As part of my participation in My 500 words, I am posting what I write each day. Today‘s entry continues Mundy’s story. Part one is here.
Mundy knew he was sitting in a dark room with a gentle bliss flowing around him. Voices were asking him questions and for some reason, he felt happy to answer them. Maybe it was this blissful feeling, or maybe it was just that no-one had ever really listened to him talk about himself and his past before. He had told them about growing up in a shelter, being bullied and eventually turning to the streets, where he discovered he had a talent for picking pockets. Then came the day that he found himself holding a billfold with more cash than he thought even existed in the world. Without knowing it, he had robbed a crime lord.
Mundy went to the hideout of the gang that he usually turned over his take to. In the deep slums of town, people lived in the streets. Everyone knew each other here. Outside of the broken down rail depot, Rags, the skinny old man who was always there stopped Mundy.
“Word’s out kid,” he said. “Someone lifted from Dean Handler.”
Rags was blind, but still, Mundy made sure the fat billfold was secure against his inner thigh. He looked toward the hideout entrance.
Rags went on, “The boss says stay scattered. He don’t know you guys. Whoever done it, they’s not going to live long anyway.”
Mundy’s mind raced. Where was he going to go? Could he buy a ticket off-world?
“If ‘twere me that done it,” Rags said. “I might try hopping a transport off world. But if Dean catch you first, well then you get buried in the ground instead, maybe still a little bit living when the dirt cover you up.”
Rags beckoned Mundy closer. Mundy stepped forward and looked at the dark man’s white eyes. This man had told stories. He knew the score.
“If was me,” Rags said as if they were the only two in a room. “I would march it back. Dean probably be right where he ws when he got lifted. Maybe if someone got moons enough to give back what he stole, Dean don’t kill him.”
“Yeah,” Mundy said. “That’d be good.”
He had nowhere to go. What else was there? So in a short while, Mundy was walking through the city center. And there at the entrance to the fancy restaurant, the frowning man stood, hands on hips. There was a stretch hover next to him, probably full of his goons. Mundy kept his eyes down as he approached. When he reached Dean Handler, he looked up to see the man had been watching him. Making slow moves, Mundy extracted the billfold and held it out, waiting for Dean to snatch it. Instead, another hand took it from the window of the hover. Mundy looked to see a slender old man open the billfold and count every note. He nodded and handed it to Dean.
“Undisturbed,” he said. “All of it’s there. No tracers.”
Mundy felt hands clap on his shoulders. He tried to turn and look behind him, but he was being held firmly in place.
“Why did you bring it back, kid?” Dean Handler said. His voice had the crisp sharpness of a core world businessman.
“I didn’t want it,” Mundy said. “I… just wanted to have a little money.”
“You did a good job pulling it off me, you know?” Dean said. “Who do you work for?”
Mundy paused for a moment, the pressure on his shoulders tightened.
“It’s okay kid,” Dean said. “Whoever it is, they probably work for me anyway, or I get a cut. They did right by refusing to take that in. And you got moxie, kid. Bringing that straight back to me. Look at me.”
Mundy looked up into the man’s face, the shaped dark beard offset the bald head and sharp brows. Dean looked him up and down.
“I think you’ll do well,” he said. “You’re working for me now.”
Without another word, Dean Handler turned and got into the hover. The door shut and it sped off. Mundy finally managed to turn around to see the mountain of a man, unsmiling, holding his shoulders.
“I’m going to let go now,” he said. His voice, less refined, sounded like it was an effort just to speak and stand at the same time. “You’re not going to run away.”
“Where’re we going” Mundy asked.
But the caveman didn’t answer. They made their way out of the city center on foot. That day, Mundy went to work for the biggest crime lord on the core world.