Thanks to helped my story make it the final round. I’m super happy to finish it off. The whole challenge has been insanely fun. My favorite challenge ever, for now anyway. Go to here, to read more.
I picked up my own story this time. It felt right, and dammit I wanted to know to know what was up the ring.
First part by Me
Another shot glass slammed down as Toops flashed her big, black eyes at me. “Are you going to black out.” Her tone as dry as the desert planet we had left.
“I never black out. “ I grinned motioning for another shot. “I’m only resting my eyes.”
Toops rolled her eyes and crossed her arms. “Yeah, I believe you, Lancer. I really do.” Her scarred fingers pushed her still full glass back and forth across the metal bar top. “Didn’t you say we have a man coming in to offer us a job?
“You handle all the contracts. I’m your simple minded muscle.” I winked at her. “Me big man. Me hit things hard.” The burning fire scalded my throat as I took another shot.
Her hand snapped out faster than my eye could follow. Those strong fingers crushed mine into my palm. “Do not call for another shot. I swear I will break your fingers right now.”
A hearty chuckle rumbled up my throat. “Alright, alright boss lady.”
My fingers were released. “We are partners.”
“You say that now, but once the client gets here you’ll change your tune.” She couldn’t deny it. It was true.
Second Part by Athena
The mark joined us not too long after that. I know they’re supposed to be clients, but I can’t help thinking of them as marks. Lancer likes to think of us as noble ruffians, taking on jobs to help the weak and disenfranchised. Truth is, we take on the jobs that pay the most. Sometimes that means we take the client for a bit of a ride.
Lancer was right about one thing: when the client arrives, I play boss. Pretty much have to; no one would buy me as the hired muscle – at least no one with all their bits in tact. Marks are always weary of a girl without a purpose. They’ll buy me as the brains, but not the brawn.
Lancer brought this one in. I let him do that once in a while because it makes him feel like we’re equal partners. More importantly, it makes the marks think that I’m hot stuff. They’re so lucky to get me, I send one of my peons first to see if they’re worthwhile instead of going myself. Doesn’t always work, but when it does, it’s a much bigger payday.
Part Three by Ely
The man they called Helix walked into the bar, the sunlight rushing past his entourage, harshly drowning out the dank ambiance so welcoming to the regular patrons. I had met him through an old corps buddy whom I usually only call upon in the most dire of business droughts.
As predicted Toops straightened out immediately, her strength radiating from her core, demanding an elevated level of respect. She had a knack for nonverbal communication, in more ways than one.
“Not exactly discreet is he,” She said in a disapproving whisper.
“It’s a paying job. Rodge made it sound like it would be of particular interest to us.” I finished under my breath as the group neared, my lips spreading into an awkward greeting. I am just the muscle…or I’ve had one too many…or both.
“Ms. Toops I presume,” Helix smiled, suave and somewhat greasily as he took her hand. He was dressed in a slick suit, all grey, matching tie, extravagantly out of place in this corner of the ‘verse. His three companions were obviously hired security.
“All presumptions aside, where they belong, I’ve heard you have work suitable for our expertise.”
Helix’s slimy smile grew, looking to me with positive regards to my choice of partners.
Part four by Paul Baughman
As soon as I saw Helix’s smile I mentally doubled the price we’d ask. I’ve seen smiles like that before. They never bode well. I also made a mental note to have a chat with Lancer. This buddy of his needs a talking to.
“Let’s move to a table where we can talk in private,” I said. I didn’t wait for an answer, I just turned away and headed for a corner table I had reserved earlier.
When I slid into one of the back chairs, I could tell Helix didn’t appreciate me turning my back on him. Lancer eased himself into the other back chair leaving the mark to have his back to the door.
“Well,” the slimeball said heartily, “what are we drinking?”
“We’re here for business,” I said, “what’s the job?”
“Nothing wrong with a little social interaction, is there?”
The way he said it, I knew exactly what kind of interaction he thought he was getting here. I tripled the price.
I tapped my ring on the table until it drew his eyes. It was just to derail his thoughts. Not many knew what it represented, so I was surprised when his eyes widened.
Part Five by Me (again)
“You’re the Hatchet.” Helix eyes got wider and wider as he stared at Toops.
On the inside I let out a groan. That woman’s bad temper was always getting us in trouble. And, she was too proud of that ring. “It doesn’t matter. This is business, right, Helix?”
“You work with a murderer, a killer.” Helix face flushed red as he stood up knocking the chair back.
To that I shrugged. “I’m a mercenary not a priest. You going hire us, or do we need to move on.”
Helix gave a rough shake of his head. “Screw both of you.” Without another word he strode out the bar.
Toops phone beeped and she took the message with a smile. “Well, that’s good news.”
“Oh yeah, does it stack up with you being stupid and losing us a job. Cause, that was pretty brilliant.” I tipped my head toward the doorway our client had left through.
Her lips curled in a vicious, pleased smile. “I got a job for my sideline. And, I now know why Helix didn’t want to work with the Hatchet.”
“Yeah, what’s that?”
“I just got hired to kill him.” She said on a grin.