Geoffrey Long


The Kingdom is the story of two brothers living on the West Coast. The younger brother, in San Francisco, has fallen in with a group of guerrilla artists who take the "guerrilla" bit a tad too far. The older brother, in Seattle, is trying to get over his ex-girlfriend and failing miserably. When the younger brother gets into trouble and heads up the coast to seek refuge, chaos ensues.

Work in Progress

This is where I'm posting excerpts as I'm going along, so keep in mind that everything on this page is very Rough Draft. --G


Part One: Putting the Butterfly On

Chapter 1


Gargoyles Coffeeshop

San Francisco, California


            “It is my complete and utter belief that Christopher Columbus was full of shit.”     

            Tommy Jessen looked up abruptly from his crossword. “What?”

            Leonard Thompkins rocked back and forth in the weathered armchair, grinned a Rembrandt-white grin, and exhaled an enormous cloud of smoke through the gap between his front teeth. “Shit. Crap. Bunk. Absolute nonsense.”

            Tommy stared at him. “Christopher Columbus.”

            “Right-o. Absolutely full of it.” He replaced the cigarette between his lips and waved his hand in the air, indicating the inside of the coffeehouse with a broad sweep. “All of this? This whole world? Flat as a pancake. Like a giant fucking card table. Ol’ Chris just wasn’t looking one night when, whoop! The whole ship flipped right over the edge and wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am, he’s sailing across the dark, seedy undebelly of the world, and that’s where he found America. This whole ‘new world’ malarkey? Nonsense. This is the backside of the world right here, buddy boy, Cal-I-Forn-I-A-S-S.”

            Tommy snorted and went back to his crossword. He tapped his pencil rapidly on the coffee table, set the pencil down, drummed his fingers a few times, then picked up the pencil again and began to chew on it.

            Leo grinned. “O-righty-o, hey-ho, the sailor’s life for me,” he suddenly burst out singing, painfully out of tune. He flopped his arms about for a moment, then yawned widely and craned his neck to stare up at the ceiling, following the swiftly-dispersing smoke up into the swarms of ornamental wooden gargoyles. Each of the brightly painted critters suspended from the ceiling sported tiny glass eyes that glinted in the dim Friday-night light of the coffee bar, and it was almost as if they were staring down on them. Leo grinned up at them, and stuck out his tongue. Leonard Thompkins was tall and gaunt, with white-blonde hair that was short, spiky, wild and stuck out all over a head which lolled around on his shoulders too lazily, just waiting for something to happen or for someone to give him directions.

            Tommy had finished his crossword puzzle half an hour ago, five minutes after he’d begun to scribble at it. Since that time he’d packed away two huge cups of house blend and had looked up at Leo only when directly spoken to. He kept telling himself that his nervousness was understandable: after all, tonight was his first time out, his initiation run, his deflowering in a way. Even though he was less than a year younger than Leo, he knew he had the build and the air of a perpetual freshman, with his round face and that damnable mouse-brown hair that was always falling in his eyes. He was also well aware of his tendency to look at everything with that shy way that implied that a person was either slow or extremely introverted. He was neither, not really, but he was the kind of guy that had never fit in anywhere and had, as a result, learned to keep quiet and to watch things from the sidelines. Most of the time. Tonight, though, Tommy had taken the initiative, and he was going to fit in. He was going to be a part of something. He was going to be one of the guys. That is, after the initiation. He steeled himself, set his jaw, and did his best to keep the shyness out of his eyes.

            “Full of it, full of it, full of it,” Leo was singsonging to himself.

            “Someone’s full of it, all right,” Tommy said as he tapped the eraser on the table again. “But it’s not Columbus, Leo.”

            “Leonardo, Tommy,” Leo chided. “Leo-nardo.”

            “Right, right, right. Whatever.” Tommy laid the pencil down and glanced quickly at the door. “When’s he supposed to get here again?”

