In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.

–Winston Churchill

Favors for Mimeogiraffe

He’s making me sound desperate. I protest. “It’s not that big of a deal.”

John August smokes dried leaves of some plant. It’s weird because we’re inside. His club. His rules. He’s good with loopholes, and the latest fad is more rules, which just gives him more to knit with. He blows the smoke out of the side of his mouth and says: “It’s not that big of a deal? Pops, you got the band nerds angry at you. That’s never a sign of little things to come.”

His teeth flash, and he almost toasts me with a sip of his martini to make sure I agreed. I did, but I didn’t want him knowing that. I just didn’t want him to worry. He likes to get involved when he worries. “Trust me,” I sipped back. “House calls aren’t uncommon from them. They’re just boring to talk about.”

He narrows an eye at me, catching a new train of thought. “Then why do you even care?”

I pretend that I have a reason I can’t talk about.

He sets down his martini with one hand, lowers his cigar with another, and pats my shoulders with a third and fourth. “You helped me. You know that. And I think I’m becoming a better liar than you.” Then he gives a grin that could carve a diamond. Worst part is: he might be right.

I sigh. “I’ll tell you when it heats up. Right now, I’m just part-time messenger.”

“All the skills, none of the overhead,” John says, lifting his glass in agreement.

“More like: all the pressure, none of the benefits,” and then I suggest, “So, you’ll help.”

He waves away his distracted gaze, shrugging and nodding at the same time. “Sure, sure. What was it you wanted again, an audience with MimeoGiraffe?”

“No. I’d rather you talk to him. I don’t get along well with his type. I just need to find a person.”

“And the choir kids… This is not some escapee?”

“Not as far as I know,” I say. I cross my heart to show sincerity.

“If this goes screwy, it’s your fault,” John says, pointing a finger at me.

Of course.

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