To close out the year, I worked hard to get the third book in the Grigsby series published. You can read it in paperback and Kindle. If you purchase the paperback, I throw in the Kindle version for free.
To close out the year, I worked hard to get the third book in the Grigsby series published. You can read it in paperback and Kindle. If you purchase the paperback, I throw in the Kindle version for free.
The Sushi restaurant smelled like seared fish and ginger. The hostess bowed and led them to their private paper walled room. Grigsby kicked off his Belgian loafers and hopped into the cube like a child in a ball pit. Ira looked around nervously, he hated raw fish but was willing to indulge given their victory.
Grigsby demanded their finest Sake and that their dinner be Omakase. “Menus are for the ill-informed sheeple,” he said. The hostess disappeared behind the paper doors. Minutes later they reopened and Ira saw the frame of a wheelchair approach. It was Ryūki flanked by Bunny and Becky Pemberton.
Climbing from the chair, Grigsby ran over and hugged his butler. They spoke in Japanese and then sat. Sofia poured sake for the table and Grigsby stood again to make a toast.
“We feast tonight not out of gluttony, spite, or even victory…no, tonight we celebrate life. Every morning I’m up before sunrise. It’s a ritual to watch that star warm the room where ever I am. There’s a component to this ritual where I acknowledge the people in my life who are alive and thriving. Everyone in this room I consider family and I love you all.” Grigsby raised the ceramic glass with pooling eyes. Cheers erupted for Ryūki.
The first round of sushi rolls was ready. A hyperactive waiter flung open the door singing a Japanese pop song Grigsby knew from his time in Tokyo. In the midst of his dance, the waiter tripped and the plates of sashimi began to fall. Then something miraculous happened. The waiter dropped to the ground like a soldier hitting the deck and caught each plate perfectly. The Pemberton’s applauded. The waiter blushed and disappeared.
“What’s the deal with that guy?” Sofia asked.
Grigsby’s phone interrupted the conversation. It was the CEO of America’s largest broadcasting corporation.
“Skip? Sorry about what happened tonight.”
“Are you kidding me? It was fantastic, the carnage was a magnificent spectacle! Look, I don’t have a lot of time, I wanted to offer you this before any of the other networks do.” Skip continued to pitch Grigsby the idea of having Very Ferry inside a warehouse to satisfy all the safety components. Grigsby cut him off and agreed. “Terrific, I’ll send over the paperwork now.”
Grigsby hung up. Everyone at the table stared, waiting for him to say something. “Like my dear Ryūki, Very Ferry may never die!” The table celebrated. When the commotion settled down the waiter returned with a second platter and more sake.
Ira leaned over to Grigsby, “Who will be the new host?”
Grigsby piled in three rolls at once, giving him the face of a sumo wrestler. He pointed to the waiter. “That lunatic.” Ira smiled and knew it was the right choice.
The night continued on and Ryūki, now very drunk, declared his love for all in slurred Japanese. Grigsby explained that he forgets English when he’s inebriated. Grigsby translated for the table. As the night wound down, a local baker opened the paper door. Grigsby had special ordered a gaggle of Baked Alaskas. Grigsby, now wearing a midnight blue sushi chef hat distributed the desserts while chanting: “Very Ferry may never die! Very Ferry may never die!”
Grigsby stared at Mr. Hayakawa, the financial backer of Very Ferry, he did not look pleased.
“I trust you’ve heard the news?” Grigsby asked.
“No, we didn’t need to, we saw it happen live and then the feed cut out. Did the ship sink?”
“Yes. Thanks to your man.”
Mr. Hayakawa shook his head annoyed. “He’s brought dishonor to his family.”
“Yeah and he’s no Mr. Rogers either, I know who he’s Yakuza.”
Mr. Hayakawa’s face tensed, but he remained silent, waiting for the other shoe to drop.
“You better find Joji and put him on the next flight to Tokyo,”
“Now you wait—”
“If you don’t comply, Mr. Hayakawa, I’ll inform Homeland Security that your company is backing a terrorist organization.”
A heavy silence lingered, Grigsby waited for his investor’s response.
The Japanese man folded his hands. “Very well, Joji will fly home tonight.”
