“Who’s Russell?” Tia asked.
“He was a classmate of Jenny’s,” Nana said, “back when they both went to Saint Andrew’s, before the diocese gave up on trying to do some real teaching.”
“Not this again…” said Jenny into her cup.
“You see, the priests tried to do some actual education after the public schools had their funding slashed so much and just became babysitters. But the diocese, they too ran out of funds for teaching and just closed up rather than stuff kids into rooms for a few hours and make them play computer games dressed up as lesson plans, just like the public schools. I think you two were seeing each other before you gave up on parking your ass in school altogether, am I right dear?”
Jenny gave a gag in response before she rolled her head. “Oh f’ it,” she said with a sigh to Nana, “yeah, we were seeing each other. We were with each other all through then, and when I gave up on school and he stayed with it we didn’t stay that close. So yeah, that was us.”
“And you two were friends when you went to school, then?” Tia asked.
“Yeah, just friends.”
Nana gave her a look over the top of her glass, held just before her lips.
“OK, yes, we played around a little too. There, I admitted it.”
“Finally…” she heard Nana say in a near-whisper before having her drink.
“So, this Russell, you’re seeing him now for, what exactly?”
Jenny took a very deep breath before she admitted, “I’m his snitch.”
There was a moment of quiet in the room before Nana asked, “I’m sorry, I didn’t quite hear what you called yourself; you’re his what again?”
“Snitch. Snitch, s-n-i-t-c-h, snitch.”
“Oh… For a moment I heard something else…”
“So you talk to him,” Tia asked, “about what’s going on among the pirates? Does tha-”
“No, never!” Jenny shot out. “I say nothing to him at all about the trade. He knows that I’d never talk about that at all, and that I’d sooner serve him his balls than say a damn thing about that.”
“So what do you tell him?”
“I keep an ear on the street about other stuff. Hey, it’s not great out there, and what’s the point of going out on the lake and come back to where it’s not as safe, y’know? Because when I’m back on land I’m in a good position to get word about stuff, and Russell knows not to get involved with what I do on the lake and look at other people I point out who have it coming.”
“So you rat out non-pirates and in return keep him busy so you don’t get nicked by him,” said Tia. “That kind of works, to a point.”
“Except for moments like now, when he asks me to keep an eye open for DeWayne Parker, and I find him right before he killed Kate Hanson, and that gets me to the top of the list of people he needs to go after to wrap it all up.”
“So… Oh… That’s, um, not so good…”
“Ah,” said Nana to Tia, “so you do have something you do that’s not good for Russell to know about…”
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