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The Llama Goes Up
Hollywood Havoc - Episode Two
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ISBN-10: 1-55404-632-7
Genre: Fiction/Adventure/Suspense/Thriller
eBook Length: 226 Pages
Published: January 2009

From inside the flap


The 2nd novel in the award winning HOLLYWOOD HAVOC series by Tinseltown writer and director John Klawitter, author of the widely acclaimed TINSEL WILDERNESS: Lessons on Survival in Hollywood & Other Extreme Climates.

Matthew “Hollywood” Havoc, seasoned writer and producer of schlock “B” movies for Berger Royal Pictures, has inadvertently made an enemy of terrorist Shamseen Usudman. As Matt goes about prepping his next picture, Carnage Daze, with a mysterious French financier, Matt discovers the dangerous and violent Shamseen is still very much trying to kill him. After several attempts on his life, Matt agrees to loan out his services to a movie being filmed in Oregon, a movie starring his ex-wife, the sexy and unpredictable Joy Benefeté. His boss, Vinnie Berger, laughingly agrees to let him go, arguing Joy will have him back in bed in no time and Matt could use the sex to calm him down. But matters turn deadly when Shamseen’s men engineer a terrifying accident that nearly kills him. The luminous Joy does manage to seduce her way back into Matt’s life, and he returns to Los Angeles just in time to work on a dangerous and difficult aerial shoot for Carnage Daze starring a helicopter named Llama…

Reviews and Awards

HOLLYWOOD HAVOC: The Llama Goes Up, continues the story of Matt "Hollywood" Havoc, lucky enough to have a job as low-budget film producer, unlucky enough to have incurred the wrath of a terrorist bent on destroying Los Angeles, lucky enough to get a location gig up in Oregon, unlucky enough to have the terrorist follow him. The "llama" in the title refers to a French built high-altitude helicopter. Lucky for Matt, it has a terrific rate of ascent. Unlucky, though, it is probably carrying explosives. That's how it goes in the second Episode in the Hollywood Havoc series. As with the first episode, Hollywood Havoc: The Trouble With Fat Boy, the characters grab you from chapter one and the interaction is great. You will be cracking up with all of the snide humor, the references to movies past and, with the addition of Marc Fraper, a French film maker (sorta) the hilarity just gets better. Bertie the neighbor comes up with a few surprises of his own. As with all Matt Havoc tales, the ending will leave you thinking...what happens with the Llama? Well, that's for you to find out! --MANIC READERS, by Valkyrie’s Lady

The Llama Goes Up (Excerpt)


I woke with fat, dark spiders in my head, painful black crawly things that grew monstrous and evil and then popped cold slime all over me. Now awake, my condition swiftly deteriorated from those first feelings of terror and distress into the nearly unbearable pain of muscular constriction. And that’s when the real horror of claustrophobia set in. I couldn’t see, I couldn’t move, I could barely breathe. I was choking, gasping for each breath and I had no idea where I was or just what exactly had happened to me.

The night before, I’d had a few glasses of a so-so pinot noir and gone to sleep alone in my comfortable bed in my pleasant, if small, condo at Sea Garden Cove, located on Jamboree a few blocks from Pacific Coast Highway in Newport Beach. Needless to say, I wasn’t there any more.

I was lying on my side in a shallow puddle of icy cold water. From the feel of it, I was tightly, if not expertly blindfolded, and my hands and feet were firmly bound, my knees pulled up near my chest. There was a rotten, dank smell in the air and the sound of gulls in the distance. And further off, perhaps the dull thud of ocean rollers slapping against a rocky shoreline. My head was splitting and I thought I smelled stale urine and a faint medicinal odor…iodine…no, perhaps-probably ether.

My name is Matthew Havoc. They call me Hollywood Havoc, usually sardonically, because I’m a small-time show biz guy. I’ve worked on about fifty crappy movies for Vinnie Berger, the so-called king of schlock. Vinnie calls me Hollywood Havoc for real, because I get things done, and he says that’s the real Hollywood, the one that counts. At Berger Royal Pictures we’ve dabbled in all filmic genre, as Vinnie likes to brag, but we specialize in thrillers, sex-and-action pictures, war and martial arts, crimes of all sorts, bullets, fire and explosions, as much violence and mayhem as we cam get on the screen for the budget. And, of course, all that tits and ass.

My job experience means, among other things, that I generally can relate the incredibly difficult and impossible story lines that happen in our flicks to what lately has been happening to me in real life. Sounds stupid, I suppose. Actually, it’s what has kept me alive for the past year or so. Until now, of course. Now, I’m pretty sure I’m going to die.

