“I’ll be over in a bit.” I put the Gizmo back in my pocket.
“You look pissed,” said Billy. “And I don’t mean drunk.”
“Customer-service issue,” I said. “Gonna have to smooth it over in person.”
“Cancel that second beer, then?”
I sighed. “Yeah. I guess I better.”
I walked up to the Landvik estate’s main entrance and rang the chime.
No answer. Huh. That was odd. Where was Irina and her trademark scowl? I’d already worked out some choice smartass things to say to her.
I rang again. Still nothing.
That’s when I noticed the damage on the door. Just a little scuffing at the edge. Right about where you’d put a crowbar if you wanted to break in. I winced. “Aww, come on…”
I pushed open the door and peeked into the foyer. No sign of Irina or Trond. A decorative vase lay on the ground next to its usual display pedestal. A splash of bright-red blood on the wall— “Nope!” I said.
I spun on my heel and stormed back into the hallway. “Nope, nope, nope!”
For the next shipment I’ll need three kilograms of loose tobacco, fifty packets of rolling papers, twenty lighters, and ten cans of lighter fluid.
I found us a new revenue stream: spray-foam insulation. Turns out it’s great for noise insulation, and believe me, noise is a real problem here. Especially in the shittier areas of town like where I live. The foam’s flammable once it dries, so it’s contraband. But if we can sell silence to folks in low-rent neighborhoods, they’ll pay anything to get it.
As for special orders, I landed us a whale. He wants La Aurora brand Dominican cigars. You’ll have to special order them. Pay whatever you need for rush shipment to Kenya. We’re going to make a mint off this guy. He’ll probably want a new batch every month, so stock up.
Last month’s profits were 21,628?. Your half is 10,814?. How do you want it?
How are your sisters? Did you get everything squared away with Halima’s asshole ex-husband?
Okay, I’ll get all those items in the next supply probe. It launches in nine days. Great idea on the foam insulation. I’ll poke around and find the best noise-reduction-to-mass ratio and send you a case. We’ll see how it sells.
Please convert my share to euros and wire it to my German account.
Yes, Halima’s husband has been dealt with. He’s no longer trying to get custody of Edward. He never wanted it, anyway. He just wanted me to buy him off. So I did. Thank God for our operation, Jazz. I have no idea what my family would do without it.
Kuki just headed off to college in Australia. She’s training to become a civil engineer. We’re all very proud of her. Faith is getting good grades in high school, though she’s a little more interested in boys than we’d like. And Margot is turning out to be quite an athlete. She’s now a first-string forward for her football team.
How are things in your life? How’s Tyler?
Tyler is great. He’s the sweetest, kindest man I’ve ever been with. I’m not the mushy sort, and I never thought I’d say something like this: Seriously, he might be worth marrying. We’ve been together a year and I still love him. That’s unheard-of for me.
He’s the opposite of what Sean was in every way. Tyler is considerate, loyal, devoted to me, and a total sweetheart. Plus, he’s not a pedophile, which is a major bonus over Sean. God, I can’t believe I ever dated that asshole.
In other news, Dale’s been teaching me how to do EVAs. He’s a great teacher. It’s a lot of work and it’s a dangerous skill set to learn. And the EVA Guild is more clannish than a religious cult. But now that they know I’m training to become one of them, they’re starting to warm up to me.
Man, once I get my EVA cert, I’ll be rolling in cash. The money I can make from tours is massive!
And it won’t just be me raking it in. You’ll benefit too. I’ll ditch the porter gig and get a job as a probe wrangler. Then I won’t have to bribe Nakoshi anymore. Kelvin, my friend, the future’s bright.
That’s great to hear.
There’s been a wrinkle over here at KSC. They just announced that they’ll be upping their launch schedule. As part of that push, they’re expanding the payload loader department. There’ll be another loader team working at the same time as mine. I can’t be in both places at once, so we’ll miss out on half the launches.
But I have an idea: How would you feel about adding another person to our group? I’d make sure it’s someone we can trust. I know a lot of loaders who could use the extra cash. We wouldn’t need to make them an equal partner but maybe cut them in for 10 percent?
To be honest, I’m not thrilled with the idea. I trust you with my life. But I don’t know these other loaders for shit. We’d have to talk about any candidates very thoroughly. The more people involved, the higher the chance that it all comes tumbling down.
Still, you make a good point about missing half the launches. That hits me right in my greed bone.
How about after you join the EVA Guild? We won’t have Nakoshi’s share to deal with anymore. It’ll be a net-neutral effect and we’ll be able to expand. The increased launch schedule means more product for us. We’ll come out ahead.