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Audio narrator: Lee David Foreman.
*1st Edition Signed Limited Hardback Published by DarkFuse.
Back Cover Copy:
Deadlift is a weightlifting term that refers to the action of lifting a weight from the floor to a standing position, gripping a bar.
David Lowe is currently performing the heaviest unrecorded deadlift, performed outside competition rules, or any rules, by holding the severed cable of a thousand-pound hotel elevator containing his wife and an undetonated bomb, while a killer in a sackcloth mask looks on, and a hit man holds a loaded gun to his head.
David is no superhero, he has no special abilities other than mere human strength and the will to save his wife. He’s been holding the elevator for one minute and thirty-six seconds, bloodying his hands, tearing muscle fibers and cracking bones.
But push him to his limit and he'll dig deep, find more. Because when everything is on the line, it's not about muscle anymore—it’s about heart...and never, ever, giving up on what you love.
The mind is the limit. As long as the mind can envision the fact that you can do something, you can do it, as long as you really believe 100 percent.
Deadlift is a weightlifting term that refers to the action of lifting a weight from the floor to a standing position, gripping a bar. Records for the deadlift performed in strength competitions range from 1015lbs to 1180lbs, depending on competition rules, the type of weight, handgrips, weight belts. The heaviest recorded deadlift, by a man named Tom Magee, was 1,180lbs (a shade over 535kg) and performed over thirty years ago.
The heaviest unrecorded deadlift, performed outside competitions rules, or any rules, was by a man named David Lowe, who held the severed cable of an elevator. David Lowe was huge and strong, but he was also tiring. He'd been holding the elevator not for the standard count at full extension, but for one minute and thirty-six seconds.
The elevator, according to the man who had severed the cables, was rated to carry 1,000lbs of human weight, though it only carried 123lbs (Lowe's wife) plus change (the change being her lover, who weighed 227lbs). The hotel elevator weighted a mere 604lbs. The cable, one of six, was roughly three inches in diameter, steel, and around seven feet in length between the elevator and the severed end. Seven feet of steel cable times six equaled near enough 46lbs.
A total of 1,000lbs in the hands of a man who loved 123lbs of that weight just enough to hold on for a little while longer.
Three days before the man in the velour tracksuit bottoms and a Sailor Moon T-shirt blew the cables on a hotel elevator with two people inside it, a man named Lowe knocked at his door.
The Sailor Moon T-shirt-wearing man was Otaku, and though he wasn't Japanese but Hispanic, he qualified. Middle-aged with thin sideburns and thick glasses, a slight paunch and a weak chin.
Lowe was immense. A largish gut, but anything else on him would have looked wrong. Six feet and five inches, 280lbs of bone, sinew, fat, and a lot of muscle. Not bodybuilder muscles, but strongman muscle. Business muscles. He didn't show them off with tight T-shirts or vests. They weren't particularly aesthetically pleasing muscles. His shoulders were rounded and he carried a fair amount of fat. He wasn't ugly, but he was blunt in the face. And when he cried, like now, he often reminded people of a giant baby.
Sailor Moon T-shirt man knew why the big man had come. People rarely called on Otaku for anything but deliveries of rare Japanese memorabilia from various niche sites around the world.
Occasionally, though, people called on Otaku to blow things up.
“Come in,” said Otaku, wondering if the man would fit through a standard door frame.
Lowe ducked and entered, still crying, sniffing, with a little snot visible in the hairy nostril Otaku was staring at. He couldn't take his eyes from that droplet. Waiting for it to drop.
Lowe pulled out a handkerchief and wiped his nose, then his eyes.
Otaku was disgusted, and a little relieved, and a little disappointed.
“I want you to kill my wife,” said Lowe, without even checking if Otaku was Otaku, without using the code they'd agreed online, without even so much as a lifted eyebrow. Just sniffles and sadness.
Otaku shrugged. People were pretty stupid when they'd been hurt, but he enjoyed blowing things up and the pay was better than his little sidelines: Schoolgirl porn and selling used ladies' underwear to lonely businessmen, along with a naked shot of someone he found online and a short handwritten note and a lipstick kiss.
“Where and when?”
“The Regal. Can't be exact, but she'll be on the twentieth floor. She's with a guest. I want them both...done.”
The man in the Sailor Moon T-shirt pretty much had everything else figured right there, but the thing was, he didn't care, and didn't spend any more than a couple of seconds and a slight shift of his left eyebrow thinking it through.
What he was wondering, right there, was when, why, how, and how much.
“Five grand,” he said.
“You said two.”
“You said one,” replied Otaku. “Two's double.”
“One for expenses.”
The man couldn't, wouldn't, argue, and Otaku knew it. The man was big, but he was broken, too, and he wasn't in the least imposing to Otaku. Maybe on the street, yes. But here, begging?
Otaku smiled as the big man nodded.
“Half now,” said Otaku. “Half when it's done. You know how.”
“It'll be there in an hour,” said David Lowe, who left, then, within the hour deposited £2,500 in credit into Otaku's online game account.
Otaku bought his avatar a new hat and a schoolgirl outfit.
The rest he filtered here, there, online auctions, online transactions. It took the best part of three hours of shifting money through various sites, until finally it was clean and clear and entirely his.
And, at £2,500, was precisely what he'd wanted in the first place, plus a little extra for insurance. Otaku never, ever, did a job without insurance.
The cables were the easiest part of the problem. The timing wasn't all that difficult, either.
The “governor”—the system that would engage the copper shoes that would clamp down on the elevator in the event of failure—that was the problem.
The governor functioned on a sensor system, which Otaku couldn't get to. He couldn't get to the shoes themselves, nor the systems to override them.
So he decided on a twin assault.
The first explosion would be a bomb loaded with ball bearing, on a simple trigger, like a kind of homemade Claymore mine. This would take out the six cables that raised and lowered the elevator.
Second, rather than just blowing the copper shoes of the backup safety system, which he couldn't do without overly complicating everything and thus making the risk of discovery that much higher, he designed a small, powerful device that would be triggered with the first detonation.
The second explosion wouldn't just take out the copper shoes that would halt the elevator's descent. It would pretty much vaporize everything inside the elevator instead.
Forty-five seconds in, holding the cable, the first little slip happened. Sweat, skin, blood was lubricating the cable. Roughly an hour and half since Lowe figured he'd made a terrible mistake (the precise moment had been lost on David Lowe, because he shifted from inaction, tears, angry and heart-deep hurt to action at that moment).
Forty-five seconds in was also, coincidently, the moment when a man placed the muzzle of a short revolver against the struggling, sweating man's temple.“You really are fucked, buddy,” said the man with the short gun and a dirty smile.