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Friday, September 30, 2022

F³ Conditions

           “What’s your fucking problem?” Kate asked. “I’m offering you money to do your job. And it’s basically free if we don’t have a case for you.”

            “Easy. I can’t stand storm riders. Jack Dailey in particular.”

            “You won’t deal with him. He’s in Europe.”

            We crossed into Meriville, where the buildings started to become more worn, less of the sparkle found in Fairhaven, where the street lamps were farther apart and the foliage around them more wild.

            “The way you people can zip around on lightning, that doesn’t mean much.”

            “Jack is . . . well, he’s one of the biggest assholes on the planet, and I say that as a storm rider who is an asshole. But, come on, we’re dealing with important shit, too. Without your help, Jack and Reilly would have been sidelined. Worse, they could have ended up spreading that curse to the rest of us, and then we’d have a fucking apocalypse.”

            I had never seen any of the stuff that the storm riders had dealt with, but I recognized descriptions of some of the baddies, easily enough. And there was no doubt that they dealt with supernatural stuff.

            I peered into the darkness through Meriville. The shadows here were a little longer, not as bad as the Grind with its haphazard layout and tangled streets that sprang up instead of being planned.

            If I accept the retainer, there are some conditions. One, no Jack Dailey. I don’t talk to him, I don’t interact with him. He can go take a walk around the block whenever the rest of you show up.”

            “Fine by me.”

            “Two, you don’t give out my number.”

            “You’re in the book, you know. You’ve got a damned webpage.”

            “I don’t think most storm riders would even thinking to search out someone like me, so that’s not a big concern.”

            Kate opened her mouth, then nodded. “Yeah, we tend to not do the nerd thing by reading stuff. What else?”

            “I deal with you. Even if it’s not really your thing, you are with every single storm rider.”

            “So you’re saying you want me around. Mr. Allen,” she affected a southern accent. “I do declare you’ll turn my head.”

            “Four, the cost of the retainer just went up.”
            “Deal.” She stuck out her hand.

            I shook her hand. It still felt greasy from the butter.

            Why do I feel like I just made a Faustian bargain?

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