Once my team sees her. I’ll sign.”

The Bear smiled and nodded to one his men. The man called and spoke in Russian. “The team will be there in half hour, don’t be late.”


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Room 39

Grigsby and Ira walked fast through the lobby, ignoring the welcome of the front desk clerk. The security guard by the elevators waved them through without saying a word. “A bespoke tailored suit is the ultimate passport,” Grigsby said as the elevator doors closed.

Ira nodded, he seemed more nervous than usual.

“You clear on the plan?” Grigsby asked.

“I feel like we’re walking into the lion’s den.”

“We are.”

The doors opened and they followed the patterned carpets through a darkened hallway. Faith Evans could be heard humming through the walls of another guest’s room. They were having a more pleasant evening. They stopped at Room 39 and knocked twice.

A short Mexican man answered the door. His body was checkered in patterned tattoos, like one big Vans sneaker. The man ushered Grigsby and Ira into the bathroom and frisked them. “Okay,” he said after, holding out his hand, “Go in.”

The duo continued down the long corridor of the suite. Grigsby noticed a series of orange extension cords running along the floor toward the living room. It connected to a variety of computer monitors setup atop a dresser. One screen was blank, the other was a video feed a woman inside of what looked to be a shipping container. It was Bunny. She was pacing the room like a caged dog.

They entered the room. Three men stood there, all with severe sunburns and cracked lips. The condition of the men delayed Grigsby recognizing who they were. The center man removed a pair of cataract sunglasses to expose red and grey-blue eyes.

“Hello, Grigsby.”

Grigsby said nothing. He remembered the fitness band Bunny left in the cabin. The letter R wasn’t complete, she was trying to spell the letter B. It all came together as Grigsby stood before The Bear. This time though, he held all the cards.


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Grigsby & Karl The Fog

The call was brief. The kidnappers told Grigsby to be in San Francisco by noon. He’d provide the location and then said, “Bring your lawyer too, we’ll need him.” This is something Grigsby couldn’t connect. What would they want with Ira?

The convoy loaded up and headed west for San Francisco through the switchback roads. The double yellow line stretched to the horizon beside dense pines. Grigsby told Akio and his team to keep their distance when they arrive in the city. They haven’t been as helpful as he hoped. Grigsby compared it to hiring hyenas to build a wedding cake. Then he leaned back and told Ira to wake him when he sees Karl The Fog, a name San Franciscian’s gave the fog.

Entering the city of San Francisco from the northern Marin Headlands is special. It feels like you’re falling, fast, out of a Renoir painting as the highway spits you out toward the Golden Gate Bridge. Brilliant shades of emerald, coral, and blue blend together through gray and white fog.

Grigsby gave Karl the middle finger. One summer Grigsby ran his yacht aground after being wrapped in dense fog. Now that the fog has a name, he hated him.

The convoy drove across the Golden Gate Bridge. They could only see red art deco pillars of the bridge, the rest were in the clouds. It felt like driving into a sinister land. A place that’s not quite oblivion but on the edge.

The phone buzzed with a text message from a blocked number. It read, “Clift Hotel, Room 39. Grigsby and Ira only.” Ryūki radioed the team, telling them to set a wide perimeter but stay out of sight. Grigsby’s SUV drove into the city. Ira stared out the window and saw the tent cities adjacent billion dollar tech companies. A naked crackhead danced across Market Street, bystanders passed him like it was a pigeon.

“Such a strange city,” Ira commented.

Grigsby sighed, “In a city that will not tolerate inefficiencies like slow internet and on-demand limos, sushi, and tv; it’s incredible to see the same populace tolerate crime, homelessness, and filth.”

Ira nodded and wondered why the same companies that preach purpose over profit had fecal matter lining their office borders.

The SUV stopped and a man in black opened the door. “Welcome to the Clift Hotel gentlemen.”


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Bulls in the China Shop

The next hour was complicated. Grigsby’s team, who raided the Bishop ski house, were now surveying the scene. They were tasked with putting together an estimate of damages they caused. The most costly items seemed to be the 70-year-old oak door that lay in smithereens. Plastic explosives were used to breach it. And a flash-bang grenade broke a shelf of Mrs. Bishop’s China set from 1923. Grigsby agreed it was overkill.

