Prompt. Professional. Pop!

by Walter Jon Williams

At one in the morning I’m still driving around Culver City in a stolen car, with a satchel of hundred-dollar bills on the seat next to me and one of Hollywood’s most powerful producer-directors locked naked in his own trunk.

Time is ticking by, and I’m completely at a loss what to do next. There’s only one thing I’m sure of.

It’s Jack’s fault. It’s Golden Boy who’s responsible for all this.

He’s the one who’s wrecked my life. He’s the one who invited me to Toluca Lake, only a few weeks ago, and began the cascade of events that led to this moment, this stolen car, this satchel of money, this kidnapping.

All his fault.

The Toluca Lake home is mission style, with white stucco and red roof tiles and carob trees. It looks no more than 2500 square feet, hardly the sort of place I’d expect for someone with his kind of money—but then he lives alone, poor man.

So far as I know, he’s been alone for a long time. Maybe he needs companionship. I’m thinking that maybe that’s why he’s called me.

Continue reading at

Original Fiction from • Illustrated by John Picacio