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Chapter VI:

The Fog of War

Out marched Stubs, all six feet of that mook, crunching down on the collapsed doors as he went. And there I stood like an idiot pointing my gun at him. Freak of science in front of me, shear drop behind me…tasteful yet functional neo-industrial architecture to the left and right.

“Like ah moushe caught in a twap.” Larry snickered.

“Mice don’t have stingers, Larry.”

“You wont shoot , Nick. You don’t hwant toe exshplain it toe the cohpsh.”

“I got friends on the force.”

“Sho do whe.”

“Mine like me.”

“Oursh really like money.”

He probably had me there. Holding and I were occasional drinking buddies, but I wouldn’t depend on him to go in with me for the long haul.

I made a show of adjusting my aim.

“He’sh bluffing.” Larry said, and Stubbs lumbered forward.

I shot a hole in the floor in front of Stubbs. He stopped and looked back at Larry for a second opinion.

“Where’sh thah lady?”

“Got tired of her giving me the run around. Look over the ledge and you might see her a few floors down.”

“You’re lying.”

“Lot of that going around. Who hired you?”

“Where’sh thah kid?”

Boy scouts.”

“Thish jawb ain’t hworth your’re trouble.”

“Could be. Maybe I’d reconsider if I knew why it’s worth yours. After all you still owe me some money. I just hope you aren’t trying to cut me out of a plum job.”

Larry tapped his lips thoughtfully with an index finger. The image would have been more effective but for the little dribble of drool perpetually coming out the corners of his mouth.

“I like you, Nick.” Larry smiled. “You are wone smooth guy.”

“So, that’s why you keep chasing me even though I’m playing hard to get.”

“The girl knows things, Nick.”

“Could have fooled me.”

Larry stared at me. “Yow mind? I’m twing to exshpwain things.”

“Sorry. Couldn’t resist such an easy line. Take all the time you need to exshpwain cwearwy.”

Larry glared at me. “Dealwiah got tooh closhe to the hwong people. Pweople wit powah hwho hrun dis shity. They hwant herh out of the hway. Sho dey hiwerd ush to shut her oop.”

I swear that is what he sounded like. Damn, listening to this guy really gave me a headache.

“Do they want her dead of just silenced?” I asked.

“Dead.”

“Do you have a name?”

“Nowt foh you.”

“Who hired you, Larry?”

“You dwon’t need tow know.”

“…You don’t know do you?”

“...Oh course hwe do.”

“You don’t!” I laughed. “You guys are so pathetically stupid you will take any job even if you have no idea who it is that’s hiring you. How do you expect to get paid if you don’t know who you are working for?”

“I’ve hawd enough oh dis! Ghet him!”

Stubbs took a few steps towards me. I shot another hole in front of him.

“Don’t try it, Stubbs!” I shouted.

Unfortunately I made the mistake of stepping back when he advanced. The big gorilla called my bluff and launched himself at me. He hit me full force in the chest which sent me onto my back. I kicked up my legs into Stubbs abdomen in order to flip him over me, but I hadn’t realized how close to the edge I was when he attacked. The ground was slick with percipitation. Due to his momentum, Stubbs bounced once and then slid over.

Larry and I ran to the edge just in time to see Stubbs disappear into the fog, screaming his little head off.

“You son of a bitch!” Larry shrieked at me, surprisingly clearly, and reached for my throat.

So, I pistol whipped the squirt and then searched through his pockets for anything useful which produced his keys, a pocket knife, and an unsecured credit chip. Taking the keys and chip, I went back inside and headed to Larry and Stubbs’s office. I hoped Sifu had managed to get Delia somewhere safe while, simultaneously, wishing she had never come into my life.


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