When I got the email I was in my car, cursing the great state of California for putting Algebra on the GED. Wade was thumbing through an old Soldier of Fortune in the passenger seat. In the back was our recording equipment. We had it turned down low, but every now and then a particularly loud moan would echo over the speaker. In other words, a slow Tuesday.
"Such bullshit," Wade muttered and reached for his cigarettes.
"What's bullshit?" I said, holding out my hand.
Wade smacked the box down on my palm. "Well for one thing, the fact you never buy your own."
"Hey, I only smoke to keep you company."
"But what I meant," Wade pressed on. "Was this job. Is bullshit."
"You like this job," I said around the cigarette in my teeth, trying to hold my place in the textbook and light up at the same time.
"Not the job, the job. This job." He waved his hand at Cabin Number 6 of the Lucky Pines Resort. "Surveillance on a housewife? It's goddamn amateur hour out here."
"The client paid extra for an experienced team," I offered without much conviction. Behind us another car swerved into the lot, headlights flashing across the faded beige interior.
"Bull. Shit." Wade sucked in a deep lungful of smoke petulantly. "This is a message from the partners."
"Paranoia is hilarious in a man of your size," I said, my eyes on the rear view mirror. The other car, a late model silver luxury sedan, coasted to a bumpy halt about three feet over the parking lot edge into the tanbark.
"And it's probably for you. What did you fuck up behind my back?"
"That's hurtful.” The sedan driver had half fallen out of his car into the shrubbery and was now trying to wrestle something long and metallic out of the backseat. My phone chimed.
"You gonna get that?" Wade picked his magazine back up. "It's probably Amanda. Explaining how you fucked up."
"Isn't that the client?"
Wade snapped his head around to see the man stagger over the sidewalk up towards the Lucky Pines cabins. As he passed under a street lamp, the light glinted off the double barreled shotgun on his shoulder.
"Never mind that," Wade snapped. "What about that email you mentioned in the first paragraph?"
I kept my eye on the man with the gun; did our client have an identical twin? "First paragraph?"
"Happens all the time," Wade said, exhaling smoke at my face. "Authors put some bullshit in the first sentence, trying to hook the reader. Then they don't mention it again for three chapters." Wade laughed, a crazy wheezing sound like an animal dying. "I'M ON TO YOU!" He shook his fist at the heavens.
The man who appeared to be our client had disappeared. "Wade, what are you on about?"
"OUR LIVES ARE WRITTEN BY THE GREAT AUTHOR IN THE SKY!" He collapsed, wheezing, muttering, "I'm on to you..."
I stared at him. My partner was certifiably insane. At least this explained why we'd been given a crappy assignment.
Opening: Sarah Hawthorne.....Continuation: Anon.