Ashford Vignette #4 (2019)

As bars went, Elysium was a depressing hive of villainy and scum.  Long association led Samuel Morris, Sam, to conclude that not all, or even most, of the scum and villains were truly either.  There was something else going on beneath the façade of crookedness.  And he didn’t just mean the gambling in the basement, or the rumored fights that supposedly drew heavy bettors.

Elysium was still the best place for people in his line of work to find, well, work.

There would always be people who needed or wanted information or things other people had, or to end the lives of rivals.  Elysium was the place to find specialists in achieving those goals.

Sam took interest when the bartender, a young rat hamr in her rat-man shape, nodded another patron his way.

Grey suit, not expensive, probably off a rack.  The guy looked uncomfortable as he strode to Sam’s table.  Not nervous, but like he was used to wearing better, probably tailored, clothes.

Same waved a hand to an empty seat.

“Mr. Grey?  Please, sit.  No one will stab you while we talk business.”

The man folded into a chair and rested his hands on the table.

“There is a book I need . . .”

“. . . and it is in someone else’s possession, someone who won’t sell?”

“Yes.  I would like to hire you to acquire it . . . and . . . if something, permanent, should happen, accidentally, to the owner, in the process, I would certainly understand and compensate you for the trouble.”

Probably an ex-partner/lover/spouse, soon to be ex-, or family, Sam thought.  That was the real job.  The book didn’t matter.  It was cover should anyone investigate.  Mr. Grey might even try to screw him too, ensure someone spotted him or tried to catch him on-site.

“One hundred k, Mr. Grey, with 70% paid in advance, the rest on successful completion.  Non-refundable.  Two week time frame, assuming nothing too unusual.  Who is the owner?”

Grey said a name.

Interesting.

“Three weeks.”

“Done.”

As Grey left, Sam nodded to himself, the client was definitely going to try to screw him.  He’d agreed to the price, and exorbitant advance percentage, far too quickly.

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