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So Long, And Thanks For Nothing

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Australia's climate structure didn't offer much to relieve the blistering heat. The cool breeze which kissed the sweat on his brow was a rarity. It was perhaps the most beautiful thing that Charlie Wolfe felt in his entire life. Did this breeze bring him more joy than a perfectly aged and chilled whiskey or the warm mouth of a gorgeous woman surrounding his senses?

Absolutely fucking not.

What relieved Charlie so was the simple fact that he could feel the breeze at all, particularly around his ankles where the hem of his fine black pants ended. That meant that the metal rod upon which he was currently impaled hadn't severed anything in his spine. Once he figured out a way to get the rod out of the ground, he would be able to stand and walk and all the other useful things of which a working pair of legs were capable. Charlie slipped his phone back into his pocket. It wasn't as though he could phone the police. The dead woman outside the front door would cause problems. God forbid they checked her for recent sexual partners, Charlie would be utterly screwed. He knew that one day shagging with no condoms would bite him in the ass. It would be a real pisser, considering that he actually didn't shoot her. Then there was the matter of all the bodies behind him, of which he was only technically responsible for two. Very technically, it was in self defense both times. Somehow he figured he couldn't swing that. Not many people defend themselves by shooting their attacker four times and then blowing up their car with said attacker bleeding out next to it. No, the police would be a very bad idea. It wasn't like he had friends in this God forsaken penal colony. (Or anywhere. But that was besides the point.) The phone would do nothing for him. So Charlie knew that, like always, he would have to solve this problem with his own hands.

The pathway's stones dug into his back. Of course it was stones. Couldn't be mulch or something. He was pinned next to a lovely mansion but its trappings were inconvenient, to say the least. As he realized that he was flirting with Lady Death and what he chose to do with his remaining time was to critique a stranger's decor, he laughed. "Ow ow ow, fuck." This did no favors for his stomach. He took a breath, grasping at his sense to return to him. Now wasn't the time to go funny.

Charlie turned his mental faculties towards his options for getting out of this mess. Could he pull the rod out of him? His arms were working just fine. He lifted his head and took in the sight. It was just as gruesome as the first time he looked, but surprisingly little blood stained the area. "No, don't take it out," he muttered as an answer to his question. The horrible thing was what kept him in one piece now. It would make quite the mess and very likely do him in if he pulled out. Lifting himself off of the metal would be impossible, it was about a meter tall. Very, very gingerly, he cocked his head to the side to try and get a look at where the rod was buried. Was this literal thorn in his side anchored deeply into the ground? Perhaps he could pull it up and get to his feet that way. It would still be in him, but an improvement was an improvement. Charlie reached for a stone at random. The smooth rock was unattached to any of the others around it and came up easily. "Ha." He was glad no one was around to hear the weak victory cry. Charlie took many shallow breaths to prepare himself. There were dozens upon dozens of stones on this pathway and he could not shift his body to make the task easier. Not to mention that it could be all for naught; he had no idea what was under the stone or how deep the rod was buried in the Earth. He did not dwell on these problems. He was Charlie Wolfe, he had an appointment to make in two hours, and his life in all its insidious charm did not end with being knocked off a balcony by a small town hussy in the bumblefuck Outback.

He shifted more rocks out of his way. The fact he got stabbed in his left hand earlier didn't make the process go any faster. His mind flitted anywhere it could in the meantime. Would the cops be here before he could free himself? Would he even get to that point before croaking from the pure strain of this situation? The Australian heat did him no favors. The mid-day sun blazed as it ever did in this terrible place. That breeze could only do so much against the summer bearing down on him. (Wasn't it meant to be spring now? Fucking Australia.) He ran through all the options, including the really unpleasant idea of the metal rod heating up and cooking his insides as though he were a pig on a spit. The process was slow and his scenarios ran rampant, but he soldiered on. The makeshift bandage he fashioned for the stab wound raveled off in the meantime. It felt like both an eternity and like a moment, but in reality it was maybe ten minutes before he got a break. Charlie felt dirt seeping under his fingernails. Beautiful. Absolutely shitting beautiful. It might have been a more welcomed turn than the breeze. Dirt, he could dig through easily. Like a dog looking for his bone, he pawed through the earth. After enough dirt was loosened, he could feel the rod's length. It wasn't buried deep at all. Thank God for small favors. Now came the tricky bit.

Charlie braced his left arm against the ground. He was going to have to stand while bending as little as possible lest he completed the job of severing his innards that the rod started. Again he felt the insane urge to laugh or even guffaw. The last time he had to get this acrobatic, he was nailing a Romanian circus performer. He gripped the bottom of the rod with his right hand, then pushed with the left. He was able to get the rod loose. That done, he braced his right arm on the ground. "Okay. Okay. Annd... now, here we go."

It turned out that one could not lift himself with just his forearms. That was a stupid idea. He wasn't inclined to those usually, but he gave himself the benefit of the doubt. It had been a very, very long day.

