Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Boy Named Nod: The Paper Route Part 2

Stiff Drink

Jefferson Blank smiled. It was a hideous contraption meticulously contructed for one purpose; to charm.

"You were great honey. Now you'll make certain Mr. Eddington gets that envelope won't you?"

She giggle-jiggled. Not pretty, but serviceable and dull. Ideal.

"Oh absolutely Mr..."

Jefferson Blank kissed her. 3 seconds. Long enough.

"Ohhh... I'll make sure to."

"It's very important honey, so don't forget. Now I have to get back to guarding the place. But I might just stop by this closet again... say... in an hour? Just to check. For spies, that is."

She blushed bright scarlet as she giggled-jiggled again.

Jefferson Blank left her to dress in the supply closet. He stepped into the Men's room just to the left of the janitor's station. He stepped to a sink and vomited. Once. He then slid down to the next sink and pulled a small white handkerchief from his shirt pocket. He wet it and dabbed the residue from his face. He took a mouthful of water, swished it vigorously, and spat it down the drain.

12 seconds more and a janitor would arrive, beckoned by the automated sanitation sensors. He would be dead in 4 more from a severe head trauma. When found by Jim Handel on his lunch hour, thirty minutes later, it would no longer be a janitor laying there. It would be Marvin Stuben, security officer, floor 313. He had tried to commit suicide by drinking drain cleaner from the supply closet after cheating on his wife. He had vomited in the sink just before passing out and cracking his skull open on the floor. He was hard to identify because of the acid's effect on the body.

Jefferson Blank looked up.

In the mirror, the door opened.


"A sherry of the oloroso variety if you would be so kind."

"Water, with a slice of lemon for me please."

The waitress stared at us, confounded.

"But... you're..."

"Thirsty. Quite."

"No, I mean..."

"My dear, I am as much a child as my companion here is a werewolf. We are, as I already explained to the Maitre d', top entertainment specialists with Home Office. Is it that difficult to order a drink?"

She stared at me a moment, then turned and headed off for the kitchen, still apparently bewildered. I caught Mr. Jonathan watching her walk, tongue sliding across his teeth.


"No what?"

"No. Not right now."

"I don't have any idea what you are in reference to."

"Your brother may believe he's untouchable with the ladies. But you, dear Mr. Jonathan, are. There will be no attempt at winning her over."

"I'm not understanding."

"Bloody hell! What's not to understand?"

"You lost me at "attempt." That would it imply that I might not succeed."

I opened my mouth but closed it when I saw her returning with our drinks. She set the water down in front of me and my sherry down in front of him. I began to protest but was cut off.

"Why, Michael, have you noticed our lovely hostess' fingers? What beautiful slender instuments. Tell me, have you ever played piano?"

She chewed at her lip, peering out from beneath stray bangs.

"Well... A little in high school..."

"Only a little? A travesty! Why, I can see the talent overflowing from the very tips of your fingers!"

At this, he leaned forward, taking her hand in his and kissed the very tips of her fingers. She shivered, and his eyes found hers.


Mr. Jonathan stood, eyes never leaving hers. He shrugged off his overcoat, and kissed the back of her hand.

"Come, dance with me."

"Here? But... I'm working... and..."

"We're your only two customers. And if your manager should object, why we'll give him what for."

She brightened at that and let herself be pulled to the center of room.

Wonderful. Sitting in a faux italiano ristorante with a fuzzy Jack the Ripper that thinks he's Don Juan. Waiting for news from the rest as to the success or failure of our operation. Being forced to separate myself from the operation by their request. Keep the leader out of harm's way, he dies we all die. My head pulsed, echoing with pain. It wasn't that I really enjoyed defying death. I just didn't trust them without a chaperone.

I switched our drinks and slammed back my sherry.

Her head was on Mr. Jonathan's shoulder when he leaned down, whispering into her ear. She nodded hesitantly and they began towards the back room. He winked at me as they passed.

Hellfire and damnation.

Now I'd never get another drink.


"Good, I'm glad I've made myself understood. We need the utmost security here and your sloppy behavior may have caused any number problems in our systems."

"Ah'm sorry boss. Didn't mean to spill my pail all over that thar machine. I just tripped is all."

The manager sneered with disgust, picking lint off of his suit coat.

"Be more careful. You've almost certainly killed the cameras and most of the security doors. Now... get back to... whatever it is that you do."

"Ah you certain suh?"

"Of course I'm certain."