Ira smiled and mouthed “thank God.” Grigsby smirked and looked back at the screen, “Back row, middle seat, preferably between two people from one of those square states where their waistbands are elastic.”
“Nevermind. Just get rid of him.”
Grigsby continued negotiating with Mr. Hayakawa. After a long discussion with many obscure metaphors and corporate bullshit terminology, they reached a favorable resolution. The investment Grigsby owed Mr. Hayakawa had been cut in half, provided Grigsby never reveals the truth about tonight’s snafu to the American press. They both agreed and Grigsby ended the conversation in Japanese with flawless annunciation.
He nodded at Ira and Sofia and sat in a tuft leather chair the color of chestnut. A grandfather clock began tolling nine bells. “Well, I’m famished.”
“Shall I put in an order to the kitchen?” Sofia asked.
“No. Yacht Clubs seldom cook anything edible, only Country Clubs and Golf Clubs have proper chefs. Regardless, we’re eating Sushi, I know a place in New Canaan. Let’s go.”
Pinemont Yacht Club is home to overextended Wall Streeters who are stuck in middle management. Range Rover lease payments, private school tuition, and mortgages on their castles keep them in a fiscal quagmire. They’re one stock market blow from complete financial ruin and do everything they can to hide the cracking façade.
They’re a happy bunch though after a good sail, or if they shot below par that week. Tonight though the clubhouse held a tense and somber tone. It was bonus season and it looks like they’d be spending most of their sleepless night thinking about corporate growth opportunities instead of the lift lines at Aspen.
Grigsby entered the clubhouse and scanned the room. He saw men who considered themselves titans of industry but moved past them in search for actual kings. He walked fast through trophy-lined halls and black and white photos of tall ships. Soon Grigsby entered the map room and looked through an old bookcase. Ira caught up with him, Sofia too.
“To the left,” Sofia said.
Grigsby nodded and grabbed hold of the Annapolis Book of Seamanship. Yanking it outward a latch fell behind the bookshelf and a door opened to the side of it. The trio entered a narrow corridor that smelled like a dry, dusty attic. Soon they entered a wide room at the top of the clubhouse. It overlooked the bay which was as black as oil. Sofia flicked on the lights. An elegant boardroom with two phones, one black the other red, sat in the center.
“Setup it up,” Grigsby said.
Ira opened the briefcase and took out a strange looking laptop with a satellite uplink. It looked more like a device used for drone strikes in Kandahar Province than something a Jewish lawyer would be lugging around. Grigsby took this time to check on Ryūki. He picked up the phone and dialed the hospital that sits along the East River. The nurses said Ryūki was pulling through at triple the speed they’d never seen anything like it. Grigsby told the nurse to pass along a message, “The Oni has fallen.” Grigsby hung up.
“We’re online,” Ira said,
Grigsby turned to face the laptop screen. A grey-haired man with a stone jawline stared back. He gave a curt bow and spoke, “Grigsby Ives Pemberton,”
“Mr. Hayakawa, good to see you.”
Grigsby pushed the dolphins away and heaved Joji aboard. He lay across heaps of towels on the stern. Grigsby didn’t want to stain the deck. Joji moaned as Ira and Grigsby looked for more injuries, besides the arm, he was okay. Grigsby went to use his Ferragamo belt as a tourniquet but didn’t want to sacrifice it. He grabbed a line and wrapped it up. Joji wailed.
“Shut up,” Grigsby said. “This is karma Joji.”
“Wha, what?” Joji moaned.
Grigsby leaned in close to Joji’s red face, “I know you poisoned Ryūki,”
Joji’s eyes squinted and he began to chuckle, “He’s Samurai, it needed to be done.”
“Well you failed, Ryūki is alive and well,”
Joji tried to hide his reaction but failed. “Look, Grigsby…”
“You’re done Joji,” Grigsby pulled the line tighter, “Your little mission failed and publicly brought shame to your investors. You sank the ferry.”
Joji’s fate settled in and his eyes closed as he began muttering in Japanese. Grigsby and Ira left him there and had Daria motor him to the Coast Guard ship. The servicemen and women helped Joji aboard and Grigsby checked on everyone. He promised they’d be compensated for the unpleasant evening. Then he asked Daria to bring them back to Pinemont Yacht Club. He didn’t want to deal with the press that would be waiting for him a few harbors down in Greenwich.
