Here's the first chapter of

“Is this a great country or what? The geezer’s heart attack
bumped me three points in the Zogby poll.” Odie Roberts
cringed and covered his mouth. Had he really said that out

In case someone was watching, Odie made the sign of the
cross. “God rest his soul.”

If I don’t watch out, this politics crap will turn me into an asshole.
He looked around for any witnesses to his indiscretion, but
his faithful staff had vacated the offices a little earlier. With a
start, he realized he was alone. In Hollywood. After midnight.
When the freaks come out.

His campaign office had been broken into twice already.
Druggies the first time and a wannabe actress turned hooker
the second. Odie pulled open his desk drawer and rubbed his
snub-nosed revolver, somewhat comforted.

He gave a little whistle and said, “Hey Jasper, come here

His collie, rumored to be a descendent of the original Lassie,
gave a bark and bounded over for a little attention.

“Good boy. Who’s a good boy?” Odie rubbed Jasper’s belly
for a bit before catching a glimpse of himself on television. He
paused for a little self-adoration. The boob tube was replaying
the now infamous debate showing Crenshaw’s fatal heart
attack. For the fiftieth time that day.

As a participant in the debate, Odie’d had an up close and
personal view of the fiery dispute. But he still smirked as he
watched the video of Two-Bits, the rap-star candidate, disrespecting Crenshaw up and down the aisle. Poor Crenshaw
had spluttered, red-faced, until he’d finally keeled over.

Odie shook his head. What a way to go. The media, already
enamored with the bizarre spectrum of gubernatorial candidates,
was in the midst of a feeding frenzy with the “live death” of
the front runner.

At the sound of a gunshot, Jasper barked and hurried out
onto the balcony. Odie hesitated, then followed and glanced
down at the crowd strewn across Hollywood Boulevard. Both
the tourists and the hookers were still doing their thing. Business
as usual. In fact, it looked like a transvestite was taking
a leak on Odie’s star on the Walk of Fame.

There was another shot, but this time it was obvious it came
from farther north. Probably the drug dealers on Franklin. If
he was elected governor in two weeks—and now that actually
seemed likely—cleaning up Hollywood would be one of his top
priorities. Well, that and getting California out of its massive
deficit and helping the homeless and all that other stuff.

Odie stepped back inside his campaign headquarters and
caught a glimpse of his four People’s Choice Awards. He rubbed
the third one from the left for luck, and then used his reflection
in one of his framed movie posters to primp for a moment.
Then he smiled his trademark smile—the one that had made
him famous at the age of six.

His campaign platform was mostly built on freckles, red
hair, wholesome apple-pie personality, and the same milliondollar
smile that had endeared him to generations of viewers
over the years. The hair had receded, of course, and the applepie
thing had gone the way of the dodo, but the smile still
worked wonders on the voting populace. He winked at himself
and said aloud, “Governor Odie Roberts at your service.”

“No kidding. Out of all these whackos running for office,
you think you’re the one gonna be elected, huh?”

Odie whirled around and found an impossibly thin
man with buggy, Steve Buscemi eyes, walking through the
front door. Odie stuttered for a moment before regaining
his composure. He carefully placed his smile into its proper
position. “Absolutely. You’re interested in my campaign, I
take it?”

The thin man shrugged. “Yeah, I guess.”

Odie narrowed his gaze at the lackadaisical answer and
tried not to show his fear. The thin man looked distinctly
apolitical. And with the man’s Brooklyn accent, Odie assumed
the worst.

He thought about the revolver in the desk. “Are you a
Little Odie fan?”

“You’re Little Odie?” The thin man smiled. “Jeez, you are.
Abso-friggin-lutely. Heck, I grew up on that show you did
when you were a little pup. No kiddin’, Back on the Farm was
my all-time lights-out favorite.”

Odie heaved a sigh of relief. Just a fan. He pulled an autographed
head shot from a stack on the floor and offered it to
the thin man.

“Oh, hey. This is pretty cool. Thanks.”

Odie’s relief came to an abrupt end as an enormous black
man slipped sideways through the door, scraping his back and
belt buckle on the doorframe. After popping a few buttons,
the big man squeezed past and closed the door.

Odie stammered, then found his voice and called out,
“Hey. Leave that open, would you?”

The big man grunted and locked the door.

He locked it! Odie shivered. “What do you guys want?”

The thin man said, “Well, I truly am a fan, Odie. I want
you to know that. But I’m afraid I got some bad news for you.
And maybe just a bit of good news.” He pulled a gun from
behind his back and waved it around casually.

Odie’s eyes widened.

“The bad part is we gotta kill ya. And for that I apologize.”

