Outrun Stories #21

BACKSTORM

What the fuck am I doing here, why the fuck did I even take this job? Out of all the jobs in all the cities I end up here with this fucking kid hacking into this rich asshole’s private stash, not my sort of job, but Backstorm isn’t the sort of guy that you just walk away from when he makes you an offer.

“What the hell’s taking so long?!” I shout at the kid, kneeling and motioning with those silver gloves on and the VR headset, acting like he’s directing some sort of fucking orchestra.

“Listen,” he pauses and raises the mask for a second. “Do I shout at you when you’re punching people in the head and shooting people in the kneecaps? No. Now, a little quiet would be appreciated around here.”

“Just get on with it,” fucking smart-ass kid. “No matter how stealth you are, the cops will track us sooner or later and I don’t want to have to kill any cops tonight. That would really fucking ruin my evening.”

“Lace, you just do your job and I’ll do mine,” he says, directing away, those silver gloves reflecting the neon lights shining through the window from the strip of bars across the street.

I lean back against the wall and take a second to light a cigarette, how long’s he been at it now, 30? 40 minutes? Whatever, if he’s not done in a couple more Backstorm said to move on, he wants the package but he wants any heat even less. Bullet through the head, fucking kid wouldn’t even know what hit him, and then I’m outta here, sat in one of those bars before his body gets cold, supping on a beer and I still get paid either way.

“You got three minutes.” I say and I can almost feel the cops making the trace as flick my cigarette and cock my gun. “Two minutes.”

I look out the window and that feeling of the bar, a cigarette, a cold beer, anonymous with just the bartender to smile at hits me. Come on kid, I don’t want to have to kill any cops but I’d also prefer not to have to kill you.

“One minute.” I say and take a step over to him and as I do, there’s a weird numbness crawling up my legs, blurred vision, my hand starts to shake, I drop my gun and hit the floor on my knees.

“Lace, you should have just trusted me,” the kid says lifting his mask. “You think I’ve not thought of every single one of your moves ten, fuck, a hundred steps in front of you?!” He pushes me over and I can’t move. “Look, you’re good at what you do, but you’re oldschool. First thing I did when we met was prick you with a timed neurotoxin. You let me finish the job, I would have pricked you again and we’d be walking out of here in a few minutes, job done, richer, heading for a beer. Hell, Lace, I even kinda liked you, but instead, you got distracted, you got old along the way, and impatient, and now, you got dead.”

“Fucking kid, I wasn’t going to do it,” I try but there’s nothing, just the cold of the tile floor, the neon lights still reflecting, a life of hurt slowly fading, one last beer would have been nice.

Musical inspiration – Brandon – The Traveller

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Outrun Stories #21