It's only after the danger has passed and your system has flushed all the adrenaline and endorphins that you start realizing how much damage you've done. My body lets me know by way of a politely worded missive with the word 'PAIN' written over a hundred times, delivered directly to my brain.
So when I get the phone call, I'm not exactly in the most talkative mood.
I pop into an alleyway. I've put a good six blocks between me and the concert hall; that should be enough to keep any suspicion off my back. I open the phone and hit 'answer'.
"We need to talk." Agent Duncan. Not at the top of my 'to-talk-to' list.
"Why? Planning on arresting me?"
"On what charges? Looking damn good in a suit? I know I'm a repeat offender, officer, but surely we can come to a compromise."
"Cut the BS, Jack. I've had an analyst looking over those newspaper clippings in your apartment."
Shit. She must have taken pictures. Why didn't I think of that?
"Yeah," I say. "So, what? You think you got a lead on finding Mr. Scruffles?"
"I'll be at your loft in two hours. Meet me there."
I groan. "Actually, I was hoping to lay down for a bit."
"Be there or I turn over what I've found to my superiors."
Fuck. "So should I wear a suit, or...?"
"Come as you are." She hangs up.
I limp my way out of the alley and start thinking. Worst case scenario--she's got enough to bury me three times over. As far as the Agency is concerned, I'm on complete lockdown--I'm not supposed to run so much as a traffic light. If they got wind of how many operations I've been running, it won't matter what evidence Agent Duncan digs up. As far as they're concerned, 'rights' are imaginary things that apply to imaginary people. They only care about results.
I don't have much of a choice in this matter. Do as Agent Duncan says, or find myself in a prison that doesn't exist, located in a place you won't find on any map.
In situations like this, all you can do is hunker down and try to keep moving forward. So I call William.
The 30-something wonder boy sounds groggy and displeased. "Hello?"
"Bill. It's me."
"Jack?" His displeasure melts away the moment he recognizes my voice. Mine is just starting. If there's one thing I hate in this business, it's having fans.
"Yeah. Need some help. Can I stop by your place in, oh, fifteen minutes?"
"Oh, oh yeah, absolutely--uh, could you give me an hour first? I need to clean up--"
"Sorry, but I'm on the clock," I tell him. "Has to be now or not at all."
"Oh, sure. Are you on a mission right now? Oh man, yeah, just uh, I'll leave the door unlocked, or you can come in through the window, or--"
"Door'll be fine, Bill. I'll be right over."
I hang the phone up, spend a few moments clutching my ribcage in agony, then make my way back out into the street.