This is a Flash Fiction challenge courtesy of Chuck Wendig over at his Terrible Minds blog. The Challenge is this: Write a story about Luck. So… Prequel time!
*Psst. Here’s part 1 for ya*
The white limo cruised along the rocky jungle path. It would have been terribly out of place in a quaint country hamlet but here it was positively otherworldly, as if an alien had landed and decided to holiday in decadent style. The limo’s suspension worked overtime as it hobbled left and right, swerving with the road. Mr. Mercedes tapped away on his smart glass tablet, drinking the most expensive glass of chardonnay and every once in a while, admiring the exotic view out the tinted glass window. His bodyguard, Emilio, had his head on a swivel, looking out for danger, listening to the chatter in his ear as people checked in from the cars in front and behind.
The sights and sounds and wet, oppressive heat reminded Emilio of visiting home. His father had grown up in just such a place; a tropical land rich in plant and animal life, but poor in literally everything else. Poor until recently, that is, thanks to the discovery of a very large untapped oil field. Since then, this little Caribbean country had gotten quite a lot of attention from wealthy, dangerous interests. The type who were all too willing to remove reluctant governments from power and install team players (read: friendly dictators) so those oil resources could be properly exploited. So far the local government had been quite understanding to the idea of Capitalism for all. It was quickly discovered that in fact, what they’d meant was Capitalism for all… of their citizens. That simply wouldn’t do.
Mr. Mercedes, a man known to most the world as an eccentric collector of fine art, was busy vetting various candidates he would like to see running things here. He didn’t have too long a window to decide, as there were other parties looking to do the same thing.
“Have an hors d’oeuvre, Emilio. Please. You must be famished from our little jungle trek,” Mr. Mercedes offered.
“I work better on an empty stomach,” Emilio replied.
“So intense. You needn’t be. This trip isn’t just for business after all. We’re here to have some fun too, aren’t we?” Mr. Mercedes said.
“Purchasing a painting is just a cover. We all know why you’re really here,” Emilio said.
“Does it bother you?” Mr. Mercedes asked.
“I wasn’t aware that you cared.”
“Of course I care, my boy. My life is in your hands. Your feelings matter a great deal to me,” said Mr. Mercedes. Emilio said nothing for a moment. He was aware of his employer’s eccentricities, and he knew to tread carefully, lest he end up as a piece of art.
“I care that people are going to get hurt because of something they have no control of. Even if it’s just a nominal notion, I believe that people should be free to determine their own destinies and what those devils found deep beneath this tropical paradise is going to turn this place into hell.”
“Fine words, dear boy,” said Mr. Mercedes. “You almost remind me of myself at a young age.” The thought made Emilio shiver. “Are you sure you don’t want one of these? They’re really quite delicious.”
“I don’t like eating things that are on the endangered species list,” said Emilio.
“Actually, they are now officially extinct. Just found out this morning,” Mr. Mercedes said, simply tickled pink by the notion. Emilio wondered how soon the company would let him transfer given how recently he’d been assigned to this client.
“Check in,” Emilio said to his comm link.
“Bravo One here.”
“Bravo Two h-”
The car in front exploded. The limo driver braked hard and the car behind almost ran into them.
“We’re hit! Stay down, sir!” Emilio yelled.
Machine gun fire erupted around them. Mr. Mercedes finished tapping on his tablet, then closed it and looked out the window to see if he could spot the ambushers. The men in the rear car held their ground but the ones in the front car were picked off thanks to their compromised position. The limo driver panicked and tried throwing it in reverse but before he could adjust his course, a round finally pierced the bullet proof glass and splattered his head all over the place. The limo went backwards at full speed into the jungle. Emilio held on for dear life, while Mr. Mercedes calmly tried to drink the last of his chardonnay. Finally the limo careened off a small cliff and rolled several times before stopping against an ancient tree.
The sounds of battle continued elsewhere. Emilio checked himself for injuries. Nothing but a few scratches. Mr. Mercedes didn’t seem worse for wear either. Emilio lowered the screen to check on the driver, nearly hurled, and put the screen back up.
“Was it messy? Am I going to need to purchase new interiors?” Mr. Mercedes asked. Emilio pulled his gun out of his jacket holster with a huff and a grimace.
“Stay here,” he said, and stealthily exited the limo.
Several moments passed. Gunfire continued sporadically in the distance. Mr. Mercedes checked his watch. He was going to be late. A man knocked on the window. Mr. Mercedes turned his head to see a stubby man with a revolver in one hand and a cigar in the other.
“Easy way or hard way, guv. Your call,” the man said in a thick cockney accent. Mr. Mercedes found the whole thing rather amusing, so he obliged and opened the door.
“I must commend you for a job well done, Mr…?”
“Warner. Call me Warner. Now, you’re worth the same dead ‘er alive, so the more you cooperate, the less dead you’ll be. You unnerstand, guv?”
“You’re making a mistake,” Mr. Mercedes said with a chuckle.
“I’m making a million dollahs, Mista Mercedes,” Warner corrected him.
“I can make you a wealthy man. Come work for me,” Mr. Mercedes offered.
“You rich cunts are all da same. Finking ya can buy your way out of anything,” Warner said with a laugh. He stopped laughing when he felt a gun press into his neck.
“Drop it, asshole!” Emilio said.
“Ah shit,” Warner griped. Mr. Mercedes took Warner’s revolver.
“Advantage; rich cunt. Now about my offer.”
Emilio and Warner both looked at him, incredulous.
“What? I thought that was a ruse to buy time,” Emilio said.
“Not at all. I was being serious, my boy,” said Mr. Mercedes.
“But he tried to kill you!” Emilio protested fiercely.
“And he nearly succeeded, were it not for your capable hands. I need people like him. People with fire. What do you say, Mr. Warner?” Mr. Mercedes asked. Warner chuckled.
“Of course I’ll take da job,” he replied.
“Good. You start immediately,” Mr. Mercedes said, pouring himself another drink. “Get me where I have to go and you’ll get double whatever they’re paying you. Hors d’oeuvre?”
“Don’t mind if I do,” Warner said.
“I can’t believe this is happening,” Emilio sighed. Warner grinned a silver grin.
“What can I say? I’m a lucky devil!”