114/366 – Dirty Jobs and Couch Springs

Leslie sat in the chair as I lounged on the couch across from her. The room smelled vaguely of mold and mildew. Watermarks could be seen running down the wall from the recent storms that had passed through the area. The broken TV sat on its side on the trash covered floor as the light filtered through the torn curtains hanging in the windows.

“I hate this job,” Leslie said, sighing. “Why the hell did we have to come out here again?”

“Because Barnes sent us here,” I replied, sitting up to get a spring from the couch out of my back. “I don’t know that I like this any more than you do.”

“Do we even know if the target is there? Have you seen anything since we got here?” Leslie asked.

“Louis said that he’s across the street. Why wouldn’t he be there?” I replied. “I don’t think Louis would risk giving us bad information.”

Leslie got up and walked across the room to peer through the curtains. I rubbed my eyes, fighting the urge to take a nap. It had been a long day already, and it would likely get even longer.

“I think I’m going to go for a walk, maybe get some food for us,” I said, standing up.

“I don’t know if that’s a good plan,” Leslie said. “What if they have guys watching?”

“They don’t have a reason to suspect that anyone is here,” I replied, looking around. “We haven’t moved anything, our car is six blocks away, and the electricity doesn’t work, so there hasn’t been a light in here.”

“Because guys like this are always suspicious,” Leslie replied, “That’s how they stay alive. That’s why people like us get sent out to deal with them. Traditional methods don’t exactly work well with guys like this.”

I fell onto the couch with a growl only to get the spring in the back of my thigh.

“Fuck,” I said, pulling on it. The pain spiked, and I had to sit back down. “A little help here.”

“What’d you do now?” Leslie asked, turning from the window and walking to me.

“I’ve been tethered to a couch spring,” I said, twisting a little and wincing from the pain.

Leslie shook her head and dropped down to get a better view. She grabbed my leg with one hand and slid the other under me.

“Roll toward me,” she said, “slowly.”

I rolled, holding onto her shoulder for support. I felt her hand push under me, and the spring let go of my thigh. I gritted my teeth and pushed away from the couch.

“Son of a bitch, that hurt,” I said, reaching around to feel it. “How’s it look?”

“It was barely in there, maybe a quarter of an inch. Are you up to date on your tetanus shot?” Leslie asked.

“How the hell would I know that?” I replied.

“You should talk to the doctor when we get back,” Leslie said, returning to the window.

“Great, I’m going to die from tetanus in this shit hole,” I said, touching the tender spot on the back of my leg. “Is it bleeding bad?”

“No, but you could get some gauze on it to stop any other infections from getting in there,” Leslie replied, “Wait. There’s movement across the street.”

“Is it him?” I said, limping over to her.

“I don’t know yet, so far, only four guys with machine guns,” she replied.

I took up a spot next to her and looked through another break in the curtain. I could see the men walking slowly to the edge of the street. They looked around, holding their weapons as though they were expecting a fight. A few seconds later, I heard the muffled signal for all clear, and a portly man wearing a bright green tracksuit with heavy gold chains hanging around his neck exited the side of the building. He walked with a confidence that only he could, wearing that outfit, at least.

“That’s him?” I asked.

“Put your earplugs in and hold still,” Leslie said, as I felt the stock of her rifle rest on my shoulder as the barrel poked through the curtain. My hand went to my pocket, and I fumbled one of the earplugs. Not wanting to mess her up, I just threw in the one on my left side where the gun rested and put my right hand over the other.

As soon as my hand had covered my right ear, the gun recoiled. Even with the earplug in, my left ear rang, and my right ear throbbed. Before I could check to see what happened, bullets began ripping through the curtain into the room. I dropped to the floor as Leslie supported her rifle and unloaded eight more shots.

“Let’s go!” she said, turning away from me as she walked for the back of the house.

I scrambled to my feet and limped through the room, through the kitchen, and out the back door. I could feel the warmth of my blood soaking my pant leg and running to my shoe.

“I thought you said the bleeding wasn’t too bad?” I complained as I limped along. “The amount of blood in my shoe would suggest otherwise.”

“I said you should get some gauze on it,” Leslie replied, looking back for anyone that may be following us.

I grumbled under my breath as we continued between the buildings toward the car. The sound of people shouting began echoing back by the house we had come from, and Leslie stopped and let me walk past her.

“You go ahead and take care of that. I’ll get these guys,” she said, dropping to a knee.

“I haven’t even killed anyone today,” I protested, drawing my pistol.

“Do you want a gold star?” Leslie said, looking up at me, “Get moving.”

I limped along through the next block. I didn’t hear any gunfire, which was both a good thing and slightly concerning. Leslie never let anyone get the drop on her, but at the same time, she would have fired if she had seen anyone. By the time I reached the car, I was genuinely concerned that something happened to her.

I clicked the button on the fob, unlocking the car, and got in the driver’s seat. I had just put the key in the ignition when Leslie exited the alley and ran across, jumping in the other side.

“I don’t think this is going to end well,” she said, putting her gun in the back before drawing her pistol. “There are at least eighteen coming. We should go.”

I nodded, started the car, and put it in gear as two emerged from the same alley, firing their guns at us.


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