Charlie didn't make a sound as he dropped the two stories
to the alley below, but his body made quite the 'thud!' when
it hit. Hal limped over and helped Todd to his feet.
"You okay?" Hal asked.
"Yeah. He got close a couple of times, but never
"Good." Together they moved to the window and looked down.
Charlie lay on his back in the middle of a large trash
dumpster, amid the remains of aquatic entrails and severed
fish heads. "And people wonder where we get the ideas for our
stories," Hal added with a smile.
"Yeah, right," Todd said, then pointed at the dumpster.
"Crap, dude, look. He's starting to move around."
"Damn. We better get outta here," Hal noted.
"Okay, okay," Todd agreed and they both headed for the
Dodging smashed furniture, they were almost to the door
when Hal asked, "Hey, did you send off those chapters to
Todd slapped himself in the forehead. "No! Charlie
interrupted me and I didn't get to it."
"Grab the disc, then," Hal said, looking at the wall clock.
"We just have time to get it over to them, in person."
"Right." Todd ran back and popped the disc out of the
computer, slipped it into a plastic sleeve and rejoined Hal,
putting the disc in his pocket. "Okay, let's go."
They reached the door and Hal said, "Nobody'd going to
believe this story, you know, dude?"
"Hell, I don't even believe it," Todd said with a wide grin
and opened the door, then suddenly backed up, causing Hal to
bump into him.
"Youse boys goin' someplace?" a gravelly voice asked from
Hal looked over Todd's shoulder and saw Manny standing
there, looking not at all pleased. He also had a small caliber
pistol pointed directly at their chests.
"So, where's Charlie at and where's my 'money'!" Manny
"Oh, crap," Hal muttered.