As promised in the previous blog, an excerpt from Robert Sheckley’s entertaining novel “Hunter/Victim”. In this scene Blackwell is being trained as an assassin before being sent to liquidate a drug dealer.
“For close-in work, you’ll use a hand-gun, or one of those lethal toys out Development Section is always coming up with. But to my way of thinking, a walking-stick is better than any hand-gun made, and an umbrella is better yet.”
McNab was an expert in umbrella fighting.
“I’m not talking about a sword-umbrella, mind. Too risky if you get caught. Too specialized. What I’m discussing here is a plain umbrella with a wood or bamboo shaft, though we have a model made of surgical steel that’s the best of the lot. You can sharpen the point. And if the handle is rounded and weighted with lead, you’ve got a murder weapon at either end.”
McNab demonstrated the basic moves: the feint in which you pretend to open the umbrella, the lunge for the target, the first riposte, the second riposte, the follow-up with the weighted handle. Blackwell practised faithfully several times a day. He became proficient, though never got as good as McNab, who had spent a lifetime in rainy climates practising his trade.