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Motivational Speaking

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"It's only been a week," Wolf protested. Dallas had just mentioned over breakfast that they were going to start interviewing prospective replacements for Hoxton.

"A week where we couldn't get any work done," Chains said before taking a bite of his eggs.

Dallas gave Chains an admonishing look. While Chains could be counted on to maintain a firm and unsentimental grasp on the reality of a situation, Dallas knew being so blunt about it wasn't the right approach here. He missed Hoxton too, and he felt particularly guilty about having decided to leave him behind. Even if it was the only choice he really could have made, he didn't like having to make it any more than Wolf had agreed with it. Chains was right though. They needed to get back to work.

He gave Chains a stand-down look and tried a gentler tack.

"Look, Hoxton is my friend too." Is. Not was. "And we can't stop working just because he can't work with us."

"And" was, in Dallas' opinion, a magical word. It made everything that came after it sound like the logical extension of whatever came before. They had to replace Hoxton because he was their friend and crewmate, not despite it. That sounded far more convincing than simply saying that Hoxton would want them to get someone to fill his role, even though they were equally true.

"No, I know," Wolf conceded. "It just seems... finding someone new so quickly is like it didn't really matter that we left him to the cops. Like we can just get anyone else to take over."

"That's not how he's gonna see it," Dallas said. "If we didn't get another crewmate and hit back twice as hard? He'd think we let the police win. He'd think we not only let them take him, but that we let them scare us into hiding."

"He'd call us a bunch of wankers for being chickenshit," Chains added.

"He would!" Dallas agreed, giving Chains an approving nod for his contribution this time. "And the longer we wait to strike again, the longer he has to think we're wankers." Dallas smiled a little and put on a matter-of-fact face. "You don't want Hoxton thinking you're a wanker, do you?" He was tipping his hand on purpose, trying to lighten the mood a bit. Wolf was treating like this a fucking wake. Dallas thought reminding Wolf that Hoxton was still very much alive and might have an opinion about what they did from there might draw him out of his maudlin bullshit.

"No, I guess not," Wolf said, giving up a small chuckle. Whether he truly understood what Dallas was up to or if it was just how many times he and Chains had said "wanker" in their unpracticed American way, Wolf wasn't moping anymore.

"I didn't think so," Dallas said. "So we're going to show the police just who they're fucking with. We'll rain terror on the streets and leave with every penny they're worth! We'll make Hoxton proud and we'll make them rue the motherfucking day they took one of our guys!" Chains was rolling his eyes, but Wolf always responded well to theatrically impassioned speeches.

"All right!" cheered Wolf,

"YEEAAAH!" Dallas roared right along with him. But then he deadpanned, bringing the excitement crashing back down from its exuberant eleven to a bureaucratic two. "But! We have to hire another crewmate first."

"I don't see why," Wolf said, his own volume returned to normal though he was still laughing a little. "We'll make a little less, but there's only three of us."

"You're thinking small time, buddy! What we've done so far? That was just practice. We are gonna steal a lot of shit," Dallas said. His winning smirk only hinted just how much shit. "More than ever before."

"We gonna need someone to help us carry all the bags," Chains said plainly.

Well, Wolf couldn't argue with that. And they were going to do it for Hoxton. That thought in mind, Dallas felt certain he would try to approach their preparations, starting with picking out a new fourth, with more enthusiasm.