Jefferson Blank smiled.


The arcology was afraid. The great building shook from its base to its peak, shivers racing up its backbone. A blanket wrapped around its eyes, the building could do nothing but tremble in the darkness.

They had done it. The plan had been to slip in through an abandoned subway tunnel through a passage conviently created by Mr. Rook. While Mr. Jonathan and I would find a place to wait, the building would be crippled. First, Manfred and Whitfield would engineer the demolition of the arcology's main transformers. Life support for the upper levels would remain operational, but all non-essential systems like elevators would be deactivated. All except the emergency elevator reserved for upper echelon management.

Mr. Esk had supplied them with evacuation protocols his company had acquired. It was simple. Scare them into running and wait for them on the way out. Charles and Trevor would already be in position at the only entrance to the transformer room. They would occupy enemy forces until Mr. Rook had eliminated the target. Once the emergency elevator turned on, it would be a simple matter of severing the cable. The elevator would plummet. From there, it would be a simple matter of verifying the kill. I would recall them from my position on the ground floor and leave in the chaos. Clean and distracting.

I should've known better.

I should've wondered why none of the cameras were activated as we passed through. I should've wondered how they were able to get to the most sensitive areas of the arcology so quickly.

Someone knew we were coming.

More than that, someone was using us to do their own job.

"Mr. Jonathan, get out here, double time. We're leaving."

"Already? But, you see, she's scared and a gentleman would..."

"I don't give a damn. Something's out of place and I won't be a sitting target."

Mr. Jonathan sauntered out of the back room, still buttoning his shirt. His eyes met mine and he snarled. His lip curled up, white teeth gleaming. His nostrils flared. Mr. Jonathan slid one of his straight razors from his pant's pocket and took a step towards me. He spun on that foot, ducking low, just in time to miss our waitress swinging at him with a fire axe. He brought the razor up and across her hickeyed throat. Her throat smiled red, a crimson water fountain. Mr. Jonathan was already spinning to the side beneath the spray of blood. He grabbed her by the back of the head and flung her back into the stockroom.

Two more figures burst through the kitchen doors, both holding Corporate issue 11mm automatic pistols. Cook and manager. I pulled my revolver from it's holster. Mr. Jonathan was spinning sideways, dodging their fire. I squeezed off a single round, catching the cook in the shoulder. He jerked sideways, gun pointed at the floor. Mr. Jonathan darted behind him. The manager kept firing and opened the cook's chest. The cook fell. A dead fish, gasping for air. The manager tracked Mr. Jonathan as the wolfman darted about the room. I squeezed off another round, my arm going numb. It missed and buried itself into the column next to the manager. The manager turned to face me. His eyes lit up and he brought his arm around, pointed at me.

His arm, because his hand was already missing. It lay on the floor, still clutching the 11mm. The manager's eyes dilated, blood flushing from his face. His mouth opened but he never screamed. Mr. Jonathan was already there, grabbing the manager by the hair, twisting his head back, cutting his throat like spreading butter. He let the body drop and stood there panting.

"What the hell is going on Nod?"

"Our competition knew we were coming. They were already inside, taking precautions, watching for our arrival. They let us do their work for them."

"If they were so close, why didn't they just kill the target? They could wipe him and disappear before his death was noticed. He's only a financial officer. He wouldn't be missed in a hurry."

"No, he wouldn't be. But tell me, would you want to take that risk and try to make it down over 300 floors before someone suspected something was wrong and shut this place down? We just locked it down for him. He kills the target, they kill us, he collects his fee. Everybody's happy and the bastard flees in the chaos."

Air was gone. Two bricks erupted out of a cannon and slammed into me. Shot. Twice in the stomach.

Bloody hell.


"Quickly sir, it's not safe here. We're evacuating all the primary executives out the emergency elevator."

"But, where are the rest?"

"They're already waiting for you sir. Quickly now, through here."

He disappeared into the enormous elevator.

Dozens of suits. Blue pin-striped, Italian tie, patent leather. There.

"Now just relax sir, I'll be taking of you. They've assigned me as your personal security aide."

"Bless you boy."

Elevator activated. Down. Voices everywhere. Fear dripped, anger bloomed, air was thick.

"In a few moments sir, the doors will open and we'll empty the elevator. From there, I'll be guiding you to a safe place."

"Heh, promise me?"


"No worries sir. I'll make sure you're taken care of."

"We need more staff like you. What's your name?"


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