a productive vacation night of writing…
10 years ago.
A scorched prairie farm land was where the shots first rung out. The team had come in to rescue a diplomat’s child. Shotgun’s teeth clenched tightly around the stub of his cheap cigar, in each hand a sawed off 12 gauge. His short cut crew cut was starting to show a little gray around the temples, as through gritted teeth he barked.
“Slick, kid’s in the quansahut!” Jake “Shades” Slick dive rolled out of the Gator’s passenger seat that Kyler Storm was driving. As slick rolled up to a crouch and started crab running towards the hut, through his black Ray Bans, the Gloc slipped into his hand. Three quick shots and the man with the rifle behind the fencepost wrapped with barb wire is no longer an issue.
Slick’s ponytail whips around as he motions Kyler to keep driving. The young goth kid was the newest in the unit, his ear piece unit squawks from the chopper command centre. “Slick what’s the scoop?”
“One Neo-FLQ taken out, cover fire being laid down. We’ll need extraction in 10 minutes C.D.” speaking of young whipper snappers, ten years before C.D. was the first of teens to emerge as hackers into the agency system, it was Louis that brought him in. French-Canadian Asian lady, part phantom/part ninja some would say. Slick watched as Shotgun made his way behind the work shed. They had made a triangle around the quansa, and on the roof climbing was Louis Regis.
C.D. squawks that Omega Squad was coming in via F-150. The roar of the truck engine.
There are probably eight gunmen in black bala clavas whose attention moves to the incoming truck. Daemon’s crew, old scarred face (his mother lit him on fire in her death scene free basting). Reesa, a lovely raven haired woman, Malcolm the token Albino hanging out the box with the heavy artillery. One the running board is Grizz, literally a man the size of a bear and enough hair to be mistaken as one.
Kyler is bringing the Gator straight up the middle to the two doors of the Quansa. Louis slices through the roof and drops in as the Gator bursts through and he starts firing. Shotgun pops up and lays down buck shot, as Slick opens up and six gun men go down quick.
Gun fire in the back.
Reesa’s eyes lock on the diesel tank. She aims through the sniper scope and fires. The explosion blows heat and debris across the field as the cover fire from the truck takes down the last of the shooters on their way to the Quansa.
The Gator inside the Quansa flips. Kyler rolls out, and rises with his old six shot. Two gun men left, one holding the kid by the throat gun to the head.
Shotgun and Slick step through the twisted metal doors. A quick shot and the second gun men’s chest explodes. The one with the kid steps back as Louis rises up behind him out of a straw stack, her long knives slip lightly across his throat spraying blood as he crumples to the ground.
The sound of the chopper extraction coming in, Slick taps his earpiece. “We got the package C.D.”
The screech of truck tires as the four and the kid walk out of the Quansa. The chopper touches down behind the truck, C.D., a 6’2” bald man that maybe weighed 150 lbs soaking wet in a completely black suit walks towards the Quansa, his eyes surveying the bodies and carnage around the farm in Manitoba where this alleged Francophone separatist terrorist group had taken the Prime Minister’s son. Through black sun glasses that wrap around his head C.D. looks at Slick.
He lightly tugs on the black gloves as he motions for Kyler to bring the child to him. C.D. and Kyler walk back to the chopper, load the kid in. C.D. turns, smiles.
Malcolm from the back of the F-150 aims and fires.
Kyler’s brains splatter the prairie soil.
Slick goes to shoot at C.D. as he steps into the chopper and it launches. “Damn terrorists infiltrated us.” Was the last thing C.D. said as the chopper flew away.
Daemon steps out of the truck with his black trench coat billowing in the breeze looking at Louis, Slick and Shotgun. “There are two ways this can go down.”
Shotgun smirked, took his cigar in two fingers, walked up to the youngster and pinged it off his forehead. “Yea, my boot goes up your ass, or my gun.”
Daemon goes to draw. Slick smiles, grouped together in a truck, young and dumb and him with one bullet left. The old F-150 given by the agencies ran on propane. He fires quick and true. The bullet ruptures the tank.
Daemon turns as Shotgun’s right hand levels him towards the explosion that sends his men careening in the field.
Slick’s eyes fall on a Dodge Caravan back by the farm house. Louis laughs as he taps his ear piece one more time. “This isn’t over C.D.”
The rain had soaked into the alley of Gothic City, just off their Electric Avenue party district. The rain was cleansing. It made the usual aromas and stains of the alley vanish. The Gothic Gargoyles were in the run for Lord Stanley’s Cup, just first round, but the party was loud, the women’s breasts were flashing and things were happening under the street lights the police had long since given up trying to keep a lid on.
Malcolm’s body still ached from ten years previous in a farmer’s field in Manitoba when they were supposed to be heroes. Instead the agency had written them off. He had barely found work as a bouncer at a club back home in Gothic City, AB. Which was good, because how much work would there be for a one legged spy adventurer. Yes his resume got to read that he was part of a covert operation team that rescued the Prime Minister’s son from a group of home grown terrorists, if he was allowed to even speak of it. But it had been their handler’s time to change the guard as C.D. had phrased it. If they wanted to be Alpha Squad, they would need to deal with the old guard.