The hum of the powerboat lulled Ira to sleep. Grigsby stood beside Daria and breathed in the salt air. The night was cold but zephyrs from shore warmed them. He took a long drag on his cigar causing the ember to glow bright.
“What is life Daria?” Grigsby asked.
Daria looked at Grigsby, his eyes looked like sapphires against the night sky. “In life we’re falling, falling fast, but the good news is, there’s no ground.” Grigsby nodded and they beat on against the tides.
The ferry didn’t sink. It submerged to the point where only high structures of the ship peaked above water. Ira kept stressing this point as it will help their case with the insurance companies. The Sound is shallow and the ferry lay in the rocky mud.
Grigsby was the last to leave the ship. It was an elegant sight. A hand-polished mahogany Chris Craft from 1960 pulled alongside the ferry. On the bow, the Pemberton family burgee swayed gallantly like a battle banner. The woman piloting the powerboat was a captain from the nearby Pinemont Yacht Club. Her name was Sofia and she was the most talented sailor on the Long Island Sound.
Sofia piloted the vintage motorboat alongside the listing ferry. She didn’t seem to notice the insanity of the scene before her. The Very Ferry game show music theme was still blaring from a submerged speaker and dolphins were swimming about as they were released from their tanks. Sofia tossed a line along a railing post and steadied the ship. She extended a hand to help Ira aboard, he was holding a briefcase of legal documents. Grigsby gave one last look at the ferry, bit into his cigar, and jumped aboard. “That went as well as Snapchat’s IPO,” he said.
“Welcome aboard Mr. Pemberton,” Sofia said untying from the ferry. “We have champagne and pretzels in the cooler.”
“Thank you, Ira open them both. Daria hand me that search light.” Grigsby said. He asked her to circle the wreckage, they needed to find Joji.
The lifeboats clustered by a nearby buoy as the Coast Guard ships came to their aid.
The Chris Craft circled the wreckage for a half hour and found nothing. The Coast Guard announced that Joji was the only missing person, everyone was okay.
“You think he drowned?” Ira asked.
“Well, since he poisoned Ryūki, I kind of hoped he did. But I wanted him to lose publicly so his employers could see. Shame is worse than death.” Grigsby said, pointing the spotlight about the white spume and dark surf.
The cackling sound of dolphins rang out, Grigsby ignored them. Sofia looked over and saw a sight that she’d remember forever. “Um, Mr. Pemberton, you’re going to want to see this.”
The spotlight lit up the scene. Several dolphins were pushing an orange and gold heap toward the Chris Craft. It was Joji. He turned over and wailed, he was missing an arm.
The flash-bang grenade sailed through the air toward Joji. The crowd was silent. Grigsby held his breath. Joji’s stare locked onto the airborne ordinance and caught it in the lacrosse stick.
The crowd gasped. Joji smiled and looked at the last convict, a massive man with a black eye. Joji must pass it to him and after that, it can go in the water. Joji leaned back and tossed the grenade toward the battered juggernaut. The grenade sailed by the lacrosse stick and bounced along the deck. Joji’s eyes widened as he saw the grenade bounce down the deck and into one of the engine’s ventilation stacks.
A terrified silence hovered for what felt like ages.
Grigsby looked at the schematic of the ship and realized where it was falling to. He grabbed the PA system mic, “Everyone—” an explosion rattled the ship and the concussion made audience members fall from their seats. Several more explosions sounded and fire and wood splintered from beneath deck. A series of ruptures burst and popped through the ferry. The grenade had fallen into engine system and ignited the gas lines.
Fire roared out of the engine bay as if the gates of hell had been opened. The ferry began to list. Camera equipment and obstacle props slid across the deck and the audience and staff screamed. Grigsby and Ira were in the bridge watching the events below unfold.
“Sonofabitch,” Grigsby said, pulling on a lifejacket. “This is why we can’t have nice things.” He kicked open a box of flare guns and threw them at Ira. “Go to the leeward size and shoot those off, I’ll radio for help.” Grigsby began sending a mayday distress call and reading off the coordinates. The ship listed further to a 55° tilt. Grigsby hit the abandon ship button. The safety crews were inflating orange life rafts.
