We return to our buddy, Eldred Fie. It’s possible I am introducing too many protagonists (Eldred, Haul, Morris, Kenya), but I don’t care. It’s my webnovel – ner ner ner.
The day’s work done, Eldred was going home. It was rare that there would be a day that required two killings, but Eldred wasn’t complaining. He enjoyed his work, and with the current downwards trend in his business he was going to cherish every job he could get, especially the eccentric ones. They broke up the monotony and paid extremely well.
Eldred had disposed of the orange cannon before his trip to the police station, but now he regretted that decision. It wasn’t a particularly intelligent move to keep evidence of your crimes in your house, but Eldred had long considered creating some sort of museum to commemorate his more bizarre jobs. The orange cannon had been one hell of a piece of work, and had taken a long time to perfect. Eldred had a lot of pride in his skills as a craftsman, and he truly believed the cannon was his greatest invention. However, not even pride could blind him to the fact that taking the cannon into a police station would have been a very stupid idea.
There was always the slim chance that he could go back for it later, if he really had to. Sergeant Haul would have found it by now, more than likely, but there was always a chance. It was always Sergeant Haul when Eldred made his report to Morris, it was as if the two men made up a little constabulary all of their own.
As far as Eldred knew, Haul was a decent enough copper. The man was not a great detective, however he did have a decent enough brain to know when something was missing, a feeling he could then pass on to the more competent detectives. Eldred had some respect for Haul, but not much. The man couldn’t solve the case, but he could find the cannon.
Lost in thought, Eldred didn’t hear the man stalking up behind him until it was too late. The click of a primed revolver snapped him back to reality in time to hear the shot. It was too late, nobody could move fast enough to block a point blank shot with no warning, yet somehow he managed it. His knees buckled and his neck twisted, dropping his head out of range of the bullet automatically. There were some things that even Eldred didn’t know how he did them.
His mind back on track, Eldred guessed that the man would try for a second shot. Regaining control of his body, he span ferociously and grabbed at the man’s revolver. There was a twist and a crack as he broke the man’s arm, catching the gun as it fell from his useless fingers. Eldred stuck the right into the man’s face, saw who it was, and slowly pulled the gun away.
‘You are improving, Harold.’ he said.
The man before him was much younger than him and, thanks to his broken arm, was sweating profusely. Eldred had encountered him a number of times, mostly on a professional basis. Harold also worked for Pyle, except almost always as an anti-assassin assassin. It was a job that paid very well and rarely involved killing, the cost of each target being rated on the number of attempts taken. Most people could only afford one attempt, and they would have to pay the full price regardless of success. This was where Harold came in.
Pyle didn’t like losing assassins, it was bad for business, so Harold would be sent on all the one-shot missions. As a standard assassin he was passable, but against others he was hopeless and he knew it. However, in spite of this, Harold was the best paid member of the industry, the contracts he undertook always carried the highest price tag, and he continued to get work through the occasional legitimate kill. Yes, Harold did manage to off another assassin on very rare occasions.
Never Eldred though.
‘You didn’t have to break my arm, Fie.’ Harold spluttered.
‘Reflex, Harold. You could think of it as a positive review of your skills.’
‘You certainly could.’
Harold’s brain seemed to have a problem understand this statement. After a few seconds it just gave up. Eldred interrupted before it could start again.
‘Who sent you this time?’
‘Landlord of the guy you killed with oranges.’ Harold replied after a painful moment of thought. ‘He took out the contract on you at the same time, for completion following your success. Dozy bugger seemed to think the police could trace it back to him.’
‘Only when I want them to.’ Eldred grinned.
Now he knew what it was he didn’t like about the landlord, he was a coward. Although Eldred never needed justification for his actions it was always nice to have it, just in case.
‘Well,’ Harold said weakly, ‘I suppose I had better go to the hospital, get my arm set and whatnot.’
‘Might be a good idea. It’s a clean break, you can be sure of that.’
Harold tried to shrug. ‘Yes, you’re probably right.’
The injured man gave a polite nod and walked away. Despite the gunshot, no-one on the street seemed to have stopped or paid any attention. Typical group mentality, Eldred thought, they only get interested if there’s blood. Or violent body language. With the exception of the arm break (which looked remarkably non-threatening to an observer) the entire ordeal had appeared as if it were a joke amongst friends, which it partially was. Colleagues more than friends really, Eldred didn’t have friends. Harold would have been top of the list if he did, though.
He loosened his tie just a little and undid his top button. Harold really was getting better. He had nearly managed to get the drop on Eldred, and would have succeeded if he modernised his arsenal. It wasn’t all Harold’s doing of course, Eldred had been distracted, but the time was that Harold couldn’t sneak up on someone if they were both deaf and asleep.
Eldred enjoyed it when he had a near death experience. It challenged him to improve.