A continuation of the start, middle or end of something…

This is, as the title suggests, a continuation of the start, middle or end of something that I posted in November, imaginatively titled:

The start, middle or end of something

If you haven’t yet read it, or have read it but need to refresh your memory, I suggest you do so before reading this continuation. Something I didn’t do before writing. Apologies in advance for any inconsistencies and such.

 


“A deal?” I answered, quizzically. “Not exactly.” I shifted uncomfortably, both from the couch and the situation.

“Aha, so you are here to offer me something,” he stated, taking another puff on his cigar.

“Again, no.” He sat back in his chair, holding his cigar in his mouth. I could tell he was a little surprised. “I’m actually, er, here to ask for a, erm, a favour.” I delivered that final word just as he again sucked on his cigar. He began to cough, then choke. And then… laugh.

“Ha ha!” he snorted. “A favour?” He shook his head in disbelief. “Wow, kid. You got balls, I’ll give you that.”

I nodded.

“But you need to understand something.” Then without warning, he erupted. “NOBODY comes into MY office, asks ME for a favour, and leaves here INTACT!” His voice rose to a crescendo throughout, the final word bellowed so loud that all activity in the bar below us halted. I swallowed nervously; though nervously would be something of an understatement. I began to think I had made a mistake in going there.

“I’ll tell you what though, kid.” His voice was calm again. He stood up, jabbing his cigar in my direction whilst staring out of the empty window. “You made me laugh. Not many people do that. How about, as a favour, I forgive your insolence and don’t get my associate here snap you in half?”

I should just cut my losses and leave here in one piece, I thought. “No,” I said. “I can’t leave here without asking what I came here to ask.” You God damn idiot!, I screamed internally to myself. You’ve got us killed now.

I looked to the door. The goon was now stood in front of it both hands clenched into fists. He still wasn’t smiling, but I could sense he was looking forward to whatever he would soon be asked to do. I looked back at his boss. He was looking right at me, cigar lowered.

“You’re either incredibly brave, or incredibly stupid.” He chuckled. It wasn’t a friendly chuckle. I was less scared when he was shouting.

“I’d like to think I’m a little bit of both.” I tried to look him in the eye, but his face was still obscured.

“You wish to be a little bit stupid?” He gestured to his associate with his hand, suggesting he stand easy for a moment. “Now why is that?” he asked me.

I didn’t even know where the words came from, only that it was my mouth that uttered them. “If I do not believe myself to be at least a little stupid, I may get ideas above my station. And that would be more than just a little bit stupid. Better and safer to be aware of, and act within, my limitations.”

He nodded, and I thought I detected a hint of a smile. “I like you, kid. My offer still stands; you can walk out of here now and run off home. Or I will listen to what you have to say, but if I don’t like it…” He pointed to his associate. I didn’t turn to look; I knew what would happen. I simply nodded. He sat back down in his seat, leaning back, cigar once more in his mouth. “So, what is it you want from me?”

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