It was to be their moment of glory, yet Grizz had miscounted the damn shots from Slick’s gun. They thought he had fired nine, nope had been eight, and the ninth found the propane fuel tank. So sure, he had sniped Kyler and put the protégé in a grave, but the explosion had claimed his leg, given Daemon more scars and a stay in Panoka, no one had seen Grizz’s body as he had vanished, and it had placed Reesa in a coma.
Bunch of great heroes, taken out by a crew of over the hills. That was his legacy, and now he was trying to keep pandemonium at bay. It had been the girl’s scream that had brought him from his bar’s door way next to the alley into the alley way. It had sounded through the rancorous party noise and actually sounded like someone in dire need. Yet in the dark and dank of the alley, there was nothing to be seen.
Malcolm turns on his prosthetic leg to exit when he heard what sounded like a tape measure unfurling. He feels the jerk on his stump as his prosthetic flies off. He attempts to keep his balance as a low whistle signals a throwing knife through the water finding his jugular spraying walls and ground red, making an eerie Kool-aid to run out of the alley into the streets as he grips at the knife and feels his life run out of him.
Whoopee shit about the Gothic Gazette’s headline, Albino bouncer shanked during playoff party. Pond scum is what he was; if I had known he was in Gothic would have done him myself. I shift uneasily in the booth at the Nottingham Pub as I lay the paper down on my table. Pubs are places of comfort, but as a recovered alcoholic, the comfort once found on a scotch double neat needed to be replaced by something else, and today I was not in the mood for a ginger ale so I am torturing myself with pub coffee—black. It is an anthropological study when there is a new waitress who has started at the Nottingham. The one in her mid-thirties that’s been around for years dressed like 50’s glam; the two in their early to mid-twenties all tits and tats hanging out, the newbie whose probably barely twenty trying to fit in, but looking more than uncomfortable in the micro skirt and tank top. Lunch hour is the busy time, comes from the cheap Alberta steak sandwiches.
The coffee has a burnt taste that is mixed with weakness because they pulled it out before percolation ended. Thankfully they had just renovated their table and chairs. The click of old army boots on the old tile floor. The leather trench coat, with long greying red hair, with the eye patch, so my old friend looked more like a pirate than the killer he used to be. “Jake.”
He nods to me as he sits down ordering the special and a Guinness. “Will.” The way he said my name means that the type of things we used to do would be coming back. Maybe a time I wish I had not given up alcohol.
Leaning back and steepling my hands, “it has been a while since Calgary.” Jake is not aging well, but these conversations do not go well and usually end up with gun play or me running through a field with him from a mad husband of some sort with a gun. So I guess it all comes back to gun play a truly un-Canadian endeavour.
“Will we need some focus here, something has happened to…” Okay have to keep remembering that Jake is not a conversationalist. “Louis.”
Ah shit. Louis Regis, she who shalt never be named within our intrepid duo (trio up until 10 years past). Jake’s on-again-off-again-pop on by lover of sorts. Also one of the deadliest knife wielders alive, and surprisingly one of the clumsiest individuals we have ever had the privilege to work with as well, I have a scar on my left butt cheek thanks to her hatchback and a misplaced eagle handed blade.
“Jake seriously, she probably just ran out of gas in Regina again.” Whenever Louis is involved, Jake loses perspective, and then probably, okay more than likely because we are pre-school friends till now I will follow suit, and as noted earlier, gun play will ensue.
Jake slides a tattered piece of lined paper across the table to me. I know I am going to kick myself for doing this, but I pick it up and look at it. Brown stains that do resemble blood. A time and an address, judging from the address it is in the industrial park. Why could there be something go down that didn’t happen in a warehouse? “I think that’s where she’s gone.” Jake said.
Where she’s gone? A scrap of paper covered in blood? How do we know she isn’t dead at this time? The waitress tops up what is passing for coffee and I swear I choke a little when I sip it, it is now that tepid temperature from a pub when they want you to move onto something harder, but that was years ago when I would do that. “So what do you want?” I glance at the time on the paper, and at my watch, forty-five minutes until whatever is to happen there.
Jake with the crow’s feet around his eyes, the greying red hair, and his one un-patched eye gets that twinkle, and his side ways grin. “Saddle up, Will let’s ride one more time.”
Aw damn it, I know I am going to live to regret this, but when it is your best friend and there is bad pub coffee involved, what choice in life is there than the simple ones. “Let’s go.”
Drop a ten on the table and leave. The upside of life after the agency is that there are no fancy cars involved, for you simply want to blend into the background. Jake still drives a small hatchback. From the trunk of my own P.O.S. sedan I grab my gear bag and hop into his car. One would think after 30 years of misadventures together I would learn to slow things down, ask questions, double check new stories, but no, my friend asks for help and well, I am there. The down side of using his car, is his music, still had not acquired a taste for late seventies-early eighties metal, but to each their own. Not to mention he drives like a distracted Mario Andretti, and I have to remember the name of the Holy I am praying to this week to save my ass as Jake’s passenger.