A Field Guide to Dead Birdwatchers
by Gary Alexander
Pub Date: 2/15/20
TED SNOWE is a hit man who isn’t. Fraudulently, he takes hard-unearned money from the wise guys to rub out their enemies. Instead of providing fair value, Ted offers his “assignments” two choices. Be found in the trunk of a stolen Cadillac in the airport garage. Or accept a new identity he’s prepared, then disappear; his own for-profit witness protection program. All select the latter, so Ted double-dips and relaxes on the Portuguese coast between jobs.
But all is not well. Love of his life, Beth Palmer Brutto, has left him. His last assignment, birdwatching enthusiast Bob Chance, who embezzled from the wrong folks, is not keeping his head down. When Bob and his girlfriend are gunned down in front of a large hotel, Ted’s clients are annoyed at his violation of business ethics and send a real hit man after him, the aptly-tagged Tony Whack Job, a man handy with an ice pick who idolizes Ted Bundy.
Fearing that a similar end awaits Beth and his last three “disappeareds”, Ted heads home to thwart the attacks. To do so, he must run a gauntlet that includes Beth’s serial-bride mother, Birdwatcher Bob Chance’s merry widow, a Ponzi artist, a beer-guzzling cat named Fluffy, and, of course, Tony Whack Job.
With a dismal pro basketball career behind him. a recent bent for writing bad poetry, and a growing interest in birdwatching, Ted faces this challenge as he approaches a male-menopausal age-40.
Thinking that a conscience can be a terrible thing to have.