Lloyds of London is going to have a field day,” Ira said.

Grigsby sat with his head in his palms. “Not to mention Randolph’s legal team. You have any idea how we’ll defend against this?”

“I’ll take care of it. It’s going to cost you and it’ll sting, but it can go away.” Ira said, patting Grigsby on the back.

“Grigsby you son of a bitch!” Randolph shouted from the other room. Members of his team were treating him after they tasered him into submission. Grigsby felt perturbed. Not because he destroyed the house of a perennial rival but he was still no closer to finding Bunny.

“Guess he’s regained consciousness now.” Ira quipped. “You don’t have to talk to him.”

“I don’t want to.”

“Good. What are we going to do about the mistress?”

“What all mistresses want when they’re exposed?” Grigsby asked.

“Another man?”

“Money. Go talk to her.”

Ira went to the room where Miss Alabama sat wiping off her makeup. She was now clothed in a cable-knit sweater and jeans. Her hair was so bleached it looked like the steamed napkins that are dolled out at Sushi restaurants. She looked into the mirror and saw Ira and smiled. Twenty minutes later Ira came out with a signed NDA and a note of “needs” Miss Alabama has. He handed it to Grigsby.

“Jesus, she must think I’m Santa. What the hell is a Pomsky?”

“It’s a cross-breed of a Pomeranian and a Husky, they’re actually quite cute—”

“Pay it.”

Ryūki came running into the room with his phone out, “Sir the kidnappers are calling.”


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The Randolph Raid

“How far are we?” Grigsby asked as the SUV sped through back roads outside Truckee.
“Not far, Akio’s team has the home already surrounded, they’ve confirmed he’s inside. No one else is in the ski house.” Ryūki said.

Pines flashed by as they made the turn onto the long drive toward Randolph Scout Bishop’s ski house. They were 300 yards from the gate when Akio radioed them.

“We see Randolph on the second floor, no guards in sight, should we move in?” Akio asked.

“Go, move fast, don’t kill him,” Grigsby answered.

The SUV slowed as they watched the team move in like a brigade of wraiths in the night. All that was visible are red laser dots and green tint of their goggles. Shouting ensued moments later. Smoke and sparks erupted from the front door as the team breached it.

Ira and Grigsby watched the raid through the monitors in the SUV. A few of the team members had their cameras on. The video feeds were shaky but showed the team moving fast through a well-appointed ski house. Classic ski posters were framed on the walls and a roaring fire crackled. The team heard something upstairs and scaled the stairs faster than a hyperactive poodle.

Screaming could now be heard through the video feed. They kicked down the door to find Randolph Scout Bishop wearing a sailor hat and nothing else with a blonde woman in bed. Grigsby was biting down so hard he felt his molar crack. The team instantly shot Randolph with tasers. He vibrated like a flag in a storm and fell off the bed, limp. They cuffed him and checked on the woman who was still wailing.

“Bunny!” Grigsby opened the door of the SUV and sprinted for the house. Ira and Ryūki followed. No one had ever seen Grigsby move that fast before. Minutes later he was scaling the same stairs he saw on the video feed. Screams and cries still bore out from the room. Grigsby feared the worst. He ran in to see a blonde woman holding a comforter over herself. The team was trying to calm her down while Randolph lay unconscious on a Zebra skin rug.

Grigsby walked in, stepped on the bed and without saying a word stared at the woman. She stopped screaming and looked up at a sweaty, out of breath, pastel-clad man. “Who the hell are you?” She asked.

Grigsby ignored her, “Team, meet Miss Alabama, Randolph’s mistress.”


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Breadcrumbs

Akio and his team invited Grigsby and Ira into the cabin where they found Bunny’s fitness tracker. Keisha handed the fitness tracker to Grigsby. He cherished it for a minute, thinking of his wife, wondering if she’s okay. The rest of the team inspected the cabin, looking for any clues.

