|Subject:||Done, mhm mhm|
|Author:||La Reina (Authenticated as La Reina)|
|Date:||June 4, 2012 at 9:03:45 AM|
|Reply to:||Build-a-Soundtracked-Story Part 4 by klundtacular|
The drive to Irene's home was idyllic. Almost annoyingly so, in fact. She lived in a particularly quiet side of Leesgate, where most houses look like they've been drawn by a bored architect who decided to photocopy the images for the rest of the neighbourood. There was nothing to be seen, not even a dead rat on the street. It was a standard, cloned array of houses.
"Stop. Right here," Irene turned to look at me and smiled. "Thanks, Hal."
"You're welcome," I replied.
Irene stepped out of the car. I pulled the key off the ignition and followed suit. "Would you like to come in, have a drink or two?"
It was not, by any means, memorable dialogue. At least, it would not have been memorable if she had not then swayed and dropped stone cold to the asphalt. I sprang forward to her unconscious body, fearing the worst. Just as I was about to kneel and check her pulse, however, a voice from behind me said:
"Don't worry, Detective, mhm mhm. It's not lethal."
I spun round, and my right hand instinctively patted my belt, where I kept my derringer. From the shadows between two houses, a somewhat darker shade detached itself and moved towards the street. As it moved, it became obvious that the shade was in fact a man, dressed in drab greys and with a fedora worn low to obscure his face. My hand wrapped around my gun, but the man raised his hand.
"No weapons, see? I mean you no harm, Detective; please don't shoot me. I'm not here to, mhm mmm, remove anyone permanently. Just... borrow you for a while."
I felt my forehead scrunch itself into a frown. There was something about the man - the fact that he had somehow managed to knock Irene unconscious from that distance notwithstanding - that made me terribly unwilling to part with my derringer. The man just stood there, though, and as much as I don't want to admit it, I could see that both of his hands were empty. It would seem that his claim had some merit.
"You're one of the Magister's assassins?" I ventured to ask.
The man touched the tip of his hat and nodded at me. "We prefer the term "assistants", if you please. We do other things besides removing people, mhm mmm."
"Such as throwing boomerangs at them to knock them unconscious from fifteen feet away?"
A sniff, too dignified to be called a snort but too reluctant to be a chuckle. "A tranquiliser dart, incidentally. I thought you would know better, what with your being a detective and all, mhm mhm." He paused for a moment. A black car rolled from the opposite direction and stopped just behind him.
"What is this?" I demanded.
The man opened the door. I could just see a person in a dark suit sitting inside it, with a hint of blonde curls above the suit. "You have a meeting with the Magister in ten minutes," the "assistant" said. Upon seeing my hesitation, he added: "Don't worry about Miss Lafayette. I shall take care of her."
Reluctantly, and realising that following suit might be a better alternative than lingering and resisting, I stepped towards the car. At least, I told myself, he didn't ask me to relinquish the derringer, and I was pretty bloody sure he knew I had it. By the time I reached the car, the mysterious man began to look increasingly less mysterious and more mundane. Thin brown hair underneath the hat, shoulders not too broad, a generic-looking face which wouldn't look out of place as a schoolteacher or clerk... the man was frighteningly generic. Even if you had a good look at him, you wouldn't be able to find him again in a crowd the next minute. I stepped into the car with some trepidation and found myself sitting next to Roger Knighton.
"Good evening, Detective Langley," said Knighton. "Evening, Perotto."
The mundane-looking assistant Perotto doffed his hat. "Evening, Roger." He closed the door, and we drove away.
I'm done with the cough, but it made quite an impression on me. So, behold the Cough in person! And, I took the song as fuel for more male characters and a rather off-handed... treatment of those outside that distinction. Alas, Irene, it's a man's world; you should know that by now.
An omnivorous reader with a strangely retentive memory for trifles.
This message was edited by the author on June 20, 2012 at 1:19:47 AM
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