The day started like those kinds of days usually do; dark and wet. Not unlike the seedy bars I keep finding myself spending time in these days. The kind of place you go to forget, or be forgotten. The dull ache in the back of my skull kept reminding me of how much time I spent in just such a place the night before. That, or someone had been using my head as a drum. I couldn't remember which it was and either way, the results were the same.
But none of that mattered now, I had work to do. My name's Putt, for short. I'm a runner.
I should have known there was going to be trouble from the start. The crew met up in the parking lot of an upscale diner. A trendy menu kept the saps coming back to unload their wallets for hash and eggs with fancy names on tiny plates. I'd never seen the inside of the joint and I got the feeling that my invitation to dine there wasn't in the mail. I wasn't holding my breath.
Right away the self-appointed crew "leader" and the muscle declared that they were out. I'd never much liked working with others and they weren't helping to change my mind. Maybe it was that I thought I could watch out for myself. Maybe I don't play nice with others. Or maybe I just don't care. That left me with the two dames. The Brit was a bit too awake for the hour but her demeanor was all business. A quick glance over her and you could tell that she wore trouble like a wet blanket. I was surprised by the Mick's appearance. She didn't look like the clientele I would mix with at Finegan's. I figured she was hiding something. I didn't ask.
"Let's get started", I replied. Nothing left but to get on with it. Those miles weren't going to run themselves. It was up to us to sort it out. Just another job. Easy to say, but I hadn't been seeing too many of them lately. Yet here I was, part of a trio. Best not to think too much and to just get it done.
The puddles reflected the weak streetlights. Our shoes sloshed through them turning the glowing orbs into waves of yellow. There was little chatter. We knew why we were here and discussing our inner feelings wasn't part of the plan. The rain alternated between a drizzle and full-on. The cold pulled at my legs and urged them to slow but the psycho Brit dragged us along in her wake. Her friend stuck to me like stale smoke. So much for easy. This was shaping up to be a bad day out.
Finally we arrived at the end. The end for my companions. This is where I planned on parting company and finishing on my own. Just how I liked it. So far the morning had been uneventful; there's a first time for everything. I began to pull away from the two and head back out.
"Oy, guvenor. How 'bout the dough you owe me?"
The dame was pushy but she had me dead to rights. We both knew I had the cash on me and it looks like it was pay-up time. Only reason I took this job was because my bank account was trying to crawl under a duck. Looks like I was out of luck and about to end up a dollar short.
I turned my back to her and reached into my car for the cash. And then I heard it. I'd been played for a sucker. It was all a set-up and I was the dominoes. The distinctive sound a BlackBerry makes as rings the ping of death is unmistakable. The only other sound that gets my heart racing like that is last call at the after-hours bar. But even then I can crawl back into a bottle at home. There was no escaping this.
I needed a drink, I needed a lot of life insurance, I needed a vacation, I needed a home in the country. What I had was a wet coat, a Clif Bar, and a BlackBerry that just wouldn't quit.
A black pool opened up at my feet. I dived in. It had no bottom. I felt pretty good - like an amputated leg. With the message count scrolling faster than a Crazy 8 slot machine I realized my day had just begun. Time to get back to the office. Somebody had it out for me. I intended to find out who.