“The warehouse was dark and quiet. Nothing seemed out of place, save the body collapsed over the steering wheel of the stalled yellow forklift.”
“Clancy, what’s a forklift?”
“A horseless carriage that lifts and moves great weights.” Clancy tugged at his leather coat, attempting to pull it around his jutting belly. The shiny black leather to his knees looked cool; the protruding beer belly in the white t-shirt, not so much. His bald head left him looking like Kingpin from the old Spider-Man comics he had once read.
Remington sat at the table, and his eyes traced around the bottles of beer. His lips formed a grin as he began to sing to himself, “Everything is Batman. Everything is cool when you’re Batman…” He, too, was in a long leather coat, but his slim frame worked it better. The grease he used even left his hair almost matching the coat in colour and shine.
“Would you please stop that,” Clancy scolded.
“You told me to get into character. I need to practice my American accent,” Remington returned to his usual Irish lilt.
“But not with that horrid song, please. Plus this is Canada. Your Irish accent will likely get more respect here than an American one. When we head south…”
Remington interrupted in an oddly Irish southern drawl, “When we get to San Antone, pardner, the wenches will be falling at ma boots.”
Clancy sighed. “Sir, please take this seriously. Paul will be here soon.”
“Yes, Gus’ latest cockup.”
“Does he not know the difference between near death and really dead?”
“Obviously not, sir.”
“Do you think the Irish accent is more likely to get me laid.”
Clancy chuckled. “Odds are good, sir.” He was never sure why he took this job. Sure, it paid well, but to have to work with such an idiot was difficult to deal with.
The warehouse garage door slid upwards and, through the blowing snow outside, two well-padded figures walked in. One closed the door behind them and then both commenced kicking the cement floor in an attempt to knock the snow off their boots and clothing.
“They’re here, sir.”
Remington clucked his tongue. “I have eyes, Clancy.”
Peeling open parkas, pulling off tuques and gloves, the two figures moved forward.
“Gentlemen,” Gus spoke up as he approached. “This is Paul.”
“Your latest fuck up,” Remington added quickly.
Paul glanced around at the faces with concern.
Remington stood and picked up a beer bottle in his left hand. “I’m Remington.” He stuck a hand out to Paul. “They call me King of Old Dublin. And this is Clancy, the Irish King of the End.”
“You’re both kings?” Paul shook Remington’s first, and then Clancy’s.
“Yes, but I outrank him,” Remington said with a wink.
“We have a mission for you,” Clancy interrupted.
Paul shrugged. “I have so many questions.”
Clancy held up a paw. “All in good time, but we must move on this first.” He snapped.
A holographic image appeared a few feet from them.
The first thing Paul saw was the holographic man’s naked ass. Although the holographic cowboy hat was the next thing he noticed, the red hair of the holographic woman bent over in front of him caught his eye and held it. “Who are they?”
“That’s John Gregg. He’s now the manager of the Strachan Library at King West University. He has been put in charge to shut the place down in eight a few months.” Clancy picked a file up from the table and checked his notes.
Paul nodded. “Who’s the girl?”
Remington sipped his beer. “The lovely Piper. She’s a hooker actually. Gorgeous as she is, she’s not part of this. She’s not long for this world now, anyway.”
“We need you to keep the library from closing,” Clancy instructed.
The holographic thrusts became harder as the cowboy seemed to near orgasm. The red-head looked around and appeared to lock eyes with Paul.
Paul stood silent for a moment before shaking the thought and realizing there was no way she could see him. “And how do I do this?”
“That, sir, is up to you. Based on our future graphs, it is not a terribly difficult task.” Clancy checked the notes again.
“Why do you need this?”
Remington answered, “That building houses too many friends of ours. Can’t have spirits becoming homeless before they’ve let go.”
Paul nodded. “Can I save Piper?” He glanced away from the hologram at the other two men.
Clancy shook his head. “She’s not your concern.”
Remington winked at him. “She is lovely, though, isn’t she.”
“Paul? Do you accept this mission?” Clancy closed the folder.
Paul glanced at Gus.
Gus continued to study his own boots.
“Why the hell not. Considering what I’ve seen, I’m likely just on some drunken hallucination, so let’s do this.”
Remington laughed and stuck out his hand for another firm shake. “Good, The onlywill be nice to have a corporeal working for us once again.”
Paul’s eyes returned to the hologram.
The fuck was completed now. The holographic redhead stood, allowing her skirt to fall, and got onto her toes to kiss the cowboy.
“As for you, Gus, you will oversee the operation,” Clancy said.
“Yes, sir,” Gus answered with relief.
“We will, however, have a talk before you go back out there.”
Gus did not answer Clancy this time. With click of boot heels, he walked away.
A second footstep walked away as well.
Paul did not see, however, mesmerized by the redhead making out with the cowboy.
“Have a beer,” Remington’s deep voice offered.
Paul took the one offered. “Thanks.”
“She is beautiful, isn’t she?”
“I’ve never seen anything like her. Does she have to die?”
Remington chuckled. “Oh yes, she does. Only certainty in mortal life is that of death.”
Holographic Piper’s eyes opened. Once again, they seemed to fasten on Paul.
“How and when, however…regardless of Clancy’s bullshit…is not set in stone.”