The Lax Bros panicked and jumped overboard, helping no one. The Convicts stayed and assisted the audience.
The stern of the ferry began to dip into the ink colored surf. Grigsby phoned a nearby yacht club for help, “Bring me my Chris Craft, I’m not going in another damn lifeboat.” he hung up. Ira stood close by and looked at Grigsby.
“Where’s Joji?” Ira asked.
“I thought you had eyes on him?”
“I lost him in the chaos.”
Grigsby and Ira searched the deck as it was splintering apart and couldn’t find their Yakuza hypeman anywhere. He had vanished.
Grigsby watched the contestants pick up the flash-bang grenades and lacrosse sticks. Joji instructed them on what to do. The Lax Bros smirked, knowing this was an easy win. The Convicts nervously looked around asking if these were real grenades. The audience was as silent. It felt more like the final putt on the 18th hole of The Masters than a psychotic Japanese game show.
Joji stepped back and put on his hearing protection and gold sunglasses. He hit a gong to start the challenge. Both teams pulled the pins and began tossing the flash-bang grenades to each member. The Lax Bros did this with ease. But with each pass, the audience gasped as they watched the live grenade sail through the air. The final lacrosse player chucked the grenade overboard, the sea lit up and bubbled. The Convicts were sweating but doing well until one of them dropped the grenade.
“Hit the deck!” Joji screamed.
The shattering boom blinded the Convicts. Everyone held their ears while rolling on the ground. The audience screamed and laughed. The Lax Bros picked themselves up and rubbing their eyes. The Convicts, who were in the center of the blast, remained incapacitated. Joji went to a commercial break and sent in the safety teams.
Grigsby refreshed the chatroom requests and approved a challenge. When the commercial break ended, the production assistant informed Joji of the new request. Joji read it aloud.
“Our latest requests from the chat rooms are asking…” Joji paused, “For me to join the contestants?”
The audience cheered and started chanting, “Joji! Joji! Joji!”
Joji had fear in his eyes but couldn’t dismiss the spotlight. He’s addicted to the fame. He walked over and picked up a lacrosse stick and flash-bang grenade. Joji took off his suit jacket and rolled up his sleeves exposing his tattoos of Oni demons, foo dogs, a koi, and a dragon. He pulled a headband from his pocket and wrapped it around his head. Closing his eyes you could see Joji was taking deep breaths. When he opened them, the fear was gone.
Joji nodded at the cameramen to began filming. Joji would be playing with the convicts that were conscious. The convict held the flash-bang grenade and pulled the pin. No one foresaw the terror that came next.
Grigsby looked at the screens in the control room aboard the ferry. Tonight was the third episode of Very Ferry game show. On the screen was Joji, the hypeman who poisoned Ryūki. Grigsby controlled his anger and reviewed the plan in his mind. Ira wanted to help but Grigsby wouldn’t allow it.
“I must avenge my friend alone,” Grigsby said drinking a chocolate milkshake, he wiped his mouth, “Plus, it’s good for my attorney to be ignorant of such a situation.”
Ira rubbed the back of his neck nervously, “Whatever you say Grigs,” Ira said, “Be careful.”
Grigsby finished his milkshake and watched the opening theme of Very Ferry start. The viewership had tripled since their last show and the chat rooms were at capacity. Joji walked on stage, this time looking like a 1980s weatherman on Telemundo. He waved a manicured hand at the new contestants. There was the “fresh out” crew from Rikers Island, a collection of ex-cons who looked like tattooed heaps of muscle and veins.
The next installment was a lacrosse team from a New Hampshire board school. They wore neon pinnies and backward snapbacks. The title of the episode tonight is “Convicts vs. Lax Bros.” Grigsby knew this was the time to get even with Joji.
The show started with a churro eating contest. A mariachi band swung from harnesses while playing “El Toro Relajo.” Chubby Mexicans in giant sombreros were red-faced as they belted out the classic song. The Convicts were dominating, cinnamon and dough flew through the air as the Lax Bros scarfed down the Mexican treats. The crowds cheered for the lacrosse players, which angered the Convicts. The Mariachi band played amongst the chaos.
