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Gravitating Responsibilities

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Responsibilities gravitate to the person who can shoulder them.
-Elbert Hubbard


Carl "The Cardman" Connors hadn't quite been living on the straight and narrow ever since nearly getting nicked by Sherlock Holmes a few years back, but he did find that working on the legally (and morally) grey side of things was not only profitable but also a lot less stressful than his old line of work. Now instead of acting as the middleman between those who happened to 'acquire' bank cards that they couldn't use and those who had need for such a thing he used his contacts to locate items of a personal nature that might have accidentally found their way into the wrong hands and make sure they got back where they were supposed to be.

That racy picture that was in Lord Whatshisname's wallet when it got stolen? Returned to him for a nice finder's fee. The piece of sheet music with the lyrics to that awful pop song that happened to be in a handwriting other than the guy who claimed to have written it? Not lost any longer and Carl's bank account was all the fatter as a result. He was always careful though, still made sure everyone knew and abided by his personal rulebook: never get involved with anything that might become a murder investigation, never get anywhere near a scandal involving coppers or their loved ones and stay as far away as possible from Sherlock Holmes and his Baker Street crowd.

It was a good line of work, but a busy one. Luckily it was profitable enough that he'd been thinking on and off that he should either take on an apprentice or two to lessen the load or maybe stepping away from the job long enough for a nice vacation somewhere when all went tits over arse and he found himself in a dingy, disused warehouse standing over a open boot that did not contain the film canisters he'd been promised, but rather a frighteningly still human-shaped sack.

"Jenkins, what the fuck is this?" Not wanting to let his frustration get the better of him he didn't scrub his hand over his face, but it was a near thing.

"You're going to love this, Carl, just wait til—"

"You promised me tapes, you idiot, not this." He gestured angrily at the boot's contents.

"No, no. This is so much better. Look, I know I promised you those tapes and don't worry, I got those too and we'll make a bundle off them, but, trust me, this is going to bring in so much money. More money then you can ever imagine!"

"I don't know about that; I can imagine a lot of money," Carl said dryly, reaching to undo the knots on the sack. "I can also imagine a really fucking long jail sentence. Who do you got here that's so goddamn. What. The. Fuck."

"It's John Watson! You know, guy who—"

"I know who the fuck John Watson is you fucking moron! Do you have any idea, any fucking idea what kind of shitstorm this'll bring? How the fuck are we…." Closing his eyes for a moment, Carl took a deep breath to calm himself down. This wasn't the end of the world. He could fix this. He would fix this. Returning a person couldn't be much harder than returning a stolen diary, right? Right. First things, first, deal with the idiot. Luckily, being a cautious man he carried a taser for protection.

"Carl?"

"Okay. All right. Don't worry, Jenkins, I know exactly how to deal with this." In one smooth move he'd pulled the taser out and fired it at Jenkins, who immediately fell to the floor, twitching and pissing all over the place. "I'm not going to deal with it. I'm going to call it in and let you deal with it."

Flicking open his knife, Carl sliced open the sack. Watson was trussed up, gagged and blindfolded, but more or less looked okay other than a blow to the head. "Thank fuck for small favours," he muttered as he began wiping his fingerprints from anything he might have touched. At least he'd already made sure to steer clear of all CCTV in the area so all he had to do was get out of the immediate area, grab a burner phone. and then make a quick call to that inspector Sherlock Holmes always worked with, what was his name, Le Strand? Whatever. It'd mean losing the commission on those tapes but better to lose a commission then lose his livelihood, if not his life. Maybe he should take this as a sign that instead of that vacation he'd been considering he should just retire. He never did make it to Cornwall like he'd planned to and it was supposed to be really nice this time of year.

Cornwall. Yeah. That sounded good.

A man could do worse than spending his days in a place like Cornwall.