He was the tallest human being I’d ever seen, on or off a basketball
court, but broad-shouldered, like an offensive lineman. He had just
walked in, and stood with his back to me, so I could see only his
silhouette. He stood with his legs apart, scanning the room, and the
pose seemed familiar to me somehow. Then he turned in my direction. He
was wearing a sport coat that looked like it had been cut from a
charcoal plaid tablecloth, an open-necked gray textured shirt, and black
pants. Wavy dark hair combed back from his forehead gleamed under the
artificial light. He wore long sideburns. Deep-set eyes drooped sleepily
under long lashes, until he saw us, and then they opened wide. He
smiled, the left side of his upper lip lifting like a lopsided stage
curtain over a nice set of teeth and a full lower lip. Semiotics would
be wasted on him. The King had returned as Bigfoot.
I rapped the Englishman on the elbow with my knuckles. “Hey, man,” I
said, watching the tall man advance toward us. “You got a friend? Tall
dude looks like Elvis Presley on growth hormones?”
The tall guy reached us as the Englishman turned around. The Englishman
didn’t seem all that happy to see his buddy, which dimmed the wattage
on the tall guy’s smile. Now that he was close, he didn’t look all
that much like Elvis Presley. Or rather, he looked more like an Elvis
impersonator than like the King himself. His crooked smile pushed his
cheeks up under his eyes and gave him kind of a goofy look.
“I’ve been waiting a long time,” he said to the Englishman, a
little reproachfully, I thought. “I came to find you.”
“That’s my fault,” I said. “He was letting me bend his ear. Tell
you the truth, we’re both a little bit soused.”
The tall one’s smile wavered, and he glanced at the Englishman’s
“Henry,” I said. “Go by Hank.” I offered my hand to the other
stranger as well, and he took it, though he almost missed the
opportunity because he was glaring at Elvis.
“My name’s Smith,” he said. “Lawrence.”
“Mr. Henry,” Elvis repeated.
I shook my head. “Just Henry. Hank.”
“Like Henry Wadsworth Longfellow,” Elvis said. “‘By the shores
of Gitchee Gumee—,’” he recited. “And Henry Ford! And the bald
boy in the funny papers—the funniest living American.”
“Plenty of Henrys,” I agreed. “Plenty of Lawrences. But not many
“I know,” he agreed happily. He slid onto the barstool next to me,
tucking his long legs under the bar by bending his knees. “What are we
Excerpted from "Second Coming" by D B Borton. Copyright © 2017 by D B Borton. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
D B Borton
D. B. Borton lives in a small Midwestern college town, where she teaches writing, film, and literature at Ohio Wesleyan University. She has published eleven mystery novels in two series, the Cat Caliban series (Berkley, Hilliard and Harris) and the Gilda Liberty series (Fawcett). As an academic writer, she has published work on film, women’s literature, and the supernatural; she is co-author of Haunting the House of Fiction: Feminist Perspectives on Ghost Stories by American Women and Ghost Stories by British and American Women. She has also written for Ms. magazine.
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