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Jeff Xilon, 02 Oct '12

        If there's one thing I should have known, it was Harold Jones was not the forgiving type. Most people would have considered that his number one trait. Had I but asked any friend with a little knowledge of the man they would have told me, "Jim, Harold Jones is not the forgiving type." Of course, I knew this already and wouldn't have needed to ask, but if I had, that's what they would have told me.

        Knowing this then I couldn't tell you why I was still in town. After all, I had completely botched a job Mr. Jones had given me to do and this was the kind of job that only had one known punishment for failure. Sure, if he decided otherwise Harold could call off the hit. He didn't have to have me killed. No, it was his call and his call alone. If he were the type to listen to a man's excuses (or reasons as us screwups prefer to call them) or forgive a mistake then maybe he'd make that call in your favour. But I think we already covered what kind of man Harold Jones was on that score.

        So we return to the question: Why am I still in town? Well one reason was I didn't have the resources to get out. No car, no money, no friends. The car had broken down. Without money I couldn't get it fixed and I couldn't pay for any other way of getting the hell out of Dodge either. And friends? Well, the kinds of people I call friends aren't really anything of the sort. At least, not when your car's broken down, you don't have any money and you've recently screwed up a task set you by one Harold Jones.

        Some might say a saner man would've just found a way to end it all nice and easy like instead of risk getting caught by Jones' hunters. In fact, that's just what one guy I thought might be my friend told me.
        "Jim, I suggest a bottle of vodka, a warm bath and a straight-edge." That's what he said. He was even willing to donate the vodka, so long as I didn't mind bottom shelf rotgut. I thanked him for the advice but declined it all the same and hit the street again.

        I hoped he was close enough to being a friend to at least wait for one of Jones' hunters to ask him about me before selling me out, but I figured he was probably on the phone about one minute after I'd left his shop and not a second later so I got out of his neighborhood just as fast as I could while keeping to back alleys and side streets. If there was one thing I wasn't going to do it was make it easy on them. I might have been a perennial screw-up but I still like my life well enough to keep a hold on it, thank you very much.

        With pretty much all of my options dried up I decided to focus on the one last wild possibility I could think of. With Harold Jones out to get me maybe, just maybe, his enemy would be willing to treat me like a friend. That meant Korea town. That meant Dr. Choi, otherwise known as Dr. Sleep.

        I found him in the cold noodle shop next to his acupuncture clinic. This was Dr. Sleep's preferred place of doing business other than his legitimate medical practice. I had to wait my turn while Dr. Sleep slurped some noodles and listened to an older couple talk about their problems with some drug dealers who were trying to get their son involved in some shady business. He assured them the matter would be dealt with and junior would be focusing on his studies again exclusively any day now. They left grateful.

        With my turn upon me I sat down in front of him as he selected a piece of hardboiled egg from the soup bowl, regarded it a moment and ate it before acknowledging me.

        "Jim the Mechanic, aren't you?" he asked.

        "Yes sir, Dr. Choi. I'm flattered you know of me." I said.

        "I wouldn't be. For a mechanic you are well known for breaking things."

        "Yes sir. I am a bit of a clumsy person."

        "And, as I hear it, you've been the cause of some very big headaches for Mr. Jones. If I didn't know better I'd almost think you were working for me, given how many problems you've caused for my competitors, but of course you're not. So why are you here?"

        "Harold Jones isn't the forgiving type. I'm in trouble. I need a way out and like you said, my, uh, blunders have certainly helped you so I thought perhaps..."

        "Are you suggesting I owe you something?" he asked as he went back to the soup bowl to pick out a slice of pork.

        "No sir, no of course not. If you could help me out I'd be very grateful. I'd owe you anything."

        "Yes, you would. But why would I want a favor from you? A favor from Jim the clumsy mechanic sounds less than appealing."

        I felt the wind leave me. "I don't know."

        "Neither do I," he said. "However I would enjoy irking the oh so very uptight Harold Jones."
        "So you'll help?" I asked.

        "I will. But you're probably not going to like how, or the price. Still, I promise it won't be nearly so bad as to what Mr. Jones will do to you."

        That was covering a lot of ground, enough so that I almost thought of backing out and calling it all a big mistake. But in the end, an uncomfortable future was still better than none. So I shook hands with Dr. Sleep and resolved to accept my new fate, come what may.

Comments · 4

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  • Jeff Xilon said...

    Hello all, first burst here. I just wanted to make it clear that I'm happy to accept any and all constructive critiques. And, of course, compliments. So if the story moves you to comment on something that you think was done well or something that you think could do with some work please sound off. I look forward to reading them.

    • Posted 8 years ago
  • Mary Beth W. said...

    Hello there, @Jeff Xilon, I enjoyed this very much. There were some spots where commas might be helpful, but other than that it was very good :)

    • Posted 8 years ago
  • Jeff Xilon said...

    Thanks @Mary Beth W.. I'm glad you liked it. I'm also glad your activity on my stories has reminded me that Burrst is one of the many ways I haven't been writing over the last month or so. Some family illness problems (which I'll leave for my blog) have kept me from writing in general and now that things are finally settling down again to a more manageable situation I need to get back at the keyboard! I'm definitely going to try and include Burrst in my regular writing routine, so keep an eye out! I'll have more coming soon.

    • Posted 8 years ago
  • Mary Beth W. said...

    Awesome! I can't wait :D

    • Posted 8 years ago