It looked like I had been drugged and abducted, kidnapped from my own bed. And I was pretty sure I knew who did it. My boss, ever one to come up with a shady deal, and my batty old neighbor, Bertrand Berke, had set out to out-fox a Nigerian scam artist named Shamseen Usudman, a slick and wealthy international thug who also just happened to be a terrorist. I’d gotten involved, and this was my reward for being lucky enough to still be alive.

I was trussed up like a chicken for the market, alone and helpless in blindfolded darkness. I knew the people who wanted me dead would have no remorse. This wasn’t a clever joke on the part of some jealous show business rivals who might stick a dead horse’s head on my pillow next to me for their idea of a joke. (Hey, if it worked in the Godfather, it’s gotta be funny. Not too long ago, my favorite terrorist had plotted to take out half of Los Angeles with a radial plutonium device he’d hidden in a cement truck he code worded "Fat Boy." Since I’d gotten lucky and saved my own life-and stopped his plans in the process-Shamseen was only seeing to my death as a matter of honor, one thief to another (show business people, in his mind, being crooks in our own right and completely expendable, as well). But this was my life and my death, and the blindfold had to go.

I tried shaking my head, and then rubbing it on the floor, catching a nose full of dirty water before I realized it wasn’t a towel or a piece of cloth-it was duct tape. Okay, what was my Plan B? At Berger Royal, we always had a Plan B, because we knew Plan A never, ever worked. But that only applied for situations we, with our experience in production, figured out might happen. My own kidnapping and murder at this remote location were not in the master plan.

I rolled about in a frantic attempt to be doing something, anything, before death came crashing in on me. I must have looked like a crazed, giant amoeba or an earthworm on amphetamines. I rolled twice in one direction, and hit a wall. Then erratically rolled four times in what I took to be the opposite direction, until the final turn brought me up short, painfully banging my knees and hands into a wooden stud on another wall.

Okay. I was in the small, unfinished room or maybe a shack somewhere…somewhere near the ocean…and maybe there was a highway in the middle distance, in the direction of the water. The walls were open to the elements, so it was a house in the middle of construction…or abandoned before completion.

I kept telling myself, I ought to be able to figure this. I was Hollywood Havoc, and I’d scouted locations everywhere in Southern California. Seaside property was expensive, and unfinished homes, left open to the sun, wind and rain, were rare. There were a few in Laguna del Mar that had been condemned in January after the season’s exceptionally heavy rains had caused some hillside instability…and the small project near La Conchita…La Conchita, about thirty miles north of Malibu on the Pacific Coast Highway. It had been on the news several nights before. Officials were debating condemning the entire little hamlet because the crumbling cliffs directly inland from the cluster of modest bungalows were threatening to come down.

Okay, well, that was interesting-but nobody kidnaps a person and then dumps them off in an isolated construction site on the hope that Mother Nature will bring down an unstable hill. Still, the place felt like La Conchita, and that knowledge gave me an uneasy feeling. Here I was, blinded, helpless and near panic. I had to free myself and get out! The only action I could think of, the only course open to me, was to roll about some more in the hope of finding some opportunity.

It took another twenty minutes, but I strained and made my painful and awkward way to a third wall. This one caught me full in the shoulder with something sharp, a piece of framing metal or maybe a nail. Whatever it was, I’d rolled into it hard, and it had in turn torn a chunk out of my skin. I felt warm blood seeping down my arm.

A nail! I squirmed around cautiously and moved my head toward it. I am near-sighted, and I’m hyper about the importance of what’s left of my vision. Here I was, my eye bare centimeters from a nail I couldn’t see, when an engine coughed and roared to life nearby. It sounded like it was right on top of me. My body instinctively jerked in panic and I nearly impaled my eye on the spike.

The engine roar was the deeply congested and uneven rumble of a heavy diesel coming to life. I couldn’t tell where it was exactly, but it sounded close, very close, too close. I couldn’t help but believe it was connected to my imminent departure from the living. I had to figure out where it was coming from! That engine bellow sounded like it was on the side away from the ocean, and somehow up from where I was, upslope on a hill. The engine idled and then raced, idled and then raced, a piece of heavy machinery warming up. I didn’t know exactly what sort of machine it was, but whatever this new input meant, it couldn’t be good news for Hollywood Havoc.

I went back to work on my tape blindfold with something resembling panic. My first effort rewarded me with a stabbing cut to the cheek. My second, a gash on my forehead. I was out of time. I took a third, desperate stab at the nail and I was able to catch the nail head under a corner of the duct tape and pull a triangle of light into my field of vision. I blinked and squinted.

