Books Should Be Free is now
Loyal Books
Free Public Domain Audiobooks & eBook Downloads
Search by: Title, Author or Keyword

Gun for Hire   By: (1917-1983)

Book cover

First Page:

A gun is an interesting weapon; it can be hired, of course, and naturally doesn't care who hires it. Something much the same can be said of the gunman, too....

GUN FOR HIRE

By

MACK REYNOLDS

Illustrated by van Dongen

Joe Prantera called softly, "Al." The pleasurable, comfortable, warm feeling began spreading over him, the way it always did.

The older man stopped and squinted, but not suspiciously, even now.

The evening was dark, it was unlikely that the other even saw the circle of steel that was the mouth of the shotgun barrel, now resting on the car's window ledge.

"Who's it?" he growled.

Joe Prantera said softly, "Big Louis sent me, Al."

And he pressed the trigger.

And at that moment, the universe caved inward upon Joseph Marie Prantera.

There was nausea and nausea upon nausea.

There was a falling through all space and through all time. There was doubling and twisting and twitching of every muscle and nerve.

There was pain, horror and tumultuous fear.

And he came out of it as quickly and completely as he'd gone in.

He was in, he thought, a hospital and his first reaction was to think, This here California. Everything different. Then his second thought was Something went wrong. Big Louis, he ain't going to like this.

[Illustration]

He brought his thinking to the present. So far as he could remember, he hadn't completely pulled the trigger. That at least meant that whatever the rap was it wouldn't be too tough. With luck, the syndicate would get him off with a couple of years at Quentin.

A door slid open in the wall in a way that Joe had never seen a door operate before. This here California.

The clothes on the newcomer were wrong, too. For the first time, Joe Prantera began to sense an alienness a something that was awfully wrong.

The other spoke precisely and slowly, the way a highly educated man speaks a language which he reads and writes fluently but has little occasion to practice vocally. "You have recovered?"

Joe Prantera looked at the other expressionlessly. Maybe the old duck was one of these foreign doctors, like.

The newcomer said, "You have undoubtedly been through a most harrowing experience. If you have any untoward symptoms, possibly I could be of assistance."

Joe couldn't figure out how he stood. For one thing, there should have been some kind of police guard.

The other said, "Perhaps a bit of stimulant?"

Joe said flatly, "I wanta lawyer."

The newcomer frowned at him. "A lawyer?"

"I'm not sayin' nothin'. Not until I get a mouthpiece."

The newcomer started off on another tack. "My name is Lawrence Reston Farrell. If I am not mistaken, you are Joseph Salviati Prantera."

Salviati happened to be Joe's mother's maiden name. But it was unlikely this character could have known that. Joe had been born in Naples and his mother had died in childbirth. His father hadn't brought him to the States until the age of five and by that time he had a stepmother.

"I wanta mouthpiece," Joe said flatly, "or let me outta here."

Lawrence Reston Farrell said, "You are not being constrained. There are clothes for you in the closet there."

Joe gingerly tried swinging his feet to the floor and sitting up, while the other stood watching him, strangely. He came to his feet. With the exception of a faint nausea, which brought back memories of that extreme condition he'd suffered during ... during what? He hadn't the vaguest idea of what had happened.

He was dressed in a hospital type nightgown. He looked down at it and snorted and made his way over to the closet. It opened on his approach, the door sliding back into the wall in much the same manner as the room's door had opened for Reston Farrell.

Joe Prantera scowled and said, "These ain't my clothes."

"No, I am afraid not."

"You think I'd be seen dead wearing this stuff? What is this, some religious crackpot hospital?"

Reston Farrell said, "I am afraid, Mr. Salviati Prantera, that these are the only garments available. I suggest you look out the window there... Continue reading book >>




eBook Downloads
ePUB eBook
• iBooks for iPhone and iPad
• Nook
• Sony Reader
Kindle eBook
• Mobi file format for Kindle
Read eBook
• Load eBook in browser
Text File eBook
• Computers
• Windows
• Mac

Review this book



Popular Genres
More Genres
Languages
Paid Books