In the Tent of the Samuri
By Mike Stevens
A Charles Placard Tale
"The bronzed, supple woman walked seductively towards the writhing samurai, who was already naked. She disrobed by the flickering light of a single candle; he could feel his anticipation growing. She held in her hand something he couldn't quite make out. He thought to himself,
'It must be a sexual device of some sort.'
His anticipation was already stretched to the breaking point, but somehow it managed to grow even more. She leaned closer and whispered,
"Close your eyes and you'll get a big surprise!"
Licking his dry lips, he complied. "What is it, baby?"
The woman smiled, as a knife blade flashed in the dim light of a candle. Suddenly, the tent in the desert was filled with screams, as the samuri tried in vain to pull the quivering knife out of his belly."
Charles Placard's hand cramped at that point, so he decided to give the typewriter a rest. He had typed and retyped the resumption of the story which he was telling in his latest novel, but none of it lived up to his lofty standards. He had to face it, he was stuck. "In the Tent of the Samuri" was proving difficult. Despite his first attempt at dramatic writing, "The Fast-Talking Lumber-King", being mistaken for a comedy book, and Behemoth Press publishing it as such, it had sold unbelievably well, and he now had a deal for another with Behemoth he had to fulfill. He would make sure; with this one, there would be no more thinking it was a comedy! Charles had taken a break from his writing, and was watching an old movie on television. It had to do with a group of foreign travelers taken prisoner by an evil king. That gave him a great idea. He rushed back to his typewriter, and the words flew from his mind onto the page.
"The men struggled in vain to escape from the dungeon, and the evil clutches of the demented samuri warrior. Judging from the skeletons which littered the cold gray stones of the dungeon's floor, they wouldn't be the first of his unlucky victims."
Perfect! It was a great place to continue the story. So far, his novel had it all; sex, madness, war, a villain, and several would-be heroes. All he had to do was the tying it all together, and tell the story.
He was once again sitting in the offices of Behemoth Press, nervous but determined to tell Calamine this book was as good as he could do in writing a dramatic novel. He was just about finished with it. When he had resumed writing, the ideas had flowed almost non-stop. He was grateful his first book had done well, but as a comedy book. He hadn't meant for it to be a comedy, but what the hell, he'd gotten his foot in the door, and now that he had some clout, he was going to use it to market the new novel as a straight dramatic book, not as a comedy, like Behemoth wanted. Daisy the receptionist called his name, and told him to go into Mr. Calamine's office. Calamine was the person in charge of his book deal.
"Very good stuff, this is outstanding!" said a clearly-excited Calamine. He then read a part of Charles's novel out loud.
"Danny had to escape, but there was one small problem; between him and the door to freedom were 12 ninjas with automatic weapons. He tried the oldest trick in the book; he called out,
"Excuse me, guys, but I've got to go to the bathroom, could one of you kindly untie my hands?" He thought they'll never fall for this; you'd have to be pretty stupid. Much to his surprise, one of them came up to him and untied his hands, saying,
"Okay, you've got 2 minutes. If you're not back out here in that time, we'll be coming in looking for you, and you wouldn't like that at all. In other words, it would behoove you to be standing back here in 2 minutes."
He entered the bathroom and looked for a way out. He saw a small window, and the sun was shining through a frosted window at the top of the opposite bathroom wall. Danny let out an almost-silent laugh. The idiots had fallen for it! He quickly stood on a nearby chair and unlatched the window. Just as easy as that, he was outside, and free. He had only taken a couple of steps when from behind him he heard a voice say,
"And what do we have here? Why, I do believe I should stop you!"
The person who had spoken those words was a hot-looking female ninja. She wore a skin-tight ninja outfit, which Danny would have admired, if he wasn't getting pounded, pounded until he felt himself losing consciousness."
"Hot damn, that's some hilarious stuff!" said Calamine. Charles was crushed. Calamine still thought he was trying to be funny;
"Eh, ha, ha, yeah, isn't it?"
He felt like screaming, "The hell with you, and the hell with this place," but knew if he did that, he could kiss the outstanding money he was making goodbye, so he managed,
"The new book is almost finished, I just have a couple more jokes to fit in, and I'll be done."