They stared at each other like warring tribes about to commence the slaughter.
“Okay,” said Jenny, trying to smile through it. “Let me give you Charlie, Tomo, Tia, Georgie, and Dutch.”
“A pleasure,” said Peter. “This is James, Andy, Little James, Phil, Bart and Simon.”
“So,” said Tomo as she shook the hands of the Blood-and-Wine crew, “you guys’re all into crew cuts, I see.”
Peter gave a slight laugh as his crew gave her curious stares.
“What, you all lose a bet to him?” Tomo continued, pointing to Peter.
“We volunteered,” said Andy.
“There was a girl in Tonawanda that needed funds for continued nano-chem treatment of her lymphoma. We found a hair broker buying natural hair for a wigmaker on the west side, arranged a deal, and with all of our contributions were able to raise funds to help her out.”
“Waitaminute,” said Charlie. “You were able to buy chemical delivery nanotech treatments with your hair? That doesn’t seem possible.”
“It’s not,” said Phil.
“What it did buy was a launch tube and a case of RPGs, and that made our hauls even better.”
“Yeah,” said Little James as he reached into his side delivery bag and pulled out a rocket propelled grenade. “Not a lot of boats out on the lake going to say no to you when you point this at ‘em, ain’t it?”
“O-kay,” Jenny broke the stunned silence with effort. “Did Peter go over with you what we’re going to do tonight?”
The Blood-and-Wine crew nodded as Bart asked, “We doing a radio check with the cell you gave us?”
“Hang on,” Tomo said as she took out a cell and tapped its screen twice. Bart got the ring and checked his unit.
“Remember,” said Peter to his men, “we only use these two units. I understand that this one has a scrambler on it.”
“And can only call this unit,” says Tomo holding up hers. “You call anything else on that, the unit bricks. And there’s an expiry code in the system that bricks it by sunrise, so if you want to keep it as a souvenir, all it’s good for is a beer coaster.”
“So, we all set then?” Jenny asked.
“Not quite,” said Peter.
“What? We settled the deal before now, what do you doing renegotiating now?”
“We’re not. We have our ritual we do before we go out; if you wish you can join us.”
“What, for luck?” asked Georgie.
“More like divine protection.”
Jenny bit her lip, trying not to curse in a way that’d drive her allies away as they started their hymn. When they got to the end of the first verse, Jenny tried not to let her annoyance at having to continue the piece get to her. By the end of the second verse, she tried not to let her impatience drive her mad.
She calmed down enough for the fourth verse and mumbled along as the Blood-and-Wine charged into the last set of lyrics:
The Word they still shall let remain, nor any thanks have for it;
He’s by our side upon the plain with His good gifts and Spirit.
And take they our life, goods, fame, child and wife,
Let these all be gone, they yet have nothing won;
The kingdom ours remaineth.
“Let us go in peace for glory!” said Peter with a clap of his hands, and he and his crew got their launch ready to go.
“We are so screwed,” said Tomo under her breath as she headed for the boat…
All content Copyright © 2012 James Ryan