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"Easy Money" - Part Twenty-Three

Twenty minutes later, we pulled into the back of the Red Dog.

I shut off the Shelby's engine and turned to Mouse. "That's the last time I save your skinny ass."

She gave me a backhanded slap across the shoulder. "Who're you calling skinny?"

I threw her a grin and got out of the car, felt my muscles groan with the exertion.

Jake looked out from the van's driver side window. "You look like hell," he said.

"Same to you."

He chuckled. "You good?"

"Yeah."

"Sure?"

"I'm sure."

"Stay out of trouble."

"You bet."

"I mean it."

He fixed me with a long hard look and I felt my knees start to buckle. I put my hand against the side of the van to steady myself.

"Thanks," I said.

He gave me a curt nod. "Anytime."

Then he and Mikey turned the van around and headed out of the alley onto Garner and into the night.

"What, no kiss?" Mouse said behind me.

I gave her the finger.

She snorted, then said: "What now?"

"What do you mean?" I said.

"Kincaid."

Sonofabitch.

I let out a long breath. "Let's deal with him in the morning."

"If we're still alive." She turned and walked to the back door. "Dibs on the shower," she said.

"All yours."

Had one last thing to do.

* * *

Eddie stood in the hallway, hands in the pockets of his lab coat, and watched Mouse go through the stairwell door at the far end.

"She's okay, Eddie," I said.

He whirled, saw me, and relaxed. "I saw," he said. "That's good. Little bruised. Not a big deal, though."

"Kid gone?"

"Yeah. Left after you called."

"No ride?"

"I--I wanted to wait until she--until you got back. Make sure everything's all right. Yeah?"

I gestured toward the office. "Couch is yours," I said. "I'll drive you back in the morning."

"Thanks," he said.

* * *

My phone chirped as I stepped through the roof access doors.

Doc.

"How's Revell?" I said.

"Asleep," he said. "Operation was fine. Replaced the shoulder. Going to keep him until morning. Make sure recovery is smooth. He'll be back to his old crotchety self in no time."

"Thanks, Doc."

"And I expect to see you and Mouse in here bright and early tomorrow."

"Doc--"

"I know, I know. 14:00 is fine."

"You're all heart, Doc."

I hung up, then walked to the roof parapet facing north, leaned my hands against the parapet edge, and stared out at the glimmering skyline. A light breeze blew in from the west bringing the slight scent of vehicle exhaust and the aroma of fried food from the fish and chips shop next door.

The city hummed all around me.

"It's done, Murph," I said aloud. "It's all done."

"Not quite," the voice said.

I whirled.

As I did, the Twins leaped into my hands and tracked the voice.

Burns stood a few meters away, partially silhouetted from a nearby streetlamp, a pistol pointed at me.

"You're--"

"Dead?" He shook his head. "Stupid bitch. And you said Revell told you everything?"

"What're you--"

"I know you have optics," he said. "Switch to thermo."

I did.

And inhaled sharply.

He heard and chuckled. "Missed that, didn't you."

Mods. Dermal sheathing. Boosted reflexes. Optics. Brainware.

"Spec Ops?" he said.

"I remember."

"Good. Which means I can kick your ass without this." He lowered the pistol to his side and let it drop from his hand. It clattered to the rooftop.

I kept the Twins trained on him.

The corner of his mouth twitched up into a small smile. "What's the matter? Scared you're not up to the challenge? That Murphy didn't teach you enough?"

"He taught me plenty," I said.

"Like how to be a coward?"

"No."

"Then show me. Show me what he taught you."

The wakizashi blade came out the front of his neck.

Burns staggered forward, saucer-eyed, coughed blood, and collapsed to his knees.

Mouse stepped around him and to one side. "Here's one. Teamwork."

Burns grabbed the blade that jutted from his throat. Blood poured from the hole, soaking the front of his suit. He gurgled something in reply then snapped the exposed blade.

Mouse whipped out her other wakizashi and plunged it down his jugular notch.

He screamed blood.

I stepped up to him. "Here's another," I said. "Follow-through."

And I shoved Bonnie's muzzle into his temple and blew his brains out.


(to be continued...)

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