Badtux the Snarky Penguin

In a time of chimpanzees, I was a penguin.

Religious fundamentalists are motivated by the sneaking suspicion that someone, somewhere, is having fun -- and that this must be stopped.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Fixer [Interim Title] Chapter 3 Part 1

Everything he told me was probably a lie. But in the end, why would I care? His money was plenty green, and that was good enough for me.


Now, I wondered.

Chapter 3

After I'd checked the place out and noted that the trash bin was out in the open behind the place, I had taken dear Tom's first $5,000 installment, then told my friendly ficus to tape my flash into a tape dispenser, and then toss it all into the trash. Trash that I ended up searching through the next evening with my nifty little RFID scanner to find the RFID tag that I'd stuffed into the casing of the flash. I stuffed the tape dispenser and scanner into my handbag just before Officer Fife accosted me with his shaking gun. If the security guard hadn't believed my ditzy secretary story, all I was guilty of was trespassing and stealing trash, something for which I'd pay a fine at best. There was nothing to trace me back to the jerk who'd hired me.

So now was delivery day, and I got to deliver the goods for the rest of the money. Officer Dick's cheery little morning interrogation had woken me up an hour before I'd have had to get up anyhow, but at least that gave me time for a shower. Officer Dick always makes me feel dirty. Still, he is useful. I make a point of hiring him to bounce out wayward tenants who overstay their welcome and their deposit. In turn he does me favors like accusing me of murder. Of such wonders are lasting business relationships made. Then after exercising Buddy a bit outside, I went to wait for my boy Tom.

At 8AM on the dot, he drove up. Punctual. I hate punctual people. They're almost as annoying as morning people. I didn't bother with the Glock this time. It stayed in my desk. I didn't need it with Buddy around anyhow, but it made a nice prop for dealing with jerks.

"You have the money?"

"Five thousand dollars. Cash." He handed it over to me. I counted it. Fifty $100 bills. I tucked it away in my top drawer. Not bad for three hours work. My ghost tenants were going to pay their rent this month, yes indeedy.

I pulled a tape dispenser out of my handbag and handed it over. "Tell Mr. Emory that it was a pleasure," I said.

"Mr. Emory?" He looked appropriately confused, and I just smiled.

"Isn't Mr. Emory a darling? How many billions does he have now? Three billion? Four billion?"

"Harry Emory? The billionaire software executive? Has his own personal MiG jet? Never met him."

"Which is why you called his personal cell phone number yesterday after you left my office."

"How do you know that?"

"It's my job to know things," I said, smiling. "So tell Mr. Emory it was a pleasure, and he knows where to find me if he needs more work done."

Tom grinned, and said "There may be more work at that. Someone will see you." He unfolded himself from the wooden chair in front of my desk, and showed himself out.

A few minutes later, after stashing the cash in the floor safe under my desk, I showed myself out and knocked on the next door over. Mrs. Hernandez answered the door. "Is Connie in?" I asked, and she said "Si, senora," looking a bit glum because as far as she was concerned I was a bad influence, then Connie -- Consuella -- shoved her way out, looking defiant as usual, jaws smacking bubble gum as if it were a personal affront to her existence.

"Did you get it?"

"Yeah." Connie wasn't a morning person either, and didn't look too happy. She handed me the bug, its little antenna curling around its body like a mouse's tail. I stuffed it in my pocket.

"I need you to look after the office today. Normal rate. You know my number if you need me."

"Awright," she said, smacking her gum.

Okay, so Consuella wasn't the best office secretary ever. But she was cheap, and she spoke Spanish well, and her family did a good job of keeping an eye on things. Family meaning, well, family. Uncles and cousins and nephews galore, they were the Sopranos of East San Jose, except not as pasty. You didn't bother them, they didn't bother you, they were too busy selling their merchandise to give you the time of day if you were on the clean and straight. Do a few favors for them and they weren't your best buddies and pals, but they weren't out to get you either, and might do a favor or two in return. Or maybe not, but I wasn't picky. I live here, after all.

The next thing on my mind was the question of who donated a car to me, complete with a load of rotten meat in the trunk. That, and the state of my pantry, where two lonely packets of ramen noodles were keeping each other company.

Posted by: BadTux / 3/29/2006 07:34:00 PM  


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