One might think that with as much time as James Lessor
spends trying to bend the rules to acquire stuff for
himself and his friend Skip Moore, James would inevitably
have more stuff. As this is not the case, James is always
ready to take part in, and take over, any new angles for
making money with minimum effort.
Skip is excited about getting a contract to install a
security system for Synco Systems and invites James to help
supervise some of the workers. The primary catch to the
contract is that Skip has to be the pretend boyfriend of
the mistress of the president of the company.
Sarah Crumbly went to school with Skip and James and dated
Skip a few times, so she feels the cover story would make
sense and allow her lover to allay his wife's suspicions.
However, helping his former flame fool the president's
wife, even for a fat bonus, skates the edge of the ethical
line for Skip, particularly as it means not telling his
girlfriend, Em. James is, of course, all for the deceit.
Don Bruns' most recent installment of the Stuff
series combines humor, excellent character craftsmanship
and mystery to create a quick-moving tale that races to the
Best friends James Lessor and Skip Moore are still stuck in
dead-end jobs, still living in their ratty apartment in
Carol City, Florida, and still dreaming of hitting the big
time. It seems those dreams are finally within reach when
James lands a job to install a state-of-the-art security
system for Synco Systems. There's a huge commission - and
plenty of strings - attached.
To collect on the cash, James will have to
provide "additional services" by assuming the role of
pretend boyfriend of Sarah Crumbly, an employee who's
having an affair with Sandler Conroy, Synco's married
When Sandler's wife offers James a tidy sum for the dirty
details about what's going on at Synco, James and Skip
resurrect their entrepreneurial dreams and go into the
business of being spies.
The spymobile - their beloved, rattletrap of a boxtruck -
is on its last legs, and they'll have to spend a small
fortune on spy equipment, but there's no business like spy
In this spy game, James and Skip may be the ones who get
played - or worse.
I ripped the cardboard from the ﬁrst box,
ﬁnally making a
tear wide enough to pull out the second box. This was the
one with the printing on the side. But the envelope inside
was what caught my eye ﬁrst. I yanked it out of the
box and shoved it in stuff to spy for
my shirt pocket. By now I was ready to put a match to all
the paper and cardboard and tape.
I looked up and James was staring at me. â€śWhere did you get
the package, Skip?â€ť
â€śSpecial D, James. No problem. Conﬁdential to Skip
His eyes were wide, and he froze as I took the box knife to
the tape that sealed the box.
â€śWhat? Canâ€™t you just leave it alone?â€ť
He leaned down, grabbing the box from my hand as my box
knife went ﬂying. James started down the hall,
his arm, running as fast as Iâ€™ve ever seen him run. I
struggled to my feet, charging after him, hitting my pace
and in seconds feeling winded and weak.
â€śJames. Where are you â€”â€ť Eden Callahan yelled as she jumped
back from her post, and Andy Wireman staggered on his ladder
as James ran by. Wireman held on as James hit the glass door
with his shoulder and plowed on through, racing into the
I got to the door as he heaved the box twenty feet in front
of him, fell to the ground, and buried his head under his
I stood in the doorway trying to catch my breath. The
burning in my lungs wasnâ€™t going away anytime soon. My
roommate lay there for at least sixty seconds and I just
kept gasping for air, thinking I was probably going to throw
I watched him pull himself to his feet, staggering as he
walked back to the building. As he got closer I could see
him sucking in oxygen. We were a real pair.
Finally he reached the door, and I pushed it open for him,
barely able to move the heavy metal and glass. James walked
in, leaning against the inside wall, eyes closed and his
hand over his heart. I knew exactly how he felt. Finally he
slid to the ﬂoor, slumping over, and breathing heavily.
Buddy story mystery novel by Don Bruns condensed into 3 minutes. Now available in Paperback!