NAME: Kavi Kanem
OCCUPATION: CRIME LORD
"I have been expecting you, Grant." Kavi Kanem was a tall, elegant, raven-haired lady wearing a striking silk kaftan. At her feet crouched a massive, muscular black Ruritanian Ridgeback, a dog renowned for its vicious efficiency in running down prey. She held loosely in one hand the pistol grip of a Steyr tactical automatic submachinegun.
Grant pointed his nine millimeter at Kavi's right eye, which neither blinked nor showed any alarm. "Put down that gun, muzzle that dog, and take me to speak to Julius Wolverine," Grant demanded.
"You didn't say the magic word," smiled Kavi.
"Please," said Grant, phrasing the one syllable as if it were a terrible curse.
"That's not the magic word, Grant. The magic word is 'abracadabra'. Don't you see? The only way you will ever have a conversation with Julius Wolverine is if you used magic and time travel - he has been dead for over a year, now. Of course, if you wish to join him, that can be arranged."
Kavi Kanem had reflexes so fast her movements were unearthly. She recovered her gun and sprayed the spot Grant where Grant had been standing with a hail of bullets. Grant vaulted for cover behind a large iron planter wrought into Korean mythological symbols. The dog loped towards Grant, barking with rage. Grant aimed quickly and shot a thick, woody branch from the plant, which he immediately jammed sideways into the dog's jaws. Grant fired at Kavi's whirling kaftan. He thought he scored a hit - there was a drop of crimson blood on the white marble floor, but if Kavi Kanem was hurt, the wound was not critical. She leaped for a secret oubliette, her loyal dog charging into the hole after her. The hidden door snapped shut, and Grant was left alone in the room, his ears ringing from the gunshots and his nose itching with the smell of gunpowder.
Just another day at the office.
- excerpt from the novel "A Spy Too Far"
See the other portraits and read the other excerpts: