Sunday, October 02, 2005

...Ain't Gold (Part One)

Prage was scared.
He didn't mean for it to go down like that, it just happened. It was his first hit, and it had gone terribly wrong. He had simple instructions: identify the target, take down the target, and get the he!! out of there. And he couldn't even do that right.
Now he was crouched on the ground next to the body, waiting for something to happen. Toots dropped to her haunches and took a good look in the dead girls face. She was worried, worried about what might happen when Rich found out. This asn't her doing, she was in the clear, but Prage was sort of a newbie. Sure, Rich had known him for years and they were cool, but Rich had a tricky triggerfinger and would shoot you as soon as look at you. Prage was a kid, and kids made mistakes. She warned Rich, but he was stubborn. He figured Prage would grow up and become a valuable member of the team. She stood up, jamming her hands in her pockets and shaking her head.
"He's not gonna like this."
Prage was pacing, the gun still in his hands, the girls blood splashed across his hoodie and jeans. There was a drop on his Tims, Toots noticed.
"I know man. F*^#! Don't you think I know?" Prage paced faster and faster, like a madman. He was afraid for his life.
"I mean, what the F*^# happened? You just don't kill people you don't know."
"I didn't mean to, alright? I-I already let the shots off before I even saw her."
Toots looked around, then grabbed Prage by the arm and shoved him up against the brick wall behind them.
"Listen. You just killed Maxell's daughter. He's not gonna be happy about that. Neither is Rich. When that n!%%@ gets mad, it comes down hard on all of us. Including me. Now I didn't like you from when you first got here and I don'tlike you now. Rich calls me wen he wants Sh*! handled." She released him and looked back at the body, growing cold now, with a line of blood trickling out into the snow.
"And Sh*! needs to be handled."

Rich hung up the phone, his face devoid of expression. He wasn't sure whether or not he should be plain angry or thrown into a murderous rage. This was really not what he needed right now. Pulling open his desk drawer he popped out two Excedrin's and downed them without water. He was more angry at being wrong that at the death of Maxell's only child. Toots had told him a young gun was no good for the team but he had shot her down.
"No," he'd said. "It's always good to have fresh blood."
And now he had more than his fair share of fresh blood.
Presently, there was a knock on his door and it swung open. Toots entered first, her face solemn. She was pissed, he knew, and she had the right to be. Her predictions had come true. Prage was right behind her, unable to look Rich in the eye. Both of them sat down in the leather chairs in front of his desk, silent. Prage spoke up first.
"Look, Rich, I-"
Rich cut him off, lifting his hand. He didn't want to hear it, not yet. He stared at Prage for a long while, until the man began to squirm in his seat uncomfortably. He never lifted his steely eyed gaze.
"I would put a bullet in your head right now if it din't mean breaking the promise to your mother."
Prage looked down at the floor, ashamed.
"What did I tell you to do?"
"I was supposed to hit Prince. But-"
Rich closed his eyes. "There are no buts in murder, Prage. It's a one shot deal. Now what did I tell you to do."
"And did you do that."
Prage stuttered. "I-I-well-I."
Rich slammed his hand down on the table, making the already unsteady Prage even more nevous. Toots was used to this. She slouched in her chair, watching the scene unfold before her."Answer the goddamn question!"
Rich rubbed his temples before he answered. "No. No. A direct order. A simple task. And you fucked up," he said, pointing.
"Rich, I-"
"Don't fucking speak unless I tell you to," Rich said through clenched teeth. "You fucked up bad Prage. And now you have to fix it. Get out."
Toots watched as Prage stood and shakily exited the room. She leaned the two legs of her chair backward. She smiled at Rich when the door was shut behind them.
"Fear factor. Not bad."
Rich covered his face with his hands. "I've got to hand it to you."
Toots cupped a hand around her ear, anxious to hear the apology from her boss.
"You were right."
She sat back, satisfied. "I know I was. What are you going to do about it?"
Rich removed his hands from his face, tapping the desk with his slender fingers. "I said he was going to fix it. And he is."
Toots chair slammed to the floor.
"Rich, if you send him back there, he's going to die."
It was the first smile she'd seen from her boss all day.

Copyright © 2005 Jacki Simmons
All rights reserved.


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