Friends in High Places
Friends in High Places
Jane thumbed through the books on a big oak shelf. They were more antique than antiquarian, chosen more for the look of their spines than their contents. She found a third copy of War and Peace in a different edition and gave up.
Her boyfriend was sitting behind a big oak desk, leaning back in his seat with his feet up. He was wearing the veil over his face, and his usual gray canvas coat.
They were in the mayor’s office, and something about the afternoon sun, silk carpets, furniture worth more money than she’d spent her whole life, and her boyfriend, relaxed in the mayor’s seat, made her smile.
“You doin’ okay,” he asked. It wasn’t like they hadn’t spent the day together.
“Yeah,” Jane said. “Just trying to get my blood up.”
It was six months ago, exactly, when they’d met. She knew it wasn’t a day of any real importance, and doubted her boyfriend would even remember their one year. But she still wanted to go out and eat something colorful.
Indian, she thought at first, but too much garlic. She’d bought a black lacy thing at the Sears the day before, when he’d been off buying socks. She wasn’t even sure he’d like it but wondered what his dead face would look like when he was authentically impressed. She decided on Vietnamese.
She’d been staring at him for a few minutes as he sat in that seat staring back at her, but that was just the form affection took between them. He looked very distinguished, she thought.
He nodded to her then, and Jane took a place next to the door.
The mayor walked in, businesslike at first but then startled, seeing the killer sitting in his seat and feeling the pistol Jane pressed to the back of his skull as she closed the door behind him.
Tim Bosko was young, at least for a mayor, and wearing the kind of suit you might wear to an interview rather than a trading floor. “W-What’s this about?” he asked, weaker than he should have been for his position.
Jane walked him forward with a hand on his shoulder and set him down in a chair facing his desk.
“Jane brought us here,” her boyfriend said. He sounded slightly annoyed, but his face was dead as always.
This was in fact the first job she’d planned on her own, and she hoped not to disappoint him.
“At first I thought she might’ve found some dirt, but it seems you’re snowy white.”
“H-How’d you get in here?” Tim asked.
“Window,” Jane said, nudging her pistol towards the tall glass panes at her boyfriend’s back, one hanging open a crack.
“A rappelling rig from the roof,” her boyfriend said.
“It was really some re-bar and extension cords,” she said.
“…And what’s this about- You’re not gonna scare me,” Tim said, clearly a lie.
“You heard of a guy named Declan?” her boyfriend asked, but Tim was quiet. “One eye, rides a Norton, son’s crazy as hell?”
“I thought Declan had a daughter,” Jane said.
“Maybe you’re right.”
“…I haven’t heard of him,” Tim said. His eyes were starting to water.
“Well he’s coming for ya.”
“Itai’s put out a contract on you,” Jane said.
“…This Declan is a hitman?” Tim asked, as Jane wandered around the desk, taking a seat on her boyfriend’s lap.
“A heavy hitter,” he said.
“He likes the rain,” Jane said.
“She means he likes it wet.”
“…Who are you?” Tim asked.
“And this’s my boyfriend,” Jane said.
“…It’s quiet,” her boyfriend said.
Jane drew a second pistol, getting up from his lap, and he pulled a shaved down AK from his coat.
The door flew off its hinges, tumbling through the air and striking the opposite wall.
Declan stood in the doorway. It was actually Jane’s first time meeting him.
He had long black hair, scraggly over the shoulders of a black bike jacket, and a long gray beard like river rapids. He was missing an eye, but she’d expected an eye-patch rather than a gaping black hole.
“Hey there,” he said, his voice like AM radio in the mountains. She noticed the great axe he held in one hand and the bastard sword in the other.
Her boyfriend raised his AK and they started firing together.
Declan raised his axe, the blade blocking bullets meant for his face, as he ducked to the side.
Her boyfriend started after him, diving over the desk and charging out the door.
“You’d better get a police detail… or a bigger one,” Jane said and started after them.
She passed the secretary, cowering behind her desk, and ducked through a door closing on its piston as a dozen cops ran for her.
The door led to an emergency stairwell, and two flights down she caught up to her boyfriend.
“I was worried about you,” he said as they continued. She was already out of breath, but he seemed to be doing just fine.
“The cops are after us,” she said.
“Is he up ahead?” Jane asked, as an alarm sounded.
“I think so,” he said. They reached the bottom, and the door that had triggered the alarm was still closing.
He held her back and peaked out, but then pulled her out with him.
Declan sat on his matte black Norton, his weapons now mounted on his back. He nodded to them as his bike thundered and pulled out.
“Well, shit,” Jane said. “…Sorry.”
“We’ll get him next time,” he said, taking her arm in his as they started back for their car. “I was thinking, it was six months ago we met, in that alley-”
“I was thinking Vietnamese tonight,” Jane said.
“That sounds good…. I know where Declan bunks.”
“We can eat on the way,” she said.