Tag Heuer glanced down at his Rolex (this irony was not lost on him; even though it wasn't mentioned earlier, Tag had conveniently earned an advanced degree in Tactical Weaponry and Irony during his time at Cambridge-On-Oxford)—a watch that probably cost at least $8,000, if not more. It was exactly 3:49 p.m. 

"Shit is about to get fucking bananas in this part of the book," Tag said to himself through gritted teeth as he checked his reflection in a nearby store window to see how his stunningly lifelike Bengal tiger camouflage face paint was holding up in the blistering Monte Carlo sun.

"Just a reminder: I'm a spy."

But before he could finish his next thought—probably something about poison blow darts or grappling hooks or something—a massive explosion ripped through the diamond store he had been watching through a pair of those really cool-looking binoculars with the red lenses.

"I guess the honeymoon's over," Tag said, a little confused as to why he had chosen to use that particular colloquialism.

Three men in black balaclavas suddenly ran from the smoking façade of the store and jumped into a waiting van, one of them holding a metallic silver briefcase—the nuclear launch codes. But how could the terrorists have known the codes were hidden in the diamond store, a place where it makes absolutely no sense for them to be? 

No time to explain that now, thank-fucking-Christ. Tag hopped into his bright red Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Superleggera

and sped off after the thieves, careful to avoid detection by nimbly darting between the hundreds of other bright red Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Superleggeras on the Italian roadway. Wait, is Monte Carlo in Italy? France, maybe? 

"Monte Carlo is a city in Monaco, a sovereign city-state located on the French Riviera in Europe! It is the most densely populated country in the world!" some guy who was walking on the sidewalk shouted at Tag as he drove by. "I didn't just get this information off Wikipedia, by the way!"

Tag slipped in through a side door of the old warehouse where he had trailed what he sincerely hoped were not Arab terrorists, because that's a whole rat's nest the publishers would rather not get into, and quite frankly, pissing off a bunch religious extremists is the last thing anyone needs right now. Although, considering the state of print media, maybe any publicity is good publicity, right? Hmm. Tough one.

Anyway, just as Tag thought: The warehouse was filled floor to ceiling with nuclear launch codes. As Tag gasped with surprise, despite the fact that his suspicions had been confirmed, the flashlight he was holding in his teeth clattered to the floor. A stupid mistake, especially since he was only holding a gun and his other hand was free, and also because he is a highly trained secret agent.

Footsteps. Mercifully, someone was coming to move the narrative along.

As the terrorists rounded the corner, Tag laid down quickly on his side and began to lick his hands and rub them over his ears, purring loudly, as he imagined a Bengal tiger would. After all, tigers are just big cats, right? So they probably do that sort of thing. 

"Vee have you now, Meester Heuer."

Damn. The camouflage hadn't worked. Even worse, these guys had non-Australian accents, so you just knew they were really bad. As if to prove this very point, one of them knocked Tag out from behind with the butt of his gun, but not in such a way that anyone could describe it as clichéd.


Probably too late to set this whole thing in Zurich or Tel Aviv, Tag thought as he regained consciousness, realizing that he was tied to a chair in a dank basement. He kicked himself (not literally—remember, tied to a chair), considering some of the upcoming structural problems this would have solved in Chapter 8.

Tag quickly shook off these thoughts and planned his next move, reminding himself over and over again about how much a divorce and child support can cost, and how sometimes a writer has to sacrifice his art to pay the bills, especially when that writer has a stupid fucking editor—a philistine dipshit who wouldn't know real literature if it kicked his goddamn head in—breathing down his neck because the manuscript was due over a month ago.

"Are eve awake, Meester Heuer?" the head terrorist said while laying out an array of horrible torture devices that would take too long to describe, so there's no point wasting time coming up with a bunch of good adjectives detailing what they would look like. "Because vee certainly vouldn't vant you to sleep through thees. Pardon me: 'this,' I meant. This, not thees."

Suddenly, several shots rang out, and the terrorists all dropped to the floor, stone dead. The silhouette of a familiar, improbably curvy woman holding smoking pistol stood in the basement doorway.

"Weren't you introduced earlier?" Tag asked uncertainly through the haze of gun smoke.

"Yeah, but I think my last name is misspelled now," brilliant Russian scientist Katerina Lermentovotov said. "Also, I'm a brunette, not a blonde like it said before. In any case, I'm a really smart scientist, so it's not sexist that I have this huge rack."

"Plus you saved me. So that's like a really good, non-misogynistic twist," Tag said.

"I think we've got our bases covered. Shall we get out of here and go back to my fancy hotel room and drink real champagne, not that cheap stuff that gives you a really bad headache? Innuendo?" Lermentovotovvotovot said with a coy smile.

"It's sex for us, baby," Tag said, tastefully wrapping up this part of the book before the rough, kinky hotel room intercourse could distract too much from the story. 

"Hey, here's my penis," he added, exposing himself to Katerina at the last possible second before the chapter ended.

Goddamn it.