            “Got me,” Leo said. “You know Patrick. Half an hour late to his birth, thirty years early to his funeral. Good old Patrick couldn’t be on time if his life depended --”

            “Ha!” Suddenly an arm whipped over the back of Leo’s armchair and seized him by the hair. Tommy’s eyes sprang open as Leo yelped in pain.

            “Patrick Cohen, I presume,” Tommy muttered as another tall young man stepped from behind the chair and propped an elbow atop Leo’s head, still holding his prisoner’s hair in the other hand.

            “Why, hello, hello, hello. Thomas Jessen, isn’t it? Nice to see someone in this little clan still has a shred of respect coursing through his veins.” He looked down at Leo. “Unlike some people I could mention.”

            “Leggo,” Leonard gasped. “Goddamn it, Patrick, leggo!”

            “What’s the secret word?”

            “Warhol,” Leonard barked back. “Leggo!”

            “Cor-rect!” Patrick crowed wildly and released him with a flourish. Dusting off his hands with melodramatic swish, he stepped around the chair and into the light. Tommy stared in spite of himself: this was the man whom he’d been chatting with on Internet Relay Chat for the last six months? While the handful of IRC people he’d actually met face to face were all either superthin acne-faced geeks or big, fat behemoths, Patrick Cohen was neither. He was tall, but not too tall -- about six one or so -- and dressed to kill. His black slacks were hemmed neatly just above his black leather loafers, and a bright white dress shirt and black tie peeked out from the tight wrap of a high-collared black vest. His hair was dusty blonde and pulled back in a sharp ponytail, and his mouth, a tight line when he wasn’t smiling and all brilliantly white teeth when he was, was outlined with a pencil-thin goatee. On his sharp nose perched a pair of rimless glasses, and peering through them were the keenest green eyes Tommy had ever seen.

            “So what’s the name of this dance, Tommy?” Patrick asked, his voice smooth as silk, as he slid into the empty chair next to his. “I can call you Tommy, can’t I?”


            Patrick clucked his tongue. “Now, Tommy, the first thing you have to learn is to relax,” he said, with all the tone and manner of a schoolteacher lecturing a particularly slow student. “If you freak out, they’ll spot you in thirty seconds flat. Won’t they, Leo?” He turned his wild, wolflike grin on Leonard, who was squriming in his chair.

            Leonard mumbled something unintelligible, and stopped squirming.

            “Oh, of course. Leonardo. A slip of the tongue,” Patrick said smoothly. He turned back to Tommy, all teeth. “Now, then, where were we?”

            Tommy fixed him with what he hoped was a solemn stare. “The dance.”

            “Of course! The dance!” He clapped his hands in mock joy. “You do know the steps, don’t you?”


            “Fantabulous.” He winked. “So, are we ready to do this?”

            Tommy glanced at Leo, who looked up at Patrick with a positively morose look on his face. “Oh, come on, Patrick,” he whined. “Do we have to do this tonight? I mean, fuck, the guy’s my -”

            “Hush!” Patrick barked, suddenly serious. “Our target’s position is his damnation, and not even blood will provide redemption.” He puffed up his chest as his voice swelled into a melodramatic proclamation. “That redemption is up to us, and it is tonight that we will grant him our blessing. Now, I ask you, boys... Are we ready?”

            Tommy swallowed and tried to stay cool. He stood, took his black leather jacket from the back of his chair, and hefted his backpack up off the ground. He slung the pack over his shoulder and shrugged. “Sure. Why not?”

            Leo sighed. He rose slowly from his chair, rubbing his hair where Patrick had grabbed it, and pulled a pair of mirrored, gold-rimmed glasses from his pocket. He slipped them on and then suddenly flashed a grin. “Yeah. Why the hell not?”

            “Well, then,” Patrick said, standing and placing a hand on each of their shoulders with an absolutely devilish smile. “Boys, grab your toys. It’s time to go to war.”