Tales from the Edge (Steve's Punk - Bruce's view)

How to be Unemployed in 2020

The Hangover

January 1st 2020

“Hey Cowboy..”

I swear I’m never drinking like that again. How many voices across this city are saying that this morning.

“Hey Cowboy”…

That’s John, John Paladin. What the hell is John doing here. Ok peel open an eye and look around. Walls. Bare Floor. Chair. How did I get in this chair?

“Fuck”

Where the hell am I? This is not where I remember…

“Fuck”

Why the hell can’t I remember anything? Ok, no more tequila, like ever. Peel the eye open again Bruce.

“John, where the hell are we?”

“Warehouse”

“Fuck. My mouth tastes like floor.”

“There’s a bathroom over there. But I wouldn…t”

“Oh God, what a shit hole. This place looks almost as bad as my mouth tastes.” Gargling with water, good. Don’t look too closely. Spit.

After some bird bath splashes, and pulling hair back, almost human again. Shrug back into the duster, put the hat on. Ahh..that’s better. Quick check in the mirror, not bad. Thank god for the sunglasses. Crash, rattle, clatter, thump What was that?

A quick peek outside, John’s gone. Who the fuck was that going around the corner. Take a peek. Hell, that’s Kowalski. How did he get here? Then again, we’re still working on where ‘here’ is.

Young women screaming

“Hell what now!?”

Is Kowolski sticking his finger in the door jam? Oh right, finger camera on his cybernetic hand.

“Six girls in there”.

Six girls…Oh fuck… I’m not certain what’s worse, not remembering or remembering. Well, upside is a bullet in the brain would improve my headache. Ok brain, get to work. Piece it all together…

Turns out Esteban’s been moving more than just drugs and some guns. No, wait, at this point its Pacheco, first names are for friends. Dirty low life asshole. Then what am I, I probably helped and never knew it. Gotta make amends. Head to Pacheco’s. Confront him..no wait. Make a couple of calls first. Call Paladin and Kowalski, then head to Pacheco’s. I could live the rest of my life without seeing that sneer on his face. Guess I’m going to have to live with it from now on. BANG So much for his face, thank god for Sam Colt. Pacheco’s goons dead, girls in the van. Outta here, gotta lay low. Won’t be long til Pacheco’s boss finds out. That’s when my head explodes….

Ok, so that’s where I was last night…Fantastic.

Distantly, “Back off Troop…”

Who the hell is that? Where’s John? peering out the door Ah, the van, handy. Gotta get moving again. Need to chat with the girls on the way home, find out more about Pacheco’s crew see if I can’t start to make this right. Hell, need to make a call.

God I hate voicemail… “Um, Hi its me. I just wanted to make sure you were ok. I found out some stuff about Esteban, some bad stuff. Human trafficking bad, just need to know you are ok. Umm, drop me a note or call some time. Um, thanks.”

Was that Dragon crawling out of a duffle bag? Yep, it was. Apparently I called everyone. Really no more tequila for me. How am I going to pay all of these folks. Oh fuck, I’m unemployed. Ok, I did handle most of the money laundering, going to have to hit the banks later. Oh hell, when did I turn into Leo Getz?

Focus Bruce.

Gathering around the van now that some bikers have moved on. “Good morning campers, I have some excellent news and some less than excellent news. Who wants what?”

“Just get on with it.”

That’s John, right to the point.

“Well, the good news is I’m remembering more of last night. Additionally we’ve rescued 6 young women from abduction, rape, torture and a life in human bondage.”

“The bad news?”

“We stole them from the Tijuana cartel. Shot the local head man in the face and his boss might be in town and is a sniper with a price on his head.”

“Great..”

“I know, I know. I’ll find some way to make this right. We just need to get the girls outta here and back home.”

“I need to go pick up a care package.”

Well that’ll be interesting, Pacheco’s own guns vs Pacheco’s boss’s goons. Seems fair. I wonder who the old man and the chick are? Why are they here? Who’s the dude with the camera?

“Erik, pleased to meet you.” Good handshake, firm, but not a who’s going to crush who. Guess I know who belongs to the camera now.

“We’ve got to go.” Apparently the old man came with Eric. Sensible, I’d want to go to, if I didn’t have responsibilities.

“I’m not going anywhere, and its my SUV”. Hmm..a throw down…going to edge just a little further away now. Old man is steamed, and there he goes muttering something about picking up some cash.

Time to get on it Bruce. Need information. Who ya gonna call? Amanda of course.

“Hey Ice, what’s the cut to the front of the line price this morning?”

“Gawd, do you know how early this is? yawn This is gonna cost you, 250. You’ve got my account number?”

“Yeah”

“Ok, yawn what do you need? Cars, well humvee’s the Russian ones, the ugly ones. Probably in the waterfront district.”

