Das Nickle was held upside down by rope. He had a mask on his face, a knife in his gut, six nails in his hand, and a gun to his head. Surely getting out of this sticky situation ought to be easy, right?
Not for you but it was for Das.
The group of gangsters still had glints of joy in their eyes as they peered at the pendulous, hanging thief. Theyd caught him. Had it not been for the dead-end alley, they would have lost him and their seventy thousand dollars. There were four of these gangsters: the boss, a clerk, and two errand boys.
The boss had a flare in his eyes. A flare of experience. A flare of anger. To think that Das had robbed them through employment. It was a pain to think of for the boss, really.
The boss strutted over to the hanging thief by the name of Das. His strut turned into a charge and he kicked Das right to the head. After which, he shook off his shoes and scowled at the groaning bastard.
”Nice to see you again too, Mr.Brick, ” Das said under his breath.
Mr. Brick sneered. ”Ill have you ground up like beef and sold on the shelves. ”
”Listen, Mr. Brick, ” Das said, ”I can explain. I was just givin the money some sun. ”
One of the errand boys picked up a bag from the floor. ”You thought you could get away, didn ya? ”
Mr.Brick snarled, unmasking Das. Das had blonde silky hair. His eyes were bluer than the sky and hollowed and fierce. The expression he wore was peak arrogance; he dangled loosely from the ropes.
”Nobody crosses me and my money! Have you any idea what I can do with these hands? ”
”Punish me, Mr.Brick, ” Das smirked, ”punish me. ”
Mr.Brick punched him to the gut.
”Harder, daddy! Punish me! ”
Mr. Brick punched him again. Only this time with all his mustered might. Das groaned and fell to silence right then.
The clerk had a gun pointed at Das. He sighed. ”Hes another one of them youths running about the city stealin things. I just got a feelin. ”
”Nah, ” Mr.Brick said, ”this is too small a crime for them to be decadent. The thievery I see from those other youths can be compared. ”
The bald errand boy turned to the other errand boy, scolding him. ”Hey, why the ** haven you started countin the money yet? ”
The younger errand boy flinched and quickly opened the bag.
Mr. Brick snatched the clerks gun and directed it at Das upended head. ”Youve got a pretty face, let me put a hole in it. ”
”Im using one already, I needn another, Mr. Brick, ” Das smirked. ”How about you put something in it. ”
The errand boys eyes widened as boxes fell out of the bag. He retreated back and only then he looked over at his boss. ”Its …. Its not here. ”
Mr. Brick grimaced. ”What! ”
”The money, boss, ” the man snapped, ”theres none here! ”
Mr. Brick took his eyes off Das. He took his eyes off Das and it was already a horrible mistake.
”Boss, he tricked us! ”
Das reacted. Expeditious. He opened his balled fist, dropping a single nail from the five others in his hand. The nail fell and bolted upward, piercing right through Mr. Bricks forehead before he could turn to him.
”Boss! ” Snapped the errand boys in unison.
Mr. Brick collapsed, dropping to the floor with his mouth gaped like a puissant pregnancy. His gun bounced across the pitch, knocking against the clerks leather boot.
The clerk looked back at Das, who still hung from the rope, and scowled before looking down at the gun. He bent over. He picked up the gun. He turned. Too late.
Das whacked him to the head. He stumbled backward but held up his gun. He inched his finger toward the trigger. Das swept his left hand upward. The gun slipped right out of the mans hand and pitched into the air.
”Im going to ** you up, kid! ” screamed one of the errand boys, charging from behind.
A rivulet of blood ran down from Das nostril. He raised his left hand and the falling gun fell right down into it. He spun around. He shot down the attacking errand boy.
The clerk attacked from behind. Das spun around again, elbowing the clerk to his head.
The clerk stumbled backward. The clerk steadied. Das fired. As the clerk collapsed, Das tried to fire again. The gun clicked. It clicked once more..
”Ah, crap. Out of ammo. ” Das said, turning around slowly. ”How am I supposed to deal with you? ”
The last errand boy just stood there in fright, trembling. He had a family to live for and he had only just remembered it.
”I can die, ” he snapped, ”Ive got a daughter! ”
Das frowned. ”Hmmm, if only I gave a **. ” He selected a nail.
”Please, man, I wanna live … for her, ” the man cried, ”Im only in this for her, man! ”
Das dropped a nail.
e dirt poor and Im in debt. I just needed money for the— ”
The nail hit the floor and bounced across the pitch at Das feet. Damn it, he thought as he wiped away the blood at his nose with the heel of his palm. He couldn kill him.
”Well, my friend, I guess you
e off the hook. Consider yourself a lucky man. ”
”W-what? ” The young man stuttered.
”Come on, don make me change my mind, ” Das turned around.
”Thank … thank you, ” he sighed. ”Thank you so much! ”
In the two percent metal in the mans body, Das just knew he was telling the truth. The vibrations were too bland and not vigorous in the slightest. The metallic motion of truth.
