The Roadie

Photo by Molly Tarling on Unsplash

“Well, there’s a set of them, ain’t there.”

“Answer the question, Roadie. Who are they?”

Horace was getting snippy; 15 hours of roundabout, merry-go-round, chase the fucking rabbit, and he’d barely got back to the starting point with this lackey.

“Which?” Came the tart reply.

Tory shot the Roadie in the foot. In hindsight, Horace thought as he resisted the ringing in his ears, that should have happened earlier this morning.

Tory, elegant as ever, set to work digging out the slug in the man’s foot; Horace grimaced, more for the shouting in his newly-regained hearing than the grisly surgery.

“The Body, Roadie. I promise you’ll live through this, but it won’t be a pretty existence.” Horace wiped a tear from the man’s cheek with a rag. “Do make it easier on yourself, mm?

Through weeping sobs and panicked shouts, he managed to detail the gang he smuggled for, such as it was. Horace and Tory both felt they’d got less than they had to begin with.

“The Face, The Fingers, The Heel, The Ears, and The Guts?” Tory started plucking the man’s eyebrows by hand as she verbally worked him over. “What, are they some nu-indie revival band, Roadie? Some fucking punks with codenames and masks, who don’t hand out fuck all but nicknames and paddywacks?” She stopped just shy of cleaning one side, giving him a decidedly surprised look.

“I swear!” He had done, in fact; Horace might have written down a few of the curses the man had made, had they been decipherable. “I promise, that’s all they tell anyone! Look, the Face, they’re just a pretty one, someone to put on a good show and cover for them. The Fingers, that’s who we usually deal with. Sly bastards, good with tight spaces.” The Roadie gratefully sipped at a cup of water Horace held up to his lips, then continued in a quasi-reverent tone. “The Heel, well…you ever meet someone so wretched and undesirable, say in a pub, and you think ‘That’s the last person I’d want on a sinkin’ ship’? Trust me; the Heel would be bailing water faster than three of you and then flog you for not putting your back in.”

“Okay, Roadie. Show’s over, time’s up.” Tory said softly, walking to the window. Horace knew that meant it was his turn to finish the job; she’d done the last one in, and hadn’t stopped having nightmares all week. He figured he’d do her the favour, if only she’d stop trying to kill him during her episodes.

“Wait! Waitwaitwait, shit!” The man tried to hold his hands up, but the tape and rope kept him down. “If-if you’re really serious about dealing with these fucks, you gotta know! The Ears, man. They know already, and they know more than they should. And The Guts? If The Heel is the one bailing out, the Guts is swimming you to shore with a rope in their teeth, and killing sharks for dinner with an oar.” The Roadie seemed pleased in a panicked sort of way, not for the first time tonight, and Horace glanced at Tory, managing to catch a look of concern and urgency.

“Right. Sorry, but you heard the lady.”
The man’s smile waxed like a cloud scudding over the moon, and his body slumped lifelessly in his bonds.
Horace grunted as he parsed the sparse flow of memories left from the transfer, then let his digestion take over – processing souls was a task left best to the subconscious – and strolled to stand beside Tory at the sill.

“Wherever these fucks are, they better have more in them than cracker-barrel Jack over there.” Tory muttered into the glass.

“Oh, I’d wager they’ve got more than a few songs in their repertoire. Maybe a full EP.” He nudged Tory in the ribs, and she grimaced at him, narrowing her eyes slightly. “But a full Album? Come on; these radicals couldn’t have more than a few gigs going.”

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