Grigsby sat on in a wicker seat with a threadbare plaid cushion. He examined the fitness tracker. “C’mon Bunny, where are you?”

Akio stepped back into the room. “We couldn’t find much, this place must have been an interim waypoint for them.”

“What now?” Ira asked.

“The ball is unfortunately in their court. We’re going to have to wait for their call again. I suggest we get back to Truckee, there’s better cell reception there.”

Grigsby remained silent.

“Grigs? You okay” Ira asked.

Grigsby smiled wide, like a kid on Christmas morning. “I knew you’d do it Bunny,” He said to the tracker. Grigsby held it up to Ira and Akio. Scratched into the band read the letter R. “We have our lead gentlemen. Let’s get that list of suspects.”

Ryūki came sprinting from the SUV with Grigsby’s briefcase. They turned on the kitchen light in the cabin and pulled out the suspect list they made on the plane. It looked like the casting sheet for a Brooks Brothers catalog, a litany of waspy names. They scanned the last names starting with the letter R and found nothing. They looked at first names only.

“Sonofabitch.” Ira said.

“Randolph.” Grigsby growled. “Randolph Scout Bishop.” Akio glanced at the name and began searching it on his laptop.

“How do you know him?” Akio asked.

“We played Lacrosse together back in boarding school, the prick was a hoover, but I’d outscore him. Anyway, we’ve been business rivals for a long time.” Grigsby said.

Akio typed for a while without saying anything. Grigsby tried coloring in the past and seeing where he’d crossed him to the point where he’d consider doing something this rash. Akio interrupted him, “Sir, we have his jet’s recent flight manifest.”

“And?”

“He’s here in Tahoe.”


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She’s a Ghost

The motel room had the same smell found in every motel in America: musk, mildew and the lingering scent of urine. Grigsby did not sit, he wanted only the soles of his Gucci loafers to touch the room. Inside were three operators from Pemberton Investments. Akio is their team leader. The two others are Keisha and Luke.

“This is it?” Grigsby asked. “Doesn’t look like the A-Team.”

“Not quite, I have sent the rest of the team to setup a permitter around where we believe Bunny Pemberton is,” Akio explained. He motioned to a laptop that sat above a browning TV. “With the permitter secured, we were able to pinpoint the fitness tracker location. It’s currently inside an old cabin.”

“Any vehicles spotted coming or going?” Grigsby asked.

“No. There are no means of transport at the cabin which leads us to believe this a drop off point. Nothing permanent.” Akio answered. “The plan is to head up there shortly. Keisha will be our ghost.”

Ira and Grigsby looked at her. She gave a wolfish smile. “I can go anywhere without being seen.”

“Once she confirms what’s inside we’ll know what we’re dealing with,” Akio said. “Questions? No? Good. Let’s move.”

The convoy of Land Rover Defenders drove through back country roads, leading the way. Ryūki, Grigsby and Ira followed in their SUV. A mile from the target they shut their headlights off and continued in the pitch of night. “I learned to drive blind from Akio.” Ryūki said smiling. Grigsby and Ira held on to ceiling handles and didn’t say anything.

Soon they were 100 yards from cabin according to the navigation system. Ira squinted into the night and tried to see. Grigsby reached under the seat and pulled out a set of night vision binoculars. Ira gave him an incredulous look.

“A man with means and curiosity should always travel with these,” Grigsby said.

He was able to see the cabin, it’s small structure hid it well in the dense trees. Grigsby didn’t see any of Akio’s men but was assured they were out there. The pines and firs filled the night air. Grigsby took long breaths to keep calm.

“Keisha’s heading for the cabin,” Akio announced over the radio. The car remained quiet.

Minutes which felt like hours crept by. Then a live video from Keisha’s helmet camera streamed to the SUV’s screens. They watched her climb with the grace of a gymnast through a cabin window. Keisha checked every room. All empty. Ryūki punched the steering wheel. Then the camera focused on an item Keisha bent over to pick up. She held it to the camera and Grigsby saw it was Bunny’s fitness tracker.

Keisha sighed, “She was here but now she’s gone now.”


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