4th November 2017: Mercy

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She looks in her fifties, maybe well-kept sixties, short silver hair, frameless glasses with tinted lenses. Throwing a death glare at the protective duty outside, she pulls the door away from him and shuts it.

"Isn't he meant to be in here with you?"

"He's making his own way. Mercy Sotira?" It's a question, but she knows the answer.

"Yeah." I start the engine and pull away. Got to keep moving, even if you can only do it at five miles an hour. That's airports though. Best place to get a real sense of the transitory and frustrating nature of things.

"Rick Sotira's daughter?" Another question she knows the answer to.

"Yeah."

"Your reputation precedes you."

"Thanks, I guess."

"I know it's been some time since your father passed, but his loss is still felt. He was quite a man, very good at his job."

"I know."

"Are you not much for conversation?"

"Not really. Don't mind sometimes. Depends on the conversation."

She pulls her phone out of her coat and holds up a hand. She doesn't even say hello. Just, "How much?" then, "When?" and, "Fine. Goodbye."

I raise an eyebrow in the mirror.

She puts her phone away. "My stepson. I only hear from him when he owes someone money. I take none of the blame for him. He was already like that when I married his father."

"But you give him the money?" May as well join in the game of asking questions I already know the answer to.

"If I don't, I have to put up with him whining about it. On one occasion last year, I only sent him half of what he asked for in the hope that he might pull himself together enough to find the other half. I ended up getting a frantic phone call in the middle of the night because someone was threatening to leave a corpse on his doorstep. I have no patience for that."

"Who was the corpse?" We turn out of the crawl of the airport and head for open road.

"I have absolutely no idea. How interesting that you asked. I appreciate a person who considers the details."

I nod, briefly making eye contact again in the mirror.

She almost smiles. Almost. "Do you have experience in that field of business?"

"Disposals?"

"Yes."

"Not in the last few years." It was never my bread and butter, but it was part of some meal for a while, back when it was still a practical option.

"How do you feel about it?" She doesn't fuck around. I'm kind of impressed.

"A lot of hassle. A lot of heavy lifting." I'm not up for either of those things these days and I'm done fucking myself up over shit that doesn't suit me.

"And what about assignments of a more urgent nature?"

"More hassle. Big egos and big consequences. No interest in it anymore."

"But there's more money to be made than in what you're doing now."

Fucking right there is, but there's more of everything else too. "I don't need more money."

"Do you enjoy your work?"

I wasn't expecting that. "Sure. It's steady and it's mostly low stress."

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