With plenty of maneuvering, he managed to tuck his legs under himself. He got to his feet by first carefully raising himself to a kneeling position. Doing that without bending his middle was no easy task, but he remained taut. Then he worked to a standing position from there. It took just as long as digging himself out. This time, screaming accompanied the action. "MOTHERFUCKING-- WANK PISS-- ARSEHOLE-- FUCK TITS." It likely caused just as much pain as the movement, but it made him feel better anyway. Little by little, he rose until he was back on his feet. At last he was free, with the exception of a pole coming out of him. Charlie looked down at himself. He saw a lot of carnage over his years as an assassin. He reveled in causing it. A wholesome spring chicken he was not. Yet seeing himself impaled didn't get any easier. It wasn't the type of thing to get used to, he supposed.

He had to carry on to the next step. Not that he knew what that was, but he would figure it out along the way. Charlie walked quite slowly up the pathway back to the house. He definitely couldn't walk himself to the hospital, yet the rod as it was took driving out of the question. He wouldn't even be able to fit in his car. It felt very important that he walked tall, ever implacable, but he knew the cautious shuffle made it look like he had just shat himself and was trying to discreetly make his way to a toilet. Still he trucked on. As he passed the threshold of the house, he didn't even spare a second glance to the woman sprawled on the front steps. Not his fault she couldn't dodge a bullet.

The house was massive, the type of ludicrously rich that came to a person who didn't work a day in their lives. It felt so wonderful to be in just an hour ago. Having a big bag of money contributed to the feeling. He could've bought a couple homes like this with that payout. Now it was all gone, and he lost it to a mechanic and his tart. Charlie tried to console himself with the idea that out of everyone in this sordid tale, they deserved it the most. Except that wasn't true at all and it just annoyed him more. Having a standard moral compass didn't earn you anything. He scowled to himself. He didn't need to be thinking about these things. What he did need, he realized in a burst of frightening ingenuity, was a saw of some kind. The basement would be the place for that sort of thing. He meandered until he found steps going downward. Hopefully the man of this house was a building type.

Charlie gingerly walked down the stairs, taking them one at a time. He stuck his arms out in front of him to keep balance. Horrifyingly, the image of his mother doing her jazzercise popped into his head. “Steady on, man.” He conquered the stairs and his reward was the sight of a whole work station. Buzzsaws and hacksaws and all sorts of tools that would make this an assassin's toy store sprawled before him. Indeed, he giggled like a boy who had been given free reign at Toys 'R Us. As fast as he could go (which would be about the same pace as a 200 year old tortoise who had seen a really sexy tortoise on the other side of the road), he waddled to the power tools. He rubbed his mustache as he surveyed his options. Well the table saw definitely won't work, he can't hold himself sideways. A shame, as that would be the only steady cut. He eyed the hacksaw. He had more than a little familiarity with that baby. It got him out of jams before, although usually the 'aw-fuck-I-can't-fit-the-body-in-the-boot' variety. First time for everything.

The first attempt, he realized that the blade made the rod vibrate, a thoroughly unpleasant sensation for his guts. He tried to shift his focus to the pain in his left hand which came from trying to hold the rod steady. At full strength, this would not have taken long. However, to count up his injuries: one stabbed hand, one stab wound in the shoulder, maybe some bruised ribs from taking a beating from a sledgehammer, definitely a bruised ego after expecting a few hundred thousand dollars from this a very out of sorts back after being shoved off a balcony to a stone covered ground and, of course, a God damn fucking metal pole impaling him right through his middle. Charlie was not at full strength. It took a while. A long while.

He half expected the sun to be down when he re-emerged from the basement, but it still hung in the sky, the blasted thing. Still, it wasn't all bad. He just dropped a few pounds, having sawed off a good portion of the rod. He was more bloody than before. The rod's shaking did upset some things, and when he moved the saw the last time to cut off the piece for good, he did it too vigorously and got himself in the leg. However, he could still stand. He could still walk. He could only hope that he could still drive. Charlie Wolfe held his head high and teeter-totted his way to his beautiful Toronado. Every last bit of carnage behind him was ignored, dead girl and his own dripping mess and all. Quite carefully he lowered himself into the driver's seat and closed the door. He just sank into the brown leather, as much as he could anyway. Gently he lowered his head onto the steering wheel. He could believe he just melted right there. The dust, at last, settled. Everyone involved in this freak show was either dead or long gone and never to be seen again. He could rela--

The familiar and now ear-grating sound of his mambo ringtone went off so loudly that Charlie jumped. He only stopped himself just in time before what remained of his rod hit the car's steering wheel. His eyes bulged and his fingers curled, looking to find the comfort of a gun's handle. Instead, he got his phone.


That was not a greeting up to the standard of ever-professional, ever-unflappable Charlie Wolfe. Any fuck he could have possibly given sailed off in the breeze. He heard something about the next job, the one he was supposed to be making his way to right now. Something about how he needs to be nicer because it was an easy gig, it would only take a couple hours. Something about a very, very nice payday.

“You don't say... Hmm. Alright. Now here's my offer. Take your job... AND SHOVE IT SO FAR UP YOUR PUCKERED ARSEHOLE THAT IT COMES BACK OUT YOUR THROAT!”

Charlie threw the phone onto the passenger's seat. Content that he had decisively ended that conversation, he flipped on the radio. The Latin music station he had grown fond of while he was in Australia crackled to life. The cheery music filled the air. Charlie slammed the power button with his fist, not caring that he got blood all over the radio from his stab wound. The music died. He had quite enough of that.

“Vacation is fucking over.”