The next event was dangerous. Safety officials moved the crowd to another part of the ship and issued goggles and earplugs. The name of the obstacle said it all, “Hot Potato Flash Bang.” A flash bang grenade is used by SWAT teams to incapacitate a room of combatants. It’s non-lethal but the flash and shock of the grenade can bring about unconsciousness. Contestants held goalie sized lacrosse sticks and had to pass a live flash bang grenade to each contestant before tossing it into the water. If they couldn’t do it in time it explodes.
Ira couldn’t bear to watch it, he knew this would be the final straw. All the insurance companies wouldn’t back them after this. Grigsby leaned in closer to the monitor, his eyes fixed on Joji. Now was the time strike.
Pemberton Investments has a full-time medical staff in the east wing of the office. They prep employees who are traveling into the jungles of underdeveloped nations. The medical staff is often treating two common ailments: panic attacks and gout. The latter known as King’s Disease is brought on by excess consumption of red meat, scotch, and cake. Today though the staff wasn’t treating either of these ailments, instead it was poison.
Grigsby rushed into the medical room. Ryūki was lying on a table, his skin the color of fishbelly. The lead doctor, Vanessa Myles, stood, snapped off a latex glove and shook Grigsby’s hand.
“The blood work came in and it appears there are trace amounts of cyanide and iridium in Ryūki’s system. We’re treating this by restoring fluids and giving him 100% oxygen and hydroxocobalamin—” Grigsby gave a confused look, “It’s Vitamin B12a.”
“He’ll pull through this?” Grigsby asked.
Dr. Myles nodded, “We’re monitoring him closely, a nurse will be in the room at all times.”
“How’d it enter his system?”
“We’re still trying to determine the cause, but I’d say it was most likely ingestion.”
There was a knock on the door. Ira poked his in, “Grigs the NYPD are here.” Grigsby told them he’d be out in a moment.
“Ingestion…” Grigsby thought for a moment and slammed his fist on the table. He thought back to the night after filming Very Ferry. Joji offered desserts from Tokyo, they were daifuku and mochi. Grigsby and Ira declined as they were about to head to the country club for steak night. “Ryūki couldn’t resist the sweets from his home. Dammit!” Grigsby stormed out of the room.
Outside NYPD officers were talking to Jacques, the head of security for Pemberton Investments. He was from Nigeria and the size of a Volkswagen, he played for Ole Miss as a linebacker then joined the Marines. Jacques ran security operations for employees around the globe. Grigsby walked over and shook the officer’s hands.
“The commissioner sent a team of officers to guard the premises and the Penthouse on Park Avenue,” Jacques said.
They briefed Grigsby on the specifics of the added security. When the officers left he asked to speak with Jacques alone.
“Do the police know about Ryūki?”
“No sir, per your instructions I omitted that fact.”
“Good, we don’t want any written record of this. The Yakuza are everywhere.”
“Understood, how can I help?”
Grigsby looked up at Jacques, “This is something I have to handle on my own.”
Page 1 of 3
The 3rd Grigsby Book is Live
December 29, 2017
‘Picaroon Coast’ is now on Amazon
November 16, 2017
Grigsby is on Amazon
October 10, 2017
September 27, 2017
September 26, 2017
September 25, 2017
Private Victory, Public Defeat
September 24, 2017
Aftermath, Something Special
September 23, 2017
September 22, 2017
Hook Line and Sinker
September 21, 2017
Churros, Convicts & Lax Bros
September 20, 2017
Poisoning The Butler
September 19, 2017
Pemberton Investments on Lex
September 18, 2017
September 17, 2017
Off The Chain
September 16, 2017
September 15, 2017
September 14, 2017
Off The Charts
September 13, 2017
The Banana Wall
September 12, 2017
Black and White
September 11, 2017
September 10, 2017
September 9, 2017
September 8, 2017
September 7, 2017
September 6, 2017
September 5, 2017
Golfing at Bees
September 4, 2017
September 3, 2017
Clowns on Fire
September 2, 2017
Concorde of Elegance
September 1, 2017
August 31, 2017
Pay to Play
August 30, 2017
The New Host
August 29, 2017
Coffee, Migraines, Sushi
August 28, 2017
August 27, 2017
Bless the Rains Down in Africa
August 26, 2017
August 25, 2017
The Horse Archer
August 24, 2017
August 23, 2017
August 22, 2017