All Corporate Marshal Ziglar Ghostshade wants is to eat his donuts in peace and die with a cherry turnover in his mouth, but his notoriety is making that impossible. After losing the love of his life to a sadistic serial killer, and being forced into hiding by a powerful mega-corporation, the last thing Ziggy wants to do is to put on pants and capture a bunch of deranged killers—but he has no choice. Alexia Ito, the reckless new CEO of DipShip Inc., wants a team to compete in Super Serial, and she’s holding the ashes of Ziggy’s beloved for ransom until he gets it done.
Super Serial is a deranged sporting event created by the ultra-wealthy to rid the Corporatocracy of serial killers. The death penalty—with sponsors. Or in this case, floundering, on-the-verge-of-bankruptcy, sponsors. DipShip can’t afford a toothpick, let alone an entire team of marshals equipped to take down some of the world’s most dangerous serial killers. Ziggy’s only crew includes Pepper Devoux, Alexia’s devoted administrative assistant, Floyd McNut, an autistic Super Serial savant, and Joe, the disposable security guard. Or was his name Steve? Rick, maybe? No one can seem to remember.
Ziggy and his crew have twelve weeks to hunt down a team of killers, but when the truth about the Corporatocracy comes out, Ziggy must decide who the real serial killers are.
Mandy Harker and Preston McNair know books pretty good and they've come to the literary world for two reasons: debuting novels, and kicking ass... and they've already debuted a novel. Mandy's a sensitive Pisces with a white-belt in karate and a wardrobe full of rabbit pelts and turquoise jewelry. Preston collects ninja stars, and has over two-hundred Pokemon cards, including a Mega Charizard XY. Together, they make the most epic co-authorship the world has ever known.
"I could never represent this and feel good about myself."
"Please don't publish this under your real names. What if my friends see it?"
"Is this fiction or non-fiction? I'm cool with either."
"Is this supposed to be funny? I'm not sure other people are going to get this."
"I feel like I read something illegal."
"I'd probably remove some of the references to private parts."
Ziglar Ghostshade, Floyd McNut, Alexia Ito, Pepper Devoux, Joe Disposable, Carol Petersen, Benedict Bork, Big Montana Ice, Lin Meihua, Garbage Samurai
Ziglar Ghostshade stared at the bowl of congealed instant oatmeal slop. It looked like a pile of bleached goat shit, but if he didn't force it down, he'd be hungry all morning. He poked at the gluey lump, cringing at the squelching sound the spoon made as it lapped against the surface. He'd already dumped in a handful of stale raisins, and a chunk of rock-hard sugar, but nothing could make it anything other than what it was. Gluten-free ass paste. He dropped the spoon onto the plastic tray that served as his dining room table and glanced at the metal cupboard where he stored his only remaining bottle of Gluto-Block.
“Don’t even think about it,” Giovanni muttered, slumped against a corner of the kitchen. “That shit is five thousand seven hundred eighty-four dollars a bottle.”
Ziggy pushed himself to his feet, his threadbare camping chair creaking as he stood. “Think about what?” he feigned innocence.
Gio leaned forward, wincing as his bare skin peeled away from the wall. “Don’t play stupid. That money is almost a third of the travel expense to Ipanema. You’re supposed to be saving. You promised.” His dark eyes flashed as he tugged at the handcuffs binding his wrists in front of him. A thin rivulet of blood ran from his ear, dripping onto the sticky linoleum.
Ziggy pulled on his ratty wool coat and scuffed leather boots, trying not to look at the rosewood urn perched on the rusty end table or the poster of the famous beach he’d tacked to the wall above it. “It’s not my fault Pill Depot keeps price gouging their meds,” he ranted, grabbing the Gluto-Block from the cupboard and stuffing it into his pocket. “Damn mega-corps do whatever the hell they want.”
“You’d better not be going to that bakery again,” Gio warned as Ziggy retrieved the bowl of oatmeal mush, tossing it onto the stack of dirty dishes piled high in the chipped porcelain sink. “I’m serious. You spent eighty-one dollars there last week.”
Ziggy gripped the edge of the sink.
“You’re not real,” he said out loud to remind himself. “You’ve been dead for more than three years. I don't have to listen to you.”
“If you’d stop eating gluten, you wouldn’t need Gluto-Block. Haven’t you had enough junk food, Rolha de Poço? Seu desgraçado!” Gio stamped his foot against the ground, the nubs of his half-severed toes squishing against the stained floor.
“Love you, too,” Ziggy couldn’t help muttering as he stepped out into the dim hallway, not bothering to lock the door behind him. There was nothing inside to steal. He had already liquidated everything of value to cover his massive debt to Pill Depot, but it had barely made a dent. He still owed more than he could ever repay. If he weren’t the celebrity marshal who caught the Apex Predator, debt marshals would have hunted him down and sent him to rot in a labor camp long ago. Every day that passed was another day he was surprised his well of fame hadn’t run dry.
An elderly woman with stringy white hair and a sackful of cans tied to the front of her walker nodded to Ziggy as he passed, but he shuffled by, only briefly meeting her eye. Anonymity was the reason he had settled here. District DipShip was full of grifters, fugitives, and corrupt sub-corps who couldn’t afford anything better. Private security was non-existent—too expensive for the down-and-out dregs. It was easy to stay hidden in DipShip, so long as you kept to yourself and didn't kick up a fuss when your shit got stolen.
The District was full of grifters, fugitives, and corrupt sub-corps who couldn’t afford anything better. It stayed afloat on money from bargain-basement leases and shady backdoor deals. Three years had come and gone since Ziggy moved to DipShip. Two, since he stopped counting CEOs.
Ziggy trudged down the stairs, sucking in stale air and muttering curses about the broken elevator and too-loud music that always seemed to play in his seedy apartment complex. By the time he made it down five flights to ground level, he was regretting his hastiness in tossing the oatmeal. His stomach grumbled and his lungs heaved as he used the sleeve of his coat to wipe his sweaty brow. Three blocks stood between him and Sweet Sally's Bakery. If he hurried, he could make it before the Boston creams were gone. His fingers brushed over the cap of the Gluto-Block stored safely in his pocket. The ridges along the edge of the vial were soothing to touch, and he felt a bit like a pious nun gripping a crucifix. If he had Gluto-Block and a belly full of pastries, life was worth living.
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