“Is that all…” a brief but pregnant silence. “Looks like three of them, driving a pattern. Lots of men inside, men with guns.”

“Wonderful, thanks.” with a sigh.

“Want me to call the cops?”

“Sure”

“OK”

“Thanks”

Calling the cops, good idea. Regular cops are going to get smoked, too much fire power. Maybe C-swat? Description with some cyber and crazed lunatics, that might do it. Ok, game time. 9-1-1.

“911, what is the nature of your emergency”
“Its guys with guns, they just ran over someone.”
“You saw a murder?”
“No, some goons just clipped this guy walking his dog. They were armed, with those riffles from the movies.”
“From the movies?”
“Yes, umm.. assault riffles, the Russian ones. A couple of them, had these big scary looking arms.”
“Thank you sir, can you stay on the line?”
“Yes”
“Thank you” click

Ok, now how to get the girls out of here. Maybe John will have an idea or Kowalski… Oh, John’s back with a big bag. Hell I forgot how much gear that was, and that’s just one cache. John’s armoring up. Folks grabbing guns.

“We’ve got company”..

Great the old man from scene 24 is back and with good news and in armor. Ah he meant a cache not cash, god I could use some coffee. Fantastic. I’d better get in and talk to the girls, these ‘walls’ won’t stop a sneeze let alone bullets. This one doesn’t look too scared.

“Ok Ladies, listen up. Its about to get pretty loud in here. I want you all to lay flat on the floor and keep your heads down. You, here take this. Its pretty simple to use. If anyone who isn’t me comes in this door, point it at them and squeeze the trigger. Got that? … Good.” God she looks terrified. Come to think of it so am I, but somethings have to be repayed.

I’ll slip over here to the door. Muffled shouting Kowalski. gun fire Holy hell is that loud in here. Peer through the door jam.One, two, three, four. Lovely. More gun fire Yup, still loud as hell. Quick peek, then there were three, and they’re all just a little bunched up.

“Twas brillig in the slivey toves, did gyre and gimble in the wabe, all mimsy were the borro goves and the mome wraths out grabe.. and with his vorpal sword in hand..” A power sabre slicing through cervical vertebra with a wet crunching sound “And with its head he went galumphing back…” Now there is two.

Parry. Riposte. Right through the chest. One to go. Holy crap, Dragon just dented the back of that guys helmet…from the front. That’s going to leave a mark. And now there is none.

The squeal of torn metal

Oh hell, the back door’s open now. That’ll be Edgardo I’d bet. <spanish> “Blah blah blah, asshole. Blah blah blah death. Blah blah kill”. Yup that’s him alright. Sounds like he’s off to the right, I’ll just mosey over to this door. Inhale, exhale, wait for it. Paladin has grenades. BOOM Fuck and I thought gunfire was loud. Open the door and through, dash, gotta get close while they’re stunned. Fuck this floor is slippery…oh god. Outside before I puke. A car, probably one more in it. Fucking hell that light’s bright. Rotors? Edgardo doesn’t have choppers. Oh, I’m deaf..put down the sword, put up the hands. Lay down on the ground, at least the ground’s cool.

Ok, gotta snap out of it, yes that’s Edgardo on my boots. He was a bad man, died badly. Live by the sword and all that. Now gotta keep these folks out of harms way. Cops, media, all of it. At least the cops will take care of the girls and get them home for sure. Talk to the officers, slowly ease everyone out of the way. Good just down to me now. Statements, permit checks, girls home. At least not a total loss.

Ok off to the banks before it all goes walk about. Yes yes, I’m sorry to be closing my account too. I understand there is paperwork, certainly that would be nice. One, two, three
and four. Accounts cleaned. Eight Hundred grand scary amount of money. Gotta pay the folks, gotta find out more about the other girls, gotta establish new contacts. I’ve got a war
that needs fighting…

Ringing phone “Hello”.

“Hey its me. Do you want some fish?”

Fuck Kowalski. “Fish?”

“Yeah, I umm, I sort of took the ones from Hari Kari’s up on High Street?”

“You what?”

“I sort of kidnapped the fish…”

“Holy fuck, dude and you have them at your place. Ok get a trash bag, no 2 trash bags. Scoop the bastards up and as much water as you can carry and go dump them in the nearest manhole. Now, move it. They’re low jacked.”

Freaking designer fish, and Kowalski kidnaps them. Fuck me. Hopefully he gets rid of them before the Yak find him. Scumbags on bikes with katana, not fun. At least its a demilitarized zone he lives in, it’ll slow them down a bit until they can travel in packs.

Time passes….

Ring “Hello? Yes, that’s me. Oh you were able to prove it was Edgardo. There is? How much of one? Really? Me?! Yes I can come down and fill out papers. Today around 1 be ok? Fantastic, see you then.”

“Two million Euro, dead or alive.” Now what to do?

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eric_scud

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