Wednesday, February 3, 2021

"Corporate Gunslinger's" Cut Scenes: Kira's Breakup

 One disadvantage of the blistering pace required by thrillers is that there isn't time to linger over some details. In Corporate Gunslinger, I ultimately sacrificed a detailed portrayal of Kira's love life to maintain a rapid pace. However, I did explore this a bit in some early drafts. 

At one point, Kira had a boyfriend named Rabbie Baehrenwald, a young financier who was wealthy enough that he doesn't find Kira's debts intimidating. She views their relationship as a "tryout," and believes that if she can show she'll be a good partner, he'll marry her, solve her debt problem, and they'll spend their lives together. 

This dream comes crashing down when Rabbie "butt dials" Kira's number during a discussion with his friend, Mitch Roundtree. While talking with Mitch, Rabbie reveals that he has no interest in a long-term relationship with Kira—he's just stringing her along until she dies on the dueling field. 

After finding the conversation in her voice mail, Kira decides to greet Rabbie in his apartment when he returns from his business trip and hold a "full, frank, and honest exchange of views."  

The scene below describes their meeting.

Kira bent her knees and adjusted her grip on the pistol. She was about a foot to right of the door where Rabbie would enter the apartment. His most recent message said the driver had dropped him off at the building entrance. She responded with “Waiting for you.” Which was certainly true.

The tumblers on the security lock made a rolling noise. Kira brought herself fully upright and ready. The door swung open and Rabbie’s muscular form swept into the room, his voice full of wolfish delight. 

“Hey, babe. Ready for a little food and fun?” He set his suitcase down and turned, looking for her. 

She stepped behind him, kicked the door shut, and leveled her weapon. 

The smile vanished. “Wha—shit!”

Her firing position was nearly perfect--too far away for him to reach her, too close to miss.  She kept the gun level with his face. “Turn around!”

“Wait, Kira, whatever this is, I’m sure—“

“Turn. The fuck. Around. And don’t make me say it again.” 

Rabbie turned. 


“Kira, wait. Have you been drinking? Because if you have, then—“

“KNEEL, asshole.” 

Rabbie knelt. 

“Put your hands on your head.” 

Rabbie complied without comment. 

Keeping the gun trained on Rabbie with one hand, she released her handset from her belt with the other. She keyed the volume to full and played the voicemail. 

By the time the crucial section of the recording finished, both his voice and his body shook. 

“Listen, babe, I can explain. You know what an asshole Mitch can be sometimes, right? Well,” he turned to face her. 

“Turn around! Don’t you dare use those big brown eyes on me, you miserable piece of stinking shit.” 

Rabbie faced away from her with his hands on his head. “What are you going to do?”

“Oh, I’ve already done it. I logged on to your work account, and I sent this to your boss, all the senior partners in your firm—”

Rabbie started to stand. “You didn’t! You goddamn cunt! That’s my life you’re fucking with!” 

He came up off one knee and turned toward her, his face red and the veins on his neck bulging. 

“Ah, ah, ah…” Kira stowed her handset and waved the pistol to draw attention to it. “Remember who’s got the gun.” 

Rabbie’s nostrils flared, but he remained still, and only half-kneeling. 

“Turn around again.” 

Rabbie didn’t move. His eyes remained fixed on her. 

Kira took up a solid shooting stance. “You don’t want to surprise your girlfriend, be mistaken for a burglar and get yourself accidentally shot, do you? I’d be so broken up and guilty.” She narrowed her eyes and made her voice utterly cold. “You know I can play that, don’t you?” 

Rabbie turned away. “Fuck.”

“Well, no, that’s definitely not going to happen. We are over. Oh, and about finding another gunslinger? Trust me, that little voicemail of yours is going to go to every woman in every training class in any town you’re anywhere near. Got it?”

Rabbie nodded. 

Kira reached behind her, keyed his lock code into the door and opened it. 

“Oh, and one more thing? This is a stage pistol. So if you think you’re going to go to the police with an assault with a deadly weapon story, think again.” Rabbie started to stand. 

“But the one on my ankle is the real deal. Come at me in the hall, and you’re just another vengeful prick who got gunned down when he tried to attack his ex.” 

She stepped through the door and slammed it shut behind her. The loud click assured her it had locked from the inside. It would take Rabbie a few seconds to get to the door, a few more to realize it was locked, not just closed, and he would fumble with the door release for another few seconds. By the time he entered the hall, she would be down the fire stairs. 

And she would still be armed. 

Early readers liked this scene, coming away with equal parts of, "Oh, hell yes!!" and "Oh my god, that was SUCH a bad idea." However, in the end, Rabbie just didn't do enough for the story to justify his existence as a character, so he was cut. 

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