"Showdown" - Part Seven

According to Steele, BCPD had taken down the roadblocks so at 13:00 on the dot we pulled into a private airfield sixteen klicks east of BC International and parked next to a sleek aerodyne sitting on the tarmac.

As Mouse and I got out of the Rover, Sam Cutter stepped out from the aerodyne's passenger cabin onto the tarmac, tilted his khaki ball cap back on his head and put his hands on his hips.

"Well lookee what the cat dragged in," he called out. "That's a joke there, by the way."

"Good to see you, Sam," I said, opening the Rover's rear cargo door and pulling out our two duffel bags.

"You're lucky I was still in the area," he said. "Makes it twice in a month, don't it? That little foofaraw with those gangers? Now this?"

"What the hell is a foofaraw?" said Mouse.

"A ruckus," Sam said. "A commotion. Disturbance."

"Why didn't you just say so?" said Mouse.

"You need to get out more, missy," said Sam.

"We're going to New York, aren't we?" said Mouse.

"Good point," said Sam. "Supposed to be nice this time of year."

I carried the bags to the short flight of steps leading into the passenger cabin.

Sam looked at the bags then looked at me. "This isn't a sightseeing trip, is it." He blew out a breath and turned to Steele. "You said this was gonna be sightseeing, you lying bastard!"

"It will be sightseeing," Steele said, approaching. "You get to watch these two"--he gestured at us--"blow shit up."

"Been there," said Sam, "Done that."

"Hundred fifty thousand," said Steele, lobbing a cred'chip at Sam.

Sam caught the 'chip and pocketed it. "I love to see shit get blown up. Especially by these two. You ladies were masterful that last time in the woods."

"The woods suck ass," said Mouse climbing into the aerodyne's cabin.

"Especially cabins in the woods," Sam said, climbing in after her. "They got weird-ass old books. You'd need a chainsaw and boomstick..."

Steele came up next to me. "You sure you don't need back up?"

"I'm planning on a quick in and out," I said. "Nothing like Hosaka."

"Then get back in one piece," he said, staring into my eyes, making fire swell up in my belly.

"Yeah," I managed, starting to lose myself in his ocean blue gaze.

Then he leaned forward and kissed me. My thoughts exploded in a brilliant flash of white light, my belly flared white heat, and my legs buckled.

And just as suddenly he stepped back, still holding me with his gaze.

I staggered, my breath caught in my throat, and for a moment I couldn't get air.

"Get some, Kat!"

Mouse's shrill cry snapped me back to the present.

I blinked and turned toward the aerodyne and found her leaning out of the cabin, waving. "That's how you do it!" she called out and gave a whooping cheer.

My cheeks went hot.

I turned back to Steele.

He was walking backwards slowly toward the Rover, his gaze still on me, a small smile on his face.

And the heat in my belly flared again.


* * *

Just after we were airborne, Sam craned his head back toward the passenger cabin. "So where exactly in New York are we headed?"

"Place just outside," I said. "Called Bayville." I gave him the coordinates I'd gotten from Val.

"Got it," said Sam. "Should be there in about five hours. You got time for a nap."

Mouse came over to sit next to me. "Why there? I thought during the week he was in the city?"

"Firefight in the middle of New York will probably bring their tac units on our ass," I said. "This way, he'll come to us. We control the ground."

"I like that better," said Mouse.

"There are probably guards. I'll leave them to you."

"You sure know how to sweet talk a girl."

"Got your back just in case."

"Save it for Sikes," said Mouse.

"Oh, I plan to," I said.

Then I pulled out the printouts and resumed studying them, still considering likely approaches.

At some point, the printouts began to fade.

Slowly.

Starting at the edges. Blurring slightly.

Then fading outward in to a gray wash, then to black.

And then, I dreamt.


* * *

I was sitting on a stool at the Red Dog's bar, everything bathed in a soft red glow. Fast Eddie perched on a stool next to me, lab coat looking more rumpled than usual. Specs stood on the other side of the bar, wearing his usual round-framed mirrorshades and Hawaiian shirt the color of a paint factory explosion, and set three shot glasses in front of me.

A deep amber liquid sat in each glass.

"The good stuff," Specs said. "I know where Revell hides the bottle."

"So this is it, then," said Eddie, reaching out to take a shot glass. "Last hurrah."

"Fuckin'-A," said Specs, taking a shot glass. "Goddamn D-Day."

Eddie looked at me. "Up to you now, luv."

"Up to me and Mouse," I said, taking the last glass.

"You and Mouse it is," said Eddie and suddenly his eyes glistened. He gave me a lopside grin. "Bloody shame I couldn't tell her everything in person."

My throat tightened. "She knows, Eddie," I said and touched his arm. "She knows."

He nodded and lifted his glass. "For me," he said. "And for Specs."

"Kill that motherfucker," said Specs, raising his glass. "Kill him dead."

"Done," I said and raised my glass.

Under the glow, all three shot glasses looked as if they were filled with blood.

We clinked glasses then threw back the shot.

And the dream liquor burned all the way down.

(to be continued...)


"Showdown"
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5
Part 6 | Part 8 

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