Gregory Scott had the good life. The awesome car, the bags of money just waiting to be spent.And, oh, a job as one of the most famous con men in New York City. When Gregory is inevitably tracked down, all hope seemed lost. Now his only hope lies in a race against time to help the government uncover one of the biggest scandals ever known. Pitting himself against kidnappers, murderers, and some of the greatest minds he's ever met, Gregory risks it all to infiltrate the society of big business and
"Barkeep" I called, lazily gesturing to the empty glass before me. The bar-stool was hard, just wood with no cushion, very uncomfortable. Maybe another drink'll fix that? With one last glance at the costumer he'd been chatting with, a young man, too young I bet, he returned to his post.
"One 'a the same." I said as he scooped up my glass.
"Man, you 'sher can hold ya liq'a." He had a thick Baltimore accent, a little annoying, but just a little. "Most young guys like you'd be up there singing karaoke by now- with that many." A valid point, I suppose.
"That kid down there seems to be doing fine." I answered, watching as he snatched the rum off the back shelf, clumsily pouring it into the glass. I eyed him, watching some rum splatter onto the shimmering wood counter-top. Maybe he's the new guy Larry, the usual bartender, had told me about last week?
"Naw," He said bending down to open the mini-fridge behind the bar counter and popping back up with a carton of cream, "Kid's under age, hadda refuse him a drink." He started pouring the cream into my glass.
"Stop, stop. that's enough."
"There's hardly any!"
"Just the way I like it." He shook his head, his greasy black hair flipping back and forth, but surrendered and handed over the drink after stirring it with a glass rod.
"Thanks." I said, taking a sip. It was dark tasting. Hard and smoky flavored, the taste exactly like the smell, with the cream only serving as a sweeter after-taste. Strong. Too strong, probably. I'll be lucky if I don't go home hammered tonight, this being my sixth...seventh drink? Hard liquor too, the good stuff. And I'm not even half done.
"So," The bartender said, resting his elbows on the counter, "Wanna talk 'bout it?"
"Talk about what?" I asked, taking a swig.
"C'mon, people don't come here and drink like this unless something's up."
"up?" I asked, cocking an eyebrow. His eyes were clear light green, honest and truthful. His young face was handsome and charming with sharp cheek bones. Young, not too young though. Twenty-eight? Twenty-nine? Definitely no older than thirty. Gah, I came here to stop myself from being like this, not encourage my head-pounding over-thinking. Something about him, though...he irks me for some reason.
"Just a bad day at work." I said. Another swig. "The usual."
"huh." He said, shrugging, "Whatta you do?" He's probably wondering what my job is, not what I personally did. that set off the alarms. I played it cool, mentally choosing from the prepared list of lies I'd compiled for times like this.
"I Work in that graphics design department in that fancy pants office complex back on-" I screwed my forehead up as though I were pretending to remember. I've had a lot of drinks, I can definitely pull off the forgetful slightly drunk guy. "Anyway," I continued pretending to have given up, "I'd kinda planned for the good life, ya know? Thought I'd be some asset for the company. They gave me a desk job." I faked irritation, quite well I'd say, "Made me some low life desk-jockey. I snapped at my boss today. Guess I've had enough." I took a long drink, downing the rest of my rum.
"Name's Ashton." He said, holding his hand out over the counter for me to shake, "Ashton Ryker."
"Yeah," I said, grasping his hand, "I can read your name-tag." Geez, He's got a firm grip, "I'm Isaiah Rendolvski." I lied. His grip suddenly became deadly, rough and firm. He yanked it closer, peering at my hand. Shit! I remembered the scar, long and thick, running from the base of my hand to the base of my thumb.
"Are you sure you're not Gregory Scott? You know, that wanted fugitive? con man? Illegal intel gatherer?" He asked as I struggled, using both hands, to break his grip. I gave up and slugged him in the face.
He was caught off guard, stumbling back and smashing into the liquor shelves, bottles tumbling to the floor and shattering in splashes of alcohol. I'm a lot faster than I look, that's for sure. He stumbled slightly, disoriented, and pressed a hand to the back of his head. He looked at it, and it was wet with blood. My body itched to run, but from the sheer strength of his grip I can tell he's been trained for this, meaning he's probably got a government post. Meaning he's got back-up, probably watching the doors from the inside. I glanced around the room. In total there were only six people paying attention to us. Five of them wearing either a blue tooth or a hearing aid, one was a drunk old man slouched in a corner, waving for another drink, definitely not him. Man's drunk off his ass. So five, that's not bad. I've had worse.
