Friday, March 12, 2010

In Search Of . . . pt. V

Weeks to get a proper tracking code for the outdated chip Kaczmerak gave me. Nothing like starting down a trail already colder than your dead mother’s tit. You’d think someone like Kaczmerak would be able to keep up with this stuff. Old fuck thinks he has it all figured out.

With the way things fractured after the Arab-American war, life’s an even bigger pain in the ass than it ever was. Government’s in the shitter, different factions pop up every hour on the net; it’s a minor miracle we haven’t been wiped clean by some raghead army yet. ‘Course, the more difficult the job, the more I can charge. And at least the old fart pays on time.

Crossing a narrow bridge, I enter the small town as the sun drops behind a row of bare hills off on my right. A tinge of salt carries on the moist air as bells ring methodically somewhere in the harbor. Footfalls slop through the mud behind me; men in overalls, stained and torn, discuss their day on the ocean. They pause a moment to give me a challenging glance, passing without a greeting. I raise my hand and nod sarcastically as I continue to scan the feeble surroundings.

If she wanted to get away from Daddy, she might have gone a bit farther.


I wait an hour in the dark for Suffolk to return. He tries his key but doesn’t seem bothered that the door slips open without it. Walking through the main room, he doesn’t switch on a light. Idiot.

Booted feet clomp down the hall for the bedroom and soon a dim light trails back up toward me. Suffolk gasps. It brings a smile to my face as I hear him curse under his breath. Apparently, he’s never had his room tossed. Good.

Running back down the hallway, he makes straight for his landline computer across from where I stand in the shadows. Springing the overhead light on, Suffolk is momentarily blinded, giving me the seconds I need to knock him on his ass.

“AAhhh, shit!”

I punch him in the nose once for good measure and then lift him onto the ratty couch nearby. He’s still gingerly cupping his nose when the tears subside. The fear in his eyes is gratifying. This should be easy.

“Mind if I sit down?”

“No. Go ahead.” His speech is halting. He’s confused.

“I’m trying to find a girl – Karen Kaczmerak. You know her.”

“I don’t recognize the name.”

“That wasn’t a question.” I slap him hard on the side of his face and continue, “I tracked her here, but the place was empty. I think you’d remember, she’s the type’d stand out in this shithole.”

I slip out my palmcard and pull up a holo of her. He responds. “Okay. She said her name was Kay.”

He makes to get up from the couch. “Uhn-uh.” I set my gun on the table between us.

Suffolk raises his hands above his head, sweat spotting his brow. “Whoah. I just want to get something for you.”

I glare at him a few seconds before nodding. “Slowly.”

Suffolk steps into the kitchen and pulls down a cookie jar from on top of the refrigerator. Returning to his seat, he hands me a small microchip. “She told me to give this to you when you arrived. She knew you’d be coming, but didn’t say much else.

“You know that father of hers touched her, did things to her?” He’s pleading, begging me to give a damn.

“Not my business. Taking her home is.

“How long ago was she here?” I look up from the tiny chip, catching his eyes before they drop to his lap.

“I don’t know,” he mutters.

“Don’t get brave now.” I pick up my pistol and set it in my lap. His eyes follow the movement.

“Four days,” he says. “She didn’t tell me where she was going, but I expect it was as far from here as possible.”

“Why’s that? She finally get tired of you?”

His fists clench, but he’s not that dumb. He keeps his mouth shut and just stares through the frayed carpet on the floor.

“Do you really expect me to believe that you have no idea how to find her? If she knew I was coming, she wanted you to contact her, let her know how much of a head start she has. Come on.”

“No, no. She didn’t give me anything. Just left without saying a word. I came home last week and she was gone. I swear.” Waving his hands frantically is supposed to add some credence to his statement. Whatever.

I stand up. “Listen. I don’t want to kill you. Despite some prevailing sentiments, that would be bad for business.”

I walk into the kitchen, searching for the biggest knife I can find. “That doesn’t mean I can’t leave you in a shitload of pain though.”

I come back into the front room with a huge fucking blade, probably used to gut fish. It’s good to have the right tools for a job.

“Now, are we going to do this hard or easy? Your choice, but don’t take too long deciding because I’m an impatient man.” The smile on my face doesn’t seem to reassure Suffolk.


I pull out my palmcard and shoot off an email to Kaczmerak. Relatively speaking, Suffolk chose an easier path than most – he only lost one finger in the process. Seems little Karen wanted to see the big city. I should be able to hop a transport once I make it back to civilization, and then we’ll see what we see.

To be continued . . .

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