Truth. Justice. Minesweeper.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

What with one thing and another, I didn't get into the office until nine tonight. Cruickshank and Greyghost were waiting for me at my desk, looking grim. So that was pretty normal.

"Someone left a message on the Caruthers number," Cruickshank said.

"The what?"

"You went to the bank a couple of weeks ago? Signed some papers as John Caruthers?"

Oh, yeah. "Oh, yeah. Okay, so someone called me?"

"You don't understand," Greyghost said.

"You don't," Cruickshank agreed. "The phone number you filled in on those forms was only created in case the bank had to call and confirm something. But everything with the bank went smoothly, and it wasn't the bank who left the message."

"Then who was it?"

"The point is this. They must have gotten the phone number from the bank. They didn't get it from me, and they didn't get it from you, and that leaves the bank. And the bank doesn't give out that information." When I didn't answer, he said, "Are you listening?"

"I'm listening very carefully," I said. "What's the next thing you're going to tell me?"

Greyghost was staring at me. He folded his arms. Cruickshank paused, and said, "It looks like John Caruthers could be in trouble with some influential people."

"You mean I could be in trouble with some influential people."

"Actually, that's where we catch a bit of a break," Cruickshank said. "The people who're looking for Caruthers are looking for a guy who's a financial mover and shaker on the one hand, but on the other hand will walk into a bank with puke in his hair and his dick hanging out of his shorts."

"I didn't--"

He waved it away. "Which isn't a good description of you. So you're probably safe. Good disguise, by the way."

"Probably, huh? What kind of trouble are we talking about here?"

"So just keep alert and report anything strange to me or to Greyghost. You know, people following you, stuff like that. Probably nothing'll happen, though."

"That's easy for you to say. You're not the one wandering around with 'Caruthers' sewn on the back of your jersey. If either one of you guys had any common decency at all you'd tell me exactly what this is all about and exactly what I've gotten myself into. You'd actually answer my questions. I think I've earned that much."

Or that's what I wanted to say, anyway. The problem is, I knew when I took the job that stuff like this could happen. I also knew that superheroes were, basically, people who piled secrets all around them, and if I wasn't prepared to live with that, I'd better look for work elsewhere. Plus I refused to whine in front of Cruickshank. So here's what I really said:

"All right. That's what I'll do."

Cruickshank nodded, flipped open his cellphone, and walked out, dialing. Greyghost regarded me silently for a few extra seconds, and left through his tunnel.

So that was kind of a bummer.
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