You’d think that working for yourself would be easier. You’d think you just would suddenly know just what you should do. Turns out not so much…
So I get fired on New Years, but that turns out to be not so bad, just a little horrible, panic enducing, and mind numbingly frightening. But it did at least let me help out a few folks. I had someone take at look at the place Kowalski was living in. I’m not certain a refugee camp in Darfur would be any better. So I had a talk with the super, Marv, for a little something he was able to skip over the background check and SIN check for the 12B apartment that was opening up. I slipped first, last and security along with a ‘processing’ fee and Kowalski had a place that wasn’t so horrid as to induce nightmares. That girl of his must really love him, that place was a hole, then again he did get shot hauling her out of some second circle of hell.
While chatting with the super, turns out he was waiting on some parts for one of the air scrubbers. The building owners were balking a little at it price wise and the AC guys weren’t moving on the price at all and everyone was bitching at Marv. I decided to go have a talk with a guy I know. Everyone knows a guy, who can pretty much put his hands on whatever odd stuff you might want; need a carborator for a 1972 Vette, no problem; need the guts to a Nokia 660 dumb phone, no problem. Twitch is my guy for that sort of thing. Not that his real name is Twitch, but he’s a little well, twitchy so it fits. Anyway Twitch is my ‘found stuff’ guy. He’s always picking up odds/ends and has a little of this and that laying about. I went by the place where he worked…seems I’m not the only one who got fired. Then I went by his place…no soap. Finally did find him, living in his car of all things. Now Twitch’s car is nothing special, but I’d not try and boost it on a bet. First the bloody thing is Booted. Second it sure looks like Twitch has been fiddling with the locks, that could get scary. So I wrap on the glass and wake him up. He looks like, well, he looks like he slept in his car. We walk down to the Minimart that he’s parked near, I buy a couple coffee’s and a donut for Twitch. Sipping on coffee I explain about what Marv told me, Twitch thought he might be able to put his hands on the parts and he’d bring’em by once he had them. That afternoon Marv calls says he’s really impressed. Roof unit is fixed, people have stopped bitching, and he looks like a hero to management. Its then it dawns on me, I should take care of Twitch too. I tell Marv about how he’s living outside, bad job, lousy luck. Marv says they’ve got 4F opening up. I ask if he wants to work it the same way I did Kowolski, he said sure, but we’d consider the ‘fee’ waived just this once.
A quick look at my phone tells me its an hour before the meeting I called. Time to gear out and get a move on. I grab my stuff and hit O’s. Takes a bit before ‘my’ booth is empty, but once it is I slip in and claim it. I’m kicking back my second Guinness as folks start to arrive. This is mostly a pay off meet. My chance to make things right to the folks who bailed me out on New Years. I slip Kowalski and Twitch their leases. As folks arrive, I pick up a round of drinks for everyone and pass out my version of a thank you card; 10k debit card for drawn on accounts with the Bank of Peru.
Everyone’s paid up, time to pitch the idea. I let them know I’m opening a laundry shop. Normally there is a pretty steep discount for those services, forty cents on the dollar not uncommon. I let them know for their help, I’m giving them 1:1 on those services. The old guy, Asmodeus?, asks the “Why?”. I tell him its pretty simple, this is a group of folks who are likely to someday need that service and will know/meet other people in a similar pinch. Those folks will be picking up the tab to get them the great deal. I’m thinking I can probably manage to launder funds for 25 or 30 cents on the dollar. That should turn me a nice profit providing I can get some volume accounts. Anyway that’s business done, deal pitched,
drinks finished, it is time to roll.
As we hit the pavement everyone splits up. Dragon slips an arm around my shoulders briefly and steers me up High Street. Twitch is headed to his car parked right out front. The old man and his girl Friday head down High. Kowalski and that media guy Eric pulling up the rear. I don’t ever see the van really. Suddenly there is sort of a sparking firework going off, it sort of fizzles and goes out with a moderate pop. Then the fucking world goes crazy..like standing in a lightning strike crazy. I’m blind, can’t see, the only thing I can hear is this universe encompassing hum. Not knowing what’s coming, I drop like a stone and duck inside my coat. Not a second later there’s a whole fusillade of gun fire just going crazy. Upshot is about all I get is a finger snap where a gunshot should be over that hum.
Not certain what the hell is going on with my eyes, I snag my phone, thank god for Siri v 5.0. I call up the camera in video mode and rotate it around to get a peek see at what’s going on. Then I pull my hands back in and blink like crazy. Outside the gunfire gets louder as the hum gets quieter. Automatic gunfire, reminds me of that scene from Hearbreak Ridge. “What’s that?” “That’s an AK-47 assault riffle. It makes a distinctive sound when fired at you.”… Not certain what those particular ones are, but I’m sure going to remember the sound alright.
Much tears, more gun fire, and I’m starting to be able to see a bit. I tell Siri to play back the video I shot. Pretty handy-cam shooting even with the digital stabilizer, but not bad. Looks like four guys up High Street and another 3 or so down High from where I’m crouched. Engine noise, wheels over a curb, crunch..from up High Street. Quick peek, one guy clipped by the back of an SUV, Twitch at the wheel. Old man pop’s guy with an assault riffle. Leaving two. They should be in reach. A quick sprint, a smooth squalembrato half side step, pivot, lunge. Ok this side is clear now.
Sirens, some movement in front of O’s. That media guy Eric is flat on the pavement still. Get to him, get him up and moving, get him inside before the cops get here. Wait for things to settle a bit. Takes a couple hours to sort stuff out before I can walk on home. John seems pretty upset, so is Kowalski. I’m going to do a little digging see if I can find out where these guys are calling home. Upside is that Inquisitors aren’t too hard to spot and aren’t liked by any number of folks. It is time to make some calls.