Odie backed away, glancing quickly around. This can’t
be happening! He glanced toward the balcony but promptly
dismissed it. He was four stories up. “And what’s the good

The thin man gestured with the gun. “I read in some rag
that you were partial to heroin in the old days, so we picked
you up some killer stuff to O.D. with.”

Odie backed into his desk and stopped. His head whipped
back and forth from the gun, to the buggy eyes, to the behemoth
advancing toward him. His breaths came fast and furious. “That’s the good news? I haven’t done heroin in twenty years.”

The big guy grunted and reached for Odie.

The thin man held out his hand to stop his partner. “It’s
not like you got a choice, Odie.” He held up a syringe. “And
I hear this shit is da bomb, so why not take it like a man. It’s
called blonde angel. You’ll go out flying like a kite.”

Odie abruptly started to cry.

Impatient, the thin man stamped his foot. “Hey. It could
be worse.”

Odie wiped his nose with his sleeve. “You’re going to kill
me. How could it be worse?”

“Well…like if we lit you on fire.”

Odie felt the tears flowing like a river down his face. “You’re
not a Little Odie fan!”

The thin man reached out and patted Odie’s head. “I
really am. And in point of fact, your last series—the one with
you pretending to be a priest so you could live with all those
girls—well, that was a friggin classic. I’ll watch that one in
reruns forever.”

Odie slid from the desk to the floor. “Then why are you
going to kill me?”

“It’s not personal. It’s just politics.”

Odie stared in disbelief. “I haven’t even been elected

The thin man shrugged and held out the syringe.

Odie said, “I can’t.”

The big man grunted again, then hauled him up and onto
the desk, laying him flat. Odie squirmed, but the big man held
him firmly and growled, “You do it, Barry.”

Odie looked in surprise as the big man spoke for the first
time. His right eye was twitching fiercely. Odie found it oddly

The thin man, Barry, grabbed hold of the syringe and
aimed it at a vein in Odie’s arm. With grim determination,
Barry used a stabbing motion and poked the arm with the
needle a couple of times, but couldn’t seem to find the vein.
It kept rolling away.

Odie grimaced and turned his attention back to the big
man’s twitching eye.

Barry tossed the syringe onto the desk and rubbed the
sweat off his forehead. “Crap! I can’t do it, Nails. I never done
nothing like this before.”

Odie felt the needle come to rest by his right hand and
thought about his gun in the drawer below his left hand. Maybe
he could stab Barry with the needle, then go for the gun.

Nails said, “I think you’re supposed to tie that rubber
thingy around his arm to make the veins pop out.”

“Even if there was a bull’s-eye showing me where the veins
are, I don’t think I could do it,” Barry said. “It’s Little Odie,
for crying out loud.”

Odie felt a glimmer of hope until he looked at Nails standing
above him. Not an Odie fan. Nails’ eye was twitching
overtime now.
“You do it or I’ll do it, Barry. Makes no difference,” Nails
said. “But either way I need the money.”

Odie gasped. “You’re killing me for money? Well that’s easy
then. I’ll give you double whatever they’re giving you.”

Nails’ eye twitched again, causing Odie to burst out,

Odie quickly turned to his favorite fan, Barry, who appeared
to be giving the offer some serious thought. “Please. We can
go to the bank as soon as it opens.”

Barry said, “Five hundred thousand and we got a deal.”

Odie blinked a few times and said, “Done.”

Nails pulled Odie from the desk and set him roughly on
his feet. Odie flinched as Nails twitched again.

Barry said, “Hey. To seal the deal, would you mind doing
that line from Back on the Farm? You know…the one you said
every time you got in trouble.”

Odie grinned, then paused for dramatic effect and said,
“Aw, shucks.”

Barry smiled. “That’s the one.”

Odie turned to Nails and cringed when his eye did that
thing again. “Would you mind putting on some sunglasses or
something? That eye twitch is freaking me out.”

Nails’ face reddened and Barry shouted, “He didn’t mean
anything by it, Nails.”

Odie wondered what the fuss was about as Nails rumbled
toward him. He stopped wondering when a four hundred
pound body slammed into him with the force of a freight

Odie felt himself being lifted into the air and flung backwards
toward the balcony. He caught a momentary glimpse
of his dog Jasper and a saddened Barry as he sailed out and
over the railing.

As Odie dropped like a stone toward Hollywood Boulevard,
he quickly pondered his death and the likelihood of
his becoming more famous than ever after going out in such
a dramatic fashion. And, having been trained in the art of
using a good exit line, he called out his trademark “Awwwww,
shuuuuuucks” on the way down.

The last two things Odie saw was what he hoped was an
adoring crowd gazing up at him—and his own urine-soaked
star on the Walk of Fame.