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Spuddddddd · 95
"Just another job."
That's what he said to me.
"You've done 'em before, ain't yer kid?"
The black leather of the barstool creaked as the stocky man hefted himself into it.
With a practiced wave of his hand, he motioned to the bartender to bring two glasses. He didn't specify the drink. Anyone who knows O' Connel's knows that it don't matter what drink you order, they always bring the same booze.
My booze, as a matter of fact. Keeping the liquor flowing in Sam O' Connel's bar was a matter of personal pride to me. Not to mention being worth a pretty penny.
O'Connel himself brought the drinks, and the rugged old man slid one in front of me, before settling back into his barstool and jerking the other one to his mouth, draining it.
"What's the matter, kid? Cat got yer tongue?"
I pushed my glass away away, making the brown liquid rock gently inside. Never drink my own merchandise. Matter of principle.
"Listen, Anderson," I said. "I know you come a long way to see me here, but I ain't sure I wants another job right now."
Turning towards him, I muttered under my breath.
"You see, I got me a pretty sweet deal going right here."
I gestured to the gleaming row of bottles behind the bar. A myriad of colours and shapes, all containing the same brown liquid.
Leo looked straight at me.
"I need a grease man, Finn. Someone to keep things flowing. Smooth over any... hm... problems we might encounter." He paused for a second, before adding, "And you're the best."
I ran a hand through my hair, and listened to the gentle murmur of conversation and piano music that formed the perennial backdrop at O' Connel's.
"Who else you got coming along?" I asked him.
"One other, so far. Mexican gentleman by the name of Mateo. Religious type. Real smart. He'll bring the brain, I'll bring the muscle, you bring the... well... whatever it is you bring."
Leo could be real persuasive when he needed to.
"Well, shucks, Anderson. Look, I need more time to decide, OK?"
Leo frowned at me.
"And more details, you hear? You ain't even told me where we're going yet!"
Leo slowly reached into inside his jacket and pulled out a folded sheet of ancient-looking yellow paper.
Without speaking, he placed it on the bar.
"What's that?" I demanded. "A map?"
Unhurriedly, the grey-haired campaigner stretched a calloused hand towards my drink and, with a grace that belied his grizzled appearance, threw it down his throat.
"A contract," he grunted, standing up.