Advice Not Taken
My Walther P-38 lay in pieces on the workbench. I’d cleaned and oiled its parts. I’d flipped through my slabs of Semtex, dry and pristine in their sealed plastic sandwich bags. Upstairs the needle in the spinning groove was playing Coltrane and my thoughts wandered to risqué peepshow images of my buxom moll Ann Fatale, my love supreme. She’d gone out, shopping for booze, smokes and invisible nightwear. I was feeling neglected, hard done by. So when the black dial phone hung on the basement wall stud rang, I answered it.
I reckon that call came about a year ago. The phone hasn’t rung since then; I’m not easy to reach. My name’s Danger, Geoff Danger. I’m a fixer. If you lead a decent life, why, you need never know that men like me exist. Trust me: it’s better that way. Go to church and put your faith in some phantom other than the likes of me. Still, we’re all called in someway, aren’t we just?
‘Yeah?’ I grunted.
‘Mister Danger? My name’s, like, Ivanka?’
‘You may squeak like a broad, kid, but you ain’t no broad. What’s your name.’
I ran a pipe cleaner along the rifling inside the pistol barrel. I cradled the receiver in the crook of my neck, shoulder hunched. ‘Got a surname, kid?’
‘Junior? Donny Junior. Some friends of mine in Washington, very powerful friends, very powerful, suggested I seek your counsel.’
‘Talk is cheap, kid,’ I grunted. ‘Wet work’s more efficient.’
‘Uh, that’s really not an option? Anyway, like, daddy’s running for president and I’ve been offered some very damaging information about, like, his opponent whom I’ll call “Lock Her Up” for the purposes of this conversation?’
I lit a cigarette and poured myself three fingers of Irish. I took a healthy swig. After I swallowed, I grunted, ‘Go on.’ I took a deep drag on my cigarette. ‘Who’s your source?’
‘There are two,’ Donny Junior continued, ‘with impeccable, very fine, credentials. One is a lawyer with ties to the Kremlin. The other is a gentleman who used to work for the KGB.’
‘Ex-KGB,’ I grunted. ‘Hmm.’
‘Yes,’ he replied, ‘the accounting firm, very, very well known. You’ve heard of them?’
‘We’ve crossed paths.’ I flicked an inch of ash into my copper Expo ’67 ashtray. I peered around my workroom studying the various tools I’d accumulated during the ensuing 50 years. My gaze rested on my chisels and saws; they were sharp at least. ‘What do they want in exchange for this so-called information?’
‘Nothing! I love it!’
I grunted, ‘There’s no such thing as a free lunch, kid.’ I thought of Ann Fatale’s annual attempt to make me a sandwich. She doesn’t know which side of a slice of bread to butter: best leave it to the kitchen staff of the best hotel in town.
‘But there is, Mister Danger! There is! My family’s been eating for free, like, at very low cost, for, like, two generations! By the way, have you tried the taco salad at daddy’s
Tasty, very, very tasty, delicious.’ New York
‘Sure,’ I grunted. ‘Well, I’ll tell you something for nothing, kid, since you called. Walk away from this deal and keep walking and don’t leave a trail. That’s my advice, for what it’s worth.’
‘Thanks for your, like, valued input, Mister Danger!’