I dug out my wallet and tossed a couple hundreds onto the counter, then sighed and tossed the whole thing. Hopefully none of the jerks and sleeze balls grab it. That guy, Ashton, regaining himself finally, lunged skillfully over the counter. Shit. I spun, going towards the exit I'd have a chance at. Of the five here, two were women. I sprinted towards the larger woman, not quite obese, but heavy-set. The smaller woman was likely more agile and would put up more of a fight, so bigger is better. I was right.
The larger woman shoved her way through the crowd of drunken partiers, struggling to fit through the holes and make it towards me. I scaled past her easily, Hearing her call out,
"Hey! You, Stop!" Though her voice was muffled by the whoops and chants being cast out, and the music blaring out of the boom-box perched on one of the drunken partier's shoulders. Yeah lady, I don't think so.
I burst out the back door, clumsily stumbling forward a few feet towards the alley's brick wall. Not a bad strategy. watch me while I have a few drinks, wait until my body's too worn down to make an escape. Guess that guy Ashton didn't count on how ineffective liquor can be. Well...not completely ineffective, apparently. I gathered myself up and made a run for it, searching along the alley. The brick walls were dirty and smudged, layered with profanity and spray-painted perversions that shouldn't even be shown in a strip club. There! The stairs to the apartment above hung overhead and I jumped, easily grabbing and pulling down the cold metal ladder attached. I'd love to run right out of the alley, but odds are someone's waiting there, too. They really went all out on the scheme this time. The door opened and closed behind me. They caught up.
I sprang onto the ladder, hastily clambering up each prong.
"There's nowhere to run, Gregory!" A man's voice called from below. I hopped up onto the metal stairs with a clank.
"What happened to the accent?" I joked peering down at Ashton Ryker as he grabbed hold of the ladder and started climbing.
"It was fake, used it to make myself seem more trustworthy."
"It didn't work very well," I lied, "Better luck next time." I pounded up the stairs, passing door after door. Each step echoed with a metalic thump that made my head pound. Another head-ache? You've got to be kidding me. though maybe that's just because of all the rum I drank. I stopped and leaned over the bars and vomited. Yeah, definitely the alcohol. I spat, trying to get the acidic taste out of my mouth. Too bad we can't pause the deadly high speed chase for me to brush my teeth. Ashton's footsteps were getting closer. I pressed on, panting now. I'm not built for this, my endurance is trash. I pushed harder and reached the last door. Locked. I sighed, whipping my emergency kit from my coat pocket and pulling out a pin, like a sewing pin but thicker, and with a tiny hook on the end.
I picked the lock, though it took a few tries trying to get my hand to cooperate. Stupid body, can't you take a few drinks? The door clicked. Now that, that is what I'm good at. Well, that and all the creepy things I see that typically a stalker would notice. I thrust myself against the door and was confronted by another flight of stairs. Oh...I'm fucked. Totally screwed. I thought this was the door to an apartment but it was the door for the roof. No time to stop now, I guess, resuming my run. Behind me, the door opened. Ashton's still following!? The next door was unlocked, thankfully, and I burst out into the cold night air. Onto the roof. Have I mentioned I'm fucked?
"Nowhere to run, Gregory." his voice called. I turned slowly, unwillingly, to face Ashton Ryker as he came out onto the roof, aiming a pistol right at me. Nice, newer make and model. Definitely government issue.
"Damn." I said, surrendering. This guy's good. I've never been caught before. Wonder how I'll fare in jail? Probably not well. If I attempt to run, though, I risk getting shot. If I get a decent lawyer I could be spending, what? Ten years, tops? Hmm..Ten years in prison or death. I suppose in prison I could spend some time acting like myself instead of playing dress up and pretending to be people I'm not. But then I have to wear a jumpsuit instead of all these fancy clothes! And I could always get a deal. Rat out my employers to get some time appealed. Then I'd be looking at around five years. Then I'd probably get my name on the hit list, though. The alcohol must be wearing off. My brain's gone into hyper-drive again. Damn.
"What are you thinking?" He asked, sounding honestly curious.
"Everything." I whispered. He stepped closer, watching me with his green eyes remaining wary. The cuffs were cold on my skin.
"Now what?" I asked.
"We're going to discuss your crimes. All of them."