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Edge of Midnight Extra: Jake’s Flashback

by Azrael

As promised, here is Jake’s perspective of the flashback from chapter one in the Edge of Midnight write-up series.

The minute I opened the book I could tell that the take this week was short. I looked up over my desk at the boys, and their eyes dropped, shifting around nervously. This was an even bigger tell-tale than the blank entry half way down this week’s takings tally. I looked back and forth between them, trying to decide which one was stiffing me, and which one didn’t want to squeal on his mate. When I was through with them they’d both squeal whatever I wanted. Then again maybe they’re in on it together.

The book drops onto my desk as my hands release it, and my mouth opens to begin my interrogation.

“Boss, it’s that Watts guy, the gumshoe, we couldn’t find him!”, one of them says quickly, interrupting me before I’ve even said anything.

I close my mouth, I wasn’t expecting that. The boys don’t normally have this sort of trouble. I’ve made it a habit to always be decent to folks round here. They pay up on time, and there’s no need for any threats or roughing up. We’re all in this together, a community. I’ve got my job, they have theirs. They pay me, and I pay the Pattersons. The rate of defaulting has dropped near to zero since I ‘took over’ from my predecessor. I guess I got used to things running smooth.

“We looked, but he wasn’t in his office. He wasn’t at home. His secretary says he’s gone, but she don’t know where”, the other one says rapidly, worried at my silence.

I sigh, internally relieved that I don’t have to ‘discipline’ one of my boys, but not wanting to show anything but a concerned expression, got to keep them on their toes. I watch their nervous faces while I think, and finally I make up my mind.

“There’s an office, and it’s open. That means someone is doing business. If there’s a secretary working there, it means she’s getting paid. That means there’s money. If Watts can keep the office going, then he can keep up his payments. If he can’t keep up his payments, we shut him down, and shut him down hard. That ought to be sufficient a lesson for whoever moves into the office afterwards”, I say, standing up and pointing to the baseball bats, “Grab your bats guys, we’re going to go lay down the law!”

I get back to my office after quite an eventful evening. I don’t know how well Watts treats his staff, but if his secretary is prepared to go to those lengths to keep the office open, then she’s either being paid big bucks, or is more loyal than the man deserves. I lean back in my chair, close my eyes and go back over events. I’m not quite sure how it all happened, I was quite prepared to get her working out the local club, but before I knew it she was paying me personally. I guess I’ll have to balance the gap in the books myself, but it sure was worth it. Next week I’ll get money, I think. Unless she can think of something new to distract me.

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