Twenty-Seven

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Lester awoke quite possibly the most refreshed he had since he lost his job. He showered and dressed in proper business attire in preparation for his afternoon meeting with Jack. Presumably for a full apology and reinstatement with the company. He made short work of breakfast then anchored himself in front of the TV for some mind numbing entertainment to pass the time.A couple hours later he sat on the bus on his way to the Ares office downtown. He stepped out of the elevator with a whole new sense of confidence and walked to Jack's secretary with a spring in his step."Hello Mimi." He said to the obese woman with entirely too much make up plastered all over her face.

"Lester." She nodded and smiled. "Have a seat. Jack will be with you shortly."

He took a seat and watched her punch a key on her desk phone which he knew served to alert Jack that his next appointment had arrived. It took only a couple minutes for the phone to emit a tone indicating to send him in.

"Jack will see you now." Mimi said with the timbre of abject boredom.

Lester entered Jack's office where he was greeted with a smile and a firm handshake.

"Come on in, have a seat. It's good to see you." Jack said as he took a seat himself. Lester complied and leaned into the heavy leather chair. "As I'm sure you've guessed I've brought you in today for two reasons. First an apology for terminating you under the false belief that you'd stolen from the company. I'm sorry I doubted your loyalty to us. No matter the evidence I should have known it couldn't be you." Lester could tell from the look on Jack's face that his apology was genuine. "Secondly, if you'll accept, we're offering you your position back with a raise in salary that should more than compensate you for these passed few months. What do you say?"

Lester had spent the day contemplating this very scenario, though the pay increase came as a pleasant surprise. "Sounds good." He answered. "How much of a raise are we talking about here?"

"Twelve grand a year." Jack said clearly pleased with himself.

"How'd you manage that?" Lester said in disbelief. It was a staggering increase.

"Management is very motivated to put this incident behind us with as little fuss and as quickly as possible." Jack replied.

"So they're trying to buy my silence."

"That's one way of looking at it." Jack admitted. I prefer to think of it as rewarding loyalty to the company."

Lester didn't need to think on it any further. "When do I start?"

"Monday morning bright and early." Jack said. "Welcome back to the family Lester." Jack stood up and once more offered his hand which Lester stood and shook eagerly.

"Thanks Jack. It's good to be back."

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Jackie took the pair of machine pistols out of her night stand along with the spare magazines and carried them into the dining room where she placed them on the table.She needed to figure out what to do with them. She considered keeping one for self defense but two would be overkill. She could just dispose of the one she shot Spoony with just in case someone tracked the murder back to her. That would be a logical conclusion, but it still left the second one to make a choice about.

For a moment she realized she didn't know which was which. She quickly sorted it out by checking which had an empty magazine in it. She had not reloaded it since she used it. With that sorted she resigned herself to disposing of them both. Best not to take the risk of getting caught with an unregistered weapon.

She grabbed her keys and used the FOB to activate the remote starter for her car on the street below. Almost immediately the vehicle burst into a huge ball of fire followed by two smaller explosions from the cars around it. The blast rattled the windows and the surprise sent her flailing backward onto the floor. She shook off the shock and got back to her feet so she could look out the window and get a look at the carnage below through thick smoke. Time seemed to slow around her as a crowd gathered around the burning wreckage of the cars. Forever and a day later she gathered her wits enough to grab her phone and call 911. After placing the call she packed away the weapons in a closet under the spare sheets then walked down to the street to await the first responders. Too her relief no one appeared to be injured as a result of the explosion. She thanked God she used the remote start instead of the keys.

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