Brady Ambler

Hi bloggers.

I, Brady Ambler, have been asked to introduce myself and I’m glad to set the record straight. I see things differently than my author does. She describes me as the villain. Well you can take it from me I’m no villain. America’s largest humanitarian organisation wouldn’t have employed me if I was. They check you out pretty thoroughly and now I’m the vice.  Ha-ha ‘is that a Freudian slip?’ I can hear you saying. Seriously I’m the second in command, so just ask yourself; would a villain have a job like that? Well once you read the novel you can make up your own mind. Just watch what you write author.

Now I’m the first to admit that I don’t come from the best of backgrounds, not like our CEO Wesley Smithson, but at least I’ve made something of myself. I’m a perfect example of how to make the most of what you have - and I sure as hell didn’t have much to begin with. I’ll start at the beginning.

I was born in 1971 in the Bronx. I wasn’t born with no silver spoon in my mouth. My father was a labourer and my mom stayed at home. I had an older sister Cindy. We got on pretty good, as long as she didn’t boss me too much. What’s it with older sisters that they think their extra years gives them the divine right to take charge? I miss her though but now I’m getting ahead of myself.

I reckon my childhood ended in 1985. I was hanging out at my friend Chuck’s house playing on his new Amiga 1000. He always had the latest and best and he always had it first, so his was a popular place after school. I’m sure you remember a Chuck from your school years. The phone rang and his mom took the call. Chuck and I ignored the ringing, in fact we probably didn’t even hear the phone we were so engrossed. The computer demanded our full attention. Mrs Goodall, Chuck’s mom, came into the room and watched us for a moment before she spoke. We ignored her and yet I must have been aware of her because I still remember every minute. She was pale and clearly upset. Her voice cracked and she spoke in short bursts as if she was struggling not to cry.

Brady,” she stammered, “that was Cindy on the phone ... she wants you to come home immediately. There’s been a terrible accident. I’m sorry Brady, your father’s just been taken … um taken … um killed.”

Suddenly she had my full attention. I stared at her, our game forgotten. It didn’t make any sense. I had so many questions. What? How? Who? Was she sure? She was sure alright, told me he’d died at work, on the building site, crushed when the crane above him dropped an insecure load. I had a picture of my father as a fly felled unexpectedly by a fly swat. Splat! Ugh, blood and guts all over the ground.

She wanted to take me home in her car. She kept saying it was terrible and she was sorry. Maybe she was but her words made me angry. I wanted her to be quiet so I could straighten things in my head. Clumsily she tried to hug me. I pushed her away. I guess that was the first time I slipped out of a woman’s clutches but, ha-ha, not the last. Hey I never forgot my manners. See proves I can’t be a villain. I thanked her and was out the door before she could stop me.

Those words changed my life, changed me. I don’t remember how I got home but I’ve never forgotten what I thought and felt. It was a sunny day, warm but I was cold. My eyes streamed with tears and I could hardly see the sidewalk. My mind seemed stuck - you could say I had a one track mind ha-ha. The same words went round and round; killed, dead, taken. I couldn’t understand why mom had left it to Cindy to ring. I soon found the answer.

Those days before the funeral were hell. They’re burnt into my brain. Mom was like a zombie, they talk about the walking dead, well god damn it, I know exactly what that means. She never recovered; after the funeral she just fell apart. She got stuck into pop’s liquor cabinet. In less than a week she’d emptied it. Sober she wallowed in self-pity, suffering from the mother of all hangovers and desperate for the next drink. She couldn’t stand seeing us. Can you imagine what it was like for Cindy and me? We managed though. Cindy took charge and looked after me. We learnt to keep out of mom's way. It was us against the world and it was okay.

Then Cindy disappeared. She just didn’t come home and when I told mom guess who she blamed? We had a terrible argument but it didn’t bring Cindy back. Her body was recovered a week later and I was on my own. Mom was drinking and popping pills. She was in no state to attend the funeral so I really was on my own and no-one cared. I knew Mom was better out to it than awake. Awake she yelled as me, called me a murderer, a stupid idiot, a bastard like my father. Maybe I gave her too many tablets - I can’t really remember now. Whenever she asked I gave them to her. She used to tell me that the Bible commands children to obey their parents so I did. Now a villain wouldn’t obey the commandments would he? Her life was shit anyway and she just wanted to die. She got her wish. So there I was barely 15 and an orphan. Mom used to say every cloud has a silver lining and mine was the Goodalls.

They gave me a second chance by adopting me. I finished school, gained a scholarship for college and graduated. That’s where I met George. Now the author may tell you he’s the hero but take it from me he’s not. He’s a cowardly nobody. I know I roomed with him for two years. You’ll find out all about that soon enough.

I was determined to repay the debt I owed the Goodalls so I joined ESAP - great organisation. It’s my perfect job and you should see my office. Yeah I like beautiful things. I collect writing instruments - special limited edition collector’s pieces and I can’t say no to electronic gadgets. You could say I’m an early adopter and why not? I raise a lot of money for the poor and without my talents ESAP would never have been so successful. It’s my reward. I’m worth every cent they pay me. Actually I think I’m undervalued but I’m doing something about that.

My author’s interrupting - she wants to know what I think my best qualities are. Okay here’s my list.

I’m good looking, popular, single-minded and well organised. I make things happen and know that success comes at a cost, a cost I’m more than willing to pay. Sure I can be hard-nosed if needed and I don’t suffer fools gladly but I know what it is to lose everything and am determined that will never happen to me again. Overall I’d say I was a pretty successful guy who’s going places, actually I think I’m the best. I haven’t met anyone who’s better than me.

Brady Ambler.