Through blurry vision, I saw I was in some sort of house without walls. A newly constructed house, but from the look of it, unfinished and abandoned for quite some time. I saw an unfinished stairway leading up to a second floor. I was lying on my side in a puddle of water on cold, hard cement in a small room on the ground floor of a two or three story house. It had sheets of plywood covering the exposed beams on the floor overhead, but no protection from the outside other than the unfinished stud walls.

I rolled over to see what was happening in the direction of the diesel roar. Outside and to the rear the house, a steep hillside rose at an abrupt angle, blocking any possible view of the sky. The engine sound above me was coming from up that hill, but my view was cut off by the ceiling. Even as I squirmed around, frantic for a better look, the engine roar took on a new energy, and I heard the clanking treads of a moving bulldozer. The machine itself was out of my line of sight, but I heard the sound of rocks and boulders bounding in my direction. I worked with renewed energy to rip away more of my blindfold without poking my eye on the nail. Clots of moist dirt bounced and rolled near me, and a fist-sized rock hit me in the back. There was another minor rip in the tape and I could use about a third of the normal field of vision in my right eye. That was my most nearsighted eye, but fortunately, it also gave me clarity at close range. Squinting down at my knees and arms, I saw that I was trussed around entirely with duct tape. That was both good and bad.

I knew from Keg’s War, our Rambo-type action picture, that duct tape was strong, but had one weakness-I might be able to rip it using my savior nail. I squirmed around to position my legs against the nail, and frantically began to work on the tape. The bulldozer roared and the dirt continued to fill my room until I was half buried in dirt, but I sawed and probed and prodded at the tape. Seconds that seemed like hours went by, and the wet clots of dirt were replaced by an intermittent stream of thick, gooey mud that quickly enveloped the lower half of my body. I was making progress. One half of the tape binding my arms ripped apart. But the nail was now under the mud, and worse, it seemed to be loosening. The mud level continued to rise ominously. I gave up my ginger sawing techniques in favor of a more violent tearing motion. Three huge pulls backwards and the nail came out of the wall and was lost forever in the rising sea of mud and clumpy brown clods of dirt.

Lucky for me, the tape ripped with my last desperate motion, and my arms were freed from my knees. Even bound together as my wrists were were, I was able to get a grip with my fingers. I ripped the tape binding my legs and tottered unsteadily to my feet. I wasn’t a moment too soon.

The noise from the advancing bulldozer increased in intensity, and then the engine roar became a scream of mechanical rage. There was a snapping noise and a wall of rocks and mud cascaded down on the house. I squirmed out of the room, half climbing over and half swimming through muddy debris that was now half way to the ceiling. The frame groaned, starting to bend away from the weight of the hillside being pushed down on it. And still the landslide of stone and wet soil continued, the sound rising to a roar not unlike that of a waterfall.

I took a last look back and saw the yellow side of the bulldozer itself, now upside down, as it slid into my view and smashed into the near wall of the house. The wooden 2x4 stud frame collapsed in as if it was made of matchsticks. The evil-somebody who was out to bury me had miscalculated, and had started a landslide that was bringing down the entire hill-and themselves with it!.

I would have liked to know who that somebody was, but all I saw was a glimpse of one hairy leg twitching in a frantic death shudder as it was sticking out of the mud under the rusty upside down frame of the bulldozer. Further upslope, the hillside was in motion, the green brush taking on the beautiful but deadly undulation of a python as it made its way as dictated by the laws of gravity. No time to claw the tape from my face and hands or to separate my feet one from the other. I dove out the front entrance and hopped like some crazed kangaroo to clear the creaking frame of the house as it tottered over with a crash. I alternately hopped and rolled until I was well out of range of the collapsing mass of rock and debris, and then paused to rip away the tape binding my wrists and legs. I managed to get the tape from my face so I could see, after my usual myopic fashion, from both eyes. I left my hair alone, knowing I would need to cut the tape out with a scissors later on when some form of sanity might return to my life.

By the time I made it to the road, cars had pulled over on the gravel. A surfer in faded shorts and a Billabong t-shirt pulled a few remaining strips of duct tape off my arms and legs."

"What the hell, dude?" he asked.

"College prank," I said. "Stupid frickin’ trick gone wrong."

"Them stupid college idiots don’t know nothing about real life," the surfer said.

"Don’t bother with the stuff in my hair. I’ll have to cut it out."

"Can I give you a lift?"

"Which way you going?"

"I hear there’s some three footers down in Malibu."

"A lift that way would be nice."

Things were looking up. My boss, Vinnie, had a nine acre ranchette in Malibu Flats. With a little luck, he wouldn’t have left for the studio yet, and I could get cleaned up and bum a ride in to the office.