”Sir? ” The man called as Das turned around. ”Can you take me with you? ”
Das started down the alley. ”No. ”
”No! ” He snapped.
The man flinched, retreating backward.
Das continued down the alley. He only stopped when he was at the end of it where he turned to a garbage dumpster. He opened the dumpster and pulled out a bag. A bag of seventy grand. And at that moment, a smirk trickled on his face. And his face suddenly had life again. He walked away with the money, still wearing the smirk like it was his job. It was just too easy, stealing things.
Das meant slave. A fitting name for him: His Godfather had selected it well. And while Das held resentment for his Godfather and the fortune he owed to him, he had nothing else but gratefulness and admiration for the man.
This was his third day in the new city and the gig that got him the easy seventy grand was his first actual robbery here. He had a lot more to do to make up two billion dollars but he was making progress. The progress he hoped was enough.
”Not enough progress, ” said someone on the phone in Das hand.
Das pressed the phone against his ear as he walked into a small apartment complex.
”What do you mean? ” Das asked.
”I mean you
e not doing enough. Seventy grand is nothing, ” the female voice said. ”Please aim for more demanding robberies as per Godfathers advice. ”
The phone beeped in Das ear. He sighed, withdrawing it from his ear. There was only so much a nineteen-year-old novice like himself could do. But he was mostly deft and knowledgeable at that. Such that his nineteen years of age was often overlooked by the higher-ups and his siblings: he was simply so talented that they saw him as much older.
Talented but lazy.
Das sighed as he stopped at a stone counter. A bearded man was behind the counter, scratching his ass shamelessly.
”Whats up, what can I do for ya? ” He asked.
”A room for one, ” Das said.
”Ahh, ” the man grinned, ”no bitches, huh? ”
Das narrowed his eyes.
”I feel for you buddy, ” the man looked down at a tablet on the counter. He pulled out a strip of paper, wrote a six on it, stamped his logo, and handed it to Das. ”Up the stairs, room to your right. ”
Das took the piece of paper. He was reticent. Should he be more worried about where the mans hand was or the legitimacy of the bill in his hand? Whatever the answer was, it couldn be helped. Das had seventy grand but couldn spend a penny from it and he needed a place to stay. An unprofessional private rental was his only viable course.
”Names Errick, ” Errick put out a hand.
”John, ” Das said, shaking Erricks hand.
”You look more like a Pete to me, ” Errick said.
Das forced a smile. ”I get that a lot. ”
”Strong grip, ” Errick winced, ”really strong. What they been feedin ya? ” He snorted.
Das kept his smile.
”You know why Pete? ” Errick asked. ”Well, firsties, youve got that quiet-guy look going. Quiet guys are psychopaths. Look, if a briefcase in an apartment complex isn fishy, I don know what is. ”
Das smile fell as he squeezed the briefcase in his left hand.
” he released Das hand,
”Upstairs, door to your right. You
e just opposite my room. And Ill tell you somethin, ” he grinned, ”better be prepared to hear noise up there cause, unlike you, Ive got bitches. ”
Das didn like his debt, didn like the apartment complex and he didn like the tenant. All in all, his new life here in the city was already looking quite shitty.
He started toward the stairs, sauntering. Sauntering because there was nothing to be excited about with regards to the room. He stopped at the door with the number six handwritten on a piece of paper stuck to it. When he took out his key and leaned against the door, it suddenly swung open. He couldn help but sigh. Poverty was a treacherous nightmare from which he wished to be excluded.
That kind of exclusivity was solely in the grasp of those who managed to pay off their debts. Had it not been for such debt, Das would have been a proud thief. Theifing couldn be helped—it was at the cusps of being a dirty habit he couldn quit. Second nature.
Fuck this debt, he thought, Id steal for free.
He walked into the shoddy room, bent over, and slid his suitcase right under his bed. As per one of his lessons, money wasn safe anywhere until it was spent. With this, Das felt apprehensive about the seventy grands new hiding spot.
Hiding brought back so many memories for him. Come out, come out, wherever you are were the words that etched behind his mind as he plopped down on his bed. His Godfather did not appreciate slacking off, whether it was during his study or his daily two-hour break.
Das closed his eyes, lying on the mattress, facing the ceiling. Supine. It had been three days since he last slept. Couldn go for a fourth without succumbing. His chest rose and fell. Serenity and quiescence. Two equally wonderful things, as a pair only second to thievery for Das.
The silence lingered. And it lingered for long. But then it was gone. A ticking sounded, erasing that silence completely. And the ticking persisted. Persisted such that it had roused Das.
He bolted upright on his behind, looking right, looking left. His heart thundered in his ears. A sensation then a warmth at his wrist. His wrist was burning up. What could have possibly caused such heat?
He looked down at his wrist. His right wrist. And what he saw made his eyes gape like that puissant pregnancy. It was a digital clock. Ticking. Tocking. Aglow. And it was under his skin.
[9 Days Left]
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