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chapter 4

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chapter 4  Reply with quote  

Trip waited on the men in dark suits to get out of their dark car and favor him with their dark scowls. The Lincoln Continental’s doors opened, all four of them, and his contacts approached.
Trip waved and gave them a sunny smile.

The one called Mercer squared off on Trip. He was late thirties, chiseled, and, in Trip’s opinion, had a diet too rich in protein. From behind his black Oakleys, Mercer regarded Trip’s cut off shorts, black Converse hightops, and ratty tee shirt that touted his right to Arm Bears (complete with a picture of a grizzly packing a shotgun). Trip’s hair was a black, tangled mass that fell past his shoulders. Mercer’s was high and tight, held motionless with gel.

“What do you use on your hair to make it shine like that?” Trip was up on his toes, trying to look at the top of the man’s head.
“Let’s get down to business, shall we?” Mercers’ tone suggested it wasn’t a request.
“Okay.” Trip replied as if it was.

Mercer motioned to a huge black man that had been riding shotgun. He brought over a metal case the size of a Samsonite. Setting it on the asphalt, he popped the locks, opened the lid and turned it towards Trip. It was filled with neat stacks of money, each stack bound in a beige paper sleeve.

Trip whistled appreciativly then pointed to the case. “Do I get to keep the suitcase dealie?”
The black man and Mercer exchanged looks. Mercer held out his hand.
“I believe you have something for me.”
“I mean, it’s a nice case and I’d understand if you wanted to hang-“
“Sir”, Mercer’s voice was folded steel. “You have something for me.”
Trip searched Mercer’s face, confused. “What?”
Mercer took a breath managing to keep his tone level, “The codes.”
Understanding dawned on Trip’s face as he nodded.
“Oh. The CODES. I see, you thought…right, the codes. Heh.”
“Nope. Sorry.”

Trip squatted down to gather up the money when the black man’s foot came down hard on the case, slamming it shut and pinning it to the ground and the world.
Trip looked up at them both with all the innocence of a puppy.
“There a problem, guys?”
“The codes, sir. Hand over the codes, or we leave.” The threat hung in the air like a cloud. Moths buzzed and battered themselves against the high halogen light in the near empty parking lot.

Trip stood, knees popping. “Well, uh…thanks anyway guys. Sorry to, ya know, bring you all the way out here. Merce, give your boss my best.”
He turned and started to walk away.

He was actually walking away.

Mercer cursed under his breath and sent the black giant back to the car with a gesture.

“Sir!” Trip turned back. “You can’t leave it like this. You made a deal with my employer.”
“Yep. Pay me or I give the codes to someone that would be interested in what they can do.” A breeze made Trip’s tangled locks dance gently. Mercer's remained unmoved. “Nothing about giving up the codes to you.”
“That is not my understanding. You will—"
Trip shrugged. “Sorry then. No deal.” They met each others gaze for a small eternity, “Anything else?”
“This is a deadly game you’re playing, sir.”
Trip chuckled, “Yeah, ‘cept I’m extraordinarily good at games. But, you know, hey, don’t feel bad. Everyone’s good at something. You’ve got that great hair thing going on and--”
There was a blur of linen and Trip found himself instantly staring at the barrel of a gun.
“Wow! Holy--That was fast!” Trip nodded appreciatively. “See, there’s something you’re good at.” He could see the muscles in Mercers’ jaw clenching. “What kind of gun is-?”
“It’s a Glock nine.” Mercer said tightly.
“Huh. Bet that would blow a pretty sizable hole through the back of my head, wouldn’t it?”
“Yes it would. Now, maybe you will re-think how you should hand-”
“And, twenty six minutes from now, the program I set up will automatically send those precious codes to over a thousand on-line recipients.”

Trip waited.

“Gives a whole new meaning to ‘You’ve Got Mail’, doesn’t it?”

He waited some more. Just when he thought the vein in Mercer’s temple would give way, the man lowered the gun, turned, and stalked off.

The Lincoln stared up and the dark-suited crew climbed back in.

Trip called out to them, “So, I’ll just keep the case. Okay?”

Post Wed Jul 20, 2005 6:19 am   
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