"Rick would be proud of you." We weren't talking about him, but I guess Gordon couldn't let the occasion pass without saying something.
"He'd be fucking horrified." I'm well beyond the point of imagining what it would be like if Dad was still here, but I can almost hear him taking the piss out of me having an office at all, never mind one with my name on the door.
"Horrified, but proud."
"Yeah, well, I'm sure he's looking up from wherever he is now, wondering what the fuck I'm doing."
"Don't you mean looking down?"
"Nope." Just because someone's dead doesn't mean they weren't who they were. "This is good beer, by the way. When'd you get such refined taste?"
"I didn't. I went into one of those places where all the employees look like lumberjacks and told them I don't know a thing about beer, but my friend is a connoisseur and I want to get a drink she'll appreciate. This was brewed in wood from the Spanish armada under the light of a blue moon or something."
"Shit, Gordon, you're the one retiring and you're giving me presents?"
"If it's going to be the last drink we have here, I want it to be a good one."
"It's not going to be the last drink we have here because you're going to keep finding reasons to come in and check on things, check on me, make sure I'm not fucking shit up too hard. Except now I'm going to expect good beer every time. You've set a dangerous precedent for yourself."
"It's only what you deserve." He shakes his head and looks at me like he's taking a photo. "Mercy Sotira, Security Consultant. I can't think of anyone I'd rather have inherit my office."
"I didn't want it, but Audrey has very strong feelings. She says it legitimises my business. It feels like a way for people to come in uninvited and piss me off, but whatever. She's got people handling all the shit I don't give a fuck about, so I'm not going to argue. I get to do what I do, no hassle. Except now I've got a room with a desk in it and my name on the fucking door."
"When I think of you hanging around the warehouse when you were a kid, scowling at everything, smoking even though Rick kept telling you not to-"
"You're not going to start getting all sentimental, are you?"
"This is officially my last day of work. I'm allowed to get sentimental."
"OK, but can we not reminisce about me being a sulky little turd?"
"Fine. I'll reminisce about the time you hit Pete Woods in the face with your walking stick and he spat the end of his tongue out onto the floor."
"Yeah, that was good." I take a moment to remember just how good it was. "Fuck that asshole though. Is he dead yet?"
"I don't know. He went on holiday a couple of years ago and didn't come back, so he might be." Gordon smiles like he knows fine well.
"Listen, before I forget, I might be a bit late to the party tonight. I have a meeting with someone called Max who Audrey says is going to keep my accounts in order."
"Yeah. You know him?"
"I do. He's a master of detail, but he knows when to look the other way. He'll keep you right."
"He is." Gordon looks around the office and he's quiet.
I wait a while and let him go through whatever's happening in his head, then I raise my bottle in a toast. "To useful people and good beer."
YOU ARE READING
Winter FollowsGeneral Fiction
One month, one city, five lives colliding with the forces of fate. A thrill-seeking tech genius with an appetite for dangerous extremes. A retired contract killer fighting to escape his past and himself. An underworld driver tempted deeper into a li...