Last One Left
Last one left.
That thought kept chasing itself around in my head, urged on by the impressive amount of alcohol I had swirling around up there as well. Last one left, last one left, last one—
Suddenly, there was a man sliding into the booth across from me. “Jordan Kirsh?”
I jerked back in surprise—a little too far, slamming my head into the back of the booth and cursing. Being drunk was obviously not going to be helpful at the moment; few people knew my name, and no one would dare seek me out. Especially not now, after what I’d done.
I squinted at the man, trying to make out his features through the alcohol-induced fuzziness before giving up and tesseracting back to my last lock point. Granted, I had to wait an hour for him to show up again, but this time I was ready and nursing a root beer instead of the more potent vodka that I’d been tossing back before. Because I was watching this time, I was able to spot him walking in and casing the place. I locked the moment before he spotted me.
I cocked an eyebrow at him. “What’s it to you?”
The man pulled out a wallet and flashed it at me. “Agent Phil Morton, FBI. We need your assistance.”
I eyed him. “My assistance? What possible assistance could a freelance programmer offer the FBI?”
“The kind that doesn’t have anything to do with your programming skills,” Agent Morton told me, flipping the wallet shut and returning it to his inside jacket pocket, giving me a beautiful glimpse of the handgun resting against his ribcage. “There’s a kidnapping that we know took place three hours ago at the Lunt Hotel. We need your private detective skills and your contacts to rescue the hostage.”
I rubbed my eyes, trying to decide if I wanted my vodka back. “Hostage?”
“Specifically, the vice president’s twenty-year-old daughter,” Agent Morton told me, dropping a picture down on the table. I eyed it dubiously, not sure if I should really care or not yet. This guy had all the carefully prepped enthusiasm of a politician up for reelection.
“So why me?” I threw another lock down and flagged down a server for a beer. Or tried to, anyway. The guy missed me, or ignored me. I guess I did look pretty rough by now, or else he didn’t want to get mixed up with the suit sitting across from me.
“You were the one who solved the cases of the bank heist and murder spree last month,” the agent pointed out. “You obviously have talent for finding people who don’t want to be found.”
The faces of the dead fitted in front of my eyes. I shook my head violently and telekened the server’s foot out from under him, snatching the full glass of beer out of the air before his tray hit the floor. The waiter regained his balance and picked up the tray. “I’m so sorry, sir—I tripped on something—“
I held up the glass. “I’ll just hang onto this, if you don’t mind. Put it on my tab.” I turned back to Agent Morton. “I just got lucky.”
“Then I’ll hire your luck. Twenty grand a day.”
I frowned at him. Does he know…? “Desperate much?”