Far from timid • Caveat Lector

Fiction Series: Shh... - Part 2

Fiction Series: Shh... - Part 2

“Fuck,” I exclaim, swinging on the source of gunfire. I pull my trigger five times. The allegedly kind soul pulls hers twice. Another guy, near the entrance, crumples to the ground. “Sloppy.”

“You mind helping me get out of this?” She asks. “Guy in the leather jacket by the window has keys.”

“Six guys,” I mutter. “Six. Fucking six. What kind of amateur hour shi- oh.” I snap back into reality and rummage through the jacket for keys. She keeps her gun trained on the entrance. I pull a set of keys out and quickly find the appropriate one. I unlock her and quickly grab my empty magazine. We walk through the warehouse quickly but carefully and head out to the car.

“What’s the rush?” She asks, as I put my gun away and start walking briskly.

“One of those guys mentioned something about a boss coming here,” I say. “Maybe you’d like to, but I’m not interested in getting in a shootout today. Pay attention, Andrea.” I feel a pain in my side and wince. She looks at me.

“That guy hit you,” she said, looking at my jacket. The pain gets deeper as my adrenaline starts to wear down. I quickly unzip it and feel around the side. I feel something hard under the surface. A bullet.

“There’s body armor in here,” I say. “I’m fine. Save for a bruised rib or two.” We’re about a hundred feet away.

“Thank you,” Andrea says. Whatever.

“Don’t thank me,” I say.

“But you took a bullet for me,” she says.

“Especially don’t thank me for that,” I say. “This is a job. If you want to thank someone, thank your benefactor. I’m only out here because I was commissioned.” We stop walking.

“My benefactor?” She asks. “Who…”

“I don’t kiss and tell,” I say. “You know better.”

“I’m just trying to figure out…”

“You wanna figure something out? Figure out how the fuck you ended up in there in the first place.” I start walking towards the car again. “I’m not trying to get blitzed by a bunch of bad guys like this is some shitty action flick.”

“Well, what happened was-“ I interrupt Andrea by pointing to the small convoy of SUVs stopping near the warehouse we just left.

“Time to go,” I say quickly, getting into the car and starting it.

 We speed down the road. It seems there’s nobody in sight before us or behind us. “So how have you been managing it?” Andrea asks.

“Managing what?” I respond mockingly. “My sexuality?”

“Your mental health,” she says. “Your depression.” I freeze.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I say.

“You lost weight,” she says. “You dropped off the radar. A mutual acquaintance told me that you have… moments.”

“Moments. Everybody has a bad day here and there,” I say. “It’s not like I sat on the floor in my apartment, crying and drinking $200 scotch from the bottle with a gun at my feet.”

 One Month Earlier…

I came to, slumped on the floor. The sun was beginning to set and most of the lights were off. There was a Colt Defender under my left foot and a mostly empty bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue near my head. I slowly exhaled and began to sit up. I made it. I… I made it. Somber music played in the background as I slowly rose to my feet and walked to the stereo. I pulled the phone out of the mount and the music stopped abruptly. I shuffle through my music and pulled up at Juicy J. A message popped up.

 I sat at the bar, nursing a rum and ginger ale. An older guy, mid-late forties, from across the room, smiled in my direction. I could feel his eyes raising the hairs on the back of my neck. I looked over briefly and gave a quick, uncomfortable smile. I returned to my drink and stared outside. The chair next to me shifted, and I silently cursed to myself as the guy took a seat next to me. “Hi,” he said.

“Hey,” I said. I went back to my drink.

“How are you?” he asked.

“I’m fine, thanks.” I kept my answers painfully brief.

“Not much of a talker, huh?”

“Not really, no.”

“You’re kinda cute.” I pinch the bridge of my nose.

“Thanks,” I said, visibly annoyed. “Might wanna go back to your seat now.”

“Come on,” he said. “It couldn’t hurt to have a little conversation with me.” He touches my shoulder.

“Could hurt, actually,” I said. “Could hurt a lot.”

“How?” he asked. He moved his hand down my back.

“I could…” I began. “I could shoot you in the liver about five or six times.”

“Huh?” He said. I smoothly pulled the little Colt out of my jacket with my right hand and subtly held it across my body. His eyes widened.

“Put your hands down and go back to your seat,” I said. “Learn how to take no for an answer.” I tucked the gun away as he scurried off. I took another sip from my drink and grabbed a handful of popcorn. The guy I was supposed to meet walked in shortly after. I waved in his direction and he walked over.

“Sorry for the holdup,” he said, sitting in the seat to my right.

“No worries,” I said. “I’m Devin, as you may know.” I instinctively smiled.

“Nice to meet you,” he chuckled. We shook hands. “I’m Kenneth.”

“Oh,” I said. “So what are you drinking?”

 “Okay, because I’m weird,” I said. “Two truths and a lie.” So much alcohol.

“Umm,” Kenneth said. “I need to think. You go first!” His face looked a bit flush.

“Okay, okay…” I thought briefly. “I got it. Okay. I love gin, I can write with both hands, and I’ve been to more countries than states.”

“Gin,” Kenneth said almost immediately. “You seem like you hate gin.”

“I tolerate gin,” I said. “I’m surprised you didn’t go for the hand thing.”

“Didn’t seem like something you’d lie about,” he said. “I have good instincts.”

“I see,” I said. “Well, now it’s your turn.”

“Got ‘em,” he said. “I once ran a 4.5 forty, I was born in Osaka, and I’m allergic to blueberries.”

“Umm, I’m gonna say Osaka,” I said.

“Really?” He said. “Any reason why?”

“Because you look more Korean than Japanese,” I said. “I have good instincts.” I winked.

“You do,” he said.

“I mostly use them for a living, so I definitely need to,” I said.

“Oh really?” He asked. “What do you do?”

“I’m a security consultant,” I said. “Which is kind of an expensive way of saying I’m a private investigator.” I blurt the last part out.

“Cool,” he said. “So I’m guessing you have a permit for that gun? The one on your left side.